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SteveDeFacto

Is this a good idea?

25 posts in this topic

I am 22 years old and I was home schooled my entire life. I sat around all day everyday programming and have been doing it about 15 years now. I left home when I was 18 and my mother never graduated me. I recently got my GED and I scored in the 80-99 percentile on all tests. I enrolled in college this summer and have been doing pretty well. I hate the community college I'm at right now and I feel like all of the courses are not challenging me at all. I know I could test out of all my computer programming classes without a sweat.

I have been looking into CLEP as a way to expedite my degree but my current ghetto college does not offer it. I really want to move to nearby Raleigh, NC and attend NCSU. Also Epic Games is in Cary, NC which is very close and it would be my dream to work there. I have devised a plan which could allow me to reach all my immediate goals within the next 6 months or at least bring me very close to them.

First, I will drop out of next semester at my current college. Next I will study very hard to get a high score on the SAT then when I am sure I will do well I will take the test. After that I will apply for admission to NCSU. If they accept, I will transfer my work over there and move. Finally, I will attend college next spring and I will take the CLEP tests for as many computer programming courses I can(I believe the max is 30 credit hours) Apparently I can use a pell grant to pay for them as well. After that I will try for an internship at Epic Games but if that does not happen it won't really matter because I will still have my current job.

This seems kinda crazy to me but I honestly think I can do it and it would set me a lot closer to my goals. Should I go for it?
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Honestly I think its a bad idea..., Trust me Iam all for getting school over with myself, but if there really isn't a pressing need for you to immediately graduate whats the point of rushing it?

If you take your time you'll find out that you will learn alot more then skipping along, regardless of what you knew before college about programming, you will come out of it with a even better grasp of programming then you did before, epsecially with so many concepts to explore with computer science,

Every year I like to make myself believe that Iam a top notch programmer lol, but with every year that passes there is always something new to learn and explore, and there are people out there who would probably make me look like an idiot compared to their wealth of knowledge. What I'am basically trying to say is no matter how much you know, there is always more to learn, you will never reach the point in your life when you are like "Ok I know enough, its time to stop learning"

I suggest take the time to explore and learn some new topics in college, you might not find another four years where you can just expand your mind.

[Edit] I actually took some time off a college for a full time Lead development job at this small shop. But now I really wish I had the time I had before to go back to school and finish it all (which I will going back this fall, part time tho, since now I got bills to pay) granted I was a math and physics major, all the rules still apply.
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[quote name='The_Neverending_Loop' timestamp='1309277147' post='4828720']
Honestly I think its a bad idea..., Trust me Iam all for getting school over with myself, but if there really isn't a pressing need for you to immediately graduate whats the point of rushing it?

If you take your time you'll find out that you will learn alot more then skipping along, regardless of what you knew before college about programming, you will come out of it with a even better grasp of programming then you did before, epsecially with so many concepts to explore with computer science,

Every year I like to make myself believe that Iam a top notch programmer lol, but with every year that passes there is always something new to learn and explore, I suggest take the time to explore and learn some new topics in college, you might not find another four years where you can just expand your mind.

[Edit] I actually took some time off a college for a full time Lead development job at this small shop. But now I really wish I had the time I had before to go back to school and finish it all (which I will going back this fall) granted I was a math and physics major, all the rules still apply.
[/quote]

I honestly learn better on my own and I have personal projects I would prefer to spend that time on instead of sitting in class. Plus I am sure I will get a far better education at NCSU than I am getting now. I am more worried about the risk of not doing as well as I think I can. On my college placement test I scored 97-99% on every category but this test was not timed... It seems like I should be able to do this but I still feel like it's a big risk...
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I'm a little confused by the OP, but I think he's talking about bailing from school?

I didn't finish college when I was younger and I regretted it later.

Granted I was somewhat ill and that affected my brain negatively... But once that got fixed one of the first things I did was enroll in school again. I'm 24 so I feel a bit old to be doing this, but I'm on my last term for my associate's degree, then I'm going for engineering. I'm hella happy about it. School kicks ass.

If the classes are not enough for you, take the time you have to build a portfolio. Start making games. Where are some games you've completed?
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[quote name='JoeCooper' timestamp='1309277960' post='4828730']
I'm a little confused by the OP, but I think he's talking about bailing from school?

I didn't finish college when I was younger and I regretted it later.

Granted I was somewhat ill and that affected my brain negatively... But once that got fixed one of the first things I did was enroll in school again. I'm 24 so I feel a bit old to be doing this, but I'm on my last term for my associate's degree, then I'm going for engineering. I'm hella happy about it. School kicks ass.

