Physics has a full house of new students
The Niels Bohr Institute has admitted 158 new students. This means that the physics programme is fully booked.
“We really got a full house of talented people. 26 of the new students have a grade point average of more than 12 (if you enter university directly from high school, you can increase your grade), 42 have between 10 and 12 and the overall average is 9.1,” says Kim Splittorff, the institute’s new Deputy Head for Teaching.
A large group have an average of 7-8, while a few students have 3.7-5.0, so there are 10 whole steps between the highest and lowest marks and the large spread means that teaching is a pedagogical challenge.
“Our ambition is that we both support those who need extra help and those who need to be challenged academically because they are exceedingly talented. What matters is that they learn something and physics was the first choice for nearly all of our new students,” says Kim Splittorff.
One thing the institute offers is a 2-week Kickstart course where the future students are taught study methods and freshen up their physics skills so they are ready for the start of the school year.
But it can still be difficult to start studying at the university. Kim Splittorff explains that many are accustomed to being among the best in their upper secondary school class and now they suddenly have to get used to being with others who are just as talented, so now they have to work extra seriously. The majority quickly realise that it is cool to be with others who are just as talented.
Physics requires diligence
Physics is a demanding study and the experience is that some drop out during the first year. “They run into challenging assignments and ask themselves the question of whether they have the ‘head’ for this. They should rather ask whether they have the ‘diligence’ for this. For much of it, it is about having a structured approach to the material and we can, among other things, teach them at the special Bootcamps we have for those who need extra help,” says Kim Splittorff.
The Union of Physics Students, which is the students’ own academic and social organisation, has also initiated a new project. “We will invite the students to come together for a lunch on a number of Sundays, where you can sit together with the other students and work on assignments and possibly get help from older students,” explains Andreas Jantzen, the chairman of the Union of Physics Students.
The institute also focuses on those who are at the very top, because it is important that they – as much as the rest, advance academically during their studies. “One of the things that we want to focus on in the future is to offer opportunities that are aimed at the most talented students who want additional academic challenges,” explains Kim Splittorff, who believes that differentiated teaching is quite natural when the academic backgrounds of the students are so different.