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Is 19 semester units too much?

  1. Aug 2, 2013 #1
    Hello there, I am a first year community college student and I currently have a schedule that is 19 units (the max allowed here unless you want to petition for more). I have no idea if it will be doable for me, as I am new to the college scene and I did not have good study habits in high school, I just never studied. In high school I got A and B's on most of my tests but C's and D's in class. I had to test out of school because I wasn't going to graduate. I have been out of school now for 5 months and I am going crazy, I am ready to turn over a new leaf and I hope to get between a 3.8 and a 4.0 in college so I can transfer to a good school. Maybe I am getting ahead of myself by wanting to do so many credits, but I feel like I have to in order to transfer to a good school since I am behind on maths. Here are my current classes.

    Intro to engineering 1 credit
    Art History: pre history 3 credits
    Computer Science 1; 4 credits (first university class of COmp science, will be my hardest class)
    Trigonometry: 4 credits (I also want to self study Pre calc and CLEP out of the class in order to start Calc this spring)
    Economics Macro 3 credits ( I am very interested in going into quantitive finance and I feel like this will give me a good into to how economics works. Will possibly minor in Econ)
    Intro to Chem 4 units (this should be a easy class, I had to retake it because I got a D in one of my semesters of high school chem, but I also took AP chem for one semester in high school so I feel like it will be easy for me.)

    Total units 19
    Is this practical? I am so undecided in what I am going to be going into, but I feel like it is going to be Computer Science/ applied math / econ SO a combination of all of those with double majors of minors.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2013 #2
    Easily doable, but you do have to study. I am also taking 19 credits this semester, but a few of them are classes like French, a basic computer literacy course, and a basic philosophy class, just things I've put off.

    I'd say 19 was a lot if all 19 were maths or hard sciences directly related to your degree. For example, I would not take 19 hours of grad level math classes.

    Why do you think your computer science class will be difficult?
  4. Aug 2, 2013 #3
    Ok, gotcha. I think I will be able to do it, I am just worried about getting over whelmed. Anyone else have an opinion?
  5. Aug 2, 2013 #4
    A bit dangerous to have such a load in your first semester of college. You have no experience yet, so you don't know if you can handle it or not. If you're willing to put a lot of time in studying (potentially), then go ahead though.
  6. Aug 2, 2013 #5
    yes 19 is a bit much.

    i say drop 1 class and go with 16.

    and just get ahead by taking summer and winter classes.
  7. Aug 2, 2013 #6


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    It's usually a good recommendation to take a lighter schedule your first semester, but a lot of that depends on the person.

    That doesn't sound like too bad of a schedule. The intro to engineering course will likely be quite easy. That's probably just a general survey of the types of jobs one can get with an engineering degree, and some of the basics of the ethics of the field and whatnot.

    Art history shouldn't be too bad. There will likely be a decent amount of reading in it, but I took an art history class a couple semesters ago, and it was a breeze.

    Trigonometry isn't a difficult class if you're mathematically inclined at all. I just took it over summer, and I thought it was a breeze.

    Intro chemistry isn't too bad. A lot of memorization of terminology, drawing a lot of structures, writing out basic reactions...as long as you put the study time in, it isn't a difficult class.

    Overall, it shouldn't be too bad of a schedule, but you'll have to make sure to set a lot of time aside for studying. SCHEDULING your study time is a great idea, and adhering to that schedule is an even better idea. Write out your weekly schedule, including classes, work, other obligations etc. and schedule certain time slots for studying a certain class. The sooner you get into a routine, the better.

    If it makes you feel any better, I'm going to have 21 credits this fall(max at my school is 18, without permission). Calculus I(4 credits), General Physics I(5 credits), General Chemistry I(5 credits), Intro to Anthropology(3 credits), and Beginning Spanish I(4 credits). Should be a fun and challenging semester. I also work in my schools tutoring center doing a lot of math and English tutoring, as well as doing private tutoring in lower level algebra classes. I've got a busy schedule, which makes scheduling my study time all the more important.
  8. Aug 2, 2013 #7


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    It looks good to me, these classes won't have a lot of overlap. I don't foresee any problem here.

