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Mechanical Engineering and High school problem

  1. Dec 8, 2014 #1
    Hello I am a senior in High School and I'm wanting to become a mechanical engineer but I have an issue I'm wondering how much of a disadvantage I would have for not taking Physics or Precalc in High school. I am now studying them up by myself even though I can't take them in High-school.
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  3. Dec 8, 2014 #2


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    It's a disadvantage only if you feel compelled to catch up all at once when you get to college and bite off more than you can chew. "Pre-calc?" You've had algebra? Trig.? Remember them?
  4. Dec 9, 2014 #3
    Ok that is good I thought maybe my choice in Senior classes would hurt me a lot when I go to college just because I didn't take those two classes.
  5. Dec 9, 2014 #4


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    It's not that much of a disadvantage....what you don't know you will learn in college.

    College engineering in general is a complete shocker to your average high schooler. You are going to have your hands full no matter what.

    For your average person, be prepared to study 50 hours a week or say bye bye to any possible engineering degree.
  6. Dec 9, 2014 #5


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    This is why it's not a good idea to wait until your senior year in HS is half over before you start preparing for college.

    I too wanted to study engineering in college, so I started planning for it between my first and second years in HS. By the time I graduated HS, I had taken 2 classes in algebra, college algebra and trig, calculus, chemistry, and physics.

    In the first year in engineering school, I had to take calculus, chemistry, physics, plus a couple of other courses. Because I had already taken the calculus, chemistry, and physics already in HS, it was a much easier transition from the pace of HS to college work. Other classmates in college were not as fortunate, and their first exposure to these subjects was in college, which meant they had to study that much harder and longer to keep up.

    The shocker was that the various professors didn't care that you might not have prepared yourself for college work by taking HS classes. The physics professor lectured on the analysis of linear motion, talking about derivatives and integrals, before the math professor had covered these topics in his calculus course. Talk about hitting the ground running!

    (The college I went to had a set curriculum, which all students took, and the the school did not excuse you from taking classes even if you had advanced placement. This was why I had prepared by taking some courses in HS).
  7. Dec 9, 2014 #6


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    I agree with SteamKing/disagree with the others: this is a significant disadvantage. I was ahead when I got to college and having a couple of classes (calculus II and chemistry) that I didn't have to worry about and one (calc I) that I didn't have to take at all was a big help my first year. I'm not even sure how you get started when the classes are all organized into tracks and you are behind from the start.

    You should consider taking whatever the college equivalent of pre-calc is in the summer prior to leaving for college and discuss this with a college advisor in whatever college you plan to attend. Physics isn't so bad as not everyone will have had it anyway.
  8. Dec 9, 2014 #7
    I am glad to hear the variety of thought's on this and even though this didn't come out to have a clear cut answer it provided much food for thought for myself.
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