notes regarding OSU’s post-bacc CS program

Regarding the application process:

1. After applying online, I recommend getting any and all college/university transcripts sent to OSU as soon as possible. Without the transcripts, nothing moves forward.

2. Once I requested transcripts from previous universities, the transcription services were quick to notify me when they sent them off (within a day). But it took a few weeks for OSU’s application portal to show receipt of transcripts. One, mailed from the university rather than sent electronically due to technical reasons, didn’t appear until, about a month later, I sent an email to OSU’s Admission Office to ask about it. They remedied the situation quickly. In retrospect, I wish I’d sent off that email sooner.

3. I’d start reviewing for the ALEKS math placement test right after applying (or before).

Regardless of your prior math classes that met requirements for admission, all incoming accepted students take ALEKS to verify that they have enough math knowledge to understand discrete mathematics. There’s a minimum ALEKS score you need to get to start the CS program, essentially past “college” algebra.

It was several epochs ago that I took math, so I really needed a refresher. I gave myself about two weeks and did as much as I could of Khan Academy‘s high school math series, Algebra 1, High School Geometry, Algebra 2, Trigonometry, and some of Precalculus, plowing through lessons and tests. I ran out of time before I could get much into precalculus; by then I was on the clock to take the ALEKS in order to proceed onto orientation and registration. I would have loved to have done a more comprehensive review.

In my ALEKS exam, emphasis appeared to be on algebraic inequalities, polynomials, exponentials, logarithms, trigonometry, and graphing thereof—and some pre-calculus. It’s described as an “adaptive” exam, presenting problems based on how you answer the problem before. I was relieved to get through it.

I can’t answer if everyone should use Khan Academy to prepare for ALEKS, or another strategy is better. If I could have done it all again I would have given myself at least a couple of months to complete the Khan Academy’s series, and perhaps looked for other sources to clarify things I didn’t understand.