How to get shit done without beating up animals.

Archived discussion from Toril-2.
kwirl
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How to get shit done without beating up animals.

Postby kwirl » Wed Aug 25, 2004 5:50 am

I'm curious, lets say that a 26 year old individual is bored and wants to go to school fulltime. Now, aforementioned 26 year old has had no tax-reported employment in the last year, and is searching for financial aid.

I kinda got distracted by college when I graduated high school early and discovered the massive amounts of drugs and alcohol to be had by partying. Lately though, I have been trying to contribute to society, and *boom* these assholes want a degree. Gah, a decade of mudding just doesn't go as far as it used to.

Anyways, I filled out the FAFSA form or whatever its spelled, but I'm not sure how to proceed in going to school. I wanna go to school fulltime, I had a 1400 SAT score (i only took it once, the early graduation prevented me from doing better), I was in the top 10% of my graduating class, etc. At one time these things enabled scholarship opportunities, now they enable bitter memories.

How does an able and willing person get financing or funding to go to school full time. I plan on starting at Santa Monica College, then transferring to a University when I'm back in the educational ring.

I would like to major in either Computer Science or Graphics, or maybe Business Management. Or actually Video Game development would be a dream, I have tinkered with that field for a few years recreationally and it has been great. I'd love to be some minion sitting around modelling boots and floorboards for some next-gen gaming company.

Well, anyway, I have a beaurocratic anxiety issue that causes me to falter when researching the administrative process for my own life, so any pointers here would be awesome.

All I can find for financial aid seems to be a 'pell grant' but I barely know what the hell that is.

Also, a RL friend who didn't like education as much as I did wants to go back to school and become a full-time Park Ranger, anyone know anything about that? :P
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Postby Dlur » Wed Aug 25, 2004 6:46 am

You're now considered a "non-traditional student". This basically means you didn't go to college directly out of high school. It also means that the college should nearly bend over backwards to get you financial aid. A pell grant is great, if you qualify, but more likely in your current situation you'll just get tons of very low interest government loans that get paid off once you graduate and get a job. You should also be able to get housing aid and crap like that since you are a non-trad. You might have to get a part-time job to get beer money and such, but for the most part the system should take care of you completely unless you have a home mortgage or something like that.
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kwirl
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Postby kwirl » Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:16 am

I have a place to live and no debts, ive never even had a credit card.

as for beer money and shit, money like that i have, i just want a real education but ill be damned if i know how to get money for it
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Postby Sarvis » Wed Aug 25, 2004 8:31 am

Most colleges have Financial Aid advisors. My advice is to call the college you want to attend and ask their FA advisor(s) about all of this.

Basically though:

PELL is grant money that comes from the Federal Government. It's a decent amount, but I think it is just a percentage of the tuition or something.

The rest you basically get in educational loans from the government. You can get more than you actually need for tuition, but of course you would need to pay it all back later. They come at a fairly low interest rate, and you don't have to start paying on them until a year after you graduate.

Your state may have it's own grant but I can't tell you what that is unless you live in New York, in which case it is TAP.

The college may also give you a grant. I know RIT gave me a very small grant of about $1000. (Small in comparison to the $26K per year tuition costs... heh.)

Finally, I would suggest against computer science. It is very difficult to find jobs in this field right now. You may do better trying to break into the game industry, but you would want a curriculum more geared towards gaming then rather than general computer programming.


Good luck!
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Postby rylan » Wed Aug 25, 2004 12:07 pm

Computer Engineering (hybrid of CS and EE so you can do stuff in either field) might be worth a look. As for management, thats a decent idea also, especailly if you go in for high tech project management and stuff like that. I'm going to be going part time for a high tech MBA so I can manage the outsourced jobs and beat in them cuz they aren't as good as engineers here.

Oh anyway abou tthe financial aid, yeah you should talk to the school financial aid department. Most colleges and particularly universities give a substantial amount of assistance in scholarship form to lower the starting tuition amount, then supplment that with federal loans.
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Postby Iaiken Toransier » Wed Aug 25, 2004 1:24 pm

Congratz on the notion of furthering yourself... School is not only worth it for the education, but for the high levels of newtworking you can do in your respective field.

I don't know how tech jobs are in the states, but it seems to me that to be marketable you have to be extremely versatile. Just during my time at college I have worked in the developement of automated integrated production and tracking systems, enterprise web applications developement and network security tools (network watchdog/control systems). For small firms (Test Fusion Systems Inc.) and large government organizations (The independant electricity market opperator of ontario).

If you're gonna go into computers it's best not to see yourself as a specialist until you get your masters degree and can really prove that you are. I've gotten my hands design, developement, implementation, testing, everything and I have never been without a well paying job.

