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View Full Version : Something different "Bon Vivant": Ivy League / Top 10 U prep



MyAristeia
09-04-2011, 06:07 AM
As I'm sure a lot of you guys know, being at a FOB gives you a lot of time to think about your future. Despite my optempo I've been doing a lot of thinking and working and want to start preparing for even bigger things.

I know some of you have top level educations and I'd like to know what I can do to start preparing for an MBA or a JD at a top school. I have a couple years to prep but I think I'm going to need them.

A little bit about my background:
- Army officership, LRS platoon command, deployment, and working on TS
- BS from good (but not elite) private university with 3.1 GPA (dropped from 3.5 with the aftereffects from a friend's suicide)
- 1240 GRE in 2008 (I know I know, not the right test for either degree)
- Trilingual
- 7 summers of full time service work with Boy Scouts and YMCA


What do I need to do to improve my resume from a 'might accept' to a 'will accept' level? Anything besides taking lots of Kaplan courses to max out my testing? (or scouring my geneology for native american ancestry :grin:)

I know that some schools like Columbia are weighing military service heavily, are there any other ones that do that? In the movie Rudy he does a kind of pre-degree prep school for Notre Dame, does that actually exist for advanced degrees?

Thanks!

Skeleton In The Closet
09-04-2011, 07:24 AM
sadly, degrees dont necessarily mean much these days. im working on mine at GVSU in michigan. the problem is that we have a faulty and corrupt education system at all levels and modern american schooling really does very little to prepare one for the realities of the workforce. i have literally dozens of friends that have degrees in everything from culinary arts to law enforcement to business administration and they are waiting tables at the local Applebees or worse standing on the streetcorner in a mascot suit. my advice is to do what i am doing: go to school for what you love and start a business in it before you graduate. you will need a fallback. but then if i had not been medically discharged, i would have been in it until i could have retired from the Air Force. just my 2cents.

MyAristeia
09-04-2011, 08:57 AM
Arestia- what was your undergraduate major?

Political Science, with minors in Pre-Law and the customary ROTC military science.

Dr. John: Thanks for the kind words!

DrSal: Actually U of Chicago is one of my top choices, if not my #1. Try as I might to call somewhere else home, I love Chicago. One thing I learned from undergraduate apps is to apply to LOTS of schools. Most of the ones you mentioned are on my list, and some (including Ivy's) are specifically not due to an unwillingness to live in California or certain jurisdictions.

Josh: A degree does not make the man, and that is why so many people who think that once they have a fancy piece of paper (lacking the true purpose of an education), they are entitled to success and are inevitably slapped in the face by the realities of life. I think I've done well so far with the tools my education has given me (in and out of the classroom), but I think that by the time I can be a full time student again I will have the maturity and background in the real world to maximize the 'top shelf' of college degrees much like how an accomplished shooter can appreciate and maximize the advantages inherent with a top shelf firearm. That education, combined with the right skills (just as any combination of hardware and software), will help me play beautiful music indeed in the game of life.

Rambotito
09-04-2011, 02:58 PM
Defiantly a good thread...

I recommend thinking hard about the commitment you are about to take and the rewards once you finish the degree(s). Particularly be careful about how you differentiate yourself from others looking for the same positions post grad school.

There are many people with poly-sci degrees who end up in law school or business school. Your military experience will differentiate you. Earning both a JD and an MBA will differentiate you even more. There are schools that will allow you to pursue both at the same time.

bae
09-04-2011, 03:41 PM
sadly, degrees dont necessarily mean much these days. im working on mine at GVSU in michigan. the problem is that we have a faulty and corrupt education system at all levels and modern american schooling really does very little to prepare one for the realities of the workforce.

That seems a bit defeatist to me.

I suppose it depends on your view of the role of education though. If you think it is to "prepare one for the realities of the workforce" in today's rapidly changing global economy, to the extent that a degree guarantees you a cool job, you will probably always be disappointed.

It's the student, not the degree, and not the school, that ultimately matter...

