What should I do with my life?
December 3, 2010 7:59 PM   Subscribe

I need advice on my special snowflake academic future.

My askme history describes a series of academic mishaps which I can summarize thusly:
1) Dropped out of high school
2) Did a bunch of non academic stuff, much of which was health care related. Oh, and had a baby on my own (who is now school aged)
3) Went to community college in my early 30s, got prereqs for nursing, did great academically
4) Got into nursing school. Did OK despite it being really tough program that failed 3/4 of my class. Then got kicked out/failed for reasons I feel were unfair but are too boring to explain. Was told there was "no room" when I tried to re-take the class and am essentially out forever
5) Applied to PA school as a Plan B, apparently did not get an interview (I was supposed to hear by the end of November).

Now what?

I'm mid 30s, sick of my job, totally burned out on nursing which I was going into primarily for practical (ie: financial) reasons, no bachelors degree, 90 units of community college mostly sciency stuff but with this blight on my record and a 3.4 GPA.

I don't even think I want to stay in health care. I kind of want to go back to school, but of course just decided that a day after UC and State schools had their application deadlines.

I love reading and writing (I'm a health writer now, but haven't been able to find any other writing or editing jobs possibly due to my lack of MFA or even BA). I'm obsessed with history and could imagine studying history, rhetoric, film, writing, or something else along those lines, though not sure what I'd want to do for work in the long term.

Is it smart to do a BA completion program? Do I wait another year and apply to transfer to a 4 year program that I'd start in Fall '12? Should I try to talk to an academic counselor of some sort? How do I find that person? What the hell should I do with my life?! Argg!

Thanks for helping me focus my very unclear thinking on this issue,
posted by serazin to Education (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Huh -- California's deadlines are awfully weird. Most states accept transfer students much later than first-years, including on a rolling basis throughout the year. I looked at Cal State East Bay, and I see the Fall Quarter app period has ended, but oddly enough the Spring Quarter apps are still being accepted until Feb. 1 for classes starting in March. In fact, even though the Winter Quarter deadline has passed, they're still accepting some apps for classes starting in January. (See here.)

Look into BA completion programs and see what they typically want in terms of breadth requirements and residency restrictions. (By "residency" I'm not talking about where you live -- which will also come into play for tuition purposes -- but completing your last 30 or 40 credits through your new campus.) I guarantee that there are more classes you can take in your local community college, or in an online program, that will transfer to another BA completion program but are easier to take now while you're in between schools.

There are loads of quality online programs out there that can actually be very cost-effective to do remotely. Stay away from for-profit programs like Capella, Kaplan and University of Phoenix, although on the plus side they're accredited schools whose courses will typically transfer okay. Many brick and mortar schools, such as the University of Wyoming, offer online programs at the same price as in-state tuition, even if you're not in their state, because your lack of physical presence on campus lowers costs.

The writing field is very tight right now, but especially since you're in the Bay Area, maybe you could try technical writing or documentation. Not as glamorous as the humanities, but still very necessary.

Feel free to MeMail me if you'd like some more assistance; I have worked in a large state university admissions office and am very familiar with student affairs, and my fiance is plugging along towards his bachelor's online at the ripe old age of 35. You can do it!
posted by Madamina at 9:06 PM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Holy Crap. I never would have noticed that weird deadline extension if you hadn't pointed me to it Madamina. I'm going to apply for the Spring!
posted by serazin at 11:11 PM on December 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

You should do some fairly serious contemplation about why you are going back to school and what you will use your BA for, before the first day of classes. I mean - what will you be majoring in? What jobs will that prepare you for? How will you manage your loan payments?

I suggest perusing the "figuring out what you want from life" section at your local library or bookstore. Find out where they keep "What Color Is Your Parachute" and pick up a book or two in that category.

This process is important enough to delay entering school for an extra term.
posted by SMPA at 7:47 AM on December 4, 2010

Slightly off-topic of your main question, but with your strong interest in writing, and past experience in health care, you might think about a program that would be geared toward your becoming a grant writer.
posted by bizzyb at 7:52 AM on December 4, 2010

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