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Chances after expulsion and flakey community college career?

willpower102willpower102 Posts: 212Registered User Junior Member
edited December 2006 in Transfer Students
Expelled from high school in 2001, within months of graduating.
My transcript doesn't say it though!!!
BUT: It's missing my last semester of senior year classes, and i have a G.E.D. (I blew the G.E.D out of the water)

Hs tran says: number in class 100/351
Hs gpa: 3.15 (i had some honors classes that counted as five, is that weighted?)
Act Composite: 26: eng 27, mat 22, read 30, sci 24,
extra curriculars? uhm, 4 years of marching band, head of the computer club, couple of art awards. nothing really significant.

I picked up immediately in spring of 2001, fortunately i was enrolled in dual credit English, trig and calculus, so i went to the local community college to finish that. I made C's.

I took some time off and didn't go back until spring of 2003, made more C's.

Failed out because of attendance in spring of 2004 and put on acedemic probation. Was appealed based on a essay i wrote explaining my situation. 22 hours of W's.

Took two years off and started a car lot which i ran into the ground. Started another business a few months ago wholesaling electronics online, doing ok so far.

When back to college full time fall of 06. Finally taking my science sequence, trying to challenge myself with pre-cal and chemistry after a 6 year absence from math and science. Making straight A's

Community college gpa at the end of this semester: 3.32
I expect to graduate in the spring, but i'm already applying to a bunch of colleges because of dates. So spring gpa won't really matter. But the most i can possibly get it up to is 3.45.

I'm interested in:
Business, (probably going for an MBA eventually)
Computer science. (i have great ideas, i can do the math but i don't necessarily like it)
Film/directing (always wanted to do it but it conflicts heavily with my interests in technology entrepreneurship)

I applied to UCLA as a junior transfer yesterday for their film program and to Berkeley as a CS major. I live in Tennessee. My essays are fantastic. (i'm hoping this will save me???)

Now for the questions:
1. Do i have a shot at Vanderbilt, UBC, UCLA, USC, NYU, FSU, or any GOOD college as a transfer student with a shaky career like this? Or am i stuck going to local state schools?

2. Does anyone know anything about MTSU (middle tn state u), or their mass communication / production program? Would i be better off going to UTKnoxville because it's ranking 80-something? even though their CS program sucks?

3. Is any school going to let me Dual-Degree (or major) in CS and Film production with my 75 credits of general + some math? I'm asking this because of credit limit and semester limits. It seems that i wouldn't be able to double because it would take me at least 3.5 more years.

4. Would it be better to get a CS major with a film minor or vice-versa?

5. I'm getting 100% financial aid because i'm 24. If i accept it all and go to a state school i will graduate with over 20k extra (mostly in loans) I currently have some of this invested in stocks and land and plan on using it for start-up capital towards a business when i graduate. Of course, i'm getting it in increments. If i go to an out of state school this will all be spent on tuition and expenses.
-Is education at one of the better schools worth that price? Or would i do better to graduate debt free / invested in something YET with a degree from a state school.

If there's any other information i can provide, let me know. I could write pages about this stuff, but i'm trying to keep it concise. Trying to get the pertinent information out in such a small space feels like trying to explain Shogi to you in three minutes... Your move.
Post edited by willpower102 on
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Replies to: Chances after expulsion and flakey community college career?

  • brand_182brand_182 Posts: 7,589Registered User Senior Member
    Transferring to the top Cali state schools as an OOS student is quite difficult. I think you may be stuck at a local state school - you might consider checking out some less competitive nearby state schools or private schools...I don't know if UNC - Chapel Hill is possible, but you could try.

    Overall, I think your matches will probably be tier 3/4 schools and your reaches tier 2 schools, in general. Top schools are not very likely. Sorry if it's not what you want to hear, but I believe honesty is the greatest gift I could give you and you seem to have a good head on your shoulders - smart enough to listen to advice instead of getting angry.