As for financial aid is concerned, if you score on that, make sure you work the debt off as you go through school. Starting your carreer with $70k+ debt over your head is a shitty place to be. Sure you can roll it into your first mortgage or whatever, but that kinda debt can bury you very quickly. Working sucks, but I've busted my ass all the way through college and watched $60k come and go and I can tell you I am in a lot better shape than my classmate who owes like $50k and spends all of his money drinking.

Best bet is to speak with several adivsors about your particular situation, they've helped lots of people in your boat. Get a handle on all of the different financing options and see what leaves you in the best condition to either seek a graduate placement or to get your working life started.

Good luck... don't suck.
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Postby Grizz » Wed Aug 25, 2004 3:13 pm

I went to college at age 26 and stayed for 7 years because the financial aid was so good. I got about half in grants and the rest in loans. Now however I am paying $400 a month on student loans which is a real pain in the ass. I lived very well during college though. If I could do it over again I would have put some money away in CD's or something to help pay off this debt soon as I got out.

Oh, btw, ITT Tech has a Bachelors Degree in Game Design you might want to consider.
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kwirl
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Postby kwirl » Wed Aug 25, 2004 6:46 pm

It seems anytime I contact them they just send me piles of forms, what ever happened to human contact?

Blah.
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hey guess what

Postby muma » Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:01 am

I went to SMC but ended up skipping all my classes eventually. so i hardly went. there was a lot of drama in my life at the time.
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kwirl
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Postby kwirl » Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:19 am

SMC?
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Postby kwirl » Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:22 am

doh im a moron :P i thought you were a canadian:P
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Postby Ambar » Thu Aug 26, 2004 9:13 am

just a guess .. Santa Monica College?

Call around and see who has financial aid and who doesnt ... look into more than just Pell Grants ... several folks have said go see a n advisor ...

thats a good starting point
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Postby kwirl » Fri Aug 27, 2004 3:36 am

Ok, I am working on all of this shit, and now the school is telling me i need to submit an ISIR form, which appears to be electronically filed.

I'll be DAMNED if I can find where the hell to get this form, I have been all over google and back.

Anyone know about the ISIR and where I can find it?

This paperwork process is a pain in my ass :(
kwirl
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Postby kwirl » Fri Aug 27, 2004 3:42 am

no wait, i did an ISIR already :P
Kifle
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Postby Kifle » Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:59 pm

Dude, there's a huuuuge book full of scholorships you can get at your local borders or barnes/noble store. I think it costs about 40 bucks or so. There is a wealth of scholorships and grants with exact ways to apply for them. I think that crazy guy that looks like the riddler wrote it. Mathew leskey i think his name is. He also wrote another book full of other types of free government monies.

Anyway, the book is well worth the price. I've now got a full ride scholorship on top of a pell grant. I'm basically getting paid 2k a semester (4k/yr) to go to college. Just make sure to fill out the FAFSA forms promptly each year because it's a first come first serve basis. Also, there are state requirements on when to fill out the FAFSA forms to be eligable for the pell grant and other state/federal aid grants. Most times the FA offices, well the ones i've dealt with anyway, are a hassle and it's a lot of forms, but I'd rather fill out 20 forms and go to/call the FA office 100 times in 2 weeks than pay 15k a semester...

Good luck man. College is more than worth it. Just don't get a philosophy or history degree and you'll be fine, hehe.

EDIT: Also, you will want to get accepted to the college/university first. Otherwise it will be a hell of a lot more hassle to get the aid.

I also wouldn't rely much on your first stafford loan if that's the way you choose to go. It takes about 1-2weeks depending on the mail times to get the proper paperwork done. Ie., master promisary note, award letters, etc... You then have to wait another 30 days before the lender will actually dispurse your monies to the school who will then take out what they need and wait a few more days to a week to dispurse the remainder to you for books etc... Also, during the first week of classes most schools will give out book loans which are loans given to you by the school and are repaid either by a payment plan or taken out of whatever award moneies you are granted that semester. This loan is usually dependant on the school and rarely gives you enough for all of your books though, but it does help.

good luck.
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Postby Sarvis » Fri Aug 27, 2004 10:05 pm

Kifle wrote:Good luck man. College is more than worth it. Just don't get a philosophy or history degree and you'll be fine, hehe.


Or a computer science degree... *sigh*
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Postby Kifle » Sun Aug 29, 2004 12:39 am

Don't feel bad...even though I know it's useless, I still let my ethics professor talk me into double majoring and getting a philosophy degree. I'm a glutton for punishment and disappointment.
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