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Community College or a Not so good CSU

  1. Dec 12, 2011 #1
    Hello there, I am in a little situation right now, I am currently a Junior in high school and my grades last year were terrible, my cumalitive GPA is a 1.83 for that year...and this semester I currently have a 3.5 and that is what I will end the semester with too (I am taking 3 science courses, english, history and math so its a hard work load) The only classes have failed are the 2ed semester of spanish 1 last year and got a D in algebra 2 last semester last year...so anyways, that GPA is going to kill me, even with my 3.5 this year and a 4.0 or a 3.833 next semester it is only bringing my Gpa to a sub 3.0....I will be taking some really hard classes my senor year too...but my question is, would it be better to go to a crappy CSU (chico isint that great and I think I might be able to get in) or go to a community college for 2 years and hopefully tranfer to UCLA, UCSB or one of the top physics colleges in california. So if anyone can give me some advice on how to improve my chances of getting into some good colleges and such that would be nice, also let me know what colleges I should be looking at with my GPA and such. I would like to major in physics
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2011 #2


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    My personal experience: community college education is really, really good. Especially in classes like calculus and first-year sciences. The classes are smaller and generally, the quality of instruction is between good and excellent.

    I started in community college, btw.

    Edit: plus, it's a lot cheaper.
  4. Dec 13, 2011 #3
    more replys are welcomed. And I have messeged you Lisab
  5. Dec 13, 2011 #4


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    I started in community college as well. I spent a couple years taking classes while I was working full time, so it has taken me longer than most, but I feel like it allowed me more time to find my true interest. Now I have the remedial courses out of the way and can concentrate on the core courses for my majors.

    I can't really answer what would be "better" for you; I'd contact someone at the UC schools to which you're looking to eventually transfer and ask them what they look for. If you do well at a community college and obtain some excellent letters of recommendation, then you should be in good shape for a transfer. I'm not an expert on the UC system, though. Contact someone in the physics department (usually a "transfer student advisor") at each school and ask them about admissions to their program. Best of luck to you.
  6. Dec 13, 2011 #5
    I think the answer will depend on the CC you intend to go to. I currently go to a CSU, and we receive many transfer students from the community colleges near by. My school isn't particularly difficult. However, many transfers struggle with switch from the CC lifestyle (sign up for 9 classes, show up to none, walk out with 9 A's). They think they can continue this habit, and usually it ruins their first year.

    Furthermore, if you were planing to take physics classes at the community college, take them for enjoyment, and don't expect any to transfer. The math department at my school doesn't accept anything above Calculus 2 from the CC's... We had too many people transferring who claimed to know linear algebra and differential equations. In reality, they only knew how to put a matrix in reduced row echelon form and solve 1st order linear ODEs.
  7. Dec 13, 2011 #6


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    I taught in a CC in Washington state for 18 years. Although I can't speak for all CC teachers, none of my fellow math, chemistry, physics, engineering, etc. teachers every gave anything above an F to students who never attended. At the time I was there, about a third of our students went on to transfer to four-year schools.
    At my school we had three quarters of Calculus, as well as 200-level courses in Linear Algebra and Differential Equations. All of these courses transferred to the four-year institutions.
  8. Dec 14, 2011 #7
    I took two classes at a community college the summer before my freshman year. My intention was to take classes there for two years and then transfer to a four year university. I transferred after the summer semester and I couldn't be any happier.

    The biggest benefit is that universities offer more classes, and many of them are classes you can take in the first two years (even if they are aimed at people in their junior and senior year). For instance, my university offers a course in matlab, which is valuable because a working knowledge of matlab is required for anyone who's taking differential equations in the physics department, and for the upper level classes. That's one thing the CC I went to didn't offer. Moreover, you see how some universities might have more elaborate diff. eq. classes which a community college might not have.
    Also, at the end of my first year I took an intro to proofs class and now, sophomore year, I'm taking real analysis. I don't know if intro to proofs classes are offered at CCs, but even if they are, I wouldn't have been able to take real analysis while there.

    Point is, going to a four year university from the (almost) beginning worked out well for me. Things would have gone differently and more slowly at a community college. Just my two cents. Good luck.
  9. Dec 14, 2011 #8
    I go to community college, and let me tell you, you will be working just as hard through your classes, they will be tough. Community college isnt stupid college. Its economic college..although my tuition is increasing to $46 a unit. Go to community college, I dont regret it whatsoever. We have all your physics, chemistry, and math courses to transfer
  10. Dec 14, 2011 #9
    I know a guy who transferred from community college to UC Berkeley for the electrical engineering and computer science major who graduated with a 3.9 GPA. Clearly he's very intelligent, but he also received a solid CC education that prepared him for the upper division courses. I would argue that it's more up to the individual to motivate themselves for success than where they take their lower division courses.

    Besides, isn't the minimum GPA for admission to CSU's a 2.0? That may be why your school does not receive the more capable transfer students. The succesful ones are going to UCB, UCLA, UCSD, etc..

    Kracken I would definitely recommend going to a community college. You'll save a lot of money and may be able to find what you really want to do. But if you want to succeed and transfer in 2 years it's going to require a lot of hard work and discipline. Go to the best CC in your area (One criteria could be transfer statistics to UCLA - check link below). Meet with a counselor and use the assist.org website to plan out your schedule. Take the rigorous physics/engineering versions of math and science classes and avoid the fluffy life science/general ed versions. The most important thing for UC transfers is to get a high GPA and complete all their major pre-reqs. Do that and you'll have a shot at getting into a good UC.

    Good luck.

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