The big question on my mind (and the basis of this post) is, “Was it worth the effort to earn multiple associate degrees at my community college before applying to a 4-year university, or was it a waste of time and just simply prolonged my start date in a bachelor’s degree program?”
Currently, I am a non-traditional student at Fullerton College with 108 transferrable units at a 3.65 GPA and 7 associate degrees:
- AA Business Administration
- AA Economics
- AA Interdisciplinary Studies: Science and Mathematics
- AA Interdisciplinary Studies: Social Behavior and Self-Development
- AA Interdisciplinary Studies: Social Sciences
- AS-T Business Administration
- AA-T Economics
I will also earn 2 more associate degrees at the end of the Spring 2020 semester:
- AS Marketing Management
- AA Interdisciplinary Studies: Arts and Human Expression
I entered all this information in my application for transfer to CSU Fullerton (my preferred choice), Cal Poly Pomona, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and Penn State for the Fall 2020 semester.
When I started (actually re-started) this journey at FC in Fall 2015, earning multiple degrees was not my initial intention. Here’s how it played out:
I was a horrible college student in the beginning, having earned only a 2.0 GPA for 36 units in math, computer science, and some general education courses. I was working as an adminstrative assistant, performing desktop publishing and light programming duties. I worked a lot of overtime, which resulted in accumulating more W’s than grades. Within a few years, I was working as a full-time programmer/analyst earning a decent salary commensurate with a degreed programmer. It wasn’t until several years later that I finally realized I would not promote to any management position without at least earning a bachelor’s degree.
I enrolled in Business Administration at FC in Fall 2015. My advisor recommended I work towards completing an AD-T curriculum specific to CSUF. This would ensure that all CSU GE courses and major prerequisites would be completed. In addition, I needed to improve my overall GPA to be competive for acceptance due to my earlier low GPA. By end of Summer 2016, I earned a 4.0 GPA in all my courses and enough credits to earn an AA in Business Administration, but not the AD-T yet. I needed two more courses in Business Writing and Statistics. In reviewing the college catalog, I realized that the associate degree in Economics was very similar to Business Administration. I asked my advisor if I could earn both degrees at the same time. It was allowed only if I earned another 12 units of top of the 60 units required for the first degree, except for AD-T’s which allow for dual credit without the extra required units. Since I already had a few extra transfer credits from my earlier efforts and I needed 7 more units anyway for the AD-T, I figured it couldn’t hurt.
I applied to the Business program at CSUF for Fall 2017, entering my earned AA Business Administration information with another AA in Economics and an AS-T in Business Adminstration, both in progress to be completed by Summer 2017. I earned my second associate degree in Economics and was accepted to CSUF for Fall 2017. However, I did not complete my AD-T. At CSUF, my evaluator explained I would need to complete several pre-requisite courses prior to being allowed to begin enrolling in my major courses. However, the cost of these CSUF courses compared to the same courses at FC were 10 times as much. I didn’t think it was worth it at the time. I withdrew from CSUF before starting. FC had already started and the classes I needed were already filled. I would have to wait to enroll again.
I went back to FC in Fall 2018 and enrolled in the prerequisite courses and the final AD-T course. I added an additional course to earn another AD-T in Economics. However, I mistakingly did not apply to CSUF for Fall 2019. Instead, I would agressively save for tuition for CSUF for Fall 2020. My FC advisor informed me that the policy for the extra 12 units per degree had been removed and that I was already eligible for 3 additional degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies. By Summer 2019, I completed the final courses for both AD-T’s in Business Administration and Economics. Thus, I currently have earned 7 associate degrees, including 2 AD-T’s. I applied to CSUF again for Fall 2020. Looking ahead, I figured since I would have to wait another year to start the business program at CSUF, I might as well stay in school and earn the last IDS associate degree and another associate degree in Marketing Management. My rationale was that another course in marketing would benefit me in my business major at CSUF. But, truthfully, I think this became a degree game and possibly an obsession for me. I am anxiously awaiting acceptance to CSUF and/or my other backup universities.
So, there it is - in a nutshell. What the hell was I thinking, especially after re-reading what I just wrote for the post. Did I just waste time? Should I have stayed at CSUF in Fall 2017 and just paid the price for those pre-req courses? If I had, I might have finished my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration by now… heavy sigh
What do you think? Did any of you have a similar experience? My manager at work told me that these multiple degrees sort of look bad, like I am not focused. I argued that I was focused, which is why I earned a 4.0 from the 72 units I took at FC. Doesn’t it make me a better employee with management potential being so well-rounded in business, marketing, economics, and social sciences? I know that 9 associate degrees does not equate to a bachelor’s degree, but is it worth anything? Do any of you have multiple degrees at the same academic level?
Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading this riduculously long post. Cheers to everyone in the New Year!