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Veteran with rocky college past returning to school

  1. Oct 15, 2014 #1
    I'm a U.S. military member that's transitioning to civilian life. I'll be getting paid to spend the next 3-4 years of my life in college, thanks to the post 9/11 GI bill. I will be living in a Southern state attending a state school or starting at a community college and then transferring to a state school.

    My college career prior to joining the service was rocky, to say the least. I think I had a GPA below 2.0. I bounced around through the math/science departments. The classes I attended, which were very few, I did well in. My grades in the calculus curriculum were representative of my entire college career, in my opinion:

    Calc 1: C (attended some of the sessions)
    Calc 2: A (attended most of the sessions)
    Calc 3: F (I had an A until I stopped attending, did not even show up for the midterm or final)
    Differential Equations: F (I thought the class was no more difficult than Calc 2, but I didn't hang around long)

    My point is, I did fine when I tried and failed miserably when I didn't. I'm stuck with these transcripts following me forever.

    I've studied a foreign language for the last 6 years and have a degree with a 3.8 GPA from the institution I received it from. I was practically forced to show up for every second of class time. I've done better academically since starting my military career but I've also excelled in a population that's already pretty exceptional. I owe that fact to figuring out what it means to actually work hard.

    I'm interesting in studying electrical engineering. As I said, I will be getting paid to attend college, and I've also been fortunate enough to be mindful of my own money. Money is not and will not be an issue for me for the foreseeable future.

    I've contacted a number of schools, including their veterans affairs departments, and none of them are interested in considering my foreign language accomplishments/transcripts for admissions.

    My questions are:

    With the information I've provided, what would you do?

    Assuming no state school will accept me, what should I study at community college and what else might I do to increase my chances of transferring to a local state school to study electrical engineering? I will be living near a major city with more than a few state school options, but relocation is something I'm trying to avoid - maximizing my chances of transferring to a school within my vicinity is a high priority.

    Should I start over from scratch since it has been at least 6 years since I've been in a college class that's remotely relevant to what an electrical engineering major studies? Academic bankruptcy/amnesty options may increase my chances of acceptance at a state school (erasing my poor GPA in the accepting school's eyes), but I already have my general education requirements completed. However, I'll basically be starting at the bottom if I pursue an electrical engineering degree.

    What else might I consider? I'm open to any and all suggestions/criticisms.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2014 #2


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    In my experience, taking math at a community college is just as good as a university (I've done both). As you already know, you get out of your education what you put in.

    You should first focus on improving your math, which is a perishable skill. Take a math placement exam to see where you need to start - these are given at most community colleges. If the exam results indicate you need to start lower than you expected, don't despair. Don't be tempted to skip prerequisites, especially in math!

    And I wouldn't assume state schools would reject you, although I'm surprised they won't consider your language classes. Did they give a reason for that?
  4. Oct 19, 2014 #3
    Thanks for the advice! I've been getting about an hour per day of math studying done since March of this year. I'm reviewing what I forgot and learning what I missed the first time around. It's amazing to see how much I've forgotten, but even more amazing to see the amount of material I never learned at all. I think I'll actually have a more solid base when I get back into things than I did before, even if I do have to retake a few courses.

    I was told by the veterans rep from one school that they recognized the difficulty and rigor of the program I attended, but would not consider it because they did not offer comparable courses. Kind of contradictory, in my opinion.

    From my experiences thus far, I think a lot of these veterans affairs positions at colleges and universities are just there for political reasons. Most schools stress how much they care about veterans, but I'm not finding that to be true. It's certainly reasonable to ask if a veteran should even get a preference in college admissions, but I don't believe it's reasonable to say that you give preference to veterans on on one hand only to then do the opposite. Of course, I am dragging around an ugly transcript from years ago, so that's likely influencing their decisions.
  5. Oct 20, 2014 #4


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    Is it necessary to provide transcripts from all schools you have attended? Usually transcripts are onlt required if you completed a degree there.
  6. Oct 20, 2014 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    I don't think so. Every application I have seen asks for transcripts of every school you have attended.
  7. Oct 20, 2014 #6


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    Most grad schools I have applied to say they want transcripts for schools you received a degree from. Undergrad may be different though.
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