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Many Questions About Going Back to School After Leaving Due to Mental Illness

breadstuffsbreadstuffs Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
edited August 2017 in Non-Traditional Students
I'm looking to go back to college after leaving due to medical issues (mental illness, depression) in 2013. I spent 3 semesters at the University of Arizona and left with a GPA of 2.5. I'm in a situation now where I don't really know where to start for looking to going back to school. I have a lot of concerns and I'm wondering if anyone can give me advice on a bunch of different points.

Academically:

I had in a strange academic situation at U of Ariz.. I graduated high school at 16, had been an academic prodigy as a young child, but by the time I was in my junior and senior years my grades declined due to my mental problems. I had very strong AP scores (AP Scholar w/ Distinction) and a 2280/2400 SAT, but my GPA was in the 70s out of 100 by the time I graduated. I was a National Merit Scholar and had a full ride to the U of A, but went under the GPA requirement to keep my scholarship and lost it. How might this background affect my ability to go back to a school of similar competitiveness?

I don't know whether I have a choice in applying as a transfer or first-year student. Is this something I should inquire to individual universities about?

I left Arizona with 46 credits earned there and 24 from my AP tests, for 70 total. Are the AP credits transferable?

Arizona's scale has 120 credits as the graduate requirement, so I would be more than halfway to graduating if everything transfered. Would this make it difficult to transfer to a community college and then transfer up to a four-year school?

Would my GPA transfer?

My major was neuroscience. My goal was and still is to go to graduate school, earn a Ph. D., and work in the academic and research field. How might going to graduate school be affected by my long absence from school?

Financially:

I took out loans after I lost my scholarship at Ariz., which have amounted to about $16k now. I have defaulted on them, and have entered into a loan consolidation plan which (if I read the terms right) would allow me to regain the ability to receive financial aid after three monthly payments. If I start making payments in September, would I be able to apply for admission before I'd be able to re-apply for financial aid in December?

It seems there are very few scholarships for transfer students. Will most of my financial aid have to come from loans then? I can't afford to pay out-of-pocket.

Extracurricular:

I have written a book, a childhood memoir detailing my upbringing and mental health problems, that will be published in 2018. How do I go about incorporating this, and any other achievements, into my application?

Should I look for former employers to write reccomendation letters to demonstrate to colleges my ability to function and recover from my past problems?

I was a nationally-ranked tennis player in high school and I would like to play tennis again at a university. I did not play tennis at Arizona, but I don't know if I am disqualified from playing at the Division 1 level, because Arizona is a Division 1 NCAA school. The NCAA website seems to indicate that no student has eligibility to play in a D1 sport if they first enrolled in a D1 school more than five years ago, regardless of whether they ever played.
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