Should I Go Back to School?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Rex, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Our education officer insisted I go to our Education Fair today and I went to the booths for University of Phoenix and Duquesne (the rep from Duquesne was very funny). The government will foot up to $250 per credit, which is fine, but I'd owe the government one more month of service for each credit I take. I'm interested in a certificate program or maybe even my Masters....I currently have a Bachelors in Communications from Cabrini College, but my experience in marketing/PR/journalism is pretty limited, unless you count the four years I supported the director of marketing in my old firm, and my current job which includes doing the weekly newsletter...

    No secret; I'm :smokin: but I'll be 46 in June. Is there such a thing as being too old to go back? This job is okay, but I don't want to be "witty and clerical" forever. I was actually looking for non-administrative work at the time I got laid off from my old job, but the economy made me think more about a steady job than chasing my dream career.

    I hate asking for advice, but I do need some feedback. :yikes:

    Let 'er rip........
     
  2. Prancer

    Prancer Dysteleological Staff Member

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    I am always in favor of going back to school on someone else's nickel and it never hurts to make yourself more marketable. You are absolutely not too old; everyone is going back to school because of the economy right now. If you take classes in the evening, you will fit right in. If you take classes during the day, the students will be younger on average, but they will love having you around because you are more likely to actually work. They will all want to be in your group, always.

    STAY AWAY from UoP unless you intend to stay with the government forever. The government will take a UoP degree; a whole lot of other employers will not.
     
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  3. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Prancer. Most are offering online courses and if I can do it that way, I have no problem a few hours a night after work.

    I didn't know that! My cousin Pat got her Masters from Phoenix. But she does work for the Phila. Gas Company, which has a government contract. And their Masters' Program is 18 months.

    I just wanna make sure a degree or certificate any of these institutions offer is something practical and something I enjoy.
     
  4. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    No you're not too old, but you are too old to pick something you don't absolutely love. Working full time while going to school isn't easy, even for distance learners. Pick something where you'd actually enjoy doing the homework. If your employer insists, throw them a bone by taking a work related course once in a while.
     
  5. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    A lot of employers dislike the for-profit/proprietary schools so much that seeing them on your resume means instant circular file (read: trash bin.) I'd rather you avoid all that and instead attend a traditional, non-profit, brick and mortar school like Duquesne, whether you do your classes online or off.

    You aren't too old to do this. Some of your classmates will be older than you are. But you *are* old enough that you want to minimize the cost as much as possible. To get the maximum bang for your buck (best education at the lowest price), look at the public universities in the state in which you're a resident. They should be your least expensive option in terms of a graduate certificate or masters degree.
     
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  6. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    Trust me, Rex, you are not too old! I see people older than their 40's in each and every class I have at LSU. The economy is forcing a lot of people to make themselves more marketable in order to find a job. You will not be alone, I promise. If you do something like University of Phoenix, please make sure your degree will be respected. I know a lot of people who frown on those degrees and would never hire someone with one. I haven't looked into it much so I don't know if that is a usual thing or if these people are just ignorant on the subject. If you do go that route I don't even think you attend a class, isn't it all online? So know one would even know your age, anyway!
     
  7. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Rex, are you saying your interests are in PR/marketing/journalism? What are your interests?
     
  8. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I am interesting in that field; that is what I have my Bachelors' in. My ideal government gig would be a public affairs office position. I like to write, and am pretty creative. But my background is so administrative, it's difficult to get out of that trap, to apply for jobs my degree has trained me for.

    I'm getting the impression that Phoenix isn't highly regarded...
    Maybe I'll try Temple. They didn't show up to the fair today, but they are one of the more reasonable colleges in terms of costs.
     
  9. Catherine M

    Catherine M Well-Known Member

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    Just to back this up I know someone who throws EVERY application/resume he receives from University of Phoenix grads he receives for various job openings into the garbage can. Doesn't even bother to look at them to see what their job history is. Just straight into the garbage can. So if you do go back to school, stick with a brick & mortar school that fits your needs and you can afford.

    And you are never too old. When I was in graduate school there were quite a few people 40+ getting their Masters in Library Science, in order to move into administration positions, including one of my best friends.
     
