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Courses Course schedule (yes, another one)

  1. Aug 25, 2006 #1
    I just registered for my freshman semester at the local community college. I think it should be a decent course load, but would like some oppinions on it.

    Calculus 3 (multivariable)
    physics 3 (thermodynamics and optics)
    Linear Algebra
    differential equations (I think it only covers ODE's but I'm not sure)
    Statistics 1

    Total credits: 19

    I know its a bit heavy in math and science, but I've heard that some colleges don't accept other colleges credits for english and the humanities. So I thought I should go with a heavy math and science schedule. Also I think I'd do better in these courses than in humanities courses etc.

    I'm hoping to be able to transfer to Rutgers in the spring so that I'll be in a real university and have a shot at transferring to a top school.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2006 #2
    Those are pretty standard classes for an intro physics programme; if you're motivated, it shouldn't be a problem.
  4. Aug 25, 2006 #3
    you're a freshman and you're starting in physics 3? What happened to physics 1 and 2? Did you take an AP course or something? Keep in mind that just because your CC allowed you to skip ahead because of your AP credit does not mean the uni will, and I am afraid you are getting screwed in your education by skipping physics 1 and 2. HS is a poor place to learn physics and math the correct way.
  5. Aug 25, 2006 #4
    I took the AP credit without the course, I self-studied for physics 1 and 2 with some guidance from my physics teacher. Same with calc 1 and 2. I never got to take the AP courses formally as I dropped out at the end of my junior year last June.

    most colleges and universities accept the AP credit (MIT included)

    also physics+calc I and II are pretty simple courses when you look at the kind of material covered, it all flows sequentially from one concept to the next unlike higher level courses that can be taught in a dozen different ways.
  6. Aug 25, 2006 #5
    I hope you have a lot of free time.
  7. Aug 26, 2006 #6


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    you don't have two parts in linear algebra, i.e linear algebra 1 and linear algebra 2.
    from what i am accustomed the universities divide linear algera into two courses in the first year.
  8. Aug 26, 2006 #7
    this is just my first semester, I think that the linear algebra course is the equivalent of linear algebra 1. When I transfer in the spring I should be able to take linear algebra 2
  9. Aug 26, 2006 #8
    I sat in on a few calc 3 (vector calc) classes at my local community college (which is said to be good...) and it was a disaster. I hope that you will be able to tell if you aren't learning much and if the teacher is going soft on all of you. The teacher at the community college I am talking about said that she would never give the problem
    graph z=cosx
    on a test because it's too hard for the kids to do.

    That is simply absurd!

    My sister, who goes to the University of Arizona, said that she has a friend who took OChem at some community college and passed with an A. When she took the next one at UA, she failed horribly.

    I just want you to be aware that it's POSSIBLE that you will have to retake a few courses at a university later. I really hope that your cc is good.

    One thing that worries me is that with all of those math classes, you won't be able to focus on any single one of those...
  10. Aug 28, 2006 #9
    I would basically like to disagree with nearly everything that you said. I attendend CC for two years before I transfered the the University, took all of my math/physics/chem there all along hoping that I wouldn't be behind when i got to the "Big University" Well I wasn't behind at all, if anything the university was a letdown.

    The professors are worse than at the CC, they are usually too busy to help you and refer you to the TA most of the time. They also don't speak english very well. They often write sloppy and don't give anyone much attention largely because they have 500 students and research to do on top of that.

    I don't believe you that the teacher said that they wouldn't ask anyone to grapg z=cos x because it is too hard, what book are they teaching out of? Stewart just like everyone else probabally. Same books, with the same chapters usually means that you learn the same thing at CC as the university (i'm sure that there are some exceptions, but not to that degree).

    Bottom line, don't let anyone ever tell you that you are not getting a good education because you took classes at the CC, thats BS, they are probabally just mad because you made a smart choice and saved a LOT of money. (I saved over $20,000, and am still up there with the best after every test)

    That is not a bad load if you do your homewok, I took a similar load while working 30 hrs a week. Just make sure that you don't fall behind. Good luck.
  11. Aug 28, 2006 #10
    Im pretty sure that I only stated the possibility and that it was only an experience of mine. I'm sorry if I made it seem that all CC's are this way. Now I'm kind of wondering, where are you going/where did you go to college?
  12. Aug 28, 2006 #11
    well the CC I'm going to uses thomas for multivariable calculus. I don't know whether or not this is considered a good calculus text or not, But I am supplementing it with hubbards text on vector calculus.
  13. Aug 29, 2006 #12
    No CFD? :rofl:
  14. Aug 29, 2006 #13
    I attended a CC in Garden City, Michigan, and a CC outside of Pittsburgh, PA. I now attend the University of Pittsburgh. I feel that I had better teachers at both CC's than at the University. I have a cousin that attended CC with me in Michigan, now goes to the University of Michigan, majors in engineering, also feels that although her teachers may be very knowlageable, they are not always good "teachers" and she is not behind at all.

