Introductory Algebra for College Students Explained

Introductory Algebra for College Students Explained
Beth Dumbauld

Introductory Algebra is a fundamental math course, meant to prepare students to move into more complex and advanced material. Sometimes called developmental algebra, this course aims to lay a solid foundation for college-level math courses by covering key topics like the following:

  • Real numbers are nearly every number you can think of, positive or negative, rational or irrational, fractional or whole, including zero. But real numbers are NOT imaginary numbers or numbers that cannot be defined, like “infinity.”
  • A linear equation is, simply put, an equation for a straight line on a graph. They are important because, as one Reddit author stated, “most things look linear on a small enough scale”, which means it’s a good starting point for more complex mathematical and scientific questions as well.
  • Math is Fun defines factoring as “finding what to multiply together to get an expression”. It’s also the opposite of expanding and can make complex mathematical functions easier as you progress.
  • Did you know there are here are three ways to solve linear equations? We’ve already discussed graphing to solve this type of equation, but you can also use substitution or elimination. As a student, you may be more attuned to solve liner equations one way over another.

If you don’t understand these terms or have a fear of math (it’s a real thing!) you’re not alone. Introductory Algebra is considered “developmental” because learning algebra is like stacking blocks of knowledge, one on top of the last. Students need a strong foundation in these basic concepts before moving on to more advanced math courses, which are required for all college degrees.

Not fully understanding one of these fundamental blocks can cause confusion in later coursework, which can impact grades, GPA and even college costs. Aside from that, courses like Introductory Algebra can fill in blanks students may have missed earlier in their education or give a refresher to students who have been away from the classroom for some time. Students may also find a boost in life skills that involve mathematical concepts, like factoring interest payments.

At StraighterLine, we know completing Introductory Algebra helps students gain confidence and skills in problem solving and critical thinking. Students must have a good grasp of the performance level needed to successfully complete college courses in more advanced math and earn a college degree. But be warned: taking full advantage of StraighterLine’s Introductory Algebra offerings may have a positive effect on your grades, GPA and financial bottom line.

Want to try an online college math class? Take two free lessons on us today!

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