# Multivariable Calculus for Admission into MIT, Caltech?

I am currently a senior in high school applying for colleges and my goal is MIT or Caltech. I already finished AP Calculus BC and AP Stats at my high school, and am enrolled in a community college multivariable calc course. This class runs until May, so I can only get an in progress grade (IP) on my transcript when I apply for colleges. It costs $70, for an online homework system not including the textbook. Including gas, textbook, and online HW system, it will cost around $300. Also, it does take some time for me to commute there 2 days per week. I am considering dropping this class, but then I will not have a math class in senior year. Will it be of any disadvantage to me in the admissions process if I drop the MVC class and is it still worth it to continue? I don't think $300 is worth it for a community college class personally. If there are any relatively cheap online courses for MVC, I would be willing to look into those as well. Thanks!

## Replies to: Multivariable Calculus for Admission into MIT, Caltech?

Discrete math - especially if it covers some basic number theory, set theory, logic, combinatorics, etc. - will help you to transition in a low risk way from the algorithmic "plug and chug" of high school math (including BC Calc and MVC as taught at every community college) to the more proof-oriented approach of higher math. You could also see if for your second semester you can pick up a linear algebra course at the CC. The intro course is often called something like "Matrix Algebra," which could be a fun and not very difficult preview of one of the basic courses you will want to undertake at a theoretical level if you want to go on to higher math.

Who knows for sure, but I think MIT and Caltech would marginally prefer discrete math/linear algebra to simply a year long community college MVC course.

True for Caltech, but not necessarily for MIT. Entering MIT students with a 5 on AP calculus BC can skip 18.01 and go directly to 18.02. @sbjdorlo has mentioned that MIT does grant subject credit for math courses beyond single variable calculus taken at other colleges and universities.

As UCB alluded to, my own son did receive transfer credit for Calc III, Linear Algebra and Differential Equations taken at the local community college when he was in 9th and 10th grade. He had also gotten a 5 on the BC exam. We had to document it heavily as per their policy.

But OP here is not that advanced, and won't have seen any proof based math in high school. That's why, despite the possibility of gaining credit, I'd suggest discrete math over MVC. Assuming acceptance at MIT, OP should probably not lean out too far over the springboard on the basis of just a community college MVC class and seek further placement beyond the single variable calc course.

Caltech doesn't give

anycredit for AP or college courses in any subject. A student can skip an intro class (but receives no credit) by taking its placement exam in a number of subjects. However, even IMO gold medalists are unlikely to have taken calculus at the level of Apostol in HS, so students need to think twice whether they want to skip it.MVC is typically a weeder class, and for an aspiring math major, MVC will be your first exposure to proofs. Lots of would-be math majors change their minds after this more theoretical approach! Lin Ald and Discrete are excellent foundations for a math major, and both are useful as foundational math for any CS courses you may choose to take in college.

http://uaap.mit.edu/sites/default/files/Documents/creditrequestform.pdf

No need for detailed work in the class. The Transfer Credit Examiner may ask you additional questions, though.

Anyway, not to pick on CalTech but I don't think it has gotten an IMO gold winner since it scrapped its merit scholarships a decade ago. CMU now gets them if they cannot afford Harvard or MIT.

However, Caltech is (perhaps along with Harvey Mudd) the US university with the hardest least difficult math course and hardest math general education requirement.

Yes, but its physics courses are even harder relative to the other places...