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  10. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    You are never too old to learn. :) Re changing careers, in my experience, it's a lot easier to get hired from the inside than the outside, so maybe if you landed an admin job in public affairs, you could use that as a launching pad to a different position within that field.
     
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  11. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Just out of curiosity, why don't employers like Phoenix?

    I have used up my Veterans' college benefits unfortunately.
     
  12. El Rey

    El Rey Well-Known Member

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    don't raise your hand in class too much. that is my advice.
     
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  13. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    They just aren't respected. It is seen as the easy way out. I've heard that the only employers who will even look at people with degrees from those places are people who have a requirement that you have a degree and that is it. They don't care if you actually learned anything while getting the degree, they just require a degree. In that case you would be ok. However, most people want to hire someone with a respected degree from a "real" university. They want to know you have learned things. Those employers will never look at a resume from someone with a degree at UoP. I am not saying it is right but that is how it is. I know I would take someone with a degree from a public university any day over someone with an online degree.
     
  14. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmmmm, something to think about. Thanks.
    I've heard the similar things about Widener University, although that is a regular college.

    But it is okay to take online classes from a "traditional brick and mortar" school?
     
  15. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Some of the reasons I believe impact the rep of schools like Phoenix.

    - Academically, they are open admission - like a community college. They thus accept students who are highly prepared for college work, and those who are not prepared at all.

    - Proprietary (for-profit) universities are thought of as being more about earning money than about educating students. That the quality of education is not very good.

    - I also think that part of it is that there is still an employer bias against online degrees.


    With that said, the classes at U of P online are, IMO, more difficult than those at my local community college. Students at U of P have to go to class more often, participate more, and do way more reading and writing than students in the same community college class do.
     
  16. El Rey

    El Rey Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Nowhere on your transcript does it say it was an online course.
     
  17. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    In most cases, yes, as they appear on your transcript as if you'd taken the regular class and many of them are just broadcasts of the "real" class. We have a co-worker who did 90% of her degree online at our State U. She did a few intensives on campus (weekend class and one 3 week intensive). Her diploma looks the same as everyone else's.

    edit: El Rey's faster
     
  18. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone...the seed has been officially planted in my head. I want to go back.

    My EO just sent me Temple's tuition fees :scream:.
     
  19. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Some employers will still not be interested in you if they know you did the degree online, v. in person. But many will be fine with it. It does seem that more employers are okay with an online degree if it's from a traditional university. This is an issue, though. Not will all employers, but with some.

    But if you go to a traditional uni that's in commuting distance of where you live (say, within a 3 hour drive, one way); and if the degree is just from, say, "Duquesne", or "University of Massachusetts at Amherst", and not from "Penn State World Campus", then employers, looking at your resume, will not know that you did it online. Nothing on your transcript says anything about online.

    In addition, a lot of traditional degrees, on campus degrees, offer many classes online now. So you could do a hybrid, if it's available to you - where you're taking some classes on campus, and some online.
     
  20. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Are you in PA? The Penn State system will be cheaper. Penn State World Campus, their distance learning section, has a ton of programs available. I don't know if you'd get a lower rate on tuition, as a PA resident.

    http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/

    And the Penn State World Campus will scream "I did this online" on your resume. Still, it's Penn State, not U Phoenix... I'd need to do more research on this particular school.

    ETA:

    Some traditional, reputable universities that offer online degrees and certificates include: Northeastern, Drexel, UMass Amherst, the SUNYs (google "SUNY Online"), U Illinois Urbana, U Illinois Springfield, U Denver (Michelle Kwan went there - tee hee), Regis U, Florida State, Washington State U, Penn State (via World Campus), U Maryland (via their continuing ed/online college), Utica College, Tiffin U (tee hee), Oregon State, Indiana State, Villanova, and others as well. I am not sure which, if any of those, offer the programs you want.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
  21. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I'm currently doing a Master's degree online at a school with a traditional B&M school as well. My degree won't say online, and neither will my transcript. I won't add "online" to my resume.

    But when my job says "Iowa" and my college says "Cambridge, Massachusets" I'm thinking a smart employer will be able to figure out I did the program online.


    University of Phoenix is gaining more credibility however. My mother works in graduate admissions at a MAJOR state university (not in Iowa) and she evaluated all my Master's programs to tell me if they would make me eligible for entrance to a doctoral program. Most for-profits did not have the right accredidation, but UoP does. (For the record, I am attending a private, but not-for profit school, not a for-profit one.)

