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Old 12-08-2013, 12:07 PM
 
3,493 posts, read 4,718,232 times
Reputation: 5358

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saylor91 View Post
I'm not paying for school or any of my books lol, its all free to me all I gotta do is pass all my classes. I'm in the Vocational Rehab program from the VA I get 4 years of education for free. I really want to get my Bachelors Degree in IT. But the only hard thing is, is trying to decide on a college in state or even online.
Saylor,

Thank you for your service.

I've watched many people go through different college experiences, and rather than being the typical drunk college student, I was watching what worked and didn't work.

Is the program free to you no matter the cost, or do you just have a fairly large amount of college expenses saved up in the G.I. Bill? If the amount you can spend is eventually limited (which seems to be the usual case), I would recommend going to a community college for the first two years; PPCC may be good, I haven't checked them out. I am currently working on a Master's degree at UCCS. I have a 4.0. I know exactly what I'm doing, and I knew exactly how to choose a college. I think UCCS is a fairly good college, but if I were suddenly starting my education over, I would use a community college for the first two years, then finish off at a state school. I'd finish with high grades, but I'd make the biggest focus networking with the faculty because they often have tons of connections in different fields. Hiring managers go to the professors at UCCS and ask them which students they should consider. I know, I've talked to the professors that have made several recommendations.

As far as quality of the college: The highest VALUE (quality per dollar paid) comes from community colleges. No questions asked, they win at value. Once you need a four year school, UCCS easily wins best value in the state because the tuition is significantly lower than the other schools and the program is fairly average for a state school. Lowest tuition + average quality for a state school = great value.

Colorado isn't "cheap", but it also isn't "expensive". It's less expensive than the coasts, but more expensive than Texas.

To save money: Craigslist is fairly active here. You may want to look into renting a room for your first few months. When you are in classes, it isn't a bad idea to live on campus, depending on the cost. If you do live on campus, getting a tiny place to yourself is better than having a roommate. However, that is only the case if you are going to college to learn and focus on studying. If you aren't doing that, college isn't very useful. If you can find a room mate that is a straight A student, that can be a good environment. However, if you are wanting to party it up, this advice on housing is largely useless. Make sure you know what your goal is before you start, seek advice on how to attain that goal, and then follow the path. Make sure that you are clear with yourself and others in each step along the way. If you get expert advice to reach a goal that isn't your goal, it won't be of much use.
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Ankeny Iowa
74 posts, read 97,223 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurtsman View Post
COLORADO COLORADO COLORADO.

I lived in Iowa for several years. I left less than 2 years ago. The job market there is still crap, despite the "unemployment" numbers. The numbers are heavily biased because of the nature of the market (nepotism) and the way unemployed numbers are counted (students can be omitted).

I'll post again once I catch up on what else has been said in the thread. Just wanted to point out: "Moving to Iowa is often a mistake". When I told people there I was moving to Colorado, many got a sad look on their face and told me they had a chance to leave once. They had the saddest stories about how they had lost their chance, and I was determined not to have it happen to me. You would think this would be a rare occurrence, but I probably had it happen around 10 times.
I know what you mean, i i keep looking at the jobs back home in iowa and it just seems like theres nothing there at all. Only the ****ty 9 hour jobs or you might get lucky and get an $12 per hour job but that is not gonna cut it at all. Theres really nothing in Iowa at all that would make me want to go back there at all. I just cant decide on CO Springs or Denver, its a hard choice. They are just to afraid to leave because they dont want to take a big chance on themselves and dont have the confidence to make the move.
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Ankeny Iowa
74 posts, read 97,223 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurtsman View Post
Saylor,

Thank you for your service.

I've watched many people go through different college experiences, and rather than being the typical drunk college student, I was watching what worked and didn't work.

Is the program free to you no matter the cost, or do you just have a fairly large amount of college expenses saved up in the G.I. Bill? If the amount you can spend is eventually limited (which seems to be the usual case), I would recommend going to a community college for the first two years; PPCC may be good, I haven't checked them out. I am currently working on a Master's degree at UCCS. I have a 4.0. I know exactly what I'm doing, and I knew exactly how to choose a college. I think UCCS is a fairly good college, but if I were suddenly starting my education over, I would use a community college for the first two years, then finish off at a state school. I'd finish with high grades, but I'd make the biggest focus networking with the faculty because they often have tons of connections in different fields. Hiring managers go to the professors at UCCS and ask them which students they should consider. I know, I've talked to the professors that have made several recommendations.

As far as quality of the college: The highest VALUE (quality per dollar paid) comes from community colleges. No questions asked, they win at value. Once you need a four year school, UCCS easily wins best value in the state because the tuition is significantly lower than the other schools and the program is fairly average for a state school. Lowest tuition + average quality for a state school = great value.

Colorado isn't "cheap", but it also isn't "expensive". It's less expensive than the coasts, but more expensive than Texas.

To save money: Craigslist is fairly active here. You may want to look into renting a room for your first few months. When you are in classes, it isn't a bad idea to live on campus, depending on the cost. If you do live on campus, getting a tiny place to yourself is better than having a roommate. However, that is only the case if you are going to college to learn and focus on studying. If you aren't doing that, college isn't very useful. If you can find a room mate that is a straight A student, that can be a good environment. However, if you are wanting to party it up, this advice on housing is largely useless. Make sure you know what your goal is before you start, seek advice on how to attain that goal, and then follow the path. Make sure that you are clear with yourself and others in each step along the way. If you get expert advice to reach a goal that isn't your goal, it won't be of much use.

