Let's talk college?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by samsimx, May 5, 2014.

  1. It's that time for many of us my age to start looking at what they would like to do as a career. I go to a college prep school and this is all we've been talking about for a while. Figured I am not the only one stressed out about this topic and would like to talk to the community about it. Wether you have already gone through college, going through it or looking to I want your opinions.

    I live in New york and my decision is currently being influenced on which school can offer me financial aid, how far away I am from my family, going somewhere that isn't freezing and which one can offer me the best understanding of my major.

    I'm currently looking at Drexel University, University of Maryland, and Rochester Institute of Technology. I would like to major in computer science and if that doesn't work, biochemistry. I am not an outstanding student, nor did I have a killer SAT score but I have enough to qualify for my choices.

    I plan on doing some college visits this summer and next, as well as taking some extra courses this summer to appeal more to colleges.

    Any advice on applying to college? Any tips for when I'm in college? :p
    AlexChance and Bro_im_infinite like this.
  2. My only advice, is to know what you want to do before even applying. You cannot afford to switch majors halfway into your degree.
    samsimx likes this.
  3. Well that depends on how you do it. You can go two or three years without even declaring a major if you wanted to. Most degrees, require the same core classes, if you are uncertain of what EXACTLY you want to do, best thing to do is get those done. Spend a year doing your English, Math, and Sciences. Then, after you have experienced the campus some, got to know some of the professors, you can make a more educated guess on what degree and major you would feel better suited for.
  4. I sent my non-refundable confirmation payment in for my university a few weeks ago. Pretty freaked out about leaving everything and everyone I've ever known in about 5 months and moving a few hours north :/

    I got to enroll in a dual-credit program the past two years so I already have most of my general ed done, so pretty much will be going straight into University of Washington's Computer science program. As worried as I am about leaving, it was a huge burden to just make a choice and then stick with it and see what happens. There's so much pressure on juniors and seniors to "make the right decisions" but there really isn't one. There's pros and cons everywhere, just go with your gut and it'll work out, there are many paths through life.
    samsimx likes this.
  5. Thats a very good statement. Throughout college, you will hear many different job projection reports, and when you get out of college and start searching, you will hear how good or bad your current field is. The thing is, if you are motivated and focused, you can find work in your field, or just create work on your own. Do not let the world around scare you into something you do not wan to do. It is better to study in a field you know you would enjoy to be a part of.
    cddm95ace likes this.
  6. Here are some opinions I have:

    1) Some say that you should go to a community college for the first 2 years to do your core classes and save money. This makes sense financially but then once you get to University you have nothing but upper level classes to take which makes your course load a lot harder. It's much easier to go to University the full four so you can mix and match classes so your entire course load every semester isn't killing you.
    2) It's really hard to know this when you're young but a lot of jobs don't require a degree. For example, I work in IT and even the head of my department doesn't have a degree. Depending on what you want to do with your Computer Science degree, you may be able to get a shorter-term and cheaper technical degree and some certs and go just as far. Just throwing that out there.

    Once you've made the decision to go to University though do your BEST to get grants and scholarships... anything that you don't have to pay back. If you have to get loans then take out the BARE MINIMUM. Trust me, you're young and you want cash and they offer you a buttload in loans but it's stupid to take it all if you don't NEED it for tuition/books. It's just more you have to pay back later and student loans can be crippling.
  7. oh, one last thing. while you're in school you will find creditors wanting to throw credit at you like it's nothing. even when the economy is bad they love screwing over college-age kids because enough of them have parents that will help them pay it off. do NOT get saddled with credit card debt either while you're in college. there is plenty of fun you can have without crippling yourself with debit once you're done.
  8. True, but I was leaning towards more of, if you start going for say some sort of health degree, and then suddenly decide you want to become a mathematician, it can be costly to change courses.
  9. Do not try to stay near your family. College is about growing up and moving ahead. That doesn't mean that you leave your family behind, it just means that your family shouldn't be close enough that you consider them options in situations where if you were at a farther away school, they wouldn't come up. It is definitely ok to go home occasionally, but you shouldn't go home as a study retreat unless it is absolutely necessary.
    samsimx likes this.
  10. What kind of computer science are you wanting to do? If you're not sure yet, that's fine. But if it's mostly programming, then I very highly suggest you start learning some languages before you even get into college (if you haven't already). Programming is relatively easy to learn on your own, and it'll make your classes much easier if you're already good at it. Also, talk to as many people in your potential career paths as possible and ask them about their work. No matter what education you have, you'll end up with a job. Your everyday life and work after you graduate is the main goal of college (besides your college experience itself), so look ahead.
    What else... try to get out and socialize while you're living on campus; you'll want to have plenty of friends before you're off campus and by yourself. Learn to manage your money - plan out your monthly expenses and see how closely you stick to them. If you don't have a meal plan, learn to cook a few simple things - rice, beans, potatoes, or something else that's easy but nutritious, and add new recipes as you go. The simple habit of cooking instead of getting instant food will serve you well in the years to come. If you do have a meal plan, enjoy it while it lasts :)
    If you're not already in your senior year of high school, then start preparing your college applications as soon as possible, especially the essays. There are usually lots of scholarships available before you enter college, and still quite a few once you're in, so ask your counselor and apply for as many as possible.
    Most importantly, don't stress yourself out about making "the right" career decision. Instead, just focus on keeping good grades, and explore your other options in your free time.
    Well, that's all I got for now :p Good luck.
    samsimx likes this.
  11. I agree with roblikescake. There are some degrees that are close enough together that they will use the same core classes. However, it is highly dependent on the curriculum. Sometimes, it's worth looking at your strengths and weaknesses and going from there.

