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I need to go back to school

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CastleBravo
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Currently I am 22, living at home, unemployed and out of school. I started going to school at 19 and only went for 2 semesters for Information technology. I got a job in the IT field and decided to stop going to school and do it the old fashion way of getting certifications with different systems. I learned after a while that IT had nothing to offer but a paycheck. I was laid off last September.

I am going to go back to school for a double major in political science and philosophy. The problem with this is that my academic history is absolutely horrible (If i passed a class it was by the skin of my teeth). I used to hate learning. I used to hate doing any kind of work with my brain. Lately though I have developed an insatiable thirst to learn absolutely everything I can. I am definitely ready to go back to school but A) I have terrible credit and B) my GPA was probably a negative number. Obviously I'll have to start at the community college level but I eventually want to get into a private school. Tuition for the CC in question was under $2k/year

Is anyone aware of any grants for the unemployed to go back to school? I'm not claimed as a dependent by my parents. Has anyone else had a similar experience with their life?

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I went back to school several years after dropping from a university 3.7 to below a university 2.0, which was the minimum requirement for transfer students when I applied to OSU. In general, entrance requirements are lower for transfers than for new students, but all schools have different requirements. I attended the University of Akron for one semester earning A's for enough credit hours to bring my overall GPA above a 2.0, so that I could then transfer to OSU.

In your case, contact the school you plan to transfer to in order to find their requirements. Before that, contact your original school so that you can find out what your GPA actually is, and also find out how to send your academic information to your new school. When you meet the transfer requirements at the new school, you are virtually guaranteed acceptance, but you will still need to go through the application process. If you do not meet them, contact a counselor at the school anyway, as there may be other options. I also half-recall that there is a time lapse that will "reset" your GPA, but I think it is ten years after date last attended. This also may be school-specific.

You are guaranteed loan money by law from the government to attend school, if you wish to take it. You may also qualify for private loans, but it is doubtful unless you have a co-signer. Still, requirements are "criminally" low, so you may get some private money. Contact your future school's financial aid office for information, or you can also research it online via Google, collegeboard.com, or your (or almost any) school's web site.

There are so many scholarships and grants out there and available, almost an endless amount, but the requirements are all vastly different, and finding and applying for them is seriously a full-time job. There are also thousands of other students applying. If you have the time, it might be worth it. But they cater to new students, minorities of all sorts, and very specific interest groups. It's a lot of digging, and the only way you'll know if it's worth it for you is to start to dig.

Basically, if you want to go back to school, really want to, and you're really serious, it is feasible. Just be sure you want to, because once you get the ball rolling and get the money indebted to your name, it'll be harder to quit than it was to start.

Good luck.

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Or you could do what I did, enlist in the military for four years and get out with the GI bill paying for your education. I'm still in for another three years but after that I can pretty much go to whatever college I want, since the Air Force will pay to move all my stuff after my enlistment is up. Either that or I could go career, which right now is very tempting...

This is not to say that military service is something to be taken lightly. My thoughts during the first few days in Basic were essentially "What the hell did I get myself into?!?!" Not everybody changes their mind afterwards.

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My situation is somewhat similar to yours, CastleBravo. I was a university for 3 years before I was kicked out for bad grades. Last fall (8 years later :dough: ) I enrolled in a community college and I'll be graduating with an IT degree in the fall if I can get the classes I need in the summer. Then it's on to a four-year :D

Personally, and this is just my 2 cents, I would focus on the unemployment first. I ended up with a crapload of debt my first time in college, and I'm never going back to that again. Even if you're not as debtphobic as I am, you still don't want to depend on the grant money not running out in order to graduate. That said, working full-time and schooling full-time is *not* easy!

While the military isn't for everybody, it is an option that would take care of both problems.

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I didn't think to mention the military. I gave my brother a version of the college spiel I wrote above, and his decision was to go to the Marines. I wasn't exactly for it at the time, but it has worked out great for him so far. He made it through basic training with no problem, and he's currently in the middle of the rest.

At one point I considered the military. It would have been a terrible decision for me, despite the "life upsides" of everything it pays for; I'm just not the type. If you are the type, however, consider it. It's a great deal.

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Currently I am 22, living at home, unemployed and out of school. I started going to school at 19 and only went for 2 semesters for Information technology. I got a job in the IT field and decided to stop going to school and do it the old fashion way of getting certifications with different systems. I learned after a while that IT had nothing to offer but a paycheck. I was laid off last September.

I am going to go back to school for a double major in political science and philosophy. The problem with this is that my academic history is absolutely horrible (If i passed a class it was by the skin of my teeth). I used to hate learning. I used to hate doing any kind of work with my brain. Lately though I have developed an insatiable thirst to learn absolutely everything I can. I am definitely ready to go back to school but A) I have terrible credit and :confused: my GPA was probably a negative number. Obviously I'll have to start at the community college level but I eventually want to get into a private school. Tuition for the CC in question was under $2k/year

Is anyone aware of any grants for the unemployed to go back to school? I'm not claimed as a dependent by my parents. Has anyone else had a similar experience with their life?