If the classes are not enough for you, take the time you have to build a portfolio. Start making games. Where are some games you've completed?
[/quote]

The classes are plenty enough as far as consuming all my free time but they do very little to provide me with any new knowledge.
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[quote name='The_Neverending_Loop' timestamp='1309278271' post='4828734']
If you wanna transfer schools, thats perfectly fine, but why drop out for a semester if you dont have to?
[/quote]

I need to get high scores on my SATs to get into NCSU and I won't have any time to study for it. I am going to school full time and working a full time job... Moving, registering, transferring work, transferring credits, taking tests, and all of the other stuff would take time that I just don't have.
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[quote name='SteveDeFacto' timestamp='1309277751' post='4828726']
I honestly learn better on my own and I have personal projects I would prefer to spend that time on instead of sitting in class. Plus I am sure I will get a far better education at NCSU than I am getting now. I am more worried about the risk of not doing as well as I think I can. On my college placement test I scored 97-99% on every category but this test was not timed... It seems like I should be able to do this but I still feel like it's a big risk...
[/quote]

And there is your answer! Your instincts are warning you against leaving.
Dont drop college, just keep side projects and keep learning extra skills.
You can even make a couple of games and sell them (Angry birds anyone?). Use them as portfolio, showcase them to other companies, try to get sponsored/scholarship.

But trust me when I say this: Being good at programming isnt enough. You need more skills that cannot be self taught.

Being Able to Talk in Public
Managing a Team
Discussing project features and deadlines
Handling a broken milestone (very important to be able to explain to the managers why you just missed a deadline)

Those skills are extremelly useful and companies will rather hire people that can express themselves than nerds that cant communicate unless its via email or msn. And you will never learn those from a book or sitting by yourself.

Yours Truly
K
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[quote name='BloodWarrior' timestamp='1309278732' post='4828740']
[quote name='SteveDeFacto' timestamp='1309277751' post='4828726']
I honestly learn better on my own and I have personal projects I would prefer to spend that time on instead of sitting in class. Plus I am sure I will get a far better education at NCSU than I am getting now. I am more worried about the risk of not doing as well as I think I can. On my college placement test I scored 97-99% on every category but this test was not timed... It seems like I should be able to do this but I still feel like it's a big risk...
[/quote]

And there is your answer! Your instincts are warning you against leaving.
Dont drop college, just keep side projects and keep learning extra skills.
You can even make a couple of games and sell them (Angry birds anyone?). Use them as portfolio, showcase them to other companies, try to get sponsored/scholarship.

But trust me when I say this: Being good at programming isnt enough. You need more skills that cannot be self taught.

Being Able to Talk in Public
Managing a Team
Discussing project features and deadlines
Handling a broken milestone (very important to be able to explain to the managers why you just missed a deadline)

Those skills are extremelly useful and companies will rather hire people that can express themselves than nerds that cant communicate unless its via email or msn. And you will never learn those from a book or sitting by yourself.

Yours Truly
K
[/quote]

I'm not dropping college... It's just one semester which I can far surpass if I do the CLEP tests but if I don't do this I won't even have a chance to take the CLEP tests. Also a lot of my credits from this community college won't transfer to other schools...
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Honestly if the courses your taking arent a problem then just study for your SAT's while at school.

There are also some aspects of school you might miss out on if you trying to rush through it, its not ALL about book learning, your gonna miss out on the social and networking aspects of it. I met some of my best friends while going to school full time, while making some good connections with professors and other students. The networking you will especially find useful in the future when you need a letter of recommendation or basically someone to hook you up with an oppurtunity.

That said, You could also improve on some of your other skills not programming related, Like your math and sciences, maybe your liberal arts. For example I know my writing skills are lacking, and I wouldn't really excersise them that much outside of school so Iam excited to go back and brush up on it as I see now how important having good communication skills can be.


[Edit] Depending the kind of job you have and the situation your in, which I dont know either, Id look into leaving your job and possibly finding a part time one, unless of course your job will help out your resume (like if your already working as a programmer)
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[quote name='The_Neverending_Loop' timestamp='1309279014' post='4828744']
Honestly if the courses your taking arent a problem then just study for your SAT's while at school.

There are also some aspects of school you might miss out on if you trying to rush through it, its not ALL about book learning, your gonna miss out on the social and networking aspects of it. I met some of my best friends while going to school full time, while making some good connections with professors and other students. The networking you will especially find useful in the future when you need a letter of recommendation or basically someone to hook you up with an oppurtunity.

That said, You could also improve on some of your other skills not programming related, Like your math and sciences, maybe your liberal arts. For example I know my writing skills are lacking, and I wouldn't really excersise them that much outside of school so Iam excited to go back and brush up on it as I see now how important having good communication skills can be.