    If I can give advice, have a look now at trigonometry, do some self studying. Seeing it cold at college may be a bit daunting because it is where one starts to look at math as a process from the known to the unknown, embodied in problems. I now look at all math in this way, it is great organizing principle.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  9. Aug 2, 2013 #8
    why are you taking 19 credits? do you have a particular reason? in rush to finish your bachelor in 3 years instead of 4?
  10. Aug 2, 2013 #9
    I think this would normally be very doable if you had already transitioned into college/university. What I mean by that is that although you are eager to start (which is excellent!), It could be a big step. It is good you want to turn a new leaf, but you might want to ease into it- not only would this help guarantee your success but it would help you get a feel for the college atmosphere and style before jumping in head first. I am not saying you CAN'T do what you have suggested though- It is very possible! I don't quite know what level you are at and what you are capable of and most of those courses do not seem too difficult, you just don't want to completely overwhelm yourself.
  11. Aug 2, 2013 #10
    I have decided to drop the chem class and I am at 15 units now. If I do well this semester maybe I will jump back up to 19 units. My goal is to transfer in 2 years to a good school and study computer science/ apllied math / economics and get into a Financial engineering program. Anybody have advice on that? Is economics class a good way to go to see if I will like any of it?
  12. Aug 2, 2013 #11
    That seems like a safe and smart choice. It can almost never hurt too much to test the water before jumping in : )

    That seems like it could definitely be a viable option although I am not the best to answer this kind of question. I am not personally aware of what exactly financial engineering consists of or entails (I am a pure Mathematician). Economics will probably be of some (at least small?) use, although I really doubt that an economics class will give you a good idea of what financial engineering is. Introductory economics courses are very limited (especially mathematically! ).
  13. Aug 2, 2013 #12


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    That was probably a wise decision. You don't want to sacrifice your GPA in the name of finishing more quickly. College is a lot different than high school, and easing into it is always a good call.

    Transferring in 2 years is certainly realistic, although sometimes it can take 2.5-3. I started in community college, and by the time I transfer I will have been here for 3 years. The advantage to taking three years to finish though, is that I'm going to have ALL of my GenEd's completed, plus my two year language requirement, all before transfer. The only GenEd I'll have left to take after transferring (to UIUC) is an advanced composition requirement, that has to be taken on campus. I'll be able to use a math or physics course for that requirement though, so it's not really additional, as it's a course that would be required for my major anyway.

    I'll also have all of my lower level coursework done in math and physics, plus my one year sequence in general chemistry that UIUC requires for the physics major. That's a big advantage, because after transferring, I'll be able to jump right into the upper level coursework within my major, and won't have to worry about taking them at the same time as GenEd's and whatnot.

    tl;dr- Sometimes staying in CC for 3 years can be a better choice because it lets you get more requirements out of the way, letting you go right into upper level coursework after transferring.

    Good luck!!
  14. Aug 2, 2013 #13
    Do you have any advice in regards to staying at CC for 3 years instead of 2? Were you able to get internships and work a job in this case? Also are you coming from a California community college? Maybe if I stay 3 years this will allow me to work (I have classes paid for due to my parents have a 0 income along with a 5500$ pell grant) so maybe more money for other things and for when I transfer? Maybe start a club? What do you think? I am in no huge rush, though when I transfer I would like to finish in 2 years and not have to spend any more than 5 years total in undergrad.
  15. Aug 3, 2013 #14


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    It can be hard to finish in 2 years if you need 3-5 courses in each of
    arts/social sciences
    engineering/computer science
    Four of each is about 7 courses per term.
    Three of each is 5 courses per term
    Two of each is 4 courses per term.
    That does not even allow for any electives.

    It is will be hard enough to finish in four years at that rate, three would be impossible.
  16. Aug 3, 2013 #15


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    I just finished my first year of CC. I'm in Illinois though, so I don't really know much about the California system.

    Internships are still quite possible. The Department of Energy has a huge internship program specifically for community college students. There are positions available at all kinds of places- Fermilab, Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, and dozens of other places.

    Staying in CC for 3 years is what's working best for me. It's different for everyone, but I've weighed out the options, and it makes more sense for me personally. I'm going to be able to get all of my geneds, plus my lower level major requirements all completed here, and all for about a quarter of the pricetag of a state university.

