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Are Community College Classes Considered Weak?

  1. Apr 27, 2010 #1
    I know this may be a naive question but here is my situation. I'm going back to undergrad this fall for a 2nd bachelors degree in Physics, so I'm planning on getting a head start by taking Calc II and Physics I with calc at a community college this summer. I plan on applying to grad school in a few years, so does completing these classes look bad/weak to top grad school programs? Is this frowned upon? Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 27, 2010 #2


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    They won't care.
  4. Apr 27, 2010 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Your problem isn't if they look weak. Your problem will be if they are weak. You need to be fully prepared for your upper division classes.
  5. Apr 27, 2010 #4
    I took general physics 1 and 2 at a community college, and now I've got the highest grade in my general physics 3 class at a state university. My current professor assigns 3 problems a week, while my professor at community college assigned 10 per week.

    I also took calc 3 at the community college, and when I showed one of my exams from that class to my Mathematical Physics professor, he cringed and said he's never assign problems that hard on an exam.

    So, I'd say it varies heavily from class to class, and even professor to professor. If you luck out and get a good professor, the community college classes won't be weak at all. However, I'd say there's a higher chance of a community college class being weak than at a university.
  6. Apr 27, 2010 #5
    From what I see community college is easier but at the same time better. The teachers there tend to be actual teachers not researchers forced to teach.

    This makes professors that are less qualified in the subject but more qualified to be teachers. Of course this is a general trend I see here, it'll vary greatly between places.
  7. Apr 27, 2010 #6
    Personally, I don't think it looks bad as long as you get good grades at, and after, community college. This is especially true if it is a community college that is known to be a good teaching school. Very often excellent students do their first two years at a community college to save money. It isn't always an avenue for remedial training, particularly in recent times.

    I happen to live near a community college that is very good at teaching fundamental courses like calculus and physics etc. The teachers are very good and do nothing but teach (i.e. no research). I occasionally teach college level electrical engineering courses at a local university, and I always find the community college transfer students are on par with the others. If I didn't try to find out their background, I would not be able to distinguish them. There was one senior level course I taught in which almost 1/2 the class had done their first two years at the local community college. This is not typical, but it just worked out that way this one time. I was amazed to find that those were the best students that semester. They were more motivated and focused, for reasons I can only guess at. The top student was from the community college and left the rest of the class in the dust. I wrote him a recommendation, and he had no trouble getting accepted into a master's program.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  8. Apr 27, 2010 #7
    I would say it depends on the college. I'm currently joint enrolled at a community college that it's math department is about half and half. The professor who I took College Algebra, Trig, Calculus 2 for. (I'm finishing up Calculus 3, and Differential Equations with a different teacher.) I compared his tests to other universities' and it is almost twice as hard. My physics teacher is viewed as a harder teacher than any of Georgia Tech's introductory calculus based physics courses. While I practically sleep through all my humanities and rarely do any work for them. It's a grab bag, I would shoot for colleges that feed into higher technical universities instead of just general ones.
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