Mike Skulls
09-04-2011, 04:06 PM
my .02 alot of things depend on the school. some may look more at test (GRE scores) others more at the interview. some like young students, some like students who have some "real world" job experience. With your background i would say be your self and knock the interview out of the park. Schools want people to pass the program and go do great things so they can say look at what our graduates accomplish. And while the degree is just an expensive piece of paper, being a mature and life long learner will allow you to get the most from any education program. Good luck with your future endeavors.

austin
09-04-2011, 07:19 PM
Ivy League ain't worth it if you do not have a free ride. I know two men who got a ride at Grad school after they made Captain. One went to Harvard and one went to UT Austin. One is still in and another is head of security at a fortune 50 corporation.

I would set your sights on a tier 1 public school in a state with a growing economy. You will then get offers when you get close to finishing school. Just do not go into debt to do it. I would get an MBA with a heavy emphasis on accounting and then get your CPA while you are still in school.

EDELWEISS
09-04-2011, 08:43 PM
I have a friend that got a free ride at Morgan University (under grad) and Brown for grad school as a minority student because he was Caucasian..... I dont suppose it happens much but he was in the right place and the right time and they neeeeeeeded Caucasians in their engineering program to prove they werent bias. He said he got some grief from the students and staff(imagine that); but he was happy for the ride and toughed it out.

bae
09-04-2011, 08:46 PM
If you get into Princeton, and need a free ride, you get one. No loans, just grants, scholarships, and jobs. It can be cheaper than a state school.

http://www.princeton.edu/admission/financialaid/how_it_works/principles/

austin
09-04-2011, 09:19 PM
If you get into Princeton, and need a free ride, you get one. No loans, just grants, scholarships, and jobs. It can be cheaper than a state school.

http://www.princeton.edu/admission/financialaid/how_it_works/principles/


That's funny that you bring up Princeton. I in my acceptance letter from Princeton there was also info on how I would pay for it. I would have had to take out 32K in loans. Ditto for that little private school in Pasadena.

I decided to go to UT on a free ride. Tuition, food, and dorm. I still had to pay for books and incidentals. But Uncle Sam helped with that.

My friend who went to Harvard for his Masters had Uncle Sam to pay for much of it. But he also had just about perfect GRE scores and recommendation letters from four stars.

In general, your total student loan debt should be less than 50% of your starting year's salary. A good starting salary is 60K, so the total debt including credit cards and car loan should be 30K.

Coach
09-04-2011, 09:31 PM
Texas A&M.

Class of 1988.

I know it ain't the Ivy League, but we like it fine just the way it is.

The ring opens a whole lotta doors down here.

bae
09-04-2011, 10:26 PM
That's funny that you bring up Princeton. I in my acceptance letter from Princeton there was also info on how I would pay for it. I would have had to take out 32K in loans. Ditto for that little private school in Pasadena.


They changed the policy a few years back, when their financial resources went through the roof, and they noticed that they were losing applicants. So no more loans/debt expected of the students.

When I graduated, I had a mountain of debt, that was brutal.

s4141
09-05-2011, 05:50 AM
I think that what you major in and what the actual and projected job availability is for that specialty may be wise to think about. I graduated with a BS in Geology(Earth Science) hoping to get into mining engineering or a field research job, but when I graduated, the mining industry took a dump and people were getting laid of left and right. I did get a job offer to make/interpret various types of maps/photos for the military. Without my degree I wouldn't really have much of a chance for that job. I didn't go to an Ivy League School nor do I think coming from an Ivy League School is the end-all, but it couldn't hurt.

In the end, I got a job where I am now, and without the degree I probably wouldn't have made the cut. I'm not one wholly sold on having to obtain an Ivy League diploma to be successful.

I wasn't eligible for Pell Grants as I was, well, white. I had to take some student loans to get by and get a job and use an athletic scholarship for tuition. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Good luck with your quest.

austin
09-05-2011, 07:24 AM
They changed the policy a few years back, when their financial resources went through the roof, and they noticed that they were losing applicants. So no more loans/debt expected of the students.