    As far a your first two years are concerned, I believe that one could possibly even make the argument that the CC teachers are better becasue they are usually the best at the CC (calc/phy/chem), where as at the University the first two years are taught by the newer teachers. (of course there are exceptions, just from my own experiences)
  15. Aug 29, 2006 #14


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    That's not much of an argument. The best at your community college can still be worse than these newer teachers. It's also an innacurate generalization to say the first two years are taught by newer teachers. My university has a number of terrific experienced "lecturers" that make up a good chunk of the first year teaching. There's also a few horrible (but experienced) lecturers in there as well. A plus is many sections to choose from if you don't agree with the one you ended up with.

    It's much too dependant on the particular schools and instructors to declare either is 'better'. There are great teachers at community colleges and their are great teachers at big universities. Likewise for poor teachers. Can we stop comparing yet? Maybe a few more rounds of anecdotal evidence are in order to settle this once and for all.

    Just make sure your courses will transfer as you hope, talk to counsellors at both syour college *and* your proposed destination, *and* try to find written documentation of what will transfer.
  16. Aug 29, 2006 #15
    I clearly stated that that was my own experience, and I have never heard anyone say that they were behind because they took CC classes. I am not saying that there are no good teachers at the University, I am saying that overall, the only difference is the price. And to think that z=cosx is out of the calculus class at any CC is laughable.

    I swear on my life that I had a university professor last semester that told a student who asked an honest question that he needed to have cleared up, to "stop interupting the class with his questions".

    I remember durring my CC days when to local university students came in durring the summer to take an "easy CC calc/phy/chem class" to have a lighter load in the fall. Well as a CC student that had to carry most of the load, I felt good about my education. They were more often than not, shocked at the amount of personnal attention that they recieved.

    What university dedicates all of their brightest minds to "intro" classes? We have all had the guy who basically lets the TA do everything after he quickly shuffles through his power point presentation. You will find that many CC professors taught at a university at one point and decided that they liked teaching more than research.

    My ONLY argument here is that as long as the credits transfer, your degree will say the same thing. Only your student loan payments will be effected.
  17. Aug 29, 2006 #16


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    It sure looked to me like you were trying to make some general argument about universities dumping newer teachers on the intro courses, which is just not what I've seen (i.e. mixes of new and old, again it varies by institution). But sure, as long as you don't try to make generalizations outside your experience.

    I take it this is supposed to be an example of bad teacher behavior? Completely out of context, I can just as easily sympathize with the instructor who has a student repeatedly interrupt the class with questions that would be better asked during office hours or after the lecture.

    Doesn't have to be the 'brightest' research minds to be a good first year teacheras I'm sure you know. The universities I'm familiar with have lecturer positions that do a fair chunk of first year courses.

    Can't say I've ever been taught by that guy. I've always had professors who were more than willing to make time for interested students. Maybe I've just been lucky.

    I would sort of agree, but it really depends on what you are trying to take. An honest to goodness Spivak quality course is pretty rare at community colleges from what I've seen.
  18. Aug 29, 2006 #17
    is there honestly that big of a difference between spivak and other such texts?

    I could imagine that there could be that big of a difference in textbooks that cover higher level material such as vector calculus and beyond. But I havn't seen anything in single variable calculus that could be taught in such a radically different way as to leave a student with a completely different understanding of the subject.
  19. Aug 29, 2006 #18

    I have to say, I was not particularly impressed with spivak. The material was presented in a manner more clearly intended for math majors, but it covered exactly the material covered by Marsden (book we used in my vector calc class) and in my opinion not much better (just far more concisely, and by that I mean several hundred pages more concisely. Of course, it also had far fewer problems in it, by several hundred pages). I mean, spivak was good, but it didn't stand out the way say Griffith's QM (which I much prefer to say, Liboff the other book I use extensively) does IMO.

    edit: I should add that this is coming from the perspective of a physics major, not a math major. So perhaps I am not fully qualified to judge the quality of text meant to satisfy the needs of math majors.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2006
  20. Aug 29, 2006 #19


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    Yes, there is a big difference between spivak type books and stewart type books. Spivak should give you an idea of what's actually going on, stewart will give you an idea on how to graph parabolas and integrate nasty looking trig integrals (I exaggerate a little, and of course it can vary greatly by the instructor). This isn't to say it's necessary to start with a spivak kind of course even if you plan to go to grad school in maths say, but would make later courses easier.
  21. Aug 29, 2006 #20
    Ok, would this be fair? I'd say that about 80% of my University professors were born and educated abroad. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I would even say that it helps you get a different prespective on things by being taught by a professor from another country. My best professor was from China, but he spoke very good english.

    However, it becomes diffficult to understand these professors sometimes and they often find it difficult to find the right words to explain things, or to relate things that the students are familiar with. I had only one such professor at CC, and about 5 thus far at the University.

    As I am olny familiar with a few Universities, can anyone tell me if this is a broader trend, or an isolated case?
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