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Subject: what should I do? rss

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Scott Nelson
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To start off, I'm a senior in the local university.
I went back in 93-1999, and almost finished my degree, minus a few math classes. Then I got married, and quit to let my wife finish her degree. After she was done, going 4 more years due to factors I will explain closely. Decided to go back, and found out it was too long, so all my math classes were not going to count. So, I go back, as a senior, taking low level math classes, at the same time trying to finish the other computer classes I will need (the degree changed a bit while I was gone - entered Engineering when once it was Math. So here's the problem:
1. Each semester I have talked to my advisor, and he keeps telling me a new degree that I have all but 3-4 classes already done. So he tells me what to take, Math, not a problem, since it counts as "done", but not for prerequisites is all. So, he gave me hope. I took a few classes to help my GPA and was hopeful.
2. Year 1 is over and his "degree" has not panned out, so it is back to the original plan which requires all math classes now. I start to take math classes, because less math is involved in his new "degree" that he has sent for approval - different than the last time. This one has maybe 2 math classes is all I need, so I get hopeful. The year ends and it is still in limbo and not approved.
3. I talk to my wife, and she has the engineering CS degree from the same school - she went through many hoops to get out of there, so she knows it well. She looks at my degree from what she took, and doesn't see any "new degree" happening, so she checks my classes, what is left and what is offered and when. She declares 3 years more before I can get my degree, 2 if I take summer classes...if the classes are offered.
4. This semester, none of the classes I need are offered but the math class. I look back and one class I have hoped to get into has not even been offered in the last year...and may have been dropped entirely.
5. Cost to go is cheaper due to a pell grant, but travel is not. I already have the pell and loans ready. To get a full time grant, I have taken fluff classes - easy A stuff, but no help on my degree.

Should I even try to finish anymore??

It looks hopeless to me right now to have any chance to finish unless I put life on hold for 3 years. But, with a newborn, it was hard. Now he's a toddler, and it is even harder. I live 70 miles from the school, so I try to make it 2 days a week classes (which is actually do-able with the classes offered). I already have a big enough loan debt for my wife and from when I attended before. Cost to go to school is up to 2700 a semester, and goig up each year, with less and less teachers/classes being offered. It is a slippery slope with admin versus teachers, currently.

Did I even give anyone an idea there was hope? I try to see the horizon each semester, but it keeps getting pushed back. I should try to get a job without a degree (others have done it), and skip the whole university drama going on, right?

PS I do recommend going to Idaho State University; it is in shambles; almost every degree is impossible without 5 years or more due to classes changed, degree changes, and other drama.
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Jason Sadler
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It took me seven years to graduate and I had to switch from my major from mechanical engineering to philosophy just to get out of school. Life had gotten complicated and an engineering degree was not going to work out, so I basically punted and went with the degree that interested me (I also mistakenly believed it would be less work). I have never gotten a job because I majored in philosophy, but I wouldn't have a career if I hadn't gotten a degree in something.

I think you have put too much effort in not to get a degree.
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Blorb Plorbst
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I'd ask your advisor why he tells you you can be done in a year when you can't. Then ask him to fix it.

You're paying them for a service and they are not delivering. Talk to his boss if he can't seem to get the job done.
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Doug Faust
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1. College advisors routinely have no idea what they're talking about. They either are full-time advisors that have way too many students assigned to them, so can't really spend time thinking about an individual student's issues, or they are faculty who never really cared about advising to begin with. Once in a while a student may get a good advisor, but really the best way to figure out degree requirements is to do it yourself based on the information in the catalog, and then just have your advisor confirm what you already think.

2. Commuting 70 miles to school seems ridiculous to me. Have you looked into online course offerings? They are definitely not for everyone, as it's a lot more work than a traditional class--students have to be a lot more conscientious about keeping up with the workload. However, the added convenience of not having to travel 70 miles plus getting to take care of your toddler may make it worth it. Plus, if you go this angle, you're not restricted to Idaho State--really at that point, you can transfer wherever you'd like. However, do note that some "online universities" are not nationally accredited and thus may not able to accept federal grant money, like Pell.

3. Getting a degree is not a magic ticket that will land you a job. In fact, you'll probably face a lot of challenges getting a job even with a bachelor's degree. However, not having a degree will exacerbate the problem--not only will you limit yourself to jobs that don't require a degree, but you'll also be competing with degree-holders for those jobs that you do qualify for. What I'd recommend is trying to get a job while simultaneously taking classes--it's a lot of work, but fortunately in this day and age, you can do both from the comfort of your own home.
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Chad
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Is it the math classes that are changing or the requirements for your degree?

