New here, looking for advise...

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2007
New here, looking for advise...
10
Thu, 02-18-2010 - 11:41am

Hi, my name is Kelli and I have a great husband (Dave) and two great daughters (Olivia 21mo & Ava 10mo). I worked right out of high school and never went to school. Now looking back I wish I had, because being out of work for the past 3 years has not done much for me. Sorry for bing a little long!


I am looking to go back to school and get a degree, I am not sure what I want to go for though. The reason I am here is because I would like some advise, and I have a few questions. *I need advise on how to figure out what I want to go to shcool for.

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Thu, 02-18-2010 - 1:55pm

Hi Kelli, I am Karen and have two kids, DD 4.5 yr and DS 20 mo, and I am married.

Karen


 "A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."  

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-04-2006
Thu, 02-18-2010 - 7:41pm

Hi and welcome!

I'm Michaelann, our cl here. I went back to school in 2007 at age 30 as a freshman at my local community college. I'm transferring to a 4 yr university next fall, pursuing a BS in some type of science (not sure yet which one), then eventually teaching.

I'll answer your questions based on my experience...

First, there is NO need to figure out what you want to get your degree in before you start. Every degree (whether its arts, science, math, engineering, history, etc.) has some pretty general core requirements that you must knock out your first year or two. For any degree you will need classes like English Comp I and II, US History, certain math classes (they vary by school, but usually something like College Algebra, stats or pre-calc). Most degrees have a humanities requirement, a speech/communications requirement, US government requirement, computer requirement, etc. Those core requirements can keep you busy for at least 2-4 semesters and count towards almost any degree. I changed my degree plan mid-way, and while some classes won't transfer, the majority of the requirements the first two years are the same and pretty general despite the fact that I was even switching from a BA to a BS. So you can start with those general ed pre-req's to get your feet wet and start exploring your interests. You may be sitting in a bio class or a government class and all of a sudden something clicks and you realize "Hey, this is what I want to do! This really excites me!"

The rest of your questions:
* How do you handle school, work and family or even just school and family?

You just do. Its not always great, but for me school is something that I NEED to do for me. Its something I really, truly enjoy - makes me feel like a "complete" person. Just being a mom was okay, but personally I needed more and school is it. Its been tough on us all, though. I won't lie or sugar coat it. I had been a stay at home mom for over 10 years. I took care of EVERYTHING at the house and to do with the kids because dh worked a very stessful job with long hours. When I went back, no one had any clue how much stuff I really did and no one (especially not dh) was prepared to step up and chip in the way they needed to. There's been lots of crying, screaming, fighting, frustration and issues, but they've learned a bit over the years, and it gets better all the time. It was a strain on my relationship with dh for sure, our relationship has totally changed - some good, some bad. I take 4 classes per semester, which is about 12-14 units. The standard conversion most schools use is to expect to spend 2-3 hours outside of class time for every unit. With my number of units that is about 40hrs. So it really is a full time job, and none of us expected that. But I wouldn't trade it for anything.

* What is better/easier going to school or going online

This is a VERY personal thing. I personally don't like online classes, I don't feel like I learn as much. BUT - I occasionally do one for convenience. I go to a school that offers both styles of classes, and I think this is a great option. Our old cl went to UofPheonix (exclusively online school) and loved their format, I would hate it. I love the interaction with the teachers, meeting other students, getting out of the house, the resources at my campus (library, tutoring, computer lab, child care, etc.) Plus many exclusively online schools are VERY expensive. But again, if you need the flexibility that it provides, it can be a good option. It also depends on the field you are going into. Certain majors/degrees are fine in an online format, others require more hands on type format and online may not be an option. I'd start out by looking around at local community colleges and see what types of classes they offer - on-campus, online, hybrid (combo of both), etc. and compare the resources they offer vs. an online school and decide which is a better value for the money.

* How would I go about getting started going to school (i.e. registering and financial aid?)