    My example:
    Biology Degree: required maths = calc 1 and calc 2
    Bioenvironmental Science Degree = Pre-calc/business math and calc 1

    It makes a BIG difference in how much work you are going to put forth. In the end, the degree is generally the same when viewed at by an employer. If I can only give you advice from my college career, this would be it.
    samsimx likes this.
  12. In my experience, College is not Sunshine and Rainbows. I'm not trying to scare you or say "Don't bother going to college." Just sharing my experience.

    When I was 17 and graduated High School, I managed to get into the local community college, everything straight and fine until at 19, my parents got divorced and then it went downhill. Every year from then on I had to file an appeal to get my Financial Aid back because I was a "dependent student" living with my dad and having to use his tax information. I don't know why, but for some reason, that's one of the stipulations on the Student Aid Appeal form. The very top one. I also never knew that it was suspended until two weeks before classes started, I was finally able to get books at the bookstore. I would be there, armload of books, told my Aid didn't go through and would have to go talk to the Financial Aid Office, who made me file an appeal. I would even check and make sure beforehand and everything was fine, then wouldn't find out until then.

    I am now 25, living with my husband and have decided to go back to school. While we have worked on it since February, I got hit by a brick wall yesterday. I had Financial Aid in order and applied back in February, got Transcripts handled, etc. Been trying to schedule summer classes and NOTHING was available until April 30th. I got an email May 2nd informing me I have until the 5th to get my stuff scheduled and all that jazz. I hurriedly get an appointment Monday (the 5th) with my adviser. We left out at 8am and got started.

    • Husband turned in his high school transcript, took part of his placement test, got his classes scheduled and is able to get books the 19th and start his classes when classes start. Though he has his Montgomery GI Bill from being in the Air Force, he lost his Financial Aid because of the Transcript being late. (Hence why I was worried he wouldn't make it)
    • I get into my meeting and find out none of my information comes up so that I can schedule my classes. Go back across campus to and find out my transcripts never made it there, yet I paid to have them sent. So I pretty much can't do anything and have probably lost my financial aid. I get home and email my old college to find out, that my college transcript was sent, yet the new college didn't accept it yet. I had to email them and tell them where it was. Also had to have my high school transcript re-sent.
    I'm not the only one to have issues with either college. Some people I know that went to my old college have always had issues there, yet others have had no issues. I haven't heard anything bad about my new college until yesterday when my adviser even told me that when he was a student there, they lost his transcript 3 times.

    SO after that long story, my point is:

    Even if you have everything in order, the college might not. But make sure to check double check and even TRIPLE check everything if you have to. Apply for Scholarships, Financial Aid, any help you can get. I've not bothered with loans because I don't want to spend the rest of my life paying it all back like a lot of my friends and family have had to do, but if you have no other option then you have to take it. If you have to get a job while going to college, it might suck, but it might also have to be done, you might also consider yourself lucky since a lot of people are out of work. I have friends on facebook who have had to have jobs, go to school and be a parent all at the same time even.

    Don't always think, it's going to be as easy as everything makes it out to be. But remember everyone is human and they make mistakes. There are only so many people working in the offices and whatnot and they have to keep up with thousands of people's information and files and other things as well as whatever else they are required to do.

    I hope this makes sense. I feel like I rambled. I have a headache and didn't want to name colleges so as people thought I was bashing them.
    samsimx likes this.
  13. Thanks everyone for this great advice, it will be put to good use. I'm sure I'll have some more questions as it gets closer and I'll make sure to update this thread from time to time with some progress. :)
    wkramer79 and PandasEatRamen like this.
  14. I'm going to disagree and say that living at home is a much better option than a dorm. And not having to worry about real life stuff is actually quite nice.
  15. Definitely will save money in the long run if you stick with your major, but if you enroll in both kind of classes now; chances are that non-major class is going to count towards your gen. ed. requirements you need to graduate.

    Money is going to suck no matter which way you swing it in college (unless your parents can afford to pay for everything while you are there - I have not been that fortunate). Just remember that you are paying for the classes you are in, so work your best to get your money's worth out of it (the grade).
    jkjkjk182 likes this.
  17. I personally think dorms are better because they are halfway to real life. You still have to do laundry and other basic things you might not do at home, but you don't need to worry about utilities and food (for the most part). In my opinion, college should not be convenience. I see it as the preparation to real life. Because after college, there is no more holding hands through life. Many people will stay at home for a while until they get their own place, but all the responsibilities are dumped on you. Having the away-from-home life experience should be the best preparations that someone can do. It would be like if EMC were to just promote a regular player to Senior Staff in one swipe, rather than training them in.
    chickeneer and cddm95ace like this.
  18. halfway into your degree is still gen ed unless you are pursuing a masters
  19. It all depends on what you are switching to. I am 2 years through college, but if I switched to for example Chemistry - it is going to take me a bit longer because I have not taken a single Chemistry class (although my Math classes would help out). I think that is where he was going with that. Of course depending on how far in you have gotten your money may not have gone to waste; but time could still be a factor depending on how many of the new major's classes you can take in one semester.
  20. Looks like me and you will be going to college at the same time :D