    Hope that helps.
  • iwanatransferiwanatransfer Posts: 97Registered User Junior Member
    yeah, but if you could explain why you did so bad in HS and the beginning of your college career it would help

    Like is it because of lack of guidance, family problems? or just laziness?
  • willpower102willpower102 Posts: 212Registered User Junior Member
    Oh, yeah, i definitely want to hear things realistically. All taken as constructive criticism my friend!

    Well, you pretty much hit it on the head. I went to HS in a small rural town of around 20k. (moved there from central Florida!) I get frustrated now when i think about how this information eluded me when i was younger. My parents didn't push to inform me of my college options early, and my peers weren't exactly all that ambitious.

    The environment around me really wasn't the kind that breeds strong motivation. So, i was basically content with never studying, never going to class, and still coming out with high C's low B's for no work what-so-ever. (little did i realize how much i'd regret it)

    As for HS, well, i burglarized it for a couple of PII 233's, whoo hooo! LMAO. I was so close to graduating. I guess the school figured i was already on a downhill path, what could taking away my diploma hurt?

    When i finally wised up and decided to go back, just as i moved away from that small town to try and get a fresh perspective and was doing well moving ahead (2004) my biological father came out of NOWHERE and wanted to get to know me. My mother flipped, my "dad" didn't take it well either, and i let my school suffer while trying to fix it all. (another mistake i won't make again.)

    I can do the work. I honestly don't think i'd have a problem hangin with the best of them at MIT. I emailed the dean of CS back and fourth a few times. She was impressed and could not understand how someone like me ended up at a community college but basically said there was a snowballs chance in hell of, well... you know what i was asking ;)

    But alas, ghost of the past hold me down.
    So back to these questions.

    6. Do you think an amazing essay could pull me through any of this?
    7. Do i have a chance even at Vanderbilt since it's in-state?
    8. Is it worth it? or would the money be better spent / not used at all?
    9. Does anyone know anything about MTSU?
    10. Would i be better off going to UTK (80ish usnews) or is the prestige / rank insignificant at this low a level?
    11. What about FSU? It's lower on the list than UTK. (does that matter for film?)

    god, it seems like i can't write anything without it being a freaking essay.
  • willpower102willpower102 Posts: 212Registered User Junior Member
    i also plan on applying to MIT, Ga Tech, possibly, that big school in virginia (UoV or VT? can't remember) and the like anyway. I have an amazingly low, (and legal) income bracket from writing off so much. So the applications fees are all free. And even if there's a .01% chance, i'd rather know i was denied than not to even attempt at all.

    I've read a few things that says none of this matters after i get my first job anyway. That if i'm going to excel, it will happen anywhere i go. I was told just to graduate asap, do something useful while there, and get some industry experience under my belt.

    I'm inclined to disagree because i think who you know matters for so much. But if it IS true, then maybe going to the easy state school would be a good idea? Meaning, i could use the time to work on my business, put into motion some new website ideas i have and take the time to learn a range of skills i may not have time for at a more rigorous school? (*sigh* or am i just trying to sugar coat it?)
  • willpower102willpower102 Posts: 212Registered User Junior Member
    btw, does 3/4 tier and second tier refer to the top 100 of usnews?
  • brand_182brand_182 Posts: 7,589Registered User Senior Member
    6. Do you think an amazing essay could pull me through any of this?
    7. Do i have a chance even at Vanderbilt since it's in-state?
    8. Is it worth it? or would the money be better spent / not used at all?

    Yes to all of those.
    Does anyone know anything about MTSU?

    I don't, sorry.
    Would i be better off going to UTK (80ish usnews)?

    You should definitely leave the option open, but consider applying to better schools, as you are doing.
    What about FSU? It's lower on the list than UTK. (does that matter for film?)

    I don't really know much about the particular majors that you are interested in and how those schools fare. FSU has more "name-power" thank UTK, but I wouldn't undertake big $$$ loans for FSU.

