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June 14, 2009 12:05 PM Subscribe
The eternal question: A 2d bachelor's degree, or straight to grad school?
posted by ailouros08 to Education (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Another rehash of a fairly common question on AskMe, but with a fun, crushing-financial-burden? spin.
My darling girlfriend is considering going back to school for a Ph.D. in Ecology or Environmental Science. She is currently the not-so-proud owner of a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (her particular brand includes a mixture of biology, chemistry, environmental science, sociology and anthropology). She's been out of school, working in retail, for about five years. While she has managed to avoid the lay-offs so far, the chances that her company will still be around by next February are vanishingly small. So, she's finally mustered the courage to take a stab at her dream: Getting her Ph.D. in Environmental Science.
Complications? Her graduating GPA was a mere 2.3, so it would be difficult, if not outright impossible, for her to get into grad school without some prep work. So right now she's trying to decide between getting a 2d bachelor's in Biology, taking classes as a Post-Bacc at a local university, or taking classes at a local community college in order to boost her GPA.
Her question really revolves around the cost-benefit of each of these paths. The financial considerations, while still significant, will lessen considerably once I finish school in May 2010. Though I won't be earning the big bucks, I'll be able to replace her earnings (we live quite frugally) and she'll be able to focus entirely on being a student.
1. A 2d Bachelor's would take longer, but it would be easier to get financial aid. All the past AskMe's we've looked at suggest that its effect on admissions to a graduate program would be negligible.
2. Post-Bacc classes would be the fastest way for her to beef up her GPA. Additionally, she would be taking them at one of three great research universities in the area, so she'd have networking opportunities. However, Post-Bacc students aren't eligible for financial aid, so this would be the most expensive option (and she would probably have to work part-time to help defray the cost.)
3. Taking community college classes is the cheapest option by far, but unless she actually enrolls in an Associate's Degree program, she won't be eligible for financial aid. Her worry with this option is that the rigor of the classes (or lack thereof) may hinder her when she applies to a grad program.
I apologize for the long question, but she is at a very big crossroads in her life, and needs all the advice and encouragement she can get. So, fellow mefites, have you taken any of these paths? What would you recommend? Should she focus on quality or affordability? Advice/warnings? Alternatives?