    Beyond the math and physics requirements I'll have for my bachelors, I'm also going to have a lower level computer science class completed, and a year of general chemistry, which are all requirements for my bachelors after I transfer. I'll also have a two year language requirement completed before transferring.

    Having all of this done before I transfer is going to allow me to focus solely on my upper level major coursework after I transfer, and hopefully allow me to squeeze in a few graduate level classes while I'm still in undergrad. Finishing in two years after I transfer won't be a problem.

    However, everyone's situation is different. I'd look at the requirements for whatever school you plan to transfer to, and see how many of the courses you could potentially take in CC. If it makes sense to finish them there, then I would. The cost savings alone can make a huge difference.
  17. Aug 3, 2013 #16
    Do you find Community college life to be dry? I went to a few classes with my girlfriend and then hung around school for a while and it is so quite. I have also hung around the local state university and it is so lively and fun to be around. How to you feel about the social aspect of a community college? Any way to make it more bearable. I am a very social person. I feel like this will have a negative impact on my grades rather than good. Any advice on that? The local state university where my girlfriend will be going this next fall is a 5 minute drive so maybe I can go to the library there and join a club there? I don't know if that would be possible or not
  18. Aug 3, 2013 #17


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    I imagine it differs from school to school, but I enjoy the social life at my school. There are quite a few clubs there. I'm in the math club, the film club, the science club, and I'm also pretty involved in the Student Support Services program at my school that provides tutoring services, and sets up different seminars and events around campus.

    It obviously doesn't have the same social atmosphere that a university will have, but I enjoy it. Once you make friends in your classes and whatnot, there are plenty of people to hang out with between classes.
  19. Aug 3, 2013 #18


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    I'd also add this- if financial considerations are an important factor, community college is great. I have a 0 efc, and my Pell grant is enough to cover my entire tuition amount, plus I usually get close to a thousand dollars per semester back in my refund. I'm putting away my refunds every semester, plus I've already accumulated a couple of merit scholarships. The Student Support Services program I'm in offers a $600 scholarship every year for about 20 students, and it's based on a point system for volunteer hours, participation in campus activities and other criteria. I won one of them this last year, and I likely will for the next two years as well. I've gotten a couple other scholarships from various organizations that have amount to another $1000. By the time I finish my associates, I'll hopefully have around $6-7000 put aside for school costs after transferring. It may be even more than that if I can manage to get some more scholarships.

    I'm trying to avoid having to take student loans out after I transfer, or at least keep them at a minimum. If I transferred now, rather than finishing my associates, I'd incur quite a bit of student loan debt, simply because of the higher tuition rates.

    And to elaborate on my last post- I've made a ton of friends in my CC. It took a little while to establish an actual group of friends, but that's the case at basically any university too. I've made some great friends there though. I've met a lot of people with common interests in math and science, and made a lot of friends in my various classes.

    There are pros and cons to either choice, but for me personally, staying at CC is the better choice for now.
  20. Aug 3, 2013 #19


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    Be aware that after you transfer it is quite common to need to take a few low level courses that were not offered, or you did not get to, or credit was denied. You might need to overload a few terms or take some things out of order to stay on schedule. Be sure to request some waivers if appropriate, the worst that will happen is they say no.
  21. Aug 4, 2013 #20


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    Very true. I should have mentioned that too.

    There are a couple of lower level classes that I'll have to complete right away after transferring. As of right now, the plan is to actually start at UIUC in the summer(of 2015), right after I finish my associates. The two lower level classes that I'll need are both offered in the summer. One is a 2 credit hour Relativity and Math Applications course, which is basically a survey of Special Relativity with applications to kinematics and dynamics, as well as a survey of several of the main math methods used in the earlier upper level physics courses. The other one is a Fundamental Mathematics course, which is basically an intro to proof writing course, that also covers convergence of sequences and series, and several other math methods. I'm going to have to take both of those in the summer basically right after I finish my associates though, or else it's going to shift my entire course plan back a semester, which will result in taking more than 2 years to finish my bachelors.

    Considerations like that are very important. You've gotta look at the prerequisite courses for the upper level courses you would be taking after transferring, and make sure that you'll be able to get the prereq's taken care of.

    I'm pretty sure California has an articulation guarantee for a lot of the gened and lower level major courses. I imagine they have some kind of transfer guide that you can input your classes into, and see what courses will transfer for what credit.
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