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Programs Help with guiding a highschooler

  1. Jun 13, 2018 #1
    This post is not meant for me, but it is in regards for my little nephew.

    Currently he is 15 years old, and taking classes at the local community college. He just finished Calculus 2 and intro chemistry in the Spring semester.

    The Calculus course used Stewart, which is not rigorous. But he had a good professor ( I had him years ago).

    He will be taking Calculus 3 and Linear Algebra. Next semester.

    I told him to drop the Calculus 3, and add the intro physics course. But it does not fit his schedule.

    Anyways, he is considering architecture or civil engineering. He doesn't really change his mind much, so I think that it is highly likely that he will try to major in engineering.

    Since I majored in Mathematics, I am not sure what classes or things he should emphasize.

    I know besides, the standard math classes, intro chemistry, and physics. What other ideas or topics should he focus on. Ie important course loads to look at. Etc?

    I will be making him go through Moise: Geometry or maybe Kiselev Planimetry.

    Also, S.L. Loney Trig.

    Apart from a good grounding in geometry and trig. What more is needed?

    Is it possible for a dull major in civil engineering and architecture?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2018 #2


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    I am not familiar with the textbooks you mentioned, and I cannot supply advice. However I have a question for you because our common goal is to help your nephew. Here is what I find slightly disturbing.
    1. You are writing to seek advice for your nephew, not your nephew.
    2. You write, "I told him to drop the Calculus 3, and add the intro physics course" and "I will be making him go through Moise: Geometry or maybe Kiselev Planimetry". You told him?
    3. Finally you write "Is it possible for a dull major in civil engineering and architecture?" Dull?

    My question is, when in your grand scheme of things is your nephew going to start learning how to make his own decisions regarding his future and decide for himself what is dull and what isn't? Obviously he is talented, but he needs to learn to stand on his own two feet. He's only 15 and, if he takes one course instead of another, what harm is done? What's the big hurry?
  4. Jun 13, 2018 #3
    It seems to me like forcing your nephew to read through mathematics textbooks is a good way to ensure that he hates mathematics.
  5. Jun 13, 2018 #4


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    You are trying to manage his career and unless you have expertise in engineering and/or architecture I think you should stick to the general attributes of one with those interests. In this case since he is thinking about engineering or architecture it would seem reasonable that the engineering aspect might be related to architecture i.e. civil/structural engineering. Instead of spending too much time on academics which he seem extremely capable advise him to spend some time studying/researching the works of current famous engineers /architects or noteworthy projects and keep a broad view of the current methods and materials that are being used. This will guide him on planning his future and choosing appropriate courses, He should be dreaming of his future projects and sketching possible structures either by hand or with CAD software.
  6. Jun 13, 2018 #5


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    Will these community college class credits transfer to the university when he goes? Does it depend on which classes he takes (maybe only certain class credits can transfer)?

    One of the first classes I took at university was basically an Introduction to Engineering class, which covered all of the different disciplines in Engineering. The "textbook" was a paperback book that had one chapter per discipline (ME, EE, Civil, Computer/Software, etc.). It was a great class to get the basics of all the different specializations, and helped us to choose which one we really wanted to pursue. If such a class is available at that community college, I would recommend taking it (modulo the transferable credits question above).

    I'd also recommend taking an Electronics class and maybe a Robotics class (or look to see if there are academic clubs at the community college to have some fun). :smile:
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  7. Jun 14, 2018 #6

    Dr. Courtney

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    Rule #1 for friends and relatives in science and engineering:

    1. Minimize the unsolicited advice.

    The corrolary:

    2. Give them great freedom to ignore any advice you do offer.

    Another corrolary:

    3. Only give one or two nuggets of most importance. Youngsters tend to lose the important nuggets in the minutia if you include much minutia. If you read this far, do you even remember my rule #1?
  8. Jun 14, 2018 #7
    I see from the responses gathered, my word choices when typing the initial thread were not chosen properly. I do not force my nephew to do anything. He is naturally interested in these subjects. He just asked me for advice, and I was not sure how to answer his question, so I told him I would inquire. A majority of my immediate family own houses on the same street I live on. So for some reason, he likes talking to me the most. Maybe he looks up to me, or its maybe the fact that I am the only person in my family and neighborhood to go onto higher learning. We live in Compton, so maybe this sheds some light... Contrary to popular belief, there exist teenagers that actually are planning for their future. As a big uncle, if one of my nephews or nieces ask, should I not offer some advice or try to point them in the right direction? I am nearing the age of 30. I work with children much smaller than him for a living... If I were to ask a person for advice, and even if the advice was not 100% applicable. Just knowing that a person took the time out of their day to try to help me and being genuine about it, would give me pleasure knowing someone cares about me. I am sure their are many people who would agree.
    I rather he ask me about innocent matters like these, instead of asking me about other things...

    I am thankful towards berkeman for his post, who chose to stick the INTENT OF THE THREAD, and not creating Ad hominem replies regarding my character.

    I am quite shocked at the responses gathered in this thread by fellow members. From an innocent thread I made wanting advice or resources to show someone, so that they can personally look into them, if they see fit to do so. My character was judged. Not only was it inappropriate, it deviated from the intent of the thread.

    @ Berkeman, yes the classes will transfer and receive full credit. He plans to go to one of the Cal Poly's. So he just checked, and the CC he attends does not offer engineering courses. There is a school offering engineering courses, but it is in an hour away driving. He used that as an excuse to make his father show him how to drive now, and not next year as he promised.

    However, he was able too talk a person at his school today, and they offered to do a small project with him.

    Thanks Berkeman.
  9. Jun 14, 2018 #8


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    LOL, glad to help! :smile:
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