1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How to pay for 5th year?

  1. May 30, 2008 #1
    Hey guys,

    I'm wondering how once would go about paying for a fifth year if you already graduated. I could apply to be a nonmatriculated student, but you are not eligible for financial aid.

    I plan on coming back next semester and doing 3 independent studies (but I won't be signing up for them as courses, I'll just be meeting with the professors, so technically I won't be paying for tuition or fees). But I need to pay for transportation, which will be about $1000 for the semester and grad school apps will ran about $800. What types of loans can I take out being an unregistered student? I already graduated this May (I wanted to not apply for graduation, still be an undergrad and be eligible for financial aid next semester, but my parents really wanted to go to graduation).

    What are some good private student lenders?

    Does anyone have any experience with this kind of situation?

    Last edited: May 30, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Unfortunately, if you're not registered as a student, I think you're going to have a lot of trouble procuring a student loan, even from private lenders. Lots of banks offer a student line of credit - which you can still draw on for a year or so (depending on the bank) after graduation with minimal payments (ie. only the interest). I think you have to still be a student to apply for them originally though.

    If you figure you only need about $2000.00 and you're only taking three courses, it would seem a part-time job would be the best solution. Are any of your professors looking for lab or teaching assistants? Instead of just doing reading courses you could gain work experience and get paid for your time. This also looks better on CV or grad school application than unofficial audits in my opinion.

    Don't just look for job adds either. Talk to the people in the department and see if there's anyone with funding who needs help. And don't be afraid to branch out away from the area you're interested in.

    Another option might be to look for a job with a lot of down time that would allow you to study while working - parking lot attendants, security guards, Canadian senator, etc.
  4. May 30, 2008 #3
    What are your reasons for taking a semester to do this rather than just applying for grad school now.
  5. May 30, 2008 #4
    He already tried that, he needs to get his gre score up, it's in another thread.
  6. May 30, 2008 #5


    User Avatar

  7. May 30, 2008 #6
    Get a job (tutoring, retail, etc.)? 20 hours/week at $10/hour = $200/week = $800/month. 40 hours/week at $10/hour = $400/week = $1600/month.
  8. May 30, 2008 #7
    I agree, sounds like a summer job is in order, or two, or three...
  9. May 31, 2008 #8

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    Jordan, in reading this and your other messages, I notice a certain "Ready! Fire! Aim!" approach to the way you make life choices. You might want to reflect on this a bit and ask yourself how well it's working out for you.

    Onto the specifics, if you aren't signed up for courses, you're not a student. That means you can't get student loans.

    You've gotten the tutoring suggestion twice in two different threads now. That might tell you something. Two things to keep in mind - one is that your transportation costs will increase if you have to travel (and your potential market will shrink if you don't) and the other is that tutoring takes marketing.

    In the past thread you started on how you were going to earn some money, you turned your nose up at jobs paying less than $8 an hour. Fair enough, but if you don't think a PhD in mathematics is worth a term spending a couple hours a week doing something that's not much fun, you should not go to graduate school. There will be plenty of long hours in graduate school doing things that aren't much fun.
  10. May 31, 2008 #9
    A part-time job is in order.

    I've been working at a self-storage facility outside of Michigan State University while I put together applications for graduate schools, took some courses, and looked down certain career paths. The benefits are there's lots of downtime in the winter, but not much in the summer. And you gain some sales experience.

    I make about $800/month with 20 hrs a week. It's not exactly glamorous, but it beats flipping burgers. The only troublesome part is that self storage facilities auction off the stuff of people who don't pay. So, there's always the potential I'd run into some dicey situations with angry customers.

    I do hope you're not planning to live far away and commute to your school though. A strong spike in gas prices might ruin your plans. See if your parents might be willing to help with some costs for a while.
    Last edited: May 31, 2008
  11. May 31, 2008 #10
    First of all, I did not thumb my nose at an $8 an hour job, I said I got rejected by $8 an hour jobs. "I guess doing well in a subject with mathematics dos not readily translate to a DECENT job. I mean I'm not expecting a $20 an hour job, I've been rejected from some $8 an hour jobs." from https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=236903. So please, don't misquote me. What I meant by that is that a lot of these jobs are office jobs and accounting/finance majors are really more qualified than me, because I was a mathematics student. I don't have the powerpoint experience or the excel experience or the basic bookkeeping skills they are looking for, SO NO, it does not readily apply to a job for me.

    As for the tutoring thing, listen, I live pretty damn far from my school. I really would not be able to tutor any of the kids going to summer classes, it would cost me about $50-75 a week just in transportation costs and a 4 hour commute back and forth. To me, that is a colossal mismanagement of time.

    Where do you jump to these insane conclusions? When did I ever say it would not be fun?! I said I'm having a hard time getting the money together. Don't you think if I thought it wasn't fun or if it was boring, I wouldn't even bother wasting my time coming back for a fifth year? Spending all this money on textbooks? Studying 5 hours a day during my summer vacation. I already graduated. I actually deferred admissions to NYU's masters of math program so I could try to get into a PhD program again.