    Just from your response, I agree with what the person at MIT said. It is obvious that you are not your average CC student (nor am I, by the way ;) ) but things happen. You have an interesting story to tell, so I highly recommend you give some schools a shot. Here are my recommendations - take from them what you wish:

    1) Keep UTK open as an option.
    2) Find several other state schools if possible that might interest you.
    3) Retake the ACTs or try the SATs as you will want higher test scores to offset your CC GPA.
    4) Consider adding a few more prestigious schools that have decent transfer rates if you have the money/time for the apps: I'm thinking Boston University, Emory University, Lehigh, and of course, Vanderbilt.
    5) BRING YOUR GPA UP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

    I don't know Vanderbilt's transfer rate...you can get it from collegeboard.com by searching for the school and then clicking on admissions...scrolling down and finding the transfer statistics. Sometimes schools don't provide them...but it seems like they take around 20%. I may be wrong.

    Don't give up. If anything, you could already have a nice thing going with a full ride at UTK. Grades from a CC don't transfer (only credits) so you'd start fresh. If you plan on pursuing an MBA, you could take on an active role at UTK and focus on academics and getting a good internship. Attending a good business school is definitely not out of the question. Good luck.
  • brand_182brand_182 Posts: 7,589Registered User Senior Member
    does 3/4 tier and second tier refer to the top 100 of usnews?

    Tier 1/2 - top 50% of schools within category (national universities)
    Tier 3 - next 25%
    Tier 4 - bottom 25%

    Given what you've said about UTK, I was wrong earlier. You should stick to looking at tier 2 and some tier 1 schools and not worry a/b tier 3/4.


    The big school in Virginia is UVA. You have nothing to lose then if the apps are free, so why not.
  • willpower102willpower102 Posts: 212Registered User Junior Member
    ...the apps are free, so why not.
    I was just discussing how much of a factor this is going to be.

    MTSU is near nashville and is the mecca of the recording industry around here. Since their media production is in the same department, they are well funded. From what i can tell it's the only school around here where i would be able to get some serious hands on with high end video and editing equipment. Utk just has classes about media. *thumbsdown* So, IF i need to fall back to a state school, I think i would go to MTSU.

    As for a major. I was considering computer science because i'm good with computers and i have amazing ideas. Although, i think i would have much more fun working in production, even if it pays less. This is making me lean towards either a Dual Degree, Dual major, or major/ minor.

    Originally i was thinking of majoring in CS with a minor in film, but more recently i'm thinking of minoring in CS and just getting all the high level math, algorithms and discrete structure crap out of the way. With that foundation i'm sure i can easily learn more when i need to.

    I've researched an MBA more than any of my other majors. I'm comfortable with the ratio of people that are pleased with their decision to pursue one. It definitely seems like the best augmentation to any degree. But worry about that comes next year, after i'm settled into the next institution.

    Question:
    I've heard a few hundred different stories by now. In your opinion, why is it worth it to get a degree from a more prestigious university? Do you think there is a cut off point where the rank no longer matters?

    I've always assumed this cut off point was somewhere around the top 30.
  • willpower102willpower102 Posts: 212Registered User Junior Member
    oh yeah, another quick thought. Would it be a good idea to take the SAT's asap? How long is too long to wait?
  • brand_182brand_182 Posts: 7,589Registered User Senior Member
    someone else can probably come along and give you a detailed explanation as to why attending at least a somewhat prestigious university is beneficial.

    The cut off point certainly isn't at the top 30. You can attend many schools outside of that range and do well in the end - what school you attend is not the end-all factor of your life. But there are MANY benefits to attending a top 30 school.

    I would take the SATs ASAP...or try the ACT. Study hard and use the Collegeboard Blue Book.
  • willpower102willpower102 Posts: 212Registered User Junior Member
    Well, i 've taken the act a while back. Last night i signed up for the SAT and was up late studying everything about it. Wikipedia has a terrific article about the SAT.

