Undergrad school for a Vet???

I am writing in hopes of getting some much needed advice. I am at my wits end and really hope you guys can provide some advice.I am currently in the process of identifying where I will attend for my undergraduate studies.

Little background:
-Identified as dyslexic at 8. Effected reading and writing/spelling making school "interesting".
- Grades were not very good in high school, very difficult time period. Was homeless twice and dropped out for a brief period to care for my father. With all the distractions I barely graduated.
-Returned to finish school instead of taking the easy way out and obtaining a GED. Left for the military.
- Served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where I sustained combat related injuries and was medically discharged in late '06.
- Found employment in the oil/gas industry as a "safety" man.
-In 3 years managed to become a "company man" or company rep in exploration/production projects ($50 million/+) for Chevron. The typical tenure of a company man is 20+ years before obtaining this position to give a bit more understanding on what I achieved. Have worked all over the world.
- Currently 29, looking to start next fall.

With my G.I. Bill I can attend any Public institution, but feel that I owe it to myself to obtain the best education possible. I have been able to save a substantial amount to cover the extra cost to attend a Private institution. I am sure, due to my grades, that I will have to attend a community college. Which I am fine with, but worry this is just going to put me at a further disadvantage. My motivation is not money, but I actually enjoy finance and equity analysis.

So I guess the long and short of it is: with my background where do you guys feel I would have the best opportunity to obtain a quality education and have honest exposure to IB's ,etc? I am looking at Columbia University General Studies, NYU Stern, UT of Austin McCombs, U of M Ross, UVa, and Northwestern. I have no doubt that I have the ability and work ethic to succeed at these institutions, but worry how much my poor showing during my high school years will be what prevents me from this. Any recommendations, no matter how honest or broad are welcomed.

Comments (16)

Mar 2, 2012

Apply everywhere, you might need to start at a community college and get some high grades in order to transfer to a better 4 year institution. How hard was the ASVAB with dyslexia? If it didn't disqualify you from military recruiting then I wouldn't worry too much about it

"One should recognize reality even when one doesn't like it, indeed, especially when one doesn't like it." - Charlie Munger

Mar 2, 2012

The ASVAB was extremely easy. I know I scored over the 110 requirement (GT) for SF, but wasn't able to pursue due to my back injury. Actually, I have managed to reduce the impact of the dyslexia, surprisingly enough by reading as much as I can get a chance.

Mar 2, 2012

I'm a vet too. There are a lot of opportunities if you know where to look. First, become familiar with the 9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon program. They will pay 100% of tuition of many top targets(yes even top privates and Ivy).

That being said, it will be hard to gain admission even with your experience. You need to show that you can handle the coursework, either by transferring in from a big state school or community college. There is nothing wrong with a community college, and it should be pretty easy to get a 4.0. Knock out 30 credits by next January and apply to wherever you think you can get in(GET A 4.0). I am not sure if you will need the ACT/SAT, as a transfer at your age, but I don't think it would hurt.

With a 4.0 and your experience, you should be a lock to get into somewhere worthwhile.

Mar 2, 2012

This is a pretty amazing story, and yes, your grades may be bad but I can't imagine some of the schools you've mentioned wouldn't consider you. I feel like for a person like you, I'd highly recommend going to a school (albeit a smaller one) in a big city like NY, San Fran, Boston with a ton of financial institutions so that you can network effectively - i'm sure you can, given this credibility of your background.

What is going to be a big impediment for you is convincing people that you're willing to commit to an analyst program in IBD for two years when you're coming in that old (if that's what you're targeting, maybe it isn't such a big factor in S&T/PWM etc.). Investment banks are always on the lookout for committed slaves who have no other priorities in life except for work, that is a fact you'll need to have to sell repeatedly to them. All the best.

Mar 2, 2012

Thanks everyone.. hopefully some more feedback will come in. And I think by the fact that I am walking away from 200k plus uplift (bonuses at the end of project ,etc) should hopefully prove it. I have no problem paying my dues. My only concern work wise is to be exposed to good habits, even if they pay low.

On a side note, if anyone is going to CBS and you are a vet I set up a small scholarship this year to help cover the cost. Feel free to contact me.

Mar 3, 2012

Umm, definitely do NOT walk away from $200k per year. Take classes part time at a community college. You'll probably be able to knock out an entire year of credits (30), if not more, over the course of 2 years by taking classes part time. If you do well (3.5+ GPA) then you know you are college material and you'll probably get in to at least the top 95% of schools. If you do poorly then you're not college material. There's nothing wrong with not being college material--for most people being college material means they go into deep debt and end up in a job that didn't require a college degree anyway.

At the end of the day, if you walk from $200k/year over a dream to go into investment banking in your early-to-mid 30s then you're nuts. Even if you decide to go to a 4-year university, there are some respected undergraduate programs, such as Boston University, that have distance learning programs. I think it would be a total mistake for you to drop out of the workforce to get a college degree.

On a side note, employers on Wall Street are not going to be impressed that you walked away from a $200k/year job to get a college degree so that you could become an IB analyst at age 35. They're going to think you're a moron.

Mar 3, 2012

What about Columbia University's GS program? Can't you work and study the same time or do I have to be located in NYC to do this? Right now I am sitting in Indonesia running a project here.

Mar 3, 2012

If your dyslexic, meet with someone and try and find some coping mechanisms - potentially ADD medication helps sometimes.

Go to community college and work as hard as you can - no GPA is high enough unless its a 4.0 is a good mentality to have

Apply to Columbia, UPenn, Brown - they are all incredible schools with programs designed for people like you. If your interested in finance type jobs, these places will open incredible doors.

Also apply to any other college you're interested in - like Stern, UVA, and the others you mentioned. I mention the three above not because their ivy league, but because they're great schools that literally have a designed admissions program specifically for people like you - and you'll find yourself, despite having an incredible story, one of many not in the sense of being average but being with others like yourself. Social connections made in college in a lot of ways are more important, in my opinion, in the long run than what you learn in the classroom.

Goodluck!

Dec 13, 2013

$200k/yr @ 29yo is quite a feat for a dyslexic with a GED. Great job!
Just be aware that it will be very tough to break into IB at your age without a graduate level degree. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it's very tough due to your non finance background.

Mar 3, 2012

You're absolutely insane if you can make $200k now

Mar 3, 2012

Having been without money before, I think I just have a different perspective in regards to this than most I guess. I would rather do something I love and be a failure at it, than be successful at something I hate. Also, anything worth doing requires sacrifice and sometimes that means giving the illusion of security. These are all valid points, but any suggestions on the programs themselves?

Mar 6, 2012

Anyone care to venture some insight on the schools?

Mar 6, 2012

errr. dazed.i want to echo what vtech said... 200k at your age to go to school... the numbers just dont add up, why not just do something at UT or Rice if youre in houston and get your degree on the side while still guapping?

there is no fucking way youll 'love' being bitched at for 100 hours a week making half of what you make now vs 40 hrs making 200k...

Dec 13, 2013

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Mar 6, 2012

I guess some clarification on the part of what I do will help. I spend about half the year gone and the other half at home. When I am at work, you work all day in some of the worse places on earth. Currently, I am in West Papua, which is on the island of New Guinea. This isn't a 40 hour work week or sitting in an office job. You walk miles through swamp, jungle, arctic conditions, or any of the other wonderful natural conditions that are hazardous to your health. The money is good, but this is as high as I can go. Peaked at 29? All because I lack a degree...maybe. Trust me I am not complaining. I am looking into distance course thanks to the advice, but would like to finish it out somewhere worthwhile.

Mar 23, 2012
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