Can I get some guidance for math courses to take? (high school freshman)

  • #1
doglover9754
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So I’m a high school freshman this school year. We have these little presentations by our counselors about planning out our high school years and beyond. In our high school, you only need 3 credits for math (3 years) to graduate. I am currently in Algebra 1. I heard that my school offers these classes during the fall and spring that are kind of like summer school except different time of the year. So my chosen career (for now) would be between mechatronics engineering or mechanical engineering. I was told that you need A LOT of math for those so I asked my counselor for some course recommendations. He told me I can take geometry in summer, algebra 2 in fall, and trigonometry in spring. If I follow his recommendation and take those courses during the specific times, what would my next class be after trigonometry? I read up on it and I could take pre calculus in the end of my sophomore year or the beginning of my junior year. Trigonometry and pre calculus are both half credit so I could possibly take both in one year.

Here’s the catch: I want to take a different course during the coming summer. I wanted to take US History to get it out of the way and also because the teacher scares the living daylights out of me. But listening to my counselor’s recommendations put me in between the two options. History or math? That’s all I can think about. I was wondering if it’s possible to spread out the math courses? What I mean is can I take US History this summer and take geometry during my sophomore year? Then the next summer I could take algebra 2 to get me ahead for the regular school year? I would end up doing trigonometry and pre calculus in my junior year. I would technically have all 3 credits but I could take regular calculus in my senior year anyways. Would this be a good option that would help me in my career?

Also, I was planning on taking early college so I’m not too sure how the credit system works with that. If I take an early college course for math also throughout the year, I’d be ahead an entire grade right? I’d have my regular sophomore math class and my college math class right? Or would it just be like I take the class as a dual credit and get credits for both college and high school?

I know I should probably talk to my counselor more about the early college situation but if any of you have some advice for that, It’d be great if you could share! Thanks!
 

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  • #2
Stephen Tashi
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If I follow his recommendation and take those courses during the specific times, what would my next class be after trigonometry?
You're asking questions that depend on the specifics of your schools curriculum. Your potential advisors on this forum don't know that curriculum. You present one plan where you take Calculus your senior year. Is the alternative that you take Calculus in your junior year? It isn't clear what you mean by "an early college course for math".
 
  • #3
vela
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Are these year-long courses? Way back when I was in high school, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II were year-long courses, so it seems a little strange to hear your counselor describe a schedule where they take only one semester each or where you take geometry during summer.
 
  • #4
Matterwave
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I agree with the points brought up by the other 2 posters in that it's unlikely we have enough context to really help you choose a specific course of action. But I would, nevertheless, like to add a couple of suggestions.

1. Things may have changed since I was in high school half a lifetime ago, but when I was in high school, I could take college level courses one of two ways. Either through an AP (Advanced placement) course offered at my high school which would give college credit upon completion and a 3 or higher score on the AP test, or just straight up taking a college course at my local community college. AP courses are free, while taking a college course would require you to pay a little bit of money to be enrolled. If you feel like your school's "normal" math curriculum is not advanced enough, these are good options to look into.

2. Generically, the suite of mathematics foundations necessary for quantitative fields would be: Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Multi-variate Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential equations. With a strong foundation in those areas, you are pretty much set to be able to have the mathematical background for a wide variety of problems. Of course, there could be still more math that would be important but you can generally pick those up in some sort of "mathematical methods for XXXX" kinds of courses (unless you're going into pure math in which case the list is much much longer).

3. Back when I was in High School, Algebra, Geometry and (AP) Calculus were offered, while the rest were classes I took in College. If you want to do more than the Algebra, Geometry and Calculus - you can look towards Multi-variate Calculus, Linear Algebra, or Differential Geometry at your local community college.
 
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  • #5
jtbell
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  • #6
gleem
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One general comment. Summer course are highly compressed and accelerated covering a lot of material very quickly. This tends to make the material harder to retain unless you are an exceptional learner. You want to learn the math well so to get the most out of a math course required doing a lot of problems and trying to put all the concepts together which takes time which you don't have in a summer course Take the math courses during the regular school year and use the summer for other core courses like history or literature.
 
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  • #7
verty
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So I’m a high school freshman this school year. ... I am currently in Algebra 1. ... So my chosen career (for now) would be between mechatronics engineering or mechanical engineering. I was told that you need A LOT of math for those so I asked my counselor for some course recommendations. He told me I can take geometry in summer, algebra 2 in fall, and trigonometry in spring.
One of the goals you should have from your time in high school is to get the best marks possible but also to have good marks in the subjects that are important to you. Ideally you want to get A's if possible but that is not very easy to do. So I also think taking math over the summer is not such a good idea. Especially if you struggle in your Geometry class which is certainly possible, you may start to think math isn't for you, and then how can you follow your desire to do mechanical or mechatronic engineering? The best way I think is to take the math classes at the usual time and you are less likely to run into problems.

