Older "non-trad" returning to school

<p>I'm a 23 year old college freshman. I did terrible in high school and
decided that college wasn't for me right away so I entered the workforce.
I've been successful in both the computer hardware and mortgage banking
businesses but I did not find them to be fulfilling enough so I decided to
return to school. I'm currently maintaining a 4.0gpa at a community
college here in Phoenix, AZ and I know I could score good on the SAT if I
need to take it.</p>

<p>My question is: What are the chances of me getting into a program like
Columbia's "General Studies", designed for returning and non-traditional
students such as myself?</p>

<p>I know I don't have much going for me. I've travelled the world quite a
bit (11 countries, 3 continents), I have years of experience in the
workforce, and I'm currently working on a column that might appear in a
national newspaper, but will these things even matter?</p>

<p>Are my grades and test scores, in addition to the few extras I've
mentioned, enough for me to be considered for admission at top schools
such as Columbia?</p>

<p>What about other top schools such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, and NYU?</p>

<p>Should I just forget about it and apply to Arizona State?</p>

<p>My suggestions:</p>

<p>Trinity College (CT)...IDP program
University of Pennysylvania...School of General Studies
Northwestern University...University College
Washington University...University College
Tulane University...University College
Harvard University...Extention School
Boston University...Metropolitan College
NYU...Galletin Division
Tufts University...REAL program
Hamiton College...Horizons program
Brown University...(Can't Remember the program name)
Lafayette College...Adult program
Skidmore College...University Without Walls
Connecticut College...RTC program</p>

<p>Just my 2 cents. You can also apply to adult programs at public colleges, as well as traditional programs. Hope this gets you pointed in the right direction.</p>

<p>Your story reads exactly like mine. I was 23 when I first started also. You are like me in that you are probably going to pay for this yourself, and I know I didn't mind a couple student loans but these LACs are ridiculously expensive. My advice would be to go to Arizona State, as there are many students at state U who are around your age. In fact most of the people in my night classes are between 24-30. If you go to one of these smaller more expensive schools you more than likely will be the only older student there. Once you graduate, noone is going to care where you graduated from anyways so take as many classes as you can at the community college then transfer to ASU.</p>

<p>So what about Columbia? Would you recommend against that? </p>

<p>USC? UCLA? UC Berkeley?</p>

<p>I really don't NEED a super "name-brand" school, but I definitely want a good school with a reputation for academic excellence.</p>

<p>If you can get scholarships and the like, go for an ivy. But if you can't get a scholarship, punt the ivys because tuition is uber expensive. I just worry about cost. A $120,000 education is around the same as a $30,000 education in my eyes.</p>

<p>Do you think I have a shot at an ivy? I'm really not lusting after the tag "ivy", I just want a good school in NYC or California. Princeton or Stanford would be a dream come true but I'm really not sure how realistic those are. </p>

<p>If had to pick my absolute top 2 choices they would probably be Columbia and UCLA, based on their combination of excellence and location.</p>

<p>Again though, I really have no idea how realistic it is for me to expect to get into any of these schools. I've listed pretty much all of my relevant qualifications in this thread.</p>

<p>Certainly if you have a column in a national newspaper it would interest top schools. Achieving something at that level towards your future career indicates that you are going places and that's what top schools want. Read through the old CC posts because the was a very interesting thread written by a girl about you age who had started a business and then been accepted at Yale. Search colleges and older students. Many impressive schools seem to have programs for people like you. Go for it!</p>

<p>I would definately suggest Columbia's Scool of General Studies, Sarah Lawrence (Can't remember the program off-hand), and NYU's Galletin for you.</p>

<p>Also, if you have financial need, I'd apply to schools like Harvard's Extention School, which gurentees to meet financial need. ASU is okay, but you're less likely to recieve financial aid, as well as have more loans than some of the "better" private schools.</p>

<p>I, myself, have been out of school for a few years, but am applying to both traditional programs and some of the ones I mentioned earlier. I really like Trinity College IDP program (1.5 to 2 hours from New York, 2 hours to Boston, and in Hartford a small to medium sized city) as you can take any classes you want any time.</p>

<p>Sarah Lawrence is also great, as you get lots of individual attention and much support. Likewise, Columbia and UPenn have amazing facilities--and are not too difficut to get into, at least at the School of General Studies at Each. Northwestern and Washington University are good too, but I would focus on the New York schools if that's where you want to be. Also, Pitzer, one of the Claremont Colleges, encourages adult applicants, so you might want to apply as a transfer (you can take classes at Pomona, McKenna, Harvey Mudd, and Scripps).</p>

<p>Anyhow, just my 2 cents.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the responses.</p>

<p>Harvard's Extention School does not offer credits or a degree, correct?</p>

<p>It does offer credit classes, and grants associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees. All of the shcools mentioned earlier give out bachelor's degrees at the minimum.</p>

<p>Hope this helps.</p>

<p>I can't find anything on their website about credits. It just says you need to sign up, not apply.</p>

<p>Also maybe look into U of Chicago's adult division. I'm not sure how it works, but I bet it's worth looking in to.
Remember that, short of merit scholarships, ASU is not likely to give you much grant aid-- if you go there, you probably really will pay for the whole thing yourself. A place like Columbia, Brown, Penn, Harvard, etc etc will fund you as much as you need.</p>

<p>Here's the link for Harvard's Extention school:</p>

<p><a href="http://www.extension.harvard.edu/2004-05/libarts/undergrad/admit/proced.jsp%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.extension.harvard.edu/2004-05/libarts/undergrad/admit/proced.jsp&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Hope this hleps.</p>

<p>Try NYU's School of Continuing Education (SCPS). SCPS would probably be the NYU school for you since it caters to older and non traditional students; Gallatin is a school at NYU for individualized study where students design their own majors, its not for adult ed.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>Galletin is definately more flexable, and encourages adult applicants, although the School of Continuing Studies is more traditionally for adults.</p>

<p>Nope, Gallatin does not encourage adult applicants...where did you hear this? Gallatin certainly does not discourage older students from applying, but it does not per se actively seek older students. I went to NYU, almost everyone in Gallatin is the standard college age, in Gallatin he'd be a 23 year old placed with a bunch of 18 year olds as a freshman. SCPS would be much more appropriate for a student like him.</p>

<p>If you are female, Smith College's Ada Comstock Scholars program is great and really well-regarded. You can live on or off-campus, and women from lots of different backgrounds participate. Smith also has a Community College Connections summer program for women transferring (or thinking of transferring) from 2-year to 4-year schools. I think Smith is fabulous and would urge anyone to consider it.</p>