I can't help on the financial aid thing, my husband makes too much for me to qualify for a single penny, so we pay 100% out of pocket. As far as registering, most schools will have you do an application (usually online). If you have been out of school for awhile you will probably have to go and take a placement test like Compass to see where you will start in English and math. Find out which test the school you are interested in uses, google for study guides and sample tests to prep before hand, helps a lot and can save you time of having to take lower-than-college-level classes that won't count toward your degree. Then after you get test scores, you usually sit down with an adviser to help you pick your classes. Also, keep in mind registration dates - you don't want to wait to the last minute, I did that my fist semester and had a tough time getting the classes I wanted because they were all full, freshman level general ed classes fill FAST because everyone needs to take the same ones.






































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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Thu, 02-18-2010 - 7:56pm
Michael Ann is right about the generals.

Karen


 "A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2007
Thu, 02-18-2010 - 9:07pm

Thanks so much, I really appreciate the responses...When I started thinking about going back to school I was really interested in taking all of my geral courses online a local community collage and going from there...I will call the local callage in the morning...I will let you know what happens...


Kelli

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2009
Thu, 02-18-2010 - 11:08pm
  • How do you handle school, work and family or even just school and family? I'm a single mom going to school full time and working part time (work study). For me, I just do it. My youngest is in school full time, so I put the kids on the bus and leave for school. I have to have someone else take care of the morning duties on my clinical days. When I went to school and had little ones, I took them to daycare then went to school.

  • What is better/easier going to school or going online?

    iVillage Member
    Registered: 07-08-2004
    Sat, 02-20-2010 - 8:29am

    * How do you handle school, work and family or even just school and family?
    I finished my undergrad while working full-time, so I know it can be challenging. During some of that time, I was a single mom (newly divorced), so I finished my degree with online classes. That gave me the flexibility to take care of the home, my son, work, and take classes.

    * What is better/easier going to school or going online?
    I don't know that one is better, per se. The preference on this board seems to lean strongly toward brick-and-mortar schools, but for some of us, that's not an option. Since I work 40-50 hours per week, it would be nearly impossible for me to also take 25-30 hours per week of classes outside of the home also. I've had a wonderful experience with online classes. Though we don't have in-person interaction, we still have a great deal of interaction, including e-mails, online chats, some classes have used videoconferencing, etc. Without the online option, it would have taken me about 7 or 8 more years to finish my degree instead of 4 semesters. I'm currently getting my MS in counseling, and while the majority of the classes are online, we do have internships and have to travel to the school once per year for long-weekend or week-long seminars. If you're going into teaching or nursing, you'll have to go to a school to take classes, though you can finish several prerequisites online.

    * How would I go about getting started going to school (i.e. registering and financial aid?)
    First, talk to the school you're interested in and fill out the FAFSA online. I got a small academic scholarship for my MS (and I mean SMALL!), but that was it. Other than that, I've had to finance my education through student loans. I was lucky enough to find a school that actually costs less than the in-state school here in CT! Then again, everything's expensive in Connecticut :)

    iVillage Member
    Registered: 04-21-2006
    Sat, 02-20-2010 - 9:51am

    I had this post done earlier in the week and it disappeared.


    A lot of good advice so far. I think it may be worthwhile to do a little research in what you are interested in, what colleges/universities are in our area.


    The university I went to, did not allow students to easily switch between science, arts and business. Something you may want to research for the schools you are interested in. As other posters mentioned, your opinion of a subject can change significantly while you are studying.


    I also think it is a good idea to look at possible options and weigh out how long it will take, what the commitments are, etc.. Where I live it is very hard to get a specific job based on an arts degree. You need to do further studies (say an extra year for teaching). With business and some sciences you can get jobs with an undergrad.


    iVillage Member
    Registered: 09-06-2004
    Sat, 02-20-2010 - 3:35pm

    Hi, It looks like you've gotten lots of great advice so far. I'm also married to a Dave! I'm 39 & went back last fall to get my teaching certificate. I love school! Personally, I would not feel bad that you didn't go right away. I didn't know what I wanted to do either and ended up w/a degree that cost

    Stephanie


    Mom to DD16, DD10 & DS8

    iVillage Member
    Registered: 04-21-2006
    Sat, 02-20-2010 - 3:48pm
    My dh is Dave as well !
    iVillage Member
    Registered: 09-06-2004
    Sat, 02-20-2010 - 3:54pm
    LOL, my brother is a Dave too! When we lived in a townhouse long time ago, 4 of the

    Stephanie


    Mom to DD16, DD10 & DS8