Looking for some advice (again)

<p>Hey, I was here a few months ago, looking for advice on my situation, and then I sort of got wrapped up in work. But anyway, here I am again, just hoping to get some feedback on my situation.</p>

<p>In high school, I did very poorly, gradewise, even though I usually did pretty well on tests. I bounced around from a 3.5 GPA taking honors and AP classes to a 1.8 GPA, mostly because I was a stupid punk when I was young. At the end of my senior year I had a 2.4 GPA. </p>

<p>I tried working on my own for a few years, and then joined the army for four years. I recently got out and I'm looking to (finally) go to college. I took the SAT when I got out, I got 790 reading, 700 math, 690 writing. I wanted to take some SAT IIs, but I didn't really have the time before I had to start handing in my applications to some of the schools I wanted to apply to. </p>

<p>My interests are pretty broad, and I can get excited about many topics, but this leads to the unfortunate situation where I have no one subject that I know I'd like to pursue. Ideally I'd like to land a degree that will give me solid employment prospects, and as such I've been leaning toward engineering, though I am certainly not settled on it as of yet. But I would like to get into a relatively good school.</p>

<p>I face a few hurdles, though. One is my low GPA, one is the fact that I graduated seven years ago and none of my teachers can remember me to provide me with a recommendation, and another is money.</p>

<p>Now, the unfortunate thing about the GI bill is that it doles out money on a state basis, so that for public schools, it will pay the tuition of the most expensive public school in your state. Which is great, but not so much when your state is Rhode Island, and your choice of public schools is not all that great. Don't get me wrong, because there's some good public schools here, I just think I could get into better ones in other states-but the GI bill won't cover the out-of-state tuition fees for students. It might end up being better for me to go to a private school, because the GI bill doles out a flat 17.5 k a year for private schools-which won't nearly cover everything, but it will in many cases end up making a private school less expensive (or similarly expensive) to an out-of-state public school.</p>

<p>Now so far I've only applied to a couple of fantasy schools that I have, really, very low chances of getting into, but I thought I might try anyway. If anyone has any suggestions for me as to colleges, feel free to let me know, but I'm looking here for advice in general. If you have any suggestions for my situation, let me know.</p>

<p>Why not move to a state like CA where you'd have a choice of many good engineering programs. You would have to wait a year before starting school, but it would probably be worth it.</p>

<p>I would already be 26 by the time I could start college...I don't really feel like waiting another year to get started. I could absorb some expense the first year of my education, though, and apply for citizenship (and reduced rates) the second year, I suppose.</p>

<p>There was some good advice on your original thread. Here it is if you were unable to find it: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/1236497-looking-some-general-advice.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/1236497-looking-some-general-advice.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>*By citizenship, you mean state residency, right? In California you cannot establish state residency for in-state tuition while attending school (including attendance at privates, UCs, CSUs and community colleges). You must establish state residency before beginning enrollment.</p>

<p>Oh, thanks, for some reason I thought this forum deleted topics when they got too old.</p>

<p>It may make sense for you to move to a different area and take advantage of the GI Bill there. Do contact the universities that you are interested in, and ask. Often the policies for veterans who receive this funding are different than the policies for other people.</p>

<p>Have you asked this in the Veterans sub-forum? Some of the folks there should have good ideas for you too: Veterans</a> - College Confidential</p>

<p>No, they keep stuff around for a long, long time (including several of my embarrassing spelling errors... sigh... )</p>

<p>For your situation I would just go to a local Community College and try to get your AA. CC's are more afforable as well. Then go from there. I have sat in many CC classes with people nearly twice my age so you won't feel out of place being 26 in CC. It will also help you adjust to being in a classroom as well especially since it has been awhile for you. Once you get your AA they will only look at your CC trancript when you transfer to a uni. It will also allow you to forget about that high school gpa, and let you start over and aim for a high GPA. You will get a better chance at getting into some great school's then.
Best of luck to you.</p>

<p>I remember you and your post! ;) Hope everything is going well and I wish you good luck in this.</p>

<p>I'm not familiar with the price of public schools in Rhode Island. How much is the most expensive one? Also, do you have any funds or a budget set aside for school, either from you, your parents, grandparents, etc? Perhaps we can suggest some good schools for that price if we know your overall budget.</p>

<p>You need to think long term. A year delay might set you up for the best schools and best post school employment. CA would arguably be the best place to pursue a bioengineering career and you'd be well set with a degree from a UC, especially UCSD for bioengineering.</p>

<p>All right, but I don't really have a way, or the funds, to support myself for the necessary year in California to obtain their in-state rates. (Another big problem is that the UC system has a pretty strictly enforced 3.0 GPA minimum-especially UCSD.)</p>

<p>I do have some money saved for college (not much), and the GI bill, which is pretty good, and I'm not opposed to taking out loans for the right school. So money is honestly not TOO big of a deal, though obviously the GI bill only pays so much. But with it, I can get through a pretty expensive school taking on only a mild to moderate amount of debt.</p>

<p>Public schools in RI aren't bad, and I'm not talking about expense as a problem-it's just that there's not MANY of them, and I think I could do better than the public schools Rhode Island has to offer.</p>

<p>One suggestion is to spend the first 2 years at a Univ of RI and transfer to a private school for the last 2 so your degree comes from a better school. The first 2 years of engineering require the same classes no matter where you go. </p>

<p>I would imagine Univ of RI would be fine for taking basic Calc, physics etc and you might find your experience is fine there since on quick glance they have opportunities for internships and in the end stay there saving more money.</p>

<p>I'm not sure you're being terribly realistic. If the GI only pays $17.5 K/yr for private colleges, I assume it would be the same for OOS publics. That would leave you with significant debt at all but RI state schools. I'm not even sure if you can borrow enough for most schools.</p>

<p>It's pretty likely you'll need to start at a CC or non selective state school. If you're OK doing that it RI, carry on. If you want more than RI schools it will probably require a move. In a state like CA it would probably mean working for a year, going to CC for 2 and then transferring to a UC to finish. All in all a wonderful recovery from a bad academic career to date. </p>

<p>Good things are never easy or cheap. You need to decide what the investment you want to make is and what they payoff you hope for is. The contacts you would make at UCSD, in the heart of biotechnology for the US, is potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars. The internships you would have and research available due to UCSD's partnerships with leading biotech companies are priceless and generally lead to excellent jobs and grad school opportunities. In the past few years I've had several students choose it over ivies. No school in RI, including Brown, can compete in this area. </p>

<p>But it's a lot of work to get there so you need to decide what works for you. I'm not sure what private schools you think will be cheap and easy to get into.</p>

<p>I would consider what kind of support network you have locally. If you have a good local support network, and perhaps your job would allow you to work part time, then staying local for the first few years might be important.</p>

<p>On the other hand, looking at your SAT scores, after so long out of school, and your intellectual curiosity, you might be better off trying for a school where you will be surrounded by people who are have a similar passion for learning. </p>

<p>I sure hope it's true that what counts is what the student puts into the learning experience more than the name of the school. </p>

<p>Did you apply to Rose-Hulman in Indiana and Olin in Mass? It's hard to guess what the costs will be until you see the financial aid offers.</p>

<p>I wonder if you could get letters of recommendation from your military service? I would think that your military service would count more than your high school grades at this point, but I don't have any actual knowledge. My guess is that with your CR score and experiences, you could write quite an essay and offer a school quite a lot.</p>

<p>Best Wishes,