    Is UoP really open admission though? I thought they had minimum requirements you had to meet. They are just non-selective otherwise.
     
  22. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    U of P is regionally accredited. So is Devry, and Strayer, and Walden, and etc. Doesn't mean employers respect the degrees. Does mean the degrees are real, though.

    At the undergraduate level, re: academics, they are.

    http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=University of Phoenix&s=all&id=405997#admsns

    But you normally need to be an adult learner. And you need to have work experience or equivalent (stay at home moms would qualify, for example.)
     
  23. mikey

    mikey ...an acquired taste

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    My work had me take a few MBA classes through U of P before I became medical director of one of our units (I have since stepped down from that position, but that's another story entirely!). I found the material, teaching, and fellow students to be marginal at best. One of the teachers even contacted me on the side to say that my work was good enough that, if I was serious about getting the MBA, he'd recommend that I go somewhere else. That told me a lot...
     
  24. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    The hospital where my mom works will no longer accept nursing students from either Kaplan or Phoenix. They found them unprofessional and woefully unprepared. They don't even let them precept....
     
  25. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information about open enrollment- I didn't know that.

    Not all the colleges you named had programs rigorous enough to be accepted into doctoral programs at the university she works for. May have just been my specific program that they didn't have the proper accredidation. Overall though, I just found them to be insanely expensive, though the school I ended up at is still pretty darn expensive (pretty darn is a few steps down from insanely).
     
  26. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    FWIW a major employer in my area will no longer consider applicants with online-only degrees, regardless of whether the degrees are from a respected school or a Phoenix-type private school. Their experience has been that these applicants don't have good interpersonal skills - they are marginally better in online environments but not very good at all in in-person interactions. They also are not very good at teamwork, because they are used to group projects where each person does their own little bit and the only "collaboration" is at the end in merging everything into a single file to send to the instructor.

    This employer has also found that these applicants, if hired, have major entitlement issues around work scheduling etc. - basically that because they are used to an education in which they could take classes whenever it was convenient for them, they expect the workplace to show the same kind of flexibility. Which isn't always possible, and in some jobs is next to impossible.

    Before I get roasted for being :EVILLE: I am not personally saying that all people with online-only degrees act this way. I am just saying that this has been the experience of this particular employer, and (rightly or wrongly) this is why they won't consider people with online-only credentials.
     
  27. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    A lot of universities thought online would equal more :bribe: because they could reach a larger population. More students means more tuition. The problem is there is a higher fail and drop out rate because a lot of students lack the self-discipline required for online coursework. When those attrition numbers start counting against you and overall funding is impacted, many are really dialing back or making the online classes a blended class with part online and part in person. This is what more and more departments are our university are doing.
     
  28. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Good on you for considering going back. My mum went to university when she was in her early 40s to become a librarian. That is after having left school at 15 (because back in those days women were only going to get married and be mothers according to her mother). But she eventually finished off her schooling, received her higher school certificate and then got her university degree.

    In the next couple of years I am planning on doing a Workplace Safety certificate which work wants me to do. Then I can become a Safety Officer which is probably a really good field to get into. And I will probably be 46 by the time I get around to doing it. And I would never consider myself too old to do something like that.
     
  29. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    I'm only 27, and I'm already too old to pick up something I don't absolutely love. :lol: I'm currently pursuing a graphic design certificate at the local community college. I know, I know, sounds flaky, but a renowned design school is right next door and some of the same instructors teach at both. :D At this point I'm not aiming for a degree, just the knowledge. (In art, it's your work that counts, not where you went to school anyway.) It's tons of fun when you approach school in this manner!

    Also doesn't hurt that I still have some HS scholarship funds I have to use up before I'm 30 and it goes back to the state. :p

    46 certainly isn't too old to go back for a master's or a certificate, but IMO it's probably too old to go for an MD or PhD if your goal is for your degree to benefit your career. :eek:
     
  30. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily. My sister was over 50 since she got her MA in education and it meant that she could get promoted at the university where she worked as an ESL teacher and earn more money.

    Even if you only have 10 or 20 working years left, an MA can be useful.