When I graduated, I had a mountain of debt, that was brutal.

Understood, but kids whose parents make 100K will not get a lot of grants as there is no "need." Furthermore, that assistance is GPA and full load dependent.

There are no "merit" scholarships at the Ivies. None.

A coworker son was #1 in his class, Hispanic, with 1500+ SATs. Problem was his folks both took home 100K. He therefore had "no need" and Yale was quite clear about that. His parents refused to take on the debt. OU, UT, and A&M rolled out the red carpet and he went to OU.

If you look through this list of where top DFW grads went, you see a majority of state schools. The wealthier districts do send a few to the ivies.

http://dallas-area-schools.blogspot.com/2011/06/2011-college-choices-of-top-two-grads.html

Skeleton In The Closet
09-05-2011, 07:36 AM
That seems a bit defeatist to me.

not really. i would like to imagine that everyone that graduates college would make it out with a job waiting. this video i think explains it quite well, and despite poking fun at Bush, it does a good job at expaining why it is that
our children are suffering and lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of education. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

i would agree with you that it is the student, but all a student really has to do nowadays is prove that they can take standardized tests at a high level, which is not really a challenge at all.

teaching students to be creative, outgoing and unwavering is what we should be doing, not making clones.

MyAristeia
09-05-2011, 08:17 AM
Understood, but kids whose parents make 100K will not get a lot of grants as there is no "need." Furthermore, that assistance is GPA and full load dependent.

There are no "merit" scholarships at the Ivies. None.

It's interesting that this thread has turned to the money question. I really haven't given much thought to it.

As a beginning Army O1, both my parents have told me that I make more money than they do, whatever that means scholarship-wise.

From what I understand (admittedly without much research), the GI Bill pays up to the tuition of the most expensive public school in the state for private schools. What other benefits can augment that?

Gabriel Suarez
09-05-2011, 08:48 AM
Education system is corrupt? OK...who cares? I am not on that list. Look bro...every single institution is corrupt, you either complain about it or use it your advantage.

Education is a beginning, and not an end it itself. Having a good one will give you a great shortcut, but not the CEO position in a week. Studying the right things is importnat as well. I majored in History and wish I'd studied Business.

Personality is also key, and a product of what your parents programmed into you. Give a pirate a six figure educaton and he will have his own fleet and maritime domination in no time. Give a shoemaker the same education and he will still be a shoemaker.

TaxPhd
09-05-2011, 08:58 AM
Ivy League ain't worth it if you do not have a free ride. I know two men who got a ride at Grad school after they made Captain. One went to Harvard and one went to UT Austin. One is still in and another is head of security at a fortune 50 corporation.

I would set your sights on a tier 1 public school in a state with a growing economy. You will then get offers when you get close to finishing school. Just do not go into debt to do it. I would get an MBA with a heavy emphasis on accounting and then get your CPA while you are still in school.

In most states, MBA with an emphasis on accounting won't qualify you for CPA. You will generally need most, if not all, of the undergraduate accounting course as well.

It can be done, but it will be a lot more course work than just the MBA.

TaxPhd
09-05-2011, 09:08 AM
OP, if you are shooting for a top tier school, your undergrad GPA is going to hurt, unfortunately. There is nothing you can do about it now, so your focus needs to be on getting the best GMAT and/or LSAT scores you possibly can. Do a review course (Self study is fine, if you are a motivated self-starter. Others need to be pushed by a live instructor). Study your ass off.

The top schools have such a large pool of applicants that they can cherry pick the cream of the crop. You have some life experiences that will help in the selection process, but you absolutely MUST get the best entrance exam scores that you can.

My screen name is a hint - I have been doing this a long time, and I am happy to answer any questions that you may have. As far as non-academic experience, I was a tax consultant for Coopers & Lybrand before I went into academia, so I have some significant real world perspective as well.

bae
09-05-2011, 12:45 PM
not really. i would like to imagine that everyone that graduates college would make it out with a job waiting.