    I really cannot tolerate you questioning my desire to get into grad school. You have no idea what my situation is and I would really appreciate you not jumping to these maniacal conclusions.

    I also appreciate how you called me a prima donna in my other post about not being able to find a job.

    LMAO and my name is not Jordan, ranadium 60!

    I'll take the posts as a sign that maybe I should keep my business to myself and not ask so many questions about career guidance.
    Last edited: May 31, 2008
  12. May 31, 2008 #11
    It's worth mentioning, since I've already been through it, but there are no funding options (like student loans) available to a person in your situation. You've got to be a degree seeking student to obtain the kinds of loans you need.

    Cash, credit cards, or other private loans with higher interest rates are probably your best bet. But do also realize that if you took out federal loans, your grace period will end sometime this next year while you're not in school. So you should get in a program as soon as possible.
    Last edited: May 31, 2008
  13. May 31, 2008 #12
    I wouldn't say none. There are probably some grants you'd be eligible for. But mostly, you'd be stuck with the work+school method.
  14. May 31, 2008 #13
    The point that many of us are trying to make, but which you seem unwilling to accept, is that you can't be picky about the type of job that you're willing to accept. You may think that working as a barista or a bartender or a cashier is beneath you, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do to pay the bills.
  15. May 31, 2008 #14
    I'm pretty picky, but that's because I don't think there's any sense in going after low-paying jobs or ones that won't double as a source of useful experience when I could spend the same time and effort going after something better.

    Also, use your reading skills. He said the $8 ones weren't hiring him either. Are you sure you have a point?
  16. May 31, 2008 #15
    ok, I just want to make this clear: I do not think those jobs are beneath me, all I said was that even those jobs won't hire me right now. I have applied to a lot of different jobs, and I've gotten callbacks for a few of them, but nothing is definite right now. I'm just trying to think of what I would do just in case. But to reiterate, I do not think I am above any job that pays me an honest wage. I do not know why people keep thinking I ever said this.
  17. May 31, 2008 #16
    I would find a part time job where you live. If you start working sometime this semester, you would have enough money for transportation, grad applications, and some left over. Ideally, though you would want something that pertains to math. But, I worked at the YMCA for a year while I was in school. That was fun and you get to be outside all day playing sports or what not with kids. I don't know. Maybe there is a job at a doctor's office where you could be an secretary; that would be easy work and you would probably make at least 10 an hour. Actually, there is a teaching job at a community college in my home town that pays almost 50 grand a year; that is a hard job to pass up just to go to grad school; 50 grand where I live is a nice salary compared to the job. But, they do want the applicant to have 18 hours of graduate credit. So, that brings me to another idea which is that you could try and find a long-term job and only take one or zero course at uni. That may not be the most attractive thing, but you could save that money for grad school next year. Anyway, I am sure things will work out; especially if your parents are supporting you.
  18. May 31, 2008 #17
    Maybe you should use your reading skills--he specifically stated that he's been applying to accounting/finance jobs, so it's not surprising that he's not getting any offers since those employers would probably rather hire an accounting/finance major than a mathematics major. I know it's a very difficult job market right now, but it seems extremely plausible (to me, at least) that he's being too selective in the jobs that he's applying for. As for the utility of those jobs, as I said before, you gotta do what you gotta do to pay the bills--thousands of college students around the country work mediocre jobs during the summer and/or during the academic year in order to pay for their education.
  19. May 31, 2008 #18
    I have actually applied to shipping jobs, warehouse jobs and a 4 or 5 waiter gigs. Obviously not as many as the office jobs, but there are more office postings.

    Anyway, I don't want this to spiral into a he said, she said. I appreciate everyones input and I got all my questions answered (Any form of federal financial aid is out of the question, private loans will be difficult to come by and my best option is to get a part time job starting within the next few weeks).

    I will take everyone's input in consideration. Thanks everyone!
  20. Jun 1, 2008 #19
    Thought it may be too late...and maybe not reasonable...but is there a graduate program at your school that you could get in to that would at least partially fit in with your long term plans?
  21. Jun 1, 2008 #20


    User Avatar

    Just a few questions first.
    Would you drive to school?
    Why do you say you would not be able to tutor because the transportation costs would be too high?
    Why would it take 4 hours back and forth for the commute.

    I think you misread the post to which you are responding. He was saying that if you really want to do a PhD, which I think you really do seem to want to do, then you should have no problem sacrificing some time now working at a job which might not use the skills you learned as a math major.

    I too am a math major I just finished my B.S. and M.A. in Math and I will start my Ph.D. in the Fall. I don't get any financial aid so I have had to work throughout my college education.

    For a long time I only did tutoring. Sometimes I made close to $400 in a week and had seven different student. Generally I was OK with making around $200 a week. Now, I use to take the bus to school and to all the places where I use to tutor. Sometimes I rode my bike to be sure I would make it on times (sometimes buses have delays and could end up making me late).

    Right now I have been working at a Rug Shop. I had never worked selling things before and knew nothing about rugs. but it was a job which I was able to get and gets me some money so I do it. It not what I would call fun and I much rather spend my time studying for quals but doing that won't pay my bills.

