A very non-traditional student--College suggestions?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: March 2004 Archive: A very non-traditional student--College suggestions?
By Demingy (Demingy) on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 12:12 pm: Edit

I'm currently attending community college while I work full-time to pay off my debts. I'm a member of the honor society, my GPA is currently around a 3.9, and I scored well on my ACT in high school: 29 (granted that was about ten years ago), so I feel that if I work hard enough I can get into a good school.

I have a couple more years before my debt is paid off (unless someone knows of some way to "roll" it into student loans that can be paid back after finishing college), and once that happens I plan on quitting my job so I can go to school full-time.

Sorry about the long post, but I wanted to provide some key background before I asked my specific question here. I'm interested in majoring in genetics/molecular biology with a lot of emphisis in molecular biology, cellular biology, chemistry, etc. I am also interested in going somewhere in the northwest (WA, OR) or somewhere in Michigan. Where would you suggest I apply?

Thank you so much for your help (and patience with this long post).

By Voigtrob (Voigtrob) on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 12:21 pm: Edit

Hmm... look into Reed College. Sort of a non-traditional place in the first place, its in a city environment in Portland, OR... an amazing school with AWESOME science departments. I would suggest giving them a call to talk about your situation and how they would handle you. Your CC GPA seems good and their avg ACT is 30. It might be tough for you to get into but it seems to me like it would be possible. Also maybe look into Whitman College (WA... I don't know much about it tho except its good).

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 12:33 pm: Edit

UPENN College of General Studies

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 03:43 pm: Edit

In Washington/Oregon, take a look at Evergreen State in Washington - they also attract an older student body. Their programs are quite unique but very good academically if you're sure of your interests. The University of Washington and the University of Oregon would also be good choices for an older student. Reed would also be a good choice, although expensive.

If you're female, Smith college has an excellent program for non-traditional students. Mills College near San Francisco also has a large share of older students (also all-female however).

By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 07:00 pm: Edit

Ditto to Evergreen. My daughter is a freshman and she tells me there are many older students. Undergrad tuition for state residents is about $3500. I don't think you'll have any problem with admission as a transfer student. Evergreen is one of the schools in Loren Pope's book "Colleges That Change Lives."

By Demingy (Demingy) on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 07:16 pm: Edit

Thanks to all of you for your help (although any other suggestions are always welcome). I have to admit that it is hard to think of myself as an "older student"....but I know that's true. Reed and Whitman are on my list, and I'll look into Smith and Evergreen (I finally had a chance to update my profile, as you can see I am female). ;-)

Thanks again!

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 07:47 pm: Edit

Kinshasa - Forgive me if I've asked you this in the past, but how does your daughter like Evergreen? What do you and she see as its strengths and weaknesses? What type of person would do best there?

By Demingy (Demingy) on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 08:11 pm: Edit

Oh, one thing that I'd like to add is that I hope to pursue my Masters (after getting a Bachelors of course) somewhere along the lines of Washington University in St. Louis, and I'm a little concerned about what school I should transfer to for my Bachelors.....I don't know if there would be a difference (in other words, would I just be a "joke" if I apply with my Bachelors being from ABC University vs. XYZ which they would probably respect).

I know crazy question. This is really important to me, it has been my passion since seventh grade and I've finally decided that I can't see myself doing something that I don't love for the rest of my life.

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 09:34 pm: Edit

OH yea...I too am a fellow Phi Theta Kappan,,,that is, if you are part of the 2-year college honor society. Good luck...I say UPENN CGS,,,but that's just me lol. They give scholarships to non-traditional students and you get the SAME degree as the other PENNIES!

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 12:45 am: Edit

my niece just finished law school at 34 - so you shouldn't really think of yourself as old, exactly (that makes me ... ancient!). Come to think of it, I finished my masters at 35 (after the birth of my child) - so you've got lots of time. Anyway, I don't know a thing about west coast schools so I can't help you there - but I did want to wish you the best on following your star.

