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No calculus, no chance?

graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
Hello,
I’m a rising senior who is taking pre-calculus this summer. I had planned to finish pre-calculus before school started, but I’m extremely busy with two summer programs and will probably finish my pre-calc class around September rather than early August. Therefore, I won’t be able to enroll in AP Calculus AB for senior year.

I’m applying as a Computer Science major and have an upwards trend with the rigor of all my other classes. However, will not taking calculus hurt my chances for in-state (FL) and OOS universities? Especially since I’m applying for CS?
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Replies to: No calculus, no chance?

  • graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Knowsstuff I would be enrolling in Calc AB rather than BC for senior year.
    I also can't put my summer programs on hold... one is for computer science (Girls Who Code) and I'm prepping for the August SAT.
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  • graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 14
    @cptofthehouse Right, I think my only option is to find a way to finish pre-calc on time, then. Is calculus also a basic requirement for in-state public universities (given that my major will be CS)?

    I thought in-state public universities like FSU and UF didn't take major into consideration..? I'm not sure, though.
    edited July 14
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3671 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    OK. But you asked. At my sons school once you did Pre Calc you had a choice of AB or BC
    All the math /science /engineering kids took BC. But of course follow your school's sequence.
    But you really need to look up what the colleges require then. Not impossible without Calc but your at a disadvantage right from the start compared to many kids applying. Most colleges are expecting you to start at Calc 1 for engineering /computer science.
    If my kid that would be my goal. I would rather have pre Calc and Calc AB over girls that code.
    Having Pre Calc in senior year will get you ready for Calc 1 in college but many of those same kids will already have Calc 1/2 and maybe Multivariate. CS is one of the most competitive fields to enter right now. It's all about choices.

    Good Luck.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28759 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I’m curious what activities you have that you feel are more important than getting your math up to par when you are applying to a STEM field at major universities? You have the double hit of being. Shins the curve not having had Calc even if a school does accept you without it.

    My one son went to a major state school. I was surprised how carefully his transcript was scrutinized for rigor. His friend who was turned down was well connected to the school; her mother was a high ranking employee , and her light senior schedule along with a slight downward trend in grades were given as reasons. That was with very competitive test scores and grades.
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  • graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse Everything I’m doing this summer is equal in importance to me. There’s a coding summer program that takes up 8 hours/day and SAT prep for ~2 hours/day. I think I will have to find a way to manage my time better, though.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28759 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The coding might have to wait. You want to get into a CS program. That combined with good coding skills will get you far in the job world , but that’s not the immediate goal. Coding courses alone do not confer any huge advantage One has to carefully research what are most effective in snagging jobs. My one son hired ciders and many who have taken quick courses do not make the cut. A degree from s CS program is s whole other story. You are putting the cart before the horse. You need the horsepower of Calc to get into that CS program and to get the degree
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22412 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your school might let you start Calc while you finish up the pre-calc program (are you taking it online?). I'd think you'd do fine with doing double math in late Aug/early Sept.

    Or, if you want to take Calc online, you could register for it and explain to the teacher you need to delay the start for a couple of weeks, finish the pre-calc course, and then jump into calc.

    My daughter did not take calc in high school and was accepted into an engineering school in Florida (not UF) without an issue. However, I don't know if she would have been accepted into UF engineering without it because UF is so competitive (and they most certainly do accept by college/major). She took calc as a first semester freshman, and more than 1/2 of her classmates had had calc in high school so she was at a disadvantage. She worked very hard and got an A. My nephew also was a 'no calc in hs' engineering student, and he got a D in it as a freshman, had to retake it second semester and then took Calc 2 in the summer at a local university in order to stay on track.

    So it CAN work out, but I'd say if you are targeting UF, you'd better figure out a way to take calc in high school (even if you repeat in college) because the acceptance rate is so low at UF. They'll have a lot of applicants who have taken it, who have 4.0 gpa's, who have really high test scores. Getting into UF is very competitive. You can certainly get into some OOS schools without it, but those may not be the schools you want to attend.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 1935 replies26 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You might be able to get into a directional college's CS program without calculus. If it isn't a dealbreaker, it is certainly going to be a red flag at the flagship and highly selective levels (for CS), though.
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  • graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 14
    @cptofthehouse Of course. I’m definitely not substituting a CS degree for a CS summer program. I’m just in the program to learn more, have access to CS-related opportunities, and validate my interest in CS while learning about programming, robotics, etc.
    It’s a very valuable and selective program for high school students, so I think it’s definitely worth investing my time in. I’ll just have to fit my additional summer courses in my schedule.
    edited July 14
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6599 replies39 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Another vote to prioritize finishing up pre-calc over girls who code.
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  • graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 14
    @twoinanddone Yes, I’m taking pre-cal online. I can check with guidance to see if that is an option. If worse comes to worst, I might be able to take AP Calc AB online after finishing the online pre-cal course. I didn’t know that UF admitted based on major, though, esp since I heard that so many students change their majors. Thank you for the advice, I’ll definitely have to check with guidance to assess my options.
    edited July 14
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  • graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 14
    @Groundwork2022 Would it also be considered a red flag if I only took Physics Honors (instead of AP Physics) as a CS major?
    edited July 14
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 1935 replies26 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "Would it also be considered a red flag if I only took Physics Honors (instead of AP Physics) as a CS major?"

    At a flagship or highly selective and for CS... likely yes. At a directional... it probably wouldn't matter. Although if your high school doesn't offer AP Physics, you wouldn't be penalized for not taking it, even when applying to a very selective college.

    And all those folks switching majors? A good portion of them are leaving STEM! About 40% of CS majors change to a different major. However it is usually much easier to change out of a difficult or impacted major than into one.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22412 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Is the CS major in engineering at UF or another college? (or both?). If you are trying to get into the college of engineering for CS, you are going to be competing with a lot of kids who have taken all the AP's for engineering, and you'll want to present a top application. That's what you asked.

    It CAN be done, but it is the harder path. Take the courses you want, at the level that is appropriate for you. There are a lot of colleges out there and you'll find one that is right for you.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3671 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I am sorry we are all coming down on you but most of us have engineering students currently at "known" name brand universities.
    If going UF route or the like you should have Calc (your choice of AB to BC is your schools sequence), AP Physics Calc, AP Chemistry and any EC that pertains to your goal. If your school has a track then that's great.
    We don't know your grades or previous Sat /Act scores but if you didn't take it yet at all (would think you did with your class), I would put more time into the Sat prep then 2 hours a day.
    Also educate yourself on what the schools are looking for. Go to their perspective student page. See what the minimum requirements are. But for most schools you want to try to exceed those requirements.
    Girls that code is an awesome program but not to take the place of required classes to just give you a shot to get into these programs. Anyway, this can make a nice essay.
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  • graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Groundwork2022 I see, thank you.
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  • graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 14
    @twoinanddone Yes, I'm applying as an undergraduate CS major at UF and FSU. I'll definitely be focusing on finishing up pre-cal this summer to take Calc AB before graduating.
    edited July 14
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  • graduating2020graduating2020 59 replies16 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Knowsstuff Thank you for the advice. I've never taken physics before and I don't think I will be able to fit so many AP classes in for my senior year, but I could focus on prioritizing what I can.
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