    I really think you could make tutoring work. You don't have to tutor at the college level. when I was tutoring I was doing H.S. and middle school level. I started tutoring one girl (currently my only student), When she was in Algebra one and I have continued tutoring her year round for the past four years.

    Ask any people you know whether they know someone who needs tutoring. If the transportation costs are really prohibitive look around where you live. Is everyone there so good at math that you could not convince the parents that their children could use some help in math?

    You seem to be taking these statements too offensively and misinterpret what the poster means.

    Rather you should read more carefully, if there are post you don't like, just ignore them or explain why they are wrong in lengthy detail. I thought your explanation for why you could not tutor was not adequate.
  22. Jun 2, 2008 #21
    You never answered my question way back at the beginning of the thread, and someone recently posted a related question. I'm just curious about your situation.

    Why is it that you are not currently trying to get into a graduate program?

    Why do you feel it necessary to do your "5th year" as independent studies? Did you graduate? do you have your B.A/S ? If not then why?

    Maybe some of your other threads explained this so I apologize if I haven't read them.

    If it really means that much to you you should be able to find a job that will cover most of your costs. I say "a job" nothing specific but I can think of a ton of low-medium pay jobs you could apply for. How many of them have anything to do with your major or would be useful skills? probably very few, how many of them "pay the bills"? all of them.

    tutoring (not at your school if that is a problem), waiter / waitress, dish washer, cashier, lifeguard, work at library, work retail essentially anywhere, accounting firms, summer internships, dog walker, babysitter, food services (burger flipping or the like of any kinda restaurant service), local parks department and or city dept doing park yard work and clean up, factories, UPS FEDEX DHL etc.., lab rat, house keeper, general handy work, delivery boy, daycare, valet parking, landscaping, driver for any type of company that needs it, secretary.........
    the list goes on and on. Some of those jbs may suck, but they pay the bills. Some of those you probably can't get, but some of those are pretty essential "college kid" jobs
  23. Jun 2, 2008 #22
    Just check out his post in this thread mgiddy, it has the full story

    Anyway I had a friend that stayed an extra year, and he did it by working in one of the prof's labs. Jason might have a math degree, but I would bet an experimental research group in physics, chemistry or engineering would take him in, and then he would get both gainful employment and a rich experience in research that will only help him later in grad school. It's already been mentioned by others, but repeating it wouldn't hurt.
  24. Jun 2, 2008 #23
    I guess I should clarify some things

    For the commute situation, I live pretty far from school, I wouldn't be driving as I don't have a car, so I would be forced to take a train and the commute is about 2 hours each way (sometimes longer). So it's about 4 to 5 hours to get to my school by train. About 1 hour each way if I drive.

    SCV you make a good point about tutoring high school/junior high kids, especially for the SAT. I will start making flyers and posting them around local high schools.

    I did just graduate with a B.S. this past May.

    I did apply for graduate schools this past Fall, I got into a Masters program, but the loans were insane (i believe $40k) and I had 3 really nice independent studies lined up for the Fall (and possibly into the Spring), but I plan on applying for Fall 2009 PhD admissions again. It is kind of a complicated situation, but I think overall I am better off coming back for a fifth year. Here is why, if I went to the Masters, I would have taken out huge loans although I probably would've have a good shot at a good grad school afterwards. But if I come back for a fifth year, I could learn a lot of physics (my ultimate goal is to do some research in geometry and physics) which I am very weak in, do some really good research projects with well known professors and I think this would give me a better chance at getting into a good grad school.

    However, I did leave myself an out. Say when I reapply to grad school for Fall 2009, I don't get in. Well I deferred my admissions to my masters program for Fall 2009. This way, if I don't get it, I have my backup plan waiting.

    I am curious, what could I do right now to get into a PhD program? I would like to know every option available to me. Do you mean registering as a nonmatriculated student for Fall 2008 at some school and then trying to get in that way?
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  25. Jun 2, 2008 #24


    User Avatar

    This may or may not be an option for you but in terms of the commute not being a mismanagement of your time, it is actually better that you take a train (or bus).

    Growing up I got used to studying with many distractions around. Even when I had to take 2 trains and a bus to get to school, I was able make use of the 2+ hours each way by studying while sitting and while walking.
    The reason I asked whether you would be driving is that if you were then there isn't much you can do to use that time to study. But from experience I know that a commute on bus or train can be used for very effective studying. Of course this will depend on whether you can study in that environment. I know some people are used to studying in complete silence (or close to it) and this would not work for them.

    But if that can't work out, you can always tutor high school kids near where you live.
  26. Jun 2, 2008 #25
    If you are going to pay for tuition and fees, then a lot of schools will let you in if you apply before august 1st. Then there are extension programs at most schools that allow to just be a nonmatriculated student. But, both of these situations are not entirely different than just doing independent study courses. By the way, do your professors for these courses know you will not be a registered student? Anyway, I guess the only difference is getting financial aid. I am pretty sure you are eligible for a federally subsidized loan even if you are in an extension program.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook