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2 or 3 years at CC

  1. Mar 19, 2014 #1
    Hello everyone, I have come to you for advice in regards to my education and transfer for my major.

    I have been at community college now and completed one semester with a second semester in progress. I have almost completely decided I would like to major in Mathematics with a minor in physics.

    I currently have two options in regards to how I want to transfer, and in 2 or 3 years.

    Option 1:
    I take Calculus I over the summer in a eight week course. I have talked to my pre calculus teacher and he (with a PHD) is confident in my ability to complete the course well and also believe I will go very far in the mathematics field. He believe I have a knack for Pure Mathematics and the questions I ask are far beyond the level of any student at the community college. Anyways, I would have to take calculus over the summer and then next fall I would take calculus 2 and physics 1 and then next spring Calc 3 and Linear analysis (LA and DE) as well as physics II. Or my other option is;

    Option 2:
    Do not take Calculus over the summer and instead take more GE and then stay at community college taking my time with the courses and finishing all of my GE in a timely manner. But, money is not a factor for me due to free tuition both here and any University of California I go to.

    I appreciate your help. Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2014 #2


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    I'd go for option 1. Money is a factor, even with free tuition because there is an opportunity cost of taking more time than you need in school. Don't rush, but don't lag either.
  4. Mar 19, 2014 #3
    I was in a similar situation last summer. I decided to take calculus 1 over the summer with the rest of the general electives I needed to complete for my degree. The first option seems feasible, this is the track I'm currently completing this semester minus physics 2. Calculus 3, Differential equations, and Linear algebra are courses that I don't want to say are easy but they do require a significant amount of time. The material being covered is fairly familiar from previous math courses and the assignments feels more like busy work. As for physics 2, I feel that this course will require the majority of your time to read, learn, and understand the concepts. Option 1 is definitely doable but will require a lot of time, work and effort on your part.
  5. Mar 19, 2014 #4
    I don't suggest option 2 but I do suggest *not* waiting until you are at your 4-year before taking gen. ed. classes. I recommended trying to get the preliminary ones out of the way. I didn't take any at my CC and then when I transferred to my 4-year I discovered that my GEC options were highly limited because I hadn't taken my first writing class yet.
  6. Mar 20, 2014 #5
    I will not have all of my General Ed done by the time I go to the UC, but I will have a few including all my english. Besides, I find the GE courses offered at larger universities to be much better.
  7. Mar 20, 2014 #6


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    GE Courses at a UC are also notoriously harder to get good grades in. I went to a UC and the GEs were some of my hardest classes. I'd get as many as possible done when you're at CC.
  8. Mar 20, 2014 #7
    In the end, I will only need to take 1 year of language and 2 courses of things like economics or something of a similar nature. That will not be too bad will it? I was kind of hoping to even minor in something like art history so I had courses where it was more than just problem sets all the time. Also, may I ask what UC you went to and what major? I am currently thinking UCSB or UCSC.
  9. Mar 20, 2014 #8
    IMO the GEC courses don't contribute to your education much because they are so fluffy (outside of places like St. Johns, does anybody really do rigourous liberal arts anymore?), so you may as well get them done on the cheap and on the easy at a CC. Save your brain juice for physics.
  10. Mar 21, 2014 #9


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    I went to UCD. Economics might be a bit easier since many the other students will have a tougher time with the math. I took courses in Music, Anthropology, History, and Philosophy that I found quite challenging.

    I disagree with this. My GE courses were quite good and stretched my mind in different directions compared to my more technical courses. It may depend on the college. At the University of California at least my experience is that the liberal arts are taken quite seriously and the quality of the courses tends to reflect that.

    Anyway, getting as many done before you transfer is probably a good idea because you'll most likely find it easier to get a good grade in a CC version.
  11. Mar 21, 2014 #10
    Well, do you see anything wrong with wanting to take upper division courses in art history, and philosophy just out of pure interest? I find the courses to be very informative and I am someone who really enjoys expanding my knowledge. Like, I would love to take courses in upper division greek/roman art. Maybe something on leonardo and such. Just because the information is pretty cool. Logic for philosophy is also a lot of fun. Or is this kind of thing better for self study ( I prefer lectures..but still)
  12. Mar 21, 2014 #11


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    Absolutely no problem at all, I think it's great. Just don't expect them to be easy As.
  13. Mar 21, 2014 #12
    Alright fair enough. I appreciate everyone's help. One last question though, is there a way to take those courses for pass no pass? or is that only lower division courses? Or even something where I just sit in on lecture and tests. Id rather not have to do all the busy work if I do not have to, but I am still willing to if necessary.
  14. Mar 21, 2014 #13


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    At least at UCD you couldn't get GE credit for classes that you take pass/fail. If these are just classes you want to take for fun, sure you can take them pass/fail. If they are big lecture courses you could always just show up, too.
  15. Mar 21, 2014 #14
    To Your First Question:
    I would recommend not transferring prematurely if it can be avoided. At UCLA, it seems like the majority of the chemistry department is transfer students who didn't finish their prerequisites before transferring. When I transferred in, I had partial IGETC (went back to my cc and took Spanish last summer) and still had to take multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, and two (out of three) quarters of general physics (and I was actually more ahead than most of my chemistry acquaintances). I will actually be graduating on time after next quarter (four years total), but I was unable to double major, minor (two classes from a math minor), or take any advanced/graduate courses. On top of that, transfer shock was an issue and I've had to overload a few quarters (my first quarter I took multivariable calc, de, linear algebra, and biochem).