That's not how the world has ever worked. I graduated from an Ivy League school, with top grades, and I had to "make" every job I ever had. There weren't ever jobs "waiting".

Expecting jobs to just "be there" is an interesting mindset...

HarvKY
09-05-2011, 11:36 PM
First - what is your motive for attending and the goal you want to achieve ?

Do some research and you can find each schools average entrance exam scores.
You can attend some review/practice test sessions at various schools to get an idea of where you stand.
I spent much of my lead time doing practice tests out of books to improve and find my weak spots (though there's not a whole lot you can work on by then - cept maybe math strategies).

You've already done undergrad but I always suggest to friends and kids that its better to have a higher GPA from a small lesser known school than a degree from a big fancy schmancy college with a lower GPA.

The key to masters programs is to just get accepted. Usually the acceptance IS your diploma. they dont want their dropout %'s inflated.

I got a masters from an IVY and I loved the decision to attend, the connections, resources, etc. were incredible, BUT I very openly tell everyone that you can get a great education ANYWHERE. It has more to do with how much the individual wants to work and "seek" out what they need.

Figure out if a JD or MBA is really necessary for what you want to do. Make sure the program is slanted towards the "style or focus" that your interested in - ie; Wall St trader or intellectual property law, etc

Maybe read some career type books etc to help focus your thinking.
Remember - you dont know what you dont know :wink:

Good luck,
Harv

David R
09-06-2011, 03:27 PM
MyAristeia: Watch this video and keep this in mind when you get to your essays.

http://blog.collegezoom.us/leadership/how-great-leaders-communicate/

This has got to be one of my all-time favorite TED talks, especially because it is so relevant to how one should write college admissions essays and describe their activity history. The main takeaway is this: more than what you do, colleges care more about why you do it. As the director of an award-winning college admissions counseling business that helped undergraduates reverse rejection letters from UCLA and USC (top 25 ranked schools), I can tell you that having vision, passion, and acute self-awareness are the most underrated X-factors that can give your application the edge it needs it shine.

CASE EXAMPLE: Consider these two short answer responses to the prompt: discuss an activity that is important to you and why?

Student A) Being able to express myself is something that is very important to me. Through photography I have been able to express my way of art by capturing the beauty in things I feel people do not usually notice, like a grain of sand on a beach. One of my favorite pictures is of a wooden plank of a sailboat, youíd never know what it is by looking at it, but it looks beautiful. My cameras and I are inseparable. During birthday celebrations and social gatherings, while most people take posed photographs, I like to capture the candid moments. Through the thousands and thousands of photographs I have in my collection, my ability to artistically look at the world through a different lens helps me find perspective, brings me back to earth, and makes me myself.

Student B) When I was five I learned two invaluable lessons: that there is no guarantee of what tomorrow may hold and life is not always going to be easy. My mother lost everything in a divorce, and we were left homeless for almost two years. When I saw how hard she had to work to rebuild our lives, I realized the importance of being able to rely on myself to make life everything that I want it to be. I canít rely on anyone to hand my dreams to me, and I have a dream to be successful. So even though my mom has since been able to provide me with a lifestyle where I do not need to work, I have a job because working is very important to me. Work allows me to be independent and gives me an education that can never be taken away from me. When I work, Iím learning how to chase my dreams while satisfying my current obligations. I am learning the skills I need to achieve the kind of life I want for myself. Regardless of what the world throws at me.

Can you guess which student got accepted?

Answer: Trick question. Both responses were written by the exact same student. Version A was a first draft and Version B was her final response. She got into her first-choice reach school (a top 25 university) with a below average GPA.

The admissions process is really a discovery process where students can learn how to become the best versions of themselves. Changing the way a student communicates in order to open the doors of the nationís most selective universities requires changing the way that student thinks. Essays that can change the trajectory of someoneís life and empower that personís dreams require great thinking. Great thinkers not only make wiser decisions, but they comprehend the true power of their ability to inspire others with their character, fit, and value; and have the ability to open doors forever. :finger: