Firstly, I'm yet unfamiliar with the query conventions specific to this stack exchange. If I've improperly tagged or placed this question, such that it need be closed or held, I apologize.

Continuing, I'll be brief (To be so, I will mostly omit the anecdotal lead. At anyone's request, however, I'm more than happy to explain.*):

I'm 21. I dropped out of art school during 2016, have graduated high school in 2015, returning in 2017, getting expelled a week later, enrolling in community college classes a few months later, dropping out some weeks later, enrolling at and attending a second art school in 2018 (spring semester), flunking out of my financial aid and scholarship.

A series of events brought me to physics and mathematics. Manic obsession mildly describes my rapture.

I have dreams, lurid, about sequent calculus. I'm a quite, quite well-practiced autodidact. I read a lot. Springer's (among many others') Graduate Texts in physics, mathematics, computer science. I have exhausted all of MIT's Open Courseware offered for physics and mathematics at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

I have realized only how little I know, how far I've still to go -- the limits of autodidactic way.

I have pre-calculus -- twice. I have never taken a physics class. (1: Understanding MIT's 'open courseware,' by some, are considered 'course', I'm using the term strictly for that of a credit granting environment).

I need to earn a PhD. I need to participate.

The dilemma: Getting in the door. I, no matter how competent or incompetent, have nothing to show for it. I'm clearly not a competitive candidate (if not an all together joke) for any undergraduate program of the formal and/or physical sciences.

The question(s): how, given these circumstances, can I (be it conventionally or unconventionally) become competitive (at the undergraduate level of the US college system)? If that is too subjective - where might I find resources, if they exist, that will best allow me to answer (successfully) the above question?

I acknowledge the difficulty, and surrender to the patience it will doubtlessly require.

Thanks much for your time.

p.s. again, autobiographic details by request

closed as off-topic by virmaior, user3209815, scaaahu, corey979, Dmitry Savostyanov Nov 27 '18 at 10:05

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  • (1) Before earning PhD, you must have bachelor's degree. (2) Undergraduate admission is off-topic on this site. – scaaahu Nov 27 '18 at 8:06
  • 1
    returning in 2017, getting expelled a week later Would you mind explaining why you were expelled? What did you do so the school expelled you? – scaaahu Nov 27 '18 at 10:17
  • @scaaahu I do know of a (recent) example of a self-taught student who was admitted to a graduate program in mathematics without a bachelor's, although not everyone in the department was happy about it. You would need to convince someone with a lot of power in the university that you're a good bet for completing the degree. Depending on the school, it still might be impossible to override the usual bureaucratic requirements. – Elizabeth Henning Nov 27 '18 at 22:26
  • Out of curiosity, why did you enroll in art school, twice? – Elizabeth Henning Nov 27 '18 at 22:27
  • The traditional way is clear: 2 years community college (I assume you are in the US) or online; with excellent grades you can likely get into a good college from there to finish your bachelor's, at which point you can get involved in research and apply to grad school. I realize this is slow and expensive if you truly already know the material -- only work-around I can think of is that a good college may let you substitute more advanced coursework for introductory coursework; this could maybe let you save a ~year (by passing the grad courses during undergrad). – cag51 Nov 28 '18 at 2:50

If you have taken courses in Coursera and are comfortable with continuing doing so, you can actually get a degree through Coursera. Here is one option. I do not know whether you completed any courses, and if you did, whether they can be counted towards that degree, but it should be easy enough to find out.

I would focus on getting a relevant bachelor's degree. No (reputable) university I'm aware of will take you into a graduate program without one.

Good luck!

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