By Pattykk (Pattykk) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 09:24 am: Edit

Check out Kalamazoo, Michigan. Western Michigan has good programs for nontraditional students, and the Western Michigan Research Park is there. Also look at Kalamazoo College. UMich also has programs for nontraditional students. Are you male or female? Some colleges like the University of Denver and Mount Holyoke have Women's Colleges. They aren't in your geographical specs, but there might be other colleges in those areas with similar programs.

By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 05:17 pm: Edit

"How does your daughter like Evergreen? What do you and she see as its strengths and weaknesses? What type of person would do best there?"

Carolyn, my daughter loves the academics at Evergreen. She would be the first to tell you she's not a brain or nerd. She loves the integrated program concept and no grades, no academic pressure and competition, so she can learn for the sake of learning.

I think it's hard to fall through the cracks at Evergreen. Her program the past two quarters was "Here, There and Everywhere: Finding Place in a Global World" and granted credit in business, economics, and geography. It had 75 students broken down into seminar sessions with 25 students. The teachers are hired because they love to teach. The school has both writing and quantitative reasoning centers to help kids having trouble.

There are no majors, but her career goal is leaning toward teaching, science, social justice. I can see her in the Peace Corps or working in a Third World community.

I think Evergreen is a great place for kids who know their general academic direction, but are not completely sure and need to be exposed to options. Next quarter she is taking a program in forensic science and is very excited about that.

The campus is left-of-center, as you probably know, and my daughter is that way also.
She's complained about some of the "smelly hippies" who don't bathe. She's made some great friends, and students are from all sorts of backgrounds. Most kids are from the northwest and California. During orientation week, I met a girl from Iowa who drew her own comic strip in high school and wanted to be a cartoonist like Matt Groening, the creator of the Simpsons, who attended Evergreen.

One uncomfortable situation for her is that Evergreen, a champion of causes of social justice and "the underdog," has a strong pro-Palestinian organization for educating students about issues in the Middle East from a strictly anti-Israel viewpoint. Last year an Evergreen student was killed in Israel after she lay down in non-violent protest in front of a British tank, whose driver did not see her. This incident fueled the anti-Israel sentiment on campus. The Jewish Cultural Center is a small group.

Even though we pay out-of-state tuition, the entire cost is about what we would be paying as state residents at a UC.

By Demingy (Demingy) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 06:14 pm: Edit

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I guess I should clarify that my main question is which would be strong schools for science (particularly molecular biology) that are at least likely to accept transfer students. I'm trying to get away from the non-traditional student roll (in terms of taking a full course load), so I'm not so concerned about colleges that provide part-time and evening options.

So far I do have Reed and Whitman as strong choices on my list, but given the fact that it will probably be Russian roulette as far as if they are accepting transfer students at the time that I apply, I'm also trying to accumulate some safety schools (University of Michigan is on that list so far), and some (hopefully) good match schools.

Yodisistim: Yep, it is the two-year college PTK (I'm part of the Alpha Kappa Sigma chapter). I know that it isn't a really high prestige (at least it seemed pretty easy to me to get in), but it is something and it gives me access to scholarships and grants that I otherwise wouldn't. Nice to "meet" a fellow member.

By Shennie (Shennie) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 07:15 pm: Edit

I know it is not exactly in Michigan, but you might want to check out University of Wisconsin. They have a fantastic department in molecular biology. It is one of the hot beds of stem cell research. Because it is a large university, you wouldn't feel out of place as a non-traditional student. And they they take lots of transfers.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 09:30 pm: Edit

I would look at Mills in CA
they have older students- womens college, don't know how their bio program is, but they have good aid.

By Demingy (Demingy) on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 11:37 am: Edit


By Bjturlington (Bjturlington) on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 12:02 pm: Edit

Lewis & Clark (OR), Willamette U., University of Puget Sound (WA), Evergreen.

I have a friend at The Evergreen State College (TESC) and he loves it, even though he is conservative. He attends on Saturdays (9-5) every quarter and by doing this he can work all week and spend just one day on campus. He gets 12 credits (quarter) every quarter, so he is actually 3 credits ahead (48 versus 45). He is also 25 and loves the programming. TESC has a close relationship with the University of Washington for grad school...so that is a huge benefit.

Hope this helps.

Rob :)

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