[Edit] Depending the kind of job you have and the situation your in, which I dont know either, Id look into leaving your job and possibly finding a part time one, unless of course your job will help out your resume (like if your already working as a programmer)
[/quote]

No the job has nothing to do with programming and only pays enough to get me by. I was honestly thinking about taking out a bunch of student loans and just living in the dorms at NCSU which would free up a lot of time so I can focus on school and building my portfolio. I would have to take out some student loans to pay for NCSU anyway.
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I would go with the second option and just bust your a$$ in school to make sure you get a nice comfy job to pay back those loans easily lol, Honestly enjoy college, life after it is not as glamarous as it seems.
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[quote]"[color="#1C2837"][size="2"]It's just one semester which I can far surpass if I do the CLEP tests but if I don't do this I won't even have a chance to take the CLEP tests"[/quote][/size][/color]
[color="#1C2837"][size="2"]I've seen that logic before, and it generally fails.[/size][/color]

[color="#1C2837"][size="2"]The purpose of the CLEP tests are to show that you already have the knowledge. Most schools only allow a limited number of hours from CLEP tests, often just a single semester's worth. Assuming that's the case, you'll spend a semester doing personal study in the hopes of getting credit at a smaller cost, at the risk that you must pass the test which can be more difficult than the course itself would have been. Balanced against taking the semester of study at full cost but assuring you credit if you achieve even a minimally passing grade.[/size][/color]



[color="#1C2837"][size="2"]A much better approach is to estimate if you can pass the test, and if so, take it. It is only about $80. If you pass, then congratulations! If you don't pass, you are only out a nominal amount of money and have not sacrificed a semester of school. If you don't pass you can continue to study on the side and retake the test, or take the regular class, depending on how you felt you did on the test.[/size][/color]

[color="#1C2837"][size="2"]Another option is to talk to the dean of the school directly and ask about their policies. Sometimes they will allow you to simply test out of a course by taking a comprehensive exam. I had one college dean who simply wrote off one general education requirement based on conversation in his office; he grilled me for ten minutes and was convinced I could pass the GE examination. I had another CS teacher who gave a comprehensive test as a pre-test of the course to see what to teach; if anyone aced the test he would automatically give an A grade for the course, and you could re-register to another class for free during the first week of school. Open communication about your intent and your reasoning can do a lot to progress in school and in your career.[/size][/color]

[color="#1C2837"][size="2"]Don't quit school, not even for one semester. It is incredibly difficult to resume studies even after a short break.[/size][/color]
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[quote name='BloodWarrior' timestamp='1309278732' post='4828740']
Being Able to Talk in Public
Managing a Team
Discussing project features and deadlines
Handling a broken milestone (very important to be able to explain to the managers why you just missed a deadline)[/quote]

Being a IT Director / sometimes developer running a team of developers (mostly) with degrees... I don't believe that college teaches you any of those things. In my opinion, the only thing a CS degree is really good for is to get you the initial interview and the importance of that drops as you gain more and more experience. Of my two most useful developers, one doesn't have a degree and the other has a non-CS degree. That being said, if you have started getting a degree, stick to it. It will make getting a job easier, especially early in your career.

Edit: The other major thing that college gets you is connections. You can come out of it with a network of people in your field. This is something I'm still struggling with. It might be worth it for that alone.
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Are you sure you need to take an SAT/ACT? If you are in a tech college it seems like your credentials there should be able to get you into a state school.
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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1309293497' post='4828819']
Are you sure you need to take an SAT/ACT? If you are in a tech college it seems like your credentials there should be able to get you into a state school.
[/quote]

Indeed, transfer students and other "non traditional" students, those not coming from high school at age 18/19/20, are generally given much less strict entry requirements.

Transferring from an existing college they will look at your current school transcript, not SAT/ACT scores.
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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1309293497' post='4828819']
Are you sure you need to take an SAT/ACT? If you are in a tech college it seems like your credentials there should be able to get you into a state school.
[/quote]

Yes I would, unless I finish the two year transfer program.
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[quote name='SteveDeFacto' timestamp='1309309285' post='4828897']
[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1309293497' post='4828819']
Are you sure you need to take an SAT/ACT? If you are in a tech college it seems like your credentials there should be able to get you into a state school.
[/quote]

Yes I would, unless I finish the two year transfer program.
[/quote]

Are you sure? I went to a community college for a semester after transferring home from a tech college on short notice before transferring to a state university. I don't remember my ACTs being brought up during the application process.
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You should probably speak to the relevent people at your current college about this, and about finding time to do the CLEP and whatever else you need time to do.
Any college worth its salt at furthering your education and personal development will be able to recommend a plan of action or maybe adjust your timetable to free up the time you need. Be aware though that this wouldn't mean you would be doing less work, they would no doubt have you cramming your normal amount of work into a smaller timescale.