Thank you

Thanks for all the information, I'm not getting the GI BIll, I'm in the Vocational Rehab program with the VA which is better, I get 4 years of education and i dont want to waste it, i want to get the highest degree i can get with it, I had ECPI call and said if i go to school full time than i can have my Bachelor degree in 2.5 years and my masters in 4 years, but thats 2 classes every 5 weeks. Only thing is i havent heard much good things about them lately though so i dont know if ifs a respectable a school or not. And I plan on getting a cheap apartment as well, and if i can find a roommate than i will do that to save any more money. Just cant make up my mind if i should go to CO Springs or Denver tho, any advice? I know UCCS doesn't have any IT programs at all.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:15 PM
 
5,014 posts, read 6,710,850 times
Reputation: 4531
To be honest, if the school is accredited appropriately, it probably doesn't matter too much which one you go to. I hope you love IT and aren't just choosing it for a "job". Free education is a nice opportunity so take advantage to do something you really want.
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Ankeny Iowa
74 posts, read 97,223 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by otowi View Post
To be honest, if the school is accredited appropriately, it probably doesn't matter too much which one you go to. I hope you love IT and aren't just choosing it for a "job". Free education is a nice opportunity so take advantage to do something you really want.

How do you find out if the school is accredited appropriately? Do you know anything about CTU or ECPI? And I'm not just doing it for a job, I love technology and I think it would be a great field to get in to as well. I'm also going to get some certificates as well.
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:22 AM
 
5,014 posts, read 6,710,850 times
Reputation: 4531
The school's website should mention its accreditation. I found CTU's on its "about CTU" page. Probably most are NCATE accredited. I don't personally know about ECPI but I see it was mentioned in USA Today apparently.... I personally look carefully at for-profit schools - well, all schools really - for stats on actual employment after graduation for particular programs, any program awards, etc.
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:25 AM
 
41 posts, read 51,603 times
Reputation: 23
CO Springs is beautiful, and comes with lots of positives. Pueblo is cheaper but apparently not very nice. I've never heard anyone say anything nice about Pueblo. Seems the people who live south of Denver think of Pueblo as 'the ghetto'
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Ankeny Iowa
74 posts, read 97,223 times
Reputation: 27
I wouldn't mind living in CO Springs at all because Fort Carson is right there as well so I can just go back on base for anything I would really need and I would have a lot more networking there as well since it is a military town/ I been looking at apartments there as well and I been find some 2 bedrooms for around 700 to 850 which includes all utilities besides electric and cable and internet, I'll just have to find a roommate but that shouldn't me much of a hassle I hope. I just don't know about CTU because it is a for-profit school and people tell me to stay away from those kind of schools because their degrees don't mean anything after you get it. I guess I just need to look more for all the schools around there and online schools as well.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:24 AM
 
20,346 posts, read 37,876,690 times
Reputation: 18152
IIRC all the horror stories on here, roommates need have their name on the lease too, else you get stuck for it all when they blow town.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:16 PM
 
727 posts, read 1,137,346 times
Reputation: 766
Saylor - You have an opportunity to get a terrific education and not be saddled with any (or much) debt when you graduate. In this day and age, that's a tremendous plus and can give you the basis for a very fulfilling career. So, don't blow it.

I used to hire engineers, and many of our applicants came to us with degrees from glorified trade schools with degrees that weren't worth what the grads thought they were. A degree in engineering technology, for instance, is not the same as a degree in engineering. We'd still hire them, but not as engineers, only as engineering techs, for far less money and promotional opportunity. These folks spent four years in programs that could have led to them being hired as full fledged engineers, but they weren't. When we informed them, they were shocked, as they'd been led to believe from their college that they'd be fully employable as engineers.

As for accreditation, I'm no longer up on what the primary accreditation bodies are, but you should check to see if ECPI and CTU and their ilk are fully accredited by the same bodies as the established traditional universities and their courses are transferable for credit (for both undergraduate and graduate degree programs) at those same traditional colleges and universities.

With four years of educational benefits coming your way, I'd recommend looking for traditional colleges and universities with BS degree programs in engineering (not engineering technology), computer science (not computer technology), etc. Make sure any degree program you're in will transfer with full credit to full graduate degree level work at a traditional university.

I'd also suggest looking for highly rated science and engineering programs at public universities. Your benefits will go a lot further. Rule of thumb: If you're looking for a professional IT career, stay away from degree programs with "technology" in their name, unless, of course, you're looking at trade schools. Nothing wrong with trade schools, as long as you're not expecting more for your money than what they're offering.

You might also check Ripoff Report (not sure of the exact link; but if you google ECPI and scroll down beyond the PR stuff, you'll find it and there'll be a couple of customer reviews (very negative) that I think will prove valuable to you before you sign on the dotted line).

There are many for-profit colleges out there. Some are legit; many are not, and even the legit ones will suck you for every penny they can and leave you with a degree that prospective employers will often dismiss.

Finally, if you choose one of the for-profit schools, make them provide you with their employment of graduate stats and the starting salaries those graduates received. I've heard some incredible horror stores about the employment rate of some of these schools' graduates.

So, bottom line, choose very carefully.

A lot of my comments here are based on years of experience hiring engineers and other technical professionals. If I see two resumes for a given position and all other things being equal, and one has a BS degree in computer science or engineering from say, the University of Michigan and the other has a BS in some IT program from ECPI or CTU, which one do you think I'd be inclined to hire? Which one would you hire?

Last edited by Mike from back east; 12-09-2013 at 03:24 PM..
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