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Should I start with an online school?

  1. Jun 24, 2015 #1
    I am currently working as a chef and have decided I would like to go to school to study physics. Unfortunately, I have to take some time to cover some basic trig. and calc. before I begin my journey. My goal, and I'm sure this is everyone's, is to go onto to grad school. I'm trying to save a little money and I've been thinking of taking my trig. and calc. courses at an online school and then transferring to a university to start my physics degree. Do any of you think this will negatively affect my chances of getting into a grad. program?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2015 #2
    Online schools will be more expensive than most 4-year schools. Go to a local community college and apply. You're guaranteed admission and with the salary of a chef you should get sizable grants from the government to attend at little or no cost.

    Never take a math class online. It'll be watered down and many 4-year schools don't accept the credits for math classes if they're taken online. Besides that, it really helps to be in a classroom with a real professor you can visit during office hours to learn the material better. Building relationships with professors at a community college is a great way to learn to network as well, since when you're done there you'll be needing letters of recommendation from them to get to a good school.

    Also, most 4-year schools require at least two semesters be completed at a 2 year school to transfer in, but most of the good ones prefer four semesters. It'd be a good idea to work through your prerequisites and your entire freshman courseload at a community college if you want to be accepted anywhere worth the money.
  4. Jun 24, 2015 #3
    Thank you for the advice. I am hesitant to start somewhere else and transfer. I've been accepted to the university and have talked with a professor there and I would love to get in on some research as soon as possible, but saving some money and taking care of my prerequisites seems more efficient. I'm just worried how it will affect my future as far as grad. school.
  5. Jun 24, 2015 #4
    Even if you take your prerequisites at an online school, you're still transferring the credits. So it's no different than going to a community college. You need to check your school's policy for allowing you to take credits at other schools. If you've been accepted they may not want you to just start taking classes at another school right away if you want to enroll with them. So you may have to just pony up the tuition and take them there, or take the classes somewhere else, which again I'll stress-you should do at a community college. You may only have those choices. If you're worried you won't get in if you don't accept now, don't be. It's hard to get into some of these colleges with a 3.5 out of high school, but many of them accept many students with a 3.0-3.5 from a community college. I got accepted as a transfer to Pitt with a 3.8, but I've known people who got in with a 3.2 and 3.1. So if you do well they probably won't think less of you if you go to a CC.

    Unless we're talking MIT here, but you never said what school you were going to, so I'm assuming state-level school.

    Bottom line, you need to talk to someone in admissions at your school to see what the deal is with taking classes at other schools while simultaneously being in your first semester at the school, because like I said, you may not have a choice of doing both.
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