Am I being realistic?

<p>Hello everyone! Before I get into my questions I will fill you in on me and my goals. When I was younger I was never found of school. When I turned 16 and got my drivers license, my grades plummeted as I skipped a lot of school. I never to the SAT's or anything like that. When I graduated High School my friends all went of the college. I would visit them often and party like I was a college student. I was very irresponsible at that point in my life. I started creating debt for myself with nothing to show for it. When I was in my mid 20's I started thinking about going to college. For some reason I had this draw to UCLA, I started to dream of going there someday. But not having the money or the High School grades to even think about it, I quickly put it out of mind. Over the years I have pretty much had low paying jobs. My last job was bartending in a college town and depending on the days I made pretty good money on good days and had a lot of fun. Recently the Bar I worked at closed down and I was out of a job and out of money. I am now 31, with now savings, no job and stuck living at my parents house.
I have come to realize that I need to college education to get a decent job. It will be tough but I plan to once I get a job, take advantage of the fact I live with my parents. Pay off all my past debt and save up and move to California and chase my dream. I have been looking into it and Santa Monica City College has a high transfer into UCLA rate. I plan to find a cheap room to rent near by. Work for a year to get residency and then enroll at SMC. I might be 34 before I ever start SMC and 36-37 before I finish. </p>

<p>Would my age hinder my ability to get into UCLA?
Is any of this Realistic?
What are your opinions?</p>

<p>"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."
- Thoreau</p>

<p>Let me start off by saying it is very admirable and courageous to have an epitome at the age of 31 and start to take steps toward that direction. However, before rearranging your life for one specific school as a goal for, say 10 years away, take action today that will steer you in that direction. You can enroll at a local community college tomorrow and take summer classes now.. It's never too late and don't let anyone tell you anything other than, anything in life is possible. :)</p>

<p>Well, I am in my 50's and am taking classes at a community college with hopes to transfer to UC Davis. There are many people at CC much older than you. But transferring to any UC means having a very high GPA in CC. Maybe not UC Merced or Riverside but if you want to transfer to UCLA, UCB, UCSD, UCD, etc. you need a high GPA. Right now I have a 3.9 and I hope to keep it there. But that means getting an A in just about every class I take. Sometimes that is easy, sometimes it's not. Not saying this to discourage you but just to be realistic.</p>

<p>I say absolutely go for it. I figure in four years where will you be if you don't? But first you need to get enrolled at a CC, make straight A's, work with a counselor, and get your plan in place. Many CCs have agreements with UC's to guarantee transfer if certain conditions are met. Your age makes absolutely no difference. What will matter are your grades and your determination. Go for it!</p>

<p>It is possible. I was a lousy student in HS. I got a 3.79 at my CC. IT was kinda easy I guess but let me tell you it was no cakewalk they didnt hand me the grade. I got into ucla within two years. So you just gotta have the passion and the dedication and really love what you study. Im sure you can do it. We need more people like you</p>

<p>To play a bit of devil's advocate - a college degree isn't right for everyone, and it's absolutely not necessary for success. Depending on your field of study & how much you can expect to make post-graduation, the return on investment can vary quite greatly. We're taught here in America that education (mainly a university/college education) is the way to success, but that's not necessarily true. What are you planning to study? Make sure that a UC's benefits outweighs the price you pay, or the opportunities you could be afforded by attending a vocational school.</p>

<p>You have a big climb ahead of you.</p>

<p>Having been a failure student 10 years ago and completely turning around 10 years later is quite a feat. It will require a major shift in study habits that you never acquired. You will have to start working your brain after years and years of nonthinking from menial labor.</p>

<p>There is also now 10 years between your community college and high school education. That puts you at a major disadvantage compared to newly graduated high school students fresh with their math/science/language knowledge and possibly even AP credit. </p>

<p>The education you received 10 years ago might not even be relevant to today's standards.</p>

<p>While it is an admirable goal to try to make a better life for yourself, I wouldn't be too confident of your chances at UCLA. There are other universities out there, though.</p>

<p>Wow your story seems like mine (minues 10 years) my high school gpa was like a 1.5 or something, i didn't even graduate on time. I moved to LA and started taking classes at 25 at LACC (la city college). I'm now 28 and a full-time student at UCLA. For independent students, tuition is taken care of assuming you've made less than $70,000 a year.</p>

<p>Very, very possible to do. Also, look into UC San Diego and UC Irvine -- other good schools that have transfer agreements with california community college (guaranteed acceptance if gpa is above 3.0 or something like that)</p>

<p>Thanks for the comments everyone. It's going to be a long hard road but I am determined to do it and succeed. Everyone brought up some great points. I graduated high school in '97 so it has been a long time and I have forgotten a lot over time. I am thinking about taking some of the basics here in Oregon before I make a big move. Once I get my past debts paid off and I save the money to move. I am going to take classes here and there until I get residency. They really screw you on tuition if you are a out of stater, even though I plan to make California my permanent home. Thanks again everyone!</p>

<p>I know you probably come to this forum to hear feedback saying you can do it. But in my opinion it doesn't seem very likely. It seems like a long road and it seems odd to me that you "had this draw" to ucla. Without a more concrete basis for wanting to go to ucla it seems hard to stay motivated. Also, a bunch of my friends are graduating/graduated from UCLA now, and this for damn sure does not guarantee you a job. I know the job market will likely be very different from when you want to graduate, but its a good thing to know. </p>

<p>Also, I am a firm believer that the college degree road isn't for everyone. I think some people just simply aren't able to apply themselves to live an academic life and may be better suited to do other things. If you follow your plans to go to SMC by you are 34, what happens when you simply cannot do the work? Sometimes all the determination in the world is not enough. Why not take classes at your local cc to see how you like school and what interests you. This will give a better indication whether you will be able to put up with the work.</p>