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Schools I can't afford University yet, prep suggestions please

  1. Mar 10, 2012 #1
    I attended a certain engineering school in Philly for 4 years switching from Computer Science to software engineering to not going there anymore. I have attained an AS (wahoo!) in info systems. I know that's relatively useless other than the C++ training. I don't enjoy this kind of work and I also live in NE where there is little work in this field.

    I discovered physics after reading every Kaku, Green, Hawking... book I could find after leaving college. The concepts are pretty clear to me with minor questions but it's the mathematics I need to study. However, I do not have the ability to pay for school just yet. I have worked out a deal with some family members who will help me if I can show them that this is my life calling. Before you ask, it is. I now have to get myself moving in the right direction to prove I'm a worthy investment.

    I'm asking any professionals or professors for suggestions on how to teach myself (A daunting task after attempting to teach myself discrete math). I understand a good text book will help and I have:
    1: Calculus: Early Transcendentals 8th edition -Howard Anton, Irl Bivens, Stephen Davis
    This was my calc book at Drexel and made it up through the Taylor series but it was a while ago which brings me to
    2: Forgotten Calculus 3rd edition - Barbara Lee Bleau as more of a reference.
    3: Discrete Mathematics with Graph Theory 3rd ed -Edgar G. Goodaire and Michael M. Parmenter
    4:Principles of Physics : A calculus-based text 4th - Serway and Jewett (It may have been a Drexel U only book)

    My concern is that when I get stuck, I lack the support of a professor or TAs.

    What would be a good approach for me to start prepping myself for my return to the academic world?

    Words can not express my gratitude for any assistance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2012 #2
    I highly recommend using MIT's online course materials. You can view lectures and then work on assignments and practice exams. This will help you when it comes to solving technical problems.

    In terms of actually understanding physics...Well, you need to keep your mind open to learning new concepts. All I'm trying to say is if this is your calling, the rest will follow (you just have to put in the effort).
  4. Mar 12, 2012 #3
    I was unaware they had that available. Thank you very much for the suggestion.
  5. Mar 12, 2012 #4
    This may sound like a stupid suggestion, but youtube is amazing for math help. Whenever I was stuck on a concept throughout Calc 1 -> 3, I would search for someone who would explain the concept in a video. Often times if you find someone you like, they have a website dedicated to math tutorials as well.

    One of my favorite people to go to for help is http://www.youtube.com/user/patrickJMT. He also has a website solely for his math tutorials.

    I'm sure that's not what you were looking for, but that's how I managed when I was stuck.
  6. Mar 12, 2012 #5
    Khanacademy.com can get you up to speed in the areas of algebra and trigonometry. MIT opencourseware has an excellent Calculus I-III program, with worksheets and problem sets that you should do. You can't go wrong studying ahead in mathematics unless you use it as an excuse to slack off in another course.

    At any rate, you probably live near a college of some sort, and that college probably has a tutoring center which is free for students. If they aren't checking your ID, use it! Studying mathematics at your own pace can be a great experience that allows you to fully understand the topics and ask questions about the theory, rather than just remembering how to do problems and memorizing formulas for a test. I'm always way ahead in my classes, and I have seen remarkable results.
  7. Mar 13, 2012 #6
    If you get stuck on a concept or problem, you can always make a post on this forum as well
  8. Mar 13, 2012 #7


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    Yes! Where else can you find the kind of insight, experience, and knowledge anywhere else on the internet. :)
  9. Mar 13, 2012 #8
    These are all great suggestions everybody. Thank you.
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