So I am beginning class at a community college in the fall. I'll be turning 25 a couple months after classes start. I plan to major in comp sci and go right into the workforce after graduation (while this could theoretically deviate, I don't expect that I'll change majors or aim for graduate school). I'm very excited!
Here's the situation, though. It feels like the entire ecosystem at my school is aimed at either awarding associate degrees or matriculating students to local universities with which they possess transfer agreements. I am not excited about going to any of these local schools. Not only are most of them academically not in line with my goals, but more to the point they are non-selective, and give very little aid. My EFC is 0. I won't be able to contribute anything at all to my educational costs (aside from those federal loans I'm permitted to take as an independent student). I have no credit-worthy cosigner. My ambition is to transfer to a more competitive university after one or two years. I'm aiming at schools that meet 100% of demonstrated need (which is not a huge list, and it's even smaller for transfer students).
So, I have contacted those schools which are most attractive to me (Cornell, USC, Lehigh, UVa, Rice, a few others) and asked their advice on what steps I should take. Unfortunately, their advice doesn't always align with what is offered by my school. For exxample, USC told me that if I want to transfer first year as a comp sci major, a 'strong' first semester would be calc 1, programming 1, calc-based physics 1, and writing. But my school doesn't allow you to take calc-based physics 1 concurrently with calc 1.
That's just one example but I am sort of preparing to be 'babied' by my academic advisor and I'm really not looking forward to it. I am going in with this tenuous plan of hoped-for classes:
english writing 1
english writing 2
calc-based physics (mechanics, heat and sound)
I think this is about as strong a schedule as I can assemble and realistically handle. I expect my advisor (based on previous experience with the school) to glance unhelpfully at one of his or her course rubrics and go 'are you sure you don't want to take remedial algebra...' or whatever. Every official I talk to makes me feel like I'm the first serious STEM student they've ever encountered. But I personally know multiple people who transferred OoS from this school and got BSc's in comp sci. I'm hoping they'll assign me specifically to an advisor who handles STEM students and can give me a realistic approximation of whether I should scale this up or down in difficulty.
But assuming they don't, advice?
It feels like the second semester will be too difficult, especially with the physics (and its lab hours) tacked on but I'm not sure. I don't plan on partying on weekends, and I don't mind putting in lots of hours out of class. But is this too much? More importantly, is it a competitive schedule for a comp sci transfer?
(Disclaimer: I know that transferring to a good school is not easy and I know it's even harder to do without two years under your belt; I am totally prepared to accept that everyone will reject me and I'll go through the entire process again after a second year at community college)