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Adult Learning Colleges versus Traditional Universities.

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posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 02:27 PM
I've been looking at a few schools. I'm a working adult (I'm 25). Some discouraging acquaintances of mine (note: I no longer call them friends), keep telling me that I've missed the boat on getting my education from a traditional 4-year university. I've been trying to get my stuff together, going in and out my Community College for a few years now. I'm currently enrolled in Strayer university and my local Comm. College. Its a complicated scenario: Since I'm so close to receiving my General Studies AA, I figured I'll just finish it up. Otherwise, Strayer would only pick and choose what they would transfer and all my other courses would be just be wasted credits and time. Also, it'll make my time at Strayer shorter since I'll have fewer general courses to take.

I'm enrolled in the Information Systems, with a concentration in programming. Its really want I want to do, but I fear that once I graduate, I will not be able to get a job. I usually skim the classifieds ads looking for for trends: where the jobs are, their salaries, average educational level, etc. But my searches usually lead to disappointment when I find that most programming jobs require at least a BS in computer science.

Now, enough boring background. Here's my question. I've looked around at the various universities and schools that are geared toward the working adult. I was wondering if it was even worth it to continue attending these schools. I overheard another student mention that employers usually dismiss these types of schools since they don't really teach everything needed. The classes are taught quickly, since most adults still juggle school, work and a family Also, the classes only teach just enough, so people can basically "get their foot in the door" and receive that promotion, pay raise, etc. On the other hand, they favor graduates from traditional schools since they've been taught theory, concepts, and whatever else behind the subject.

So here are my questions:

  1. Are the graduates of Adult Colleges as successful as gradations from traditional schools?
  2. Is so, are certain majors more likely to be successful? In my opinion, business and accounting related majors would do better than computer/technology/science based majors.
  3. "It doesn't matter where you get your BA, its where you get your Masters, or how much real life experience you have that matters." Is that true?

Completely unrelated, but I'm sort of disappointed with my classes so far. I've taken a few computer classes it still seems like most of my classmates still can't use a computer to do anything other than surf I'm starting to think that that student was right. But, I'm guessing that is a side rant for another day and another forum.

Edited because my list would never show.

[edit on 20-7-2007 by Realedazed]

posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 06:02 PM
Here's my advice, though it may be somewhat dated.

If you want a college degree, rather than some technical certification, go to a regionally accredited college or university in your area.

Today, the traditional student is in the minority. Most people pursuing degrees these days are working, or have families, or both.

Community colleges are good for a lot of your credits and are cheaper, but make sure that the univerisity that you expect to transfer to will accept those credits.

To be honest, no educational experience is wasted. The credits earned might not transfer, but if you learned something in the process, then that's now a part of who you are.

Go to school to get an education and get a degree in the process. That bit of advice might not make perfect sense now, but in the long haul your education will be worth more than your degree.

posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 07:50 PM
First let me encourage you in your endeavor. I assure you that the education will be worth it. I spent many years in and out of community college before I figured out what I really wanted to do. Once I figured it out (at 40 years old) I decided to go the traditional route.

Advice #1 – Whatever you do make sure you go to a regionally accredited school. Very few, if any, credits from an unaccredited University will transfer and you will wind up spending your time and money all over again. A recognized school is worth it. Initially you will be competing for jobs against other people's schools. A degree from a state school will carry some weight.

Advice #2 – The contacts you make in college will be one of the keys to your success. You want to make those connections to people with a high potential for success not to people paying school tuition to surf Myspace pages. (Spending study time on ATS is completely different.) Seriously, you do not form these contacts at an online university or at a school where are just trying to get a promotion. I cannot overstate how much your professional life will be improved by being able to make a phone call or send an e-mail to one of the contacts you made.

Advice #3 – Earning a degree doesn't take forever. Finish your AA and whatever other base courses you need at a community college while you work and get set financially. You can easily finish a BA in two years. Even look at relocating to the area of an affordable state school for a couple of years if you have to. I run a business and go to school almost full time and will still graduate in less than 18 months.

Good Luck and take a look at Gary North’s site for some pointers on finding cheap colleges.

posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 07:59 PM
Don't take shots in the dark! Ask employers who you would like to work for what they expect and whether or not they would take a degree from an adult learning college seriously.

posted on Jul, 21 2007 @ 10:59 PM
You've got some good advice from the above folks. You should ignore your "friends" that tell you the ship has sailed on the traditional route. Grady is correct in that there really isn't a typical student any longer. I was in classes with folks anywhere in age and experience from 16 up to what I'd guess mid-60's. And yes, the 60+ year olds were first-time degree seeking students - not auditors or somebody's grandfather

I took many of my classes "at night" at traditional universities because I liked the fact that they only met once a week (for three hours though, ugh) and were usually from 7-10pm. This may be something you'd like to look into. I'd say the average age of folks in the nighttime classes was 35 - they were folks with full time jobs. They're real classes that everybody else has to take to get whatever degree they're seeking, but instead of meeting 3 times a week or whatever for an hour during the day, they meet for the 3 hours during the night - a great plus is that it'll be much easier to find parking and you'll have less company during the commute home
And the more mature classmates, of course.

As for the "it doesn't matter where you get your BA, they only care about where you get your MA(+)" Well, that will depend on your employer, some will even want to know where you went to high school, though for me this was only brought up once. It is generally true, however. The rub is that you're much more likely to get accepted to a great graduate program if you completed a great undergraduate program. If you can manage it, get your BA at the same school you intend to get your MA, I know from experience that there are far fewer hoops you are required to jump through. If you're otherwise qualified, it's almost difficult not to get accepted into the graduate program if you got your undergrad at the same school.

I'm not longer pursuing my graduate degree (it was going to be in National Security Policy) because it wasn't as interesting as I'd anticipated, and I'm working on getting selected for Navy OCS, but this advice should be completely up to date as I still hang around campus and one of my sisters just finished her MBA (graduation on August 4, woohoo for her!)

I can't tell you what major to study or what career path to take, but if you're disappointed with too many of your classes it'll quickly become apparent that it's not right for you. I started out as a business major and ended with a triple major of political science/criminology and criminal justice/social psychology. It seems like almost everybody changes what they study, sometimes several times.

But if you must, the prevailing wisdom I've gleaned from professors is you should study chemistry or administrative law. I don't really know what administrative law is, but I keep hearing about it - I couldn't stay awake during my first and only "public agencies" class - let's just say I did not expect it to be about things like how farm subsidies are determined.

Personally, I'd stay away from computer science, despite the fact that two of my friends just graduated and immediately got decent paying jobs. I'm not really technologically inclined, but programming seems like something somebody can do from a desk in India in the present/near-future, but since I'm not all that technologically inclined, my "common sense" on that matter could be off. It's most important to do something you find interesting than something that will be an assured 6 or 7 figure income.

Best of luck!

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