by Ritika K '14

Lack of Physics Class Proves to be a Problem

1101_physics_crop-500x333For students who want to major in engineering in college, taking a physics course is important, which poses a problem for BSGE students. In order to major in engineering, colleges and universities encourage students to take a course in physics in high school, a class BSGE no longer offers. According to the website of the PhysTEC department at Cornell University, students who pursue majors in science or engineering are often required to take Physics in college and these courses are more challenging for a student who has not taken Physics in high school at all. It is common for the Dean or head of the department of engineering at a University to discourage students from majoring in engineering in these cases because students do not have proper preparation or fundamental knowledge of physics.  In addition, it puts students who have not taken physics in high school at a disadvantage during the

admissions process, as colleges will favor students who have taken physics already.

In the past, BSGE offered a Physics course to its 9th graders and also offered an IB Physics course for 11th and 12th graders but the 9th grade class was replaced with Forensic Science instead and high school students can only choose from IB Biology and IB Chemistry. The Physics courses were done away with partially because of staffing issues once serious budgets cuts hit but also because 9th grade students struggled with taking Physics at such a young age.

What makes BSGE unique from other high schools is that it offers the IB Diploma Program. The IB curriculum differs from the regular curriculum taught at other high schools, and gives students an advantage because it offers a rigorous course load. Due to BSGE’s different curriculum and structure, the school does suffer from some disadvantages. Tim David-Lang explains, “because of the size of the school and its limited resources, we can’t offer an endless number of Diploma classes and programs.” Tim David-Lang goes on to say that students who want to major in areas such as engineering do not need to worry about BSGE not offering a physics course because “colleges are aware about the programs and courses that are offered by our school so they will not penalize students for not taking a course that was not offered in their school.”

Even though BSGE does not offer a physics class for its students, this does not mean students should avoid taking engineering courses or stop themselves from pursuing an engineering major. There are many solutions and alternatives to this issue.

For BSGE students who feel that taking a physics course would be beneficial and better prepare them for college, there are a few options and programs that exist. Jim Napolitano, 11th and 12th grade Math teacher, advises students who want to take a physics course before studying engineering in college “to look into, apply for and attend a physics program in another school, more commonly a college in the city such as Queens College.” Students can also take a Regents Physics course over the summer at a private school like the Windsor School in Flushing, NY for $595. Therefore, students should not be concerned about BSGE’s lack of a physics course because there are several external courses available within New York City that can help prepare and educate students who are interested in pursuing engineering.

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