Anyway, you are just entering high school. University is years away, so one doesn't have to worry so much about it. But success breeds success so do your best and it should count for something.

If I follow his recommendation and take those courses during the specific times, what would my next class be after trigonometry? I read up on it and I could take pre calculus in the end of my sophomore year or the beginning of my junior year. Trigonometry and pre calculus are both half credit so I could possibly take both in one year.
Yes, and then calculus. I think it's important to take calculus in school if you are going to do a math-heavy course like mechanical engineering because it says to people, I worked hard in school and didn't dodge calculus. And there's no reason not to take it because it will be an important part of your study.

Here’s the catch: I want to take a different course during the coming summer. I wanted to take US History to get it out of the way and also because the teacher scares the living daylights out of me. But listening to my counselor’s recommendations put me in between the two options. History or math? That’s all I can think about. I was wondering if it’s possible to spread out the math courses? What I mean is can I take US History this summer and take geometry during my sophomore year? Then the next summer I could take algebra 2 to get me ahead for the regular school year? I would end up doing trigonometry and pre calculus in my junior year. I would technically have all 3 credits but I could take regular calculus in my senior year anyways. Would this be a good option that would help me in my career?
I don't think it would make a difference if you take history over the summer. But taking Algebra 2 over the summer would be a mistake in my opinion because it is VERY important for trigonometry to be good at algebra and trigonometry is VERY important for calculus. So I would definitely do Algebra 2 in a normal semester format.

Also, I was planning on taking early college so I’m not too sure how the credit system works with that. If I take an early college course for math also throughout the year, I’d be ahead an entire grade right? I’d have my regular sophomore math class and my college math class right? Or would it just be like I take the class as a dual credit and get credits for both college and high school?
I don't know what college math class you would take because I think you should take AP calculus so that people can compare your mark to others. Your mark could well be lower on a college math class and how will they compare that? But, he took AP Calculus and got his A, he is good at math. That is nice to have.

I know I should probably talk to my counselor more about the early college situation but if any of you have some advice for that, It’d be great if you could share! Thanks!
 
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  • #8
doglover9754
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Are these year-long courses? Way back when I was in high school, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II were year-long courses, so it seems a little strange to hear your counselor describe a schedule where they take only one semester each or where you take geometry during summer.
I honestly thought it was weird too, but it’s written on paper. I won’t argue with that.
 
  • #9
doglover9754
Gold Member
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I agree with the points brought up by the other 2 posters in that it's unlikely we have enough context to really help you choose a specific course of action. But I would, nevertheless, like to add a couple of suggestions.

1. Things may have changed since I was in high school half a lifetime ago, but when I was in high school, I could take college level courses one of two ways. Either through an AP (Advanced placement) course offered at my high school which would give college credit upon completion and a 3 or higher score on the AP test, or just straight up taking a college course at my local community college. AP courses are free, while taking a college course would require you to pay a little bit of money to be enrolled. If you feel like your school's "normal" math curriculum is not advanced enough, these are good options to look into.

2. Generically, the suite of mathematics foundations necessary for quantitative fields would be: Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Multi-variate Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential equations. With a strong foundation in those areas, you are pretty much set to be able to have the mathematical background for a wide variety of problems. Of course, there could be still more math that would be important but you can generally pick those up in some sort of "mathematical methods for XXXX" kinds of courses (unless you're going into pure math in which case the list is much much longer).

3. Back when I was in High School, Algebra, Geometry and (AP) Calculus were offered, while the rest were classes I took in College. If you want to do more than the Algebra, Geometry and Calculus - you can look towards Multi-variate Calculus, Linear Algebra, or Differential Geometry at your local community college.
I’ll keep those in mind. Thanks!
 
  • #10
doglover9754
Gold Member
84
39
One general comment. Summer course are highly compressed and accelerated covering a lot of material very quickly. This tends to make the material harder to retain unless you are an exceptional learner. You want to learn the math well so to get the most out of a math course required doing a lot of problems and trying to put all the concepts together which takes time which you don't have in a summer course Take the math courses during the regular school year and use the summer for other core courses like history or literature.
I might want to do that. Thanks!
 

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