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Concerns about transferring from CC to 4year for Engineering

  1. Feb 19, 2015 #1

    I am a high school student nearing graduation, and I plan on attending community college. Throughout high school I've been on an independent study program due to my poor health (I have severe Ulcerative Colitis). I'm hoping that Community College will provide me with a flexible schedule, allowing me to eventually transfer to a 4-year university. I always loved Math and Science as a kid, but i fell out of STEM when I was no longer able to take those classes. Chemistry and Physics are not courses offered to students on my program. I joined a debate team freshman, found great success, and thought I wanted to study Political Science until an internship for a congressman during my junior year left me disenchanted with the entire field. Not knowing what I wanted to do anymore, I turned to what I loved as a kid. Specifically, I was always drawn to space exploration. I've come to the conclusion that I want to one day work at an organization like NASA to progress mankind's space efforts. I'm fairly certain that mechanical/aerospace engineering is what I want to/should study. The only issue is that I've realized that in order to transfer from community college to a 4-year university, I'll have to take a full schedule of only math, science, and programming courses to fulfill to the requirements of the schools I'm looking at (UCB, UCLA, and UCSD). I won't be able to take any general ed courses until after transferring. The reason this concerns me is because it would corner me into engineering. While I'm reasonably certain engineering is the area I wish to pursue, I have changed my mind in the past. If I find myself a year or two into community college and decide to study something else, my lack of general ed classes could prove disastrous and greatly extend the amount of time it takes me to complete school. As an alternative, I have considered pursuing an undergrad in Mathematics or Physics then going to gradaute school for Engineering. I'm posting this in search for any advice you could throw at me.


  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2015 #2


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    Gold Member

    Why do you think this? What's to stop you from taking an English class, a government class, a history class, etc. at the community college? This does not make much sense to me.

    It sounds like you are going to have difficulty dealing with stress, and any engineering curriculum is going to include a lot of stress; it goes with the territory. I'd think long and hard about that.
  4. Feb 19, 2015 #3
    The Engineering schools have the greatest number of prerequisites for their transfers, and they won't even consider your application unless you've completed two courses of general chemistry, 3 introductory physics courses, 2 English Courses, Math up until Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations. They strongly recommend a programming course and a course in statics. The programming courses they want have their own prerequisites, as do all the math courses I listed. They don't care much about you getting general ed courses done. Unless I made a mistake, It will take me 2 years strictly working towards the major classes to be eligible and competitive to transfer. I'm basing this on the info from the website Assist, it lays out all the transfer agreements between California Universities and community colleges.

  5. Feb 19, 2015 #4
    Is there any reason why you could not go to the community college for longer than 2 years? What is the rush? It seems like the best bet is to take things at a pace that you can handle, and if it is longer than the norm, so what? It turns out, most students take longer than the norm (yes, I know, that makes no sense; it is just a fact. The norm is artificial.)
  6. Feb 19, 2015 #5
    I don't mind taking more than 4 years to complete my bachelor's degree. It looks like I overlooked that at least Berkeley does require 6 General Ed Courses for transfer, so it will take me at least 3 years before I can transfer. Those 6 general ed courses would definitely ease the strain if for some unknown reason I ended up falling out of love with STEM. I know that Mechanical Engineering is what I want to do now, but I still have a lingering fear that something could eventually change my mind. Guess I'll just dive in with the goal of completing my B.S in Mechanical Engineering. If it works out, I'll be an engineer. If it doesn't, I'll still be smarter than when I started.
  7. Feb 20, 2015 #6
    What do you mean "fulfill the requirements"? Requirements for guaranteed acceptance? Requirements for transferring? You can start at a CC and transfer to a 4-year without actually getting a degree at the CC. Talk to admissions advisors at the schools you're interested in ultimately attending and explain that you plan to start at a CC and ask for advice.

    I started at a CC and transferred (without graduating) to a 4-year university. I did nothing but math and science courses at the CC (BTW undergrad math education tends to be better at CCs than at research universities). I could have taken some GEC courses at the CC but chose not too. I didn't "lock myself into engineering" either as I could have used my credits from the CC to contribute to any BS or BA degree at the university.

    My advice is to start at a CC and take calculus and calc-based physics classes. *That* is where you will find out whether you hate STEM or not (sometimes we like the idea of a subject but find we actually hate it when taking a course in it), at much lower cost.
  8. Feb 20, 2015 #7


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    Many, many students are able to complete the engineering prerequisites at a community college and still complete their entire GenEd core as well. I'm a physics major currently at a CC. This is my third year here, and after this semester I will have completed:

    College Algebra
    Calculus I
    Calculus II
    Calculus III
    Differential Equations
    Linear Algebra

    Physics I
    Physics II
    Physics III

    General Chemistry I
    General Chemistry II

    Two semesters of anthropology
    Social Problems
    Intro to Communications
    English Comp I
    English Comp II
    Intro to the Humanities
    Intro to Philosophy
    Western Civilization
    American Politics and Government
    Four semesters of Spanish

    You'd have a very similar set of classes at a CC. Engineering prerequisites are basically the same as the prerequisites I had as a physics major. You aren't going to have semesters full of nothing but math, science, and programming...at least not at the freshman/sophomore level. Community colleges are designed to cover the general education core and the lower level major prerequisites. There may be one or two GenEd courses or prerequisite courses that you'll have to take after transferring, but it is not typical for a CC student to transfer into a university without having completed any of their GenEd courses.
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