Where can I find advice for returning to school?
January 30, 2014 1:01 PM Subscribe
Dropped out of school several years ago, drifted for a bit, but now I want to return and get AT LEAST a BS in mathematics. What sources are there for someone returning to school? Should I bite the bullet and pay for college counseling, or are there good free resources I'm missing?
posted by miltthetank to Education (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My first attempt at a university education (a mid-tier UC) ended 6 years ago with me dropping out. I had a 2.9 GPA, a transcript littered with Ws, and I'm honestly not sure if I'd even attained junior standing, owing to the number of classes I'd dropped. I decided that higher education just wasn't for me and there was zero point in ever trying again.
Fast-forward to today. I have a decent income doing web marketing in Los Angeles, but it's not at all what I love. I've done a lot of thinking over the past year or so and I came to the realization that I want to go back to school. I want to at the very least attain a BS in mathematics - and would absolutely relish the opportunity to earn a masters or even a PhD. My wonderful GF is incredibly supportive of my plan and I'm extremely eager to realize my full potential.
So far, I've been taking steps to get back into the learning process. I wanted to make sure I had a strong foundation with math (I took calculus back in college - my performance was mediocre, probably a C+ average over the entire three-course sequence) so I started taking pre-calc at my local community college, plus another GE. I earned straight As my first semester, something I've literally never done in my life, and I'm taking a bunch more classes this semester. I'm planning on beginning calculus again this summer and the rest of my math/sci classes in 2014-15.
I feel so enthusiastic about the process, but I have to confess I'm a little nervous about my direction. Aside from aiming to fulfill the IGETC curriculum for transfer, I don't have a lot of guidance on the task I'm undertaking. I have a lot of questions about the transfer process:
-Which colleges I should apply to/have a reasonable chance of getting into
-What deficiencies I should be addressing in my application right now
-Timeline for when I can begin applying to schools
-How realistic my plan is (kick ass and get a BS in mathematics, then go to a top 20 school for a PhD in pure or applied math) (I'm especially concerned about this as I am so interested in going to grad school and I don't want to hobble myself with a not-so-great undergraduate institution.)
So what I'm looking for is 75% information, 25% "You can do it!" exhortation.
Are there any especially useful sources for this kind of advice? I'm looking for anything that can help. I've considered going to a college counseling service; they seem kind of rip-off-ish but I figure spending a couple hundred bucks now at the start of this process could be super useful. I've also been looking for books on returning to school, and I've been hovering around my CC's transfer center. I've also been to my school's counseling office, though since I don't have enough credits through them to get an official transcript evaluation until after this semester I have yet to receive really firm advice from them. I've even read a bunch of threads on AskMefi, which have done a decent job making me feel more confident about this whole endeavor.
Does anyone have any advice on where I could get what I'm looking for? I want to make this second trip through higher education really count for something. Thanks in advance for all of your responses.