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Old 2018-06-10, 15:25   #1
jvang
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I'll be posting what I do to prepare for college in this thread, such as research, essays, etc. For now I'm looking at where I'll be looking to apply. I'm thinking about a more affordable education, so an in-state college/university is looking pretty nice. I just can't figure out why there are so many colleges that seem like they are run by the state of Arkansas (for example, ASU, UALR, UA at Monticello, UA at Fayetteville). Just in this state alone there are so many colleges to look at that I'm barely sure what to be looking for.
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Old 2018-06-10, 21:46   #2
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I'll be posting what I do to prepare for college in this thread, such as research, essays, etc.
Just putting this out there for consideration and discussion...

While I completed a couple of years of university (mathematics, physics and computer science) and got good grades, I never completed my undergraduate degree. I got more interested in actually getting things done than "having paper".

Admittedly not having a degree can be a hindrance when you're trying to get a job at a company which filters their HR hiring based on "paper" (Starbucks, for example).

Now, there are some professions where paper is absolutely required. A Medical doctor, or an Engineer, for example.

But, personally, I have found that many of those who spend a great deal of time in school don't have a clue how to solve real-world problems. I have worked with PhDs who performed worse than high-school drop-outs.

Perhaps consider attending a vocational school. Learn well a skill which is immediately profitable. Being a plumber or an electrician might not sound great, but just look at their hourly bill rate!

FWIW. YMMV.
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Old 2018-06-11, 13:40   #3
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OK, suppose we take the Wikipedia list of colleges and universities in Arkansas as a starting point.
In the type column, you have the following hierarchy:
  1. Research university
  2. Master's university
  3. Baccalaureate college
  4. Associate's college
(plus a few that only offer courses in 1 area, e.g. medical school or Bible college).

Ar a research university, for example, the professors tend to spend as much time on research as they do on education.
They are there to discover or invent new things themselves, just as much as to teach what is already known.
Some of your fellow students here would be planning to go on and do PhDs, so you could expect both staff and students to be highly intelligent.
A degree from a research university tends to get a lot of respect. It is also very hard work.
Just 2 of the colleges in the state of Arkansas are listed as research universities!

The ones listed as Master's university hardly have any PhD students but do have a lot of postgraduate students doing Master's degrees.
The Baccalaureate colleges focus on bachelor's degrees, not postgraduate education.
At an Associate's college, hardly anyone even does a full bachelor's degree (if I understand it correctly).

So working out which type of college from this list would suit you best is important.
After that, I would consider which majors they offer, how big they are, and also the restrictions such as entrance requirements and fees!
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Old 2018-06-11, 14:33   #4
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Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
But, personally, I have found that many of those who spend a great deal of time in school don't have a clue how to solve real-world problems. I have worked with PhDs who performed worse than high-school drop-outs.
Sometimes people just don't end up learning useful stuff. Some of those people go on and become philosophers and such, but most of the time they don't really know how to function. I'd probably want to avoid that kind of education, and from what I've heard a lot of ideas taught in colleges are more hands-on versus lectures than they used to be.

Now that I've looked over that list I've realized that there are even more Universities of Arkansas than I thought!

A research university sounds good, although U of A @ Fayetteville and UALR are both pretty big campuses. I don't mind a large population, but that sometimes means that the classes are huge, 200+ person lecture halls instead of interactive, hands-on environments.
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Old 2018-06-12, 18:19   #5
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I learned a couple of pretty important things last night. Firstly, we have a program called the Academic Common Market which is really neat. Basically if Arkansas doesn't offer a major I'd like to study but one of the other 14 participating states does, I can attend one of their colleges for the in-state tuition price, saving me a lot should I need to go out-of-state. The only requirements are to be a resident of Arkansas and for my major to not be offered here. So that's neat!

The second thing is the Yellow Ribbon program. My mom says that we are eligible to use the benefits from it, which means that any money that a participating university contributes to my tuition as part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the government will match. I checked their numbers for a couple of the state universities, and this alone will cut the price of tuition by over $4000 per year at the least!

