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Sage SI people, which college?

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aLadypilot posted 9/22/2013 16:28 PM

Okay, I'd really like some advice from the sage SI'ers here.

I really need to finish my bachelor's degree.

I have 3 options that I see. School A, is where I started way back in the day. I could complete a Business Management program in 49 credits, at a cost of approximately $22,000. I don't have much interest in that major, but I recognize that it will be versatile and will hopefully allow me to get a better job while I try and figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

School B has a program in Information Technology Management, which interests me more, but I think I'd have a steeper learning curve, as I tend to be a luddite. Approximate cost to this school would be about $21,000, so it's comparable to School A.

School C has my dream program, but at a cost of $80-100,000 and would leave me earning $18,000 for a number of years after graduation while I build up my skills/hours. As much as I'd love to follow that option, I'm pretty sure I still need to be able to feed my family, and pay my bills. To be more specific, this school would get me all of my flight ratings and a degree and allow me to pursue flying as a career, which I still haven't let go of, despite the years that have passed. I just don't think it's doable...

What to do, what to do???? The first two schools operate on an accelerated schedule, just one class at a time, each lasts 5-7 weeks, instead of the 14? week semester. I think that would be a better fit for me.

(To further complicate matters, I tried a school last spring and despite having straight A's, I left due to anxiety after the drop deadline, so ended up flunking out. Yay me. Not too sure that won't be a problem in the future, either.)

[This message edited by aLadypilot at 4:33 PM, September 22nd (Sunday)]

Dreamboat posted 9/22/2013 17:25 PM

How are you going to pay? Will you have to take out loans? Do you have anyone that is financially dependent upon you or do you expect that to happen in the near future (i.e., kids, parents, etc)?

See, this concerns me "but at a cost of $80-100,000 and would leave me earning $18,000 for a number of years after graduation" You can barely live in $18K and you certainly cannot pay down any student loans. And what if you pay $100K for school and you never make more than $20-$25K? I know it is your dream, but practically speaking it does not seem to work.

So, back to the other 2. Have you had enough exposure to IT to know that this interests you? Or is it a case that it seems more interesting than the more generic Business Management? IT is a great field if you have an inner geek. But I have known people who are completely miserable in it, so that is something to think about.

With what little information I have from this post, I would lean towards School B. But then, I am a geek masquerading as a normal person

Good luck!!

[This message edited by Dreamboat at 5:26 PM, September 22nd (Sunday)]

Sad in AZ posted 9/22/2013 17:39 PM

IT Management + Luddite = No Go

You will be much better off with the Business Management program. You can go into almost anything once you have the degree--that's all most companies care about these days.

StrongerOne posted 9/22/2013 18:54 PM

My professional opinion is that you need to look at option D. All of your options are very expensive. About four semesters, right? I advise you to look into bachelors degrees at your state's university or state college system. Many have online completion degrees, if you do not live close enough to attend in person.

Look very carefully at the available degrees. For an undergraduate degree, business is not more "flexible" than most any other, so unless you have a genuine interest in business, don't convince yourself that it's the best or most flexible way to go.

Meet with advisors for the majors that interest you, What are the courses like? What's their job placement?

Most schools have an open house, and the individual departments and programs often have their own info sessions too. Attend them.

Have you done any testing or work with a career professional to help you understand your interests, abilities, aptitutdes, and values? What are good fit career paths for you, personally?

If you go for two years to a state school, I can't see that you would have to pay more than 10 K, probably less, in state tuition for the two years. Depends on the state.

And visit the career placement office of your A,B, and C choices -- are they set up to really help you while you are a student at the institution, and after? If not, think very hard about your investment.

Eta, check on financial aid. There's money out there (not as much as there was a few years ago, but some) for women who are returning to school. On that note, you might look into women's colleges, which often have flexible programs for resumers. Not necessarily cheap, but again they may have financial aid for you.

Eta, one more thing! Once you do start back in to school, keep in really good contact with your advisor. If anxiety starts kicking in, you want to be on top of drop dates, late drops, medical withdrawals, that kind of thing. Keep your support team in the loop. If you suffer from anxiety you may be able to register for an accommodation per the ADA.

Go you!

[This message edited by StrongerOne at 7:00 PM, September 22nd (Sunday)]

kernel posted 9/22/2013 19:11 PM

I'm wondering if you can appeal your late drop in your last term for medical reasons, just to get that off your record. Can you finish the Business degree quickly, and still do a flight school, for less money? There must be a way you can work toward your dream other than the cadillac school.

mysticpenguin posted 9/22/2013 19:34 PM

Just wanted to double check because you mentioned these are accelerated programs -- these schools are *regionally* accredited not nationally or distance accredited, right?

I'd also recommend calling local HR departments and asking how these schools are viewed when listed on a resume. :)

And finally, if you haven't worked in business management, make sure you can either secure an internship or externship or can get some related experience before graduating.

:) best of luck!

traicionada posted 9/22/2013 19:44 PM

My AAS in Health Information Technology made about 30k because I refused to code so I went back for a BS in Health Information Management and double right after graduation.

