[CS-FSLUG] Heading towards a brick wall.

Timothy Butler tbutler at ofb.biz
Sat Feb 18 15:36:11 CST 2006

Hi Nathan,
	Have you taken an ACT/SAT yet? It's a little late, if you haven't,  
but there is no time like the present to fix that. Depending on how  
well you can do with that, you may very well get an academic  
scholarship that would help a good deal with the costs of further  
education. If I were you, I'd start contacting schools, you haven't  
already, and just see what they have to say. Colleges are like car  
dealers -- the price you see isn't the price you have to pay. Deal,  
deal and then deal some more if necessary. Many (most?) colleges also  
offer work study programs where you can subsidize your tuition by  
doing work on the campus.

	Since you don't know what you want to do, I'd suggest finding a  
college or university with a good liberal arts tradition rather than  
a vocationally focused school. Spend a year or two getting through  
all of the required liberal arts stuff -- English, History,  
Philosophy, etc. -- while taking a few courses in areas that might  
interest you. If you are still thinking computer science, take a  
course or two. Maybe take a course or two in some other track that  
interests you too. Most schools will likely require you to take some  
social sciences too -- psychology, sociology, criminology and the  
like may prove more interesting than you might expect. By the time  
you need to declare a major, you'll have a pretty good idea with what  
kind of coursework you can live with and go for it.

	I'm a humanities kind of guy, but from what I know of you, I'd  
suggest you consider MIS. Management Information Systems will include  
some of the computer courses you'll probably find interesting, but  
also a lot of business management courses that will make you still  
valuable even if all the programming jobs are outsourced to India.  
You might not find marketing and accounting all that interesting, but  
they will make you a lot less expendable. Plus, if you ever get tired  
of sitting in a cubicle, it'll have you on a better track for moving  
into the management side of things. No offense to any Business Admin  
or MBA people on here, but I'd also say that in my experience  
business courses are a lot easier than many other disciplines.

	What I would say is don't cut yourself short by letting the price of  
tuition lead you away from college. Today, that degree is becoming  
necessary for so many jobs that it *will* pay off, and there are  
many, many ways to find financial aid that will help make it work.  
You'll be glad you don't have to find a way to come back to school in  
a few years.

	Oh, and consider applying to American schools as well as Canadian  
ones. A lot of schools around here love to get "international"  
students (it makes for good bragging rights), so you might find  
something down south that works well for you.

	My main advice: approach this realizing you need to move quickly if  
you are graduating this year, *but* in the end, if you don't have  
everything solved by May, it isn't the end of the world. Festina  
Lente: make haste slowly.


Timothy R. Butler | "It may be that  when the angels go about their
Editor, OfB.biz   | task  praising God,  they play only Bach.  I am
tbutler at ofb.biz   | sure,  however,  that when they are together en
timothybutler.us  | famille they play Mozart."
                                                       -- Karl Barth

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