Now I just need to see where my grades will let me go. I'm not sure how much my 3 F's will affect my chances of getting into some of our better colleges, does anyone know how that works? My ACT score is more than enough, so I just need to worry about GPA.
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Old 2018-06-12, 19:02   #6
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How do you know that your ACT score is "more than enough"?

What do you think about living in a dorm? How will you motivate yourself without your family being close by?
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Old 2018-06-12, 20:11   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvang View Post
Now I just need to see where my grades will let me go. I'm not sure how much my 3 F's will affect my chances of getting into some of our better colleges, does anyone know how that works? My ACT score is more than enough, so I just need to worry about GPA.
With three Fs you'll need a fantastic ACT and one heck of a great story to get in. Do you have a college counselor to talk to?
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Old 2018-06-12, 20:38   #8
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One other consideration is what field(s) you think you might want to get into (e.g., computer science, engineering [and if so, what subset of engineering], biology, art, and so on). That can determine what schools you want to consider more seriously.
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Old 2018-06-12, 23:00   #9
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I somehow managed to get into the U of I with 4 F-type-thingies. I think that's because I had none my senior year of high school, so I was able to play up the "doing better" part in essays.

I never took an ACT, only SAT. I got ~2100 (out of 2400) on the standard one, with 800 and 780 on Math and Physics subject tests.

Last fiddled with by Dubslow on 2018-06-12 at 23:00
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Old 2018-06-13, 19:16   #10
jvang
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
What do you think about living in a dorm? How will you motivate yourself without your family being close by?
I'll just have to do things. I don't know if I'll need any sort of motivation if I'm aware of the cost of college.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
With three Fs you'll need a fantastic ACT and one heck of a great story to get in. Do you have a college counselor to talk to?
I'm at a 34 so far. I have yet to actually study ACT material to prepare for one, and now I don't really know what to work on to get a 36. Where would I find a college counselor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatman View Post
One other consideration is what field(s) you think you might want to get into (e.g., computer science, engineering [and if so, what subset of engineering], biology, art, and so on). That can determine what schools you want to consider more seriously.
Definitely leaning towards computer science, architecture, or one of the mechanical engineering fields. If I decide on engineering/architecture my choices narrow significantly, but just about every university in the state has a computer science program. I'm not really sure how to judge the quality of an individual program at a school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubslow View Post
I somehow managed to get into the U of I with 4 F-type-thingies. I think that's because I had none my senior year of high school, so I was able to play up the "doing better" part in essays.

I never took an ACT, only SAT. I got ~2100 (out of 2400) on the standard one, with 800 and 780 on Math and Physics subject tests.
I guess I'll focus on doing well this year and write something like that. As for the tests, I've only taken the SAT once and it was the year that they changed the scoring system.

If I go to a college in-state I've narrowed my choices to 5 that are worthwhile. University of Arkansas in Fayetteville is our best public school and pretty good all around. The other 4 are Hendrix College, John Brown University, Lyon College, and University of the Ozarks. They're all private and religiously-affiliated, and their curriculums don't seem to stand out, so I think U of A is the best choice. I'll definitely go there for Architecture since we have the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, which is apparently really good. If I decide on Aerospace Engineering, Auburn University looks really nice; thanks to the Academic Common Market I'll be able to attend at the in-state tuition price, saving me about $20 grand!
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Old 2018-06-13, 20:12   #11
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For judging the quality of the program, you can check national rankings for some idea, though don't take them as the be-all-end-all. The other thing to consider is the specialties of the program--for instance, do you have any interest in doing scientific research? If so, the quality of the research done at the school should be considered too. Same for things like internships or public-private collaborations if you're thinking you want to head into private industry.

Lastly, if you can talk to some of the professors, do so. Most times, you can contact the department(s) you're interested in and inquire about meeting with some people when you visit. You can ask more detailed questions about the curriculum, post-undergrad opportunities, in-school opportunities, and so on.
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