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MIT's OpenCourseWare for math classes?

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MIT's OpenCourseWare for math classes? [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2010, 19:06
Hello,

Many of the Ph.D. programs I am going to be applying to state that they would prefer the student to have a year of calculus and a linear algebra course before entering the program. I was looking at courses on MIT's OpenCourseWare (which offers free classes but credit is not awarded) and they have calc I, II, and linear algebra. Does anyone think that it would be acceptable to just learn the math by using MIT's website or are programs actually going to want to see the courses on an official transcript before admission? I would really prefer to not shell out $3,000 on math classes at a university and there are no community colleges around me that offer calculus courses. Also, if the courses need to be on the transcript what about online math classes like Devry?

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Re: MIT's OpenCourseWare for math classes? [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2010, 12:48
MIT's open courses are really cool and really useful. Unfortunately, I don't think that will cut it for an admissions officer. They want you to demonstrate capability in calculus, and to do that you need need to get a grade. I'd imagine this is particularly true if you're looking at PhD programs as they are almost certainly more rigorous than an MBA.

Exactly how much an online course would help you I don't know. It is certainly better than doing nothing, but not the same as a university course. Remember, the admissions officer is looking for capability: the talent pool in an online class at DeVry is going to be less than an at XYZ University, which in turn will be less than CalTech. This means it will be much easier to do well at DeVry than at CalTech, and therefore an A at DeVry will be much less impressive to an adcom than an A at CalTech.


Bottom line: context is everything. Good luck!
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Re: MIT's OpenCourseWare for math classes? [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2010, 13:27
I'm in a similar situation - I enrolled in NetMath at UIUC for calc and LA courses. I'll end up spending $4k to get 2 calc courses and a linear algebra course but they will give full credit at UIUC for those. Not saying it is the ideal solution but it is at least credit at a reputable university. It seemed like the most efficient and effective option I could find. Bottom line is something is better than nothing. I've accepted that math background won't be a strength of my application. I just want to actually learn the stuff and make it so it isn't a concern for adcoms. Also, a way to show your commitment to the path and initiative. Good luck!
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Re: MIT's OpenCourseWare for math classes? [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2010, 11:59
Thanks for the advice! Looks like its back to school for me.
Re: MIT's OpenCourseWare for math classes?   [#permalink] 18 Jul 2010, 11:59
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