Our program requirements change from time to time but by and large I don't think the math classes have changed much at all in the past 10, probably even 20 or more years here. The calculus doesn't change much I don't think. Seems a bit strange for yours not to count, unless they've significantly increased the level of the math that you needed. But from the sound of it, they are actually cutting some of the math out of engineering? Sounds odd, but they've done that to some degree to the CS degrees here several years ago.
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Michael Edwards
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I am happy that I've been able to have a career without ever getting my degree (I didn't come particularly close, dropping out to work full time after a few years). However, it's certainly come back to haunt me a few times, and probably come back to haunt me more times than I know about when applying for jobs. Specifically, when I was working in digital forensics, my boss straight up said he'd love to use me as a professional witness, but that I'd need a degree for it. He might know I new my stuff, but a jury and/or judges wouldn't know, and my credibility would be able to be attacked on it.

I would agree that a degree is not a magic ticket to landing a job. However, not having one is a hurdle in getting many jobs, or advancing far in them. Also, I think studies have shown that it improves your average lifetime earnings by quite a bit.
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Scott Nelson
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BigChzy wrote:
Is it the math classes that are changing or the requirements for your degree?

Our program requirements change from time to time but by and large I don't think the math classes have changed much at all in the past 10, probably even 20 or more years here. The calculus doesn't change much I don't think. Seems a bit strange for yours not to count, unless they've significantly increased the level of the math that you needed. But from the sound of it, they are actually cutting some of the math out of engineering? Sounds odd, but they've done that to some degree to the CS degrees here several years ago.


First of all, thanks for the input.

as for the math classes: Yes and no. The classes have not changed, but needing higher level math has been lowered eg. no linear 2 or dif equ anymore - my wife had to take these as it was an engineering degree 2 yrs ago.

This college will not count math classes that were taken 10 years ago or more, which us when mine were taken, up to calc 1. I audited calc 2.

so I had to start over at college algebra or test out. Testing out didn't work because as I have found out and knew, you don't use a ton of algebra in computer classes, and less calc, depending on field of study of course.


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Walt
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Maybe you need to switch advisers?

In the University of California, degree requirements freeze when you start. No moving targets. It may be the same for you, but your adviser doesn't know it.

If you really need to take math you already know, why not take it simultaneously? It may take a sign-off, but if you know the prerequisite, why not? Consider whether you can ask to take courses by exam.

Rather than fluff classes, look for interesting but low-load grad courses. Again, you'll probably need the professor's permission, but I was never refused. I think I started taking them as a freshman; definitely as a sophomore. Ask around for "Independent studies." In other words, you work for a professor or a grad student. At least at UC, these give credit, though no pay, and are the next best thing to work experience. And basic statistics, business, and accounting courses are always useful.

As far as needing the degree, with so much personnel sorting automated, I'm afraid that's probably the case, especially if you want to work in your field. However, if you like small companies, they can be more flexible--and there's a huge difference between dropping out and jumping in (to the job market). But if you're going to try jumping in, you need to have your excrement collected. You need to be able to kick butt and take names, technically speaking.
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Maybe you need to switch advisers?

In the University of California, degree requirements freeze when you start. No moving targets. It may be the same for you, but your adviser doesn't know it.

If you really need to take math you already know, why not take it simultaneously? It may take a sign-off, but if you know the prerequisite, why not? Consider whether you can ask to take courses by exam.

Rather than fluff classes, look for interesting but low-load grad courses. Again, you'll probably need the professor's permission, but I was never refused. I think I started taking them as a freshman; definitely as a sophomore. Ask around for "Independent studies." In other words, you work for a professor or a grad student. At least at UC, these give credit, though no pay, and are the next best thing to work experience. And basic statistics, business, and accounting courses are always useful.

As far as needing the degree, with so much personnel sorting automated, I'm afraid that's probably the case, especially if you want to work in your field. However, if you like small companies, they can be more flexible--and there's a huge difference between dropping out and jumping in (to the job market). But if you're going to try jumping in, you need to have your excrement collected. You need to be able to kick butt and take names, technically speaking.
Solid advice! I like everything that he's said here.
Good luck!
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