StrongerOne posted 9/22/2013 19:54 PM

Lol, back again! I see you are in the twin cities, so I looked at the Minnesota state colleges and universities common website. In state tuition is around $215 / credit hour, so 50 credit hours is just less than 11 K. Depending on how many of your current hours transfer. Note that their website consolidates universities, state colleges, and community colleges, so be sure you are looking at the degree you want. I see they have a live web chat for assistance, btw.

aLadypilot posted 9/22/2013 20:08 PM

Thank you all so much for responding!

I'll try to clarify further on a few points.

Both School A and B are private, religious, colleges that have Adult Undergraduate programs for working adults. Also, both are brick and mortar institutions that have been around for over 100 years, great reputations for both.

Tuition per credit for School A = $455 per credit x 49 credits (which is what I need to graduate) = $22,295.

School B is $420 per credit x 52 credits (based on how many credits I can transfer to that school) = $21,840. So, those two are pretty comparable. I will admit that I haven't even looked at the U of M. It seems too big and overwhelming, and I do like the personalized attention that these small schools give.

I hate to rule out IT just because I don't know anything about it. Couldn't I learn?

*I just looked at the U of MN tuition for regular undergraduate students and it is $463 per credit, so I would not be doing myself any favors by going there. Plus, I don't think they market themselves to adult undergraduate students.

The most expensive option, School C is not so expensive for the tuition per se, but for the flight training which is contracted out through a local flight school. Its affiliation with the college is the ONLY way that it is eligible for Federal Financial Aid, and the only reason it's in my mind at all. Otherwise, I'd be retirement age by the time I earned enough money to pay as I went. In the mid 90's when I earned my private pilot license, it was 'affordable' enough that I could work and fly as I could afford it. It still took me about two years to do the private! If you have the money up front, you can do it in a month or two. I think it cost me about $100 per lesson for the plane, fuel and instructor. Now, those rates have gone up to about $300 per lesson.

I have about 120 hours of flight time. I would need to earn my instrument rating, multi-engine rating and commercial license to become employable by a minor airline. However, now regulations state the you must have 1500 hours of flight time before you can be hired. Most people get their flight instructor license so that they can teach flying and build their flight time to bridge that gap in the mean time. This is when you're earning poverty wages while trying to pay off 80k in debt. Also, once you get hired into the airlines, it takes a few years until you're making a decent wage. It truly amazes me that I make more currently as BUS DRIVER than I would as a new PILOT. Scary, no?

[This message edited by aLadypilot at 8:35 PM, September 22nd (Sunday)]

aLadypilot posted 9/22/2013 20:23 PM

What I could do, potentially, is work full time at my current job and stay afloat financially, while flight instructing part time to build the hours until I am employable... Ugh, I'd probably be 50 by then and would it be worth it? Not that 50 is old, but aviation has mandatory retirement ages, and I just feel so discouraged by all that.

aLadypilot posted 9/22/2013 20:51 PM

Ha ha ha, just because now I'm doing more research, I looked at (I just took out the university name, because I'm not sure if I can say it here), which is definitely the 'Cadillac' of flight schools.

Tuition and fees per year = $31,000! x 4 years = $124,000! And that's just for the Bachelor's degree, not even the flight training portion which is an additional $40,000 approximately! WOW! And you are still going to be flight instructing after graduation for about 18k per year until you can get into the airlines. Omg, why does anyone do that?!

[This message edited by aLadypilot at 8:52 PM, September 22nd (Sunday)]

Dreamboat posted 9/23/2013 00:58 AM

I hate to rule out IT just because I don't know anything about it. Couldn't I learn?

If you do not love it now, taking classes will not make you love it. In fact, it will make you hate it even more.

It is more than just learning. I am not sure how old you are, but if you are over 30 and you do not LOVE computers already, then you will be miserable in IT and you may fall on your face. Imagine a frustrated office worker calling you and screaming that they cannot access their spreadsheet and YOU HAVE TO FIX IT NOW!!! Is it a PC problem? A network problem? An issue with upgrading software? A SU problem? Are you willing to ruin your suit because you have to crawl under someone's desk just to discover that their computer is unplugged?

IT pays well but it is a tough industry and it is also a thankless job. No one says anything when IT works, but when it does not work then heads roll!

Ugh, I'd probably be 50 by then and would it be worth it? Not that 50 is old, but aviation has mandatory retirement ages, and I just feel so discouraged by all that.

I was going to say that Julia Child did not even know how to cook until she was in her 40's....but then she was not forced to retire on her 65'th birthday... I don't know the industry (except I know commercial pilots have to retire at 65) so I do not know what opportunities might be there for you.

I don't mean to discourage you. But you do need to be realistic.

Do you already have a career? If so, will your current career advance if you completed your BS? Will your company pay anything towards it? Will you company give you the flexibility you may need to complete your degree? Will your company give you a raise or promotion if you complete your degree?

I feel like such a buzz kill here. Sorry

Here is my final advice: We all want to follow our dreams. But if you have kids or parents that are dependent upon you, then taking care of them is more important than following your dreams. Sure, you could say "fuck them! My dreams are most important!!" But if you do then the consequences to your dependents and your relationship to your dependents can be devastating.

