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High School Dropout: Please help

  1. Feb 21, 2013 #1
    Hello PF,I am Perceptron.

    A few months ago I had to drop out of my high school to support my family. I currently have two Jobs. One is Monday through Friday 8AM-4PM. The other is on Fridays and Saturdays 7PM-10PM. Basically, my only free day is on Sunday. I got depressed for some time, but I got over it after watching a video the Feynman series, which made me get motivated. Currently , I am doing my best to make most of my leisure time in studying.

    I began my self study by going to my local library. They usually give out free books that are voided or used. I went there and got two. One was called Physics: for engineers and scientists. The other is calculus: with analytic geometry. I know that calculus is important for physics, so currently I am working through the calculus analytic. Hopefully after that, I want to focus more on proofs algebra and geometry in my self study since mathematics is essential for formal physics.

    A key note here:
    Before I dropped out of High school, I took the SAT subject math test and scored a 760. I have not taken the SAT test.

    Now, here is my main concern. How can a high school dropout get into college? Should I focus on getting to college first or on my studies(IE, math and science)? Should I create a research paper and conduct simple experiments to show to the college?

    I really need a mentor figure to help out on this one. I basically on my own. And if I do succeed, I would be considered the 1st generation in my family to get into college.

    Thank you,

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2013 #2
    Go to community/junior college for a year or two first.

    Self study is fine. But to transfer to a university you need to have completed courses in math, english, etc.

    I suggest signing up for one class or two at a local community college. You will have to cut back your work probably... If not right away then you will eventually.
  4. Feb 21, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Hi Perceptron,

    Are you in the US? If so, you can try to take the GED test to get the equivalent of a high school diploma:


    If you are in a different country, is there an equivalent test you can take?
  5. Feb 21, 2013 #4
    I'm in some sense a drop-out as well. I know that U of T offers mature student admissions for people who are twenty-one and older. It puts one through a Bridge or Transitional Year Programme -- which are each, I think, just one year -- in order to get one ready for one's intended area of study. I don't know what the protocol is for your desired university (as you haven't mentioned it ;)), but U of T is a highly respected school, so if it's doing it. . . .

    Ultimately, if you have money, many universities will be willing to at least give you a try. Obviously they won't keep you if you do poorly, but you don't seem as if you will.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  6. Feb 21, 2013 #5


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    All colleges in the US (even community colleges) now require an accredited high school diploma or GED to enroll. They used to take people under the 'ability to benefit' program but that stopped last year - under new federal regulations, colleges must require a GED or diploma in order to be eligible for federal financial aid. So if you want to go to college, go back to high school or look up the requirements to take the GED in your state.
  7. Feb 21, 2013 #6


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you are in the US, I agree that a GED probably makes sense for you. It may even make obtaining better jobs easier in the future, even if it is awhile before more schooling is an option. If you got a 760 on the SAT math subject test, I'm guessing you could pass at least the math parts of the GED. Look online for example GED tests, or perhaps look for them at your local library, and see how you would do. You might be able to pass it with modest preparation - just make sure you know what the test covers BEFORE you take it!

    Again if you are in the US Community colleges are really designed for someone like you. Working two jobs even taking a single night-class at a time will not be easy, but perhaps you can find a way to make it work. It sounds like the financial burden of paying for even a single community college class may be quite burdensome, so you will have to seriously look into financial aid options.

    By the way, my father was a school dropout. Like you he had to quit to help support his family. Granted this was many years ago, but in his early 20s he took the GED, then went to college, went on to grad school, and then was a professor until he retired. It was not easy and he had to work very hard, but he managed to make it happen. While his path may not be common or likely, and it was easier back in the days when public universities were subsidized to a much larger extent, there are still many possibilities. The fact that you are intellectually curious and want to self-study is evidence that you are the kind of person who is likely to succeed if you get a chance.

    I wish you all the best,

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