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Is it possible for a junior in high school to take CS classes at community college?

  1. Dec 23, 2011 #1
    Hey everyone, I'm currently a junior in high school and I'm wondering if it would be possible to take a class or two at a community college without a high school diploma.

    I would like to be able to simply pay for some classes, take them, and leave. I don't want to stay at a community college; I just want the experience and maybe some credits towards a four-year university.

    If it is possible to attend in such a way, I still have some problems. I'm planning on studying computer science in college, so I would like to take computer science classes at a community college as well. Looking at the CS courses at the only community college I know of in my area (J. Sargeant Reynolds), I noticed that a lot of their prerequisites are math classes involving calculus. I'm in regular math at my school, unfortunately, so I probably won't get into calculus until I graduate. So, even if I were Mr. double-advanced math wiz, would it be possible to take these CS classes without taking the school-specific calculus classes? Say I had finished AP calculus in my Junior year - do you think they would let me take classes with such prerequisites?

    It's looking unlikely, but my dad keeps insisting that I take some classes at a community college, so I decided to look around and prove my point that it would be either too expensive or not possible at all. I'm in a tough position because I want to take a decent programming class but all of the decent ones seem to require more education than I currently have, and if the class is some crappy CSC 101: Lern to rite hello world and html pagez I will not be learning anything and it will be a waste of time and money. Don't get me wrong, though, I'm not looking for a graduate course or anything.

    I'd really appreciate some advice. If you know anything about this situation, please shed some light on it for me. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2011 #2
    Re: Is it possible for a junior in high school to take CS classes at community colleg

    i looked at the classes and don't really know what any of them mean, but you should be able to have the teacher sign you into the course, and you should be ok with the math if you've already taken calc1/ab.
  4. Dec 23, 2011 #3


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    Re: Is it possible for a junior in high school to take CS classes at community colleg

    Yes, you can do that. You'd register for the classes as a non-degree student; you'd pay by the credit hour (unless your school does dual-enrollment) and have lowest registration priority (you can only take the class if it's not full after their own students enroll). You'd do this through the registrar's office, not by contacting the professor.
  5. Dec 23, 2011 #4
    Re: Is it possible for a junior in high school to take CS classes at community colleg

    Sorry if I made it seem like I was in calculus as a junior. That was completely hypothetical. I'm actually in algebra II. Maybe I could take trig over the summer before my senior year, though. That might allow me to take the first CS class which has calculus as a co-requisite. Maybe this will help:

    CSC 130 Scientific Programming (3 cr.)
    Introduces a science and engineering-oriented, high-level programming language. Studies the C language and its application in problem solving in a structured programming environment. Includes the concepts and practice of structured programming, problem solving, top-down design of algorithms, basic C syntax, control structures, arrays, and data structures. Co-requisite or prerequisite: MTH 173 or equivalent. Prerequisite: CSC 110 or permission of the instructor. Lecture 3 hours per week.

    MTH 173 being:

    MTH 173 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I (5 cr.)
    Presents analytic geometry and the calculus of algebraic and transcendental functions including the study of limits, derivatives, differentials, and introduction to integration along with their applications. Designed for mathematical, physical, and engineering science programs. Prerequisites: a placement recommendation for MTH 173 and four units of high school mathematics, including Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Trigonometry or equivalent. (Credit will not be awarded for more than one of MTH 173, MTH 175, or MTH 273.) Lecture 5 hours per week.

    [STRIKE]Additionally, I still don't know if it's even possible to only attend for a couple selected classes.[/STRIKE] - I'm not sure if this specific college will allow this, and I'm not sure where to look to find out. Thanks.
  6. Dec 23, 2011 #5


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    Re: Is it possible for a junior in high school to take CS classes at community colleg

    Reading between the lines of your course descriptions, I would guess that since CSC 130 is "science and engineering oriented" the programming examples and homework will include things like numerical methods for integration and solving differential equations, and if you don't know calculus you won't understand what the examples are asking you to do.

    Trig and calculus are different things, but any "standard" calculus course will include calculus applied to trig functions. So in practice trig is a prerequisite for calculus, even if in theory it isn't.

    You certainly don't need calculus to learn a computer programming language, but you do need to find a course with the right prerequisites. A first course in object oriented programming using Java might be less "math-oriented" than CSC 130.
  7. Dec 23, 2011 #6
    Re: Is it possible for a junior in high school to take CS classes at community colleg

    Thanks for the input. I would really like to take something like AP computer science, but as far as I'm aware, AP computer science is generally only offered at private preparatory high schools and schools in the UK. At my school, I was almost suspended for programming on a school PC.

    Other than such private high school institutions, I don't know where I could go to get a formal education in a language like Java. I suppose I would be happy with a course that focuses on practically using a language rather than in-depth CS topics; I can leave those for later on. I'll have to look around...
  8. Dec 23, 2011 #7
    Re: Is it possible for a junior in high school to take CS classes at community colleg

    my public hs had AP cs . . .

    check out the 200 level cs classes . . .

    CSC 200 Introduction to Computer Science (3 cr.)
    Provides a broad introduction to computer science. Discusses architecture and function of computer hardware, including networks and operating systems, data and instruction representation and data organization. Covers software, algorithms, programming languages and software engineering. Discusses artificial intelligence and theory of computation. Includes a hand-on component with oral and written presentations. Prerequisite: MTH 166 or equivalent with a grade of "C" or better. Lecture 3 hours per week.

    CSC 201 Computer Science I (4 cr.)
    Introduces algorithm and problem solving methods. Emphasizes structured programming concepts, elementary data structures, and the study and use of a high level programming language. Co-requisite: MTH 173 or equivalent or school approval. Lecture 4 hours per week.

    CSC 202 Computer Science II (4 cr.)
    Examines data structures, introduction to object oriented design, and algorithm analysis. Covers data structures (including sets, strings, stacks, queues, arrays, records, files, linked lists, and trees), polymorphism, inheritance, exceptions, interfaces, abstract data types, algorithm analysis (including searching and sorting methods), and file structures. Prerequisite: CSC 201 with a grade of "C" or better. Co-requisite: MTH 174. Lecture 4 hours per week.

    talk to the school/dept about these and how they transfer to a 4-year institution. the compsci core is usually: object oriented programming (AP CS), data structures, discrete structures/math (math class), and algorithms.

    you should see how each of these classes fall into the core. csc200 could be an intro class that one would take before something like AP CS. it would get you used to your programming language, how to write simple programs that did different things, etc, before doing more involved and object oriented programming work.
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