Graduate from the Community College with high GPA and Presidents List and you will have much less trouble transferring to a private institution. Additionally, many private schools have scholarships and grants that will pay for a lot of your expenses, if you meet requirements, like keeping good grades, need, etc... Of course, before you even start at the CC, and you know you want to transfer, you need to figure out a list of universities of interest and figure out their requirements. For example, many institutions don't care about concentrated AA degrees; they inform the specific student to only work for a general, transfer AA degree.

Depending on your goals, the military may be out of the question. If you join at 23 you'll probably get out at 27. Going to college at that age, especially a community college, isn't going to be a very comfortable experience. Another consideration is the age you'll be after you're done with university. You will also be passed by your friends and family when it comes to their careers and, possibly, meaningful relationships. Additionally, depending on what you do in the military, it's likely that when you get out at 27-28, your level of maturity will be much different than your peers and you'll have to adjust over time. Furthermore, if, when you do fulfill your initial contract, you have not saved a substantial amount of money, you will most likely have to work while attending school. The Chapter 33 GI Bill will pay full tuition at most public colleges and some private for three years, and it will give you a monthly payment (around $1,000). So, while the GI Bill is a lot of help, it's not going to take care of everything.

Edited by RussK
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I am going to go back to school for a double major in political science and philosophy. The problem with this is that my academic history is absolutely horrible (If i passed a class it was by the skin of my teeth).

Although I imagine you've thought long and hard about deciding to major in these area specifically, you may want to give more consideration to how much you require a four year degree for your desired profession. I've been working towards a four year degree, but recently I've decided to change majors on such a level of difference that basically only my general education credits would transfer. I do know a bachelor's degree would provide a good way to find a job, but for my goals, I would only need an associate degree from my community college. And only really because I'm very inexperienced in my new field of interest.

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I thank you all for your input.

The FAFSA (federal student aid) is a stupid thing. It doesn't care that I am not claimed by a dependent, as long as my dad makes over $100k/year I don't get very much money. However, if I wait until 1/1/11 to file for aid I will have been born before 1/1/88, which is a way to eliminate the effect of my fathers' income. This year I got a tax credit for the full reimbursement of the tuition I paid last year. This could be a much simpler process than I thought. On top of that, the Commonwealth of Kentucky gives you money based on your GPA and test scores. I'm thinking a crummy job below the poverty line will keep FAFSA flowing long enough for me to get on my feet and into a nice paid internship.

The military was a consideration for a while. An alternative actually. As someone pointed out, I would be 27 when I got out and almost 40 if I decide to get a doctorate. If I'm going into the military, THAT will be my new career. While I don't have anything against the military, honest introspection leads me to believe I could not handle it for more than 4-6 years. The military was another solution to my "what in the hell do I do with my life?" question. I can make myself much happier in the private sector.

So the plan is to get my associates from the community college (probably going to switch to general studies while there) and then transfer to NKU (credits transfer there VERY easily) and get my BA. I have changed my mind about strictly wanting to go to a private school. I'm liking OSU's political science program and University of Pittsburgh's Philosophy program (currently #4 in the nation). I would relocate to Oxford if I could get in, so location is not an issue. The only think holding me back now is my academic past.

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Depending on your goals, the military may be out of the question. If you join at 23 you'll probably get out at 27. Going to college at that age, especially a community college, isn't going to be a very comfortable experience.
I disagree. I joined the Navy at 23, and the Navy sent me to college at 26. As an Engineering major, I found plenty of mature 20-year olds with whom I could socialize, and I shared a house with graduates students who were the same age as me. Unless you're going to college married or well into your 30s, the social aspects of the age difference will be negligible.

Another consideration is the age you'll be after you're done with university. You will also be passed by your friends and family when it comes to their careers and, possibly, meaningful relationships.
Even if one were to use friends and family as the standard for one's own life, I see no basis for this claim. I met my wife while in college and married her at 28 after graduating. I am, on average, six years older than my professional peers. Other than a few 'grandpa' jokes, it makes no difference. Some people get married and have kids before 25; some people wait until after 35. I would not let your age prevent you from joining the military.

The Chapter 33 GI Bill will pay full tuition at most public colleges and some private for three years, and it will give you a monthly payment (around $1,000). So, while the GI Bill is a lot of help, it's not going to take care of everything.
The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill pays for quite a bit. If you are interested in the military, check it out here.

I thank you all for your input.
Sounds like you have a good plan. I was in a similar situation. I went to college at 17 with no goals and was "asked" to leave after 3 semesters with a 1.4 GPA. When I returned 7 years later, I knew why I was there and what I needed to do. It's amazing how easy it is to get straight-As when one is properly focused. U of MD has a little-known process called "academic clemency", whereby you can have up to 16 credits removed from your GPA calculation if you are returning to school after an extended absence. You might want to see if your university has something similar. It turned my 1.4 into a 2.6 and allowed me to graduate with a 3.7 overall.

Also, regarding your academic past: Don't be afraid to make some phone calls and talk to a dean or two about your past, what's changed, and your current intentions. Entrance requirements are not necessarily set in stone. When I was trying to get back into school, I called the Aerospace department head and told him I was set on studying Aero at MD and nothing else. I explained my past mistakes and why it wouldn't happen again. He was impressed with the effort and fought for me get accepted to the Engineering college.

Good luck.

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