Now i am in the UK and this was 13 years ago, so your mileage may vary on this advice, but when i was at college one of the subjects i took was Physics. I found i was useless at this subject and was predicted to fail it very badly by the end of the first year, so i approached my tutor and spoke to him about it. They placed me on a different subject in its place (Business Studies) which I had to complete in one year rather than two but with a two year workload.

I did achieve this and did much better than i would have done if i'd stuck with Physics.

So yeah, the option is there to do what you need to do without leaving, if you explore all possibilities and leave no stone uncovered.
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[quote name='braindigitalis' timestamp='1309352402' post='4829050']
You should probably speak to the relevent people at your current college about this, and about finding time to do the CLEP and whatever else you need time to do.
Any college worth its salt at furthering your education and personal development will be able to recommend a plan of action or maybe adjust your timetable to free up the time you need. Be aware though that this wouldn't mean you would be doing less work, they would no doubt have you cramming your normal amount of work into a smaller timescale.

Now i am in the UK and this was 13 years ago, so your mileage may vary on this advice, but when i was at college one of the subjects i took was Physics. I found i was useless at this subject and was predicted to fail it very badly by the end of the first year, so i approached my tutor and spoke to him about it. They placed me on a different subject in its place (Business Studies) which I had to complete in one year rather than two but with a two year workload.

I did achieve this and did much better than i would have done if i'd stuck with Physics.

So yeah, the option is there to do what you need to do without leaving, if you explore all possibilities and leave no stone uncovered.
[/quote]

No body seems to be listening. My college does not offer CLEP.
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I didn't say they offered it, i said you should speak to them about freeing up time in your schedule so that you have time to take it in your free time.
I also said that this would compress your college course and make it possibly more difficult, so ...here be dragons :-)
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[quote name='braindigitalis' timestamp='1309384024' post='4829253']
I didn't say they offered it, i said you should speak to them about freeing up time in your schedule so that you have time to take it in your free time.
I also said that this would compress your college course and make it possibly more difficult, so ...here be dragons :-)
[/quote]

Can't take the CLEP tests unless I transfer...
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Sorry if I missed it, but studying for SAT isn't too hard. How about you stay in school and keep your job( possibly cut down the hours ) . And now you have this extra time, plus all the time you had for programming, and so use that time to study? If you can spare about 2-3 hours per day, and study every day. So that 14-21 hours a week. A semester is about 14 weeks, so now you would have studies, 196 - 294 hours. I think for SAT thats more than enough. All you have to do is have a high degree of discipline. So instead of dropping out, just sacrifice 2-3 hours a day for the semester and study for the SAT then. Unless your having financial issues where you absolutely can't afford the school( but then there is scholarship) or you have heath issues, there is no reason to drop out of school. In fact, since you are home school, I'm going to guess that you aren't very social. And as said previously, there is more being a good programmer than just programming, there is the social aspect. And you will get that social aspect through life experience, especially during your college years( I know I did and still gaining ). If you disregard the advice given to you, and just do what you want, make sure you really think about all the consequences. Your action produces consequences.
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[quote name='frob' timestamp='1309296242' post='4828830']
[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1309293497' post='4828819']
Are you sure you need to take an SAT/ACT? If you are in a tech college it seems like your credentials there should be able to get you into a state school.
[/quote]

Indeed, transfer students and other "non traditional" students, those not coming from high school at age 18/19/20, are generally given much less strict entry requirements.

Transferring from an existing college they will look at your current school transcript, not SAT/ACT scores.
[/quote]

This isn't universally true. Transferring to top schools is generally harder than getting admitted as a freshman. Stanford and Yale, for instance, generally have acceptance rates of 1-2% for transfer students while their freshmen admissions rates are many times higher.

But I don't think the OP is trying to transfer to such a school, so what you wrote may apply to the OP's situation.

As for SAT prep, if you're already in college it doesn't seem like the SAT should be terribly hard. It only tests high school level material and doesn't even include a science section.
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[quote name='frob' timestamp='1309296242' post='4828830']
[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1309293497' post='4828819']
Are you sure you need to take an SAT/ACT? If you are in a tech college it seems like your credentials there should be able to get you into a state school.
[/quote]

Indeed, transfer students and other "non traditional" students, those not coming from high school at age 18/19/20, are generally given much less strict entry requirements.

Transferring from an existing college they will look at your current school transcript, not SAT/ACT scores.
[/quote]

This isn't universally true. Transferring to top schools is generally harder than getting admitted as a freshmen. Stanford and Yale, for instance, generally have acceptance rates of 1-2% for transfer students while their freshmen admissions rates are many times higher.

But I don't think the OP is trying to transfer to such a school, so what you wrote may apply to the OP's situation.

Btw, my advice is that if you're going to the trouble of transferring schools, then you might as well aim high and try to get into a good school. At least send out a few applications. Going to a better school will never hurt you and will probably help you.
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