    Thank you for the time you've taken to read through all of this and provide thoughtful responses. I'm off to hunt for more of my answers on here.
  • pellmanpellman Posts: 671Registered User Member
    UCLA accepts 40 transfers per semester to their film program, so that's pretty stiff competition already. Also, you're out-of-state, so that will probablly go against your chances.


    I think in specialized majors like Film, your chances of getting accepted relies more on your portfolio than your academic performance. For instance, I know a person at my school that just got accepted to UCLA's film program: he didn't have the best grades ever (if I remember correctly he had an overall GPA of around 3.2), and just like yourself, took years off of schooling. However, he had a lot of talent, and made really a good short film. He earned a lot of praise and awards for it, and it was also selected for a film festival for up-and-coming filmmakers.
  • jmmomjmmom Posts: 9,081Registered User Senior Member
    I've read a few things that says none of this matters after i get my first job anyway. That if i'm going to excel, it will happen anywhere i go. I was told just to graduate asap, do something useful while there, and get some industry experience under my belt.
    There is a lot of truth to this. To the extent that you don't believe it's true, in your particular case I think you might be better off to do really well in whatever college you end up at for your BA/BS and go for the prestige school for the MBA.

    I'm not saying not to try for a highly ranked school for transfer, but don't get stuck on thinking that is the end-all and be-all.

    My personal opinion is that putting effort into the UCs (especially UCB/UCLA) is not the most effective use of your time as you are out-of-state (v. low odds) and apparently will want financial aid from them. I'm not sure how generous they are with aid to out-of-state students.

    Your odds of acceptance at any school you target are something none of us here can really give you meaningful feedback on, as your situation is quite complex.

    I went to prestigious schools the whole way (Wellesley, UCB for a masters, later Stanford for an MBA). I'm proud that I did and some people are impressed when they hear it at cocktail parties ;). It will help in impressing some folks for some job applications your first time around. It will hurt sometimes, too, as some folks are envious/presume you have a chip on your shoulder. You will never know these things directly in most cases. But it is true that after your first job it's much more about what you do, not where you've been.

    And, if you are thinking of a career in your state, your in-state U can very well be the right place to make connections. At any rate, if you do end up in-state, don't think of it as being *stuck* there. Make the most of the opportunity. Then, if prestige school matters to you, as I said above, you can go for it for MBA/grad school. Having done outstanding work at the BA level, having gotten to know profs well, etc., your chances will be much better. Most MBA programs like to see you work for a couple of years after undergrad, so that gives you more chance to settle on your interests and enhance your chances.

    Best of luck.
  • willpower102willpower102 Posts: 212Registered User Junior Member
    Good reply. Basically, i'm learning what should have been years of college preparation in just a few months. At least i'm more dedicated now :) But seriously, i'm going to take what i can get. I'm just off right now trying to read about the value of better colleges and justify borrowing 50k from the government to go OOS.

    About California schools: I either want to get highly involved in the entertainment industry, or in new technology development (and preferably a combination of both). With that in mind, i've been looking at Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively. Solely for the reason that i feel it would be better to spend the next two years building contacts Los angeles, than to move there from out of no where. Using the logic that "who you know" is many times more important than where you went to school, it would seem that going to even a tiny state school in L.A. may be more useful than going somewhere more prestigious, yet across the country.

    ...correct me if i'm wrong on this, because i'm really not sure, just trying to flesh out ideas about how this whole 'life' thing works, :)
  • jmmomjmmom Posts: 9,081Registered User Senior Member
    If you are thinking entertainment industry, California makes some sense. But the UCs are just minimally available to oos people. You might better focus on privates. Also there are some good film-related/entertainment-related programs in many other places. I'm not familiar with them; have just heard of a random one here and there.

    So you might post the question of what schools are good for that interest - here or in the Parent Forum or in College Search and Selection. Take a look at Hofstra in NY and maybe some other NY schools.
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