    If you aren't too far behind, though, transferring a little early shouldn't be much of an issue, especially if you are only behind on general education and not major prerequisites. UCLA has quite a bit more class options for general education than my community college did. However, I, personally, don't hold liberal arts in very high esteem- more math/physics courses would certainly enrich my life much more than anthropology and music appreciation ever could (I have actually not taken a single class at UCLA that wasn't math/physical science).

    To Your Second Question:
    Auditing is where you sit in on classes that you aren't enrolled in. With large classes, you can just show up and sit down. With smaller classes, though, you'll want to ask permission from the instructor first.
  16. Mar 21, 2014 #15


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    How do you know this if you haven't actually taken a non math/physical science class at UCLA? I think you are leaving a lot of potential enjoyment of your future life on the table here. I love my technical job very much but I also get a huge amount of joy in my life from the arts. The fact is my education in music and architecture has greatly enhanced my appreciation for them and has added significantly to the quality of my life.

    In fact, I took a music course from a well-known Berlioz scholar and I think I have gotten more enjoyment and fascination over my life from that course than any other single course in undergrad.
  17. Mar 21, 2014 #16
    Well, I am actually in a debate with myself in regards to completing all of my major requirements. Next spring I can either take Physics II or I can take a computer science course and be completely done with all major requirements that I can do at my CC.

    Personally I would like to complete the second physics class just because that is required for the minor in physics, but at the same time, Calc 3, DE, LA and Physics II in one semester will be brutal. 15 credits of all math/physics, but this is what I am expecting when I transfer anyways.
  18. Mar 21, 2014 #17


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    Calculus is extremely important, and trying to learn it in an eight-week summer course is asking for trouble. Up until now, the math courses you've been taking have been remedial courses. It's extremely common for people to do well in remedial math courses at a community college and then start to have trouble when they get to college-level math. If you show up at a community college with inadequate high school preparation and need to start off in pre-collegiate courses, then it's only to be expected that you will take more than two years before transferring. You are starting college-level coursework in your major next semester, so effectively you are a freshman in college starting next semester.
  19. Mar 21, 2014 #18
    My whole deal about getting out of community college as soon as possible is due to the fact that I hate it. While I do have inadequate mathematics background, I do know the basics. I often find in my precal and trig class I took that I am essentially the class tutor. People come to me with help. When they need help, I try to explain things to them and they are stuck on adding fraction and things like square roots.

    This may not be the case at all community colleges, but at least at mine it appears to be so. I also really want to meet people who also like mathematics and physics, and who are not just interested in partying, but I have not been able to find any such people. Thus I feel out of place.

    I do not think I extremely smart by any means, but I do know that where I am at (community college) is not where I permanently belong. I went from a high school GPA of a 1.8 to my current of a 3.4. I am very proud of what I have done and I wish to continue to make a good progression in my education.

    TO bcrowell; I understand you are a community college professor, and I will take any advice you give a lot of consideration. Taking 3 years at my community college is still a option, just one I dread. If that makes any sense.
    Utilizing all three years would be beneficial as I would have all major course work completed, a easier time and all of my GE.
  20. Mar 22, 2014 #19


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    I am in the same situation as you only I intend on majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I'm at Cc right now and I plan on taking calc1,2,3 DE and La at Cc. While also taking Gen Phys1,2 statics, rigid body mechanics, and dynamics. then transferring to OSU (Oklahoma). The only problem i can see is that i will need 12 hours at OSU before i can be admitted into the Engineering dept. I don't know if i will be able to take physics courses. I don't want to be stuck taking 4 gen eds my first semester there.
  21. Mar 22, 2014 #20
    I have taken humanities courses at community college (IGETC) and I can't say any of them really added enough value to justify the time spent on them (except maybe critical thinking and speech). That's not to say that I don't enjoy anything outside of math/science, but that is what I enjoy most, so given the choice (and the cost of tuition), there are quite a few math/science courses that I would love to take that would win over humanities. As much as I would enjoy a philosophy course (philosophy and economics are two outside fields that I find interesting), in terms of taking it for credit, it loses against abstract algebra and relativity.

    There's also the added factor that I have been working on catching up since I transferred, so I don't have all that much additional space outside of my major requirements to pursue outside courses. Plus my degree is in chemistry and I would like to pursue physics in graduate school, so my main concern has been shoving in the core physics courses wherever they'll fit.
  22. Mar 22, 2014 #21
    Just be patient, because you really don't want to jump the gun. What I would do is plan out your schedule from once you transfer until you graduate for both a 2-year and 3-year cc plan and compare the two. See how much more difficult the 2-year plan would be (how much catching up you have to do and what not) and how much more room and opportunity you will have given a 3-year plan and what you can do with it.

    If you do decide to go with the 3-year plan, see what you can do to make your time more enjoyable. Have you tried outside reading? I have a dozen Dover books that probably together cost less than the price of a new textbook. I'm sure there's other math/science enjoying people there if you look hard enough. One person at my cc described us as the opposite of the average college student- most people worked really hard in high school so they could screw around in college while we did all our screwing around in high school and are now focusing and working hard in college. At the very least, Physics Forums is a great place to talk to other people about math and science.
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