I am a student in grade 11 from Australia Queensland and I would love to study astronomy at Harvard, MIT, Oxford, or at ANU, even though I am aware it is a long shot as I would love to one day work at NASA, but I am worried that I have left it too late to prepare my application and get my grades from B+s and A-s to straight A+s. I also am worried because in the Queensland curriculum I have to complete and OP which I am unsure whether or not is accepted by these schools. I am all so curious as to what extracurriculars I should be completing to greater my changes of acceptance at these schools, which are at this stage quite low.
How do I get from where I am, an average Queensland student, to studying Astronomy at a world famous uni?
Thanks for your question. My first piece of advice is don’t worry about how famous the university is. If you know you want to study astronomy, the most important thing should be the quality of the degree offered by the university, the professors you could be doing research for and the companies the university has links to. The brand name of the university isn’t the most important thing (it’s about the 4th most important!).
I can’t give you much guidance for your academics other than work hard and don’t be afraid to use Khan Academy and other resources to master previous years’ content to avoid trouble in your current and future grades.
Finally, pursue the extracurriculars that you are passionate about! Get as involved as possible, more than any other student so that you stand out - and you’ll also discover what it is that you like and how you want to spend your time at uni and after.
And with regard to OP: It would be recognised by US colleges but most of students who got accepted by unis you mentioned got OP 1 - an ATAR of around 99