TrustedHer posted 9/23/2013 09:56 AM

Do you like solving puzzles?

Do you like figuring out creative ways to put different pieces together to make things work?

Do you like taking broken things and diagnose problems and then fix them?

Do you think Math is kinda fun, or, at the very least, not scary?

If not, IT is not for you.

woundedwidow posted 9/23/2013 10:02 AM

I have to agree with Dreamboat about your needing to love IT to succeed at it. Additionally, few companies would hire an IT professional over 30 who didn't already have a proven work history in the field. e.

As far as the business management degree goes, perhaps it might help you if you think of it as a door-opener rather than a single career. There are SO many career paths that can be achieved with a business degree; I used mine to enter the federal government after several years in private enterprise (working in new product development for Cover Girl). Once I got in with the feds, here are some of the jobs I had:

- Budget analyst
- Environmental program manager (lots of travel)
- Program Analyst
- EEO Program Manager
- Safety Program Manager
- Management Analyst
- Investigator/Command IG

For almost ALL of these jobs, the Navy provided their own specialized training, but the business degree was my entry ticket in, plus I refused to be "pigeonholed" into a single job series for 30 years. You can use business training in so many ways, and most companies still want to train you in some way that is specific to their needs and/or mission.

tushnurse posted 9/23/2013 10:12 AM

OH it's so dang hard to make the decision and jump in with both feet.

If your employer is reimbursing you for some or all of it, then of course your best bet is going with the business degree, but I would look for a school that does a bridge/accelerated for an MBA. They exist. Doing this will increase your earning potential, and then you can focus on taking the classes for your dream job.

I was dumb when I got out of school. I went straight from high school to get my 4 year degree, and did it in 4 years which is actually quite a feat. But the stupid part was I didn't make more money than the other nurses, and I certainly get recognized for it, and no one cared that I went to the toughest school in the state, where you have to kill yourself to get it done. I could have just as easily went to the JuCo gotten my associates, started working, had the hospital pay for my continued education, earned my BSN whithout the drama, and crazy clinicals, and it would have changed nothing with my earning potential, level of respect, or how I did my job.

However, I always wanted to go back and get an advanced degree. But there were limited programs available, and I waited for more similar (cheaper) programs to come out, and they were slow, and NP's (nurse practioners) were slow to become recognized as a true role in my area. I waited, and had kids, now the money is certainly not there, and when there will be money for me to do it, it is now a doctoral degree, so instead of another 2 years, I am looking at 4 to do what I thought was my dream job.

Funny thing is when life happens our dreams change. I love what I do now, and really do a great job at it. Getting that advanced degree to be a NP in Critical Care, is no longer my goal. My goal now is to get the kids through college doing what I'm doing, earning what I'm earning, and then being able to work part time, and live someplace where I have the ability to fish every day of my life if I choose to.

So my point is, if you need a degree to get a good job, then go the cheapest route, because NO ONE cares where you went to school once you are out.

Jeezo this turned out much longer than it should have.

woundedwidow posted 9/23/2013 11:22 AM

I agree with Tushnurse about going the cheapest route possible. I started right after HS, but then moved out on my own at 19. Worked at night waitressing and went to school during the day. had to take some time off. Got married at 23; went back to night school with employer's tuition assistance - THAT was what really saved me. I even changed majors late in the game and then took 67 credit hours of business admin in 3 years of night school to graduate at age 28. Sure, it took 10 years total, but HAVING the degree counted the most for my career advancement. Good luck!!

aLadypilot posted 9/23/2013 14:34 PM

If you do not love it now, taking classes will not make you love it. In fact, it will make you hate it even more.

Dreamboat, I don't love it or hate it, I just don't know anything about it, so that's probably not good. I am backing away from that program, and that's exactly what I want is good, harsh reality!

I am absorbing all the advice and I really appreciate all the answers that everyone has offered.

I don't have a career, I have a job. I work as a transit bus driver and while I mostly enjoy the work, it is pretty low paying, and the benefits suck. After 8 years there, I now have two weeks paid vacation. So, um educational reimbursement?! No, they don't want to help people out of the company by educating them. I do not want to move up within the company because I see management working 80+ hour weeks for 40k a year. No thanks. I'll stick to my 34k and evenings and weekends off, if that's my only choice. If it was something I was more invested in, I'd be happy to put in the time. Believe me, transportation is also a thankless job!

Trusted Her said,

Do you like solving puzzles?
Do you like figuring out creative ways to put different pieces together to make things work?

Do you like taking broken things and diagnose problems and then fix them?

Do you think Math is kinda fun, or, at the very least, not scary?

If not, IT is not for you.

My answer to those questions is yes. Not sure what to make of that...

Wounded Widow, thanks for your response, that is very helpful!

ure, it took 10 years total, but HAVING the degree counted the most for my career advancement. Good luck!!

This is what I'm thinking, at this point I just need a degree of something, and then I can start looking around. I would definitely look at aviation, even if the pilot thing doesn't work out (which it probably won't unless I win the lottery.)

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