Margie’s a wife and mother who’s about to transfer into a four-year school, but she’s not sure she’s got a good enough resume to impress the big boys.
Greetings Judge Josh! I have been an avid reader of your site for a while now and have found your candor to be refreshing and many of your tips to be incredibly useful. Thank you!
Thanks, and you’re welcome!
However, I haven’t come across anything from people that are in my situation, so I am hoping that you might be able to help me out.
I’ll certainly try.
I am what has been coined a “non-traditional” student. I am a 32 year-old married mother of two. I went into college straight of high school but to be honest with you, I screwed around, and ended up attending 3 different universities in 3 years. Before I knew it, I had run out of money for school and had to choose between eating in a house or eating in a box. I chose the house- it was warmer.
Probably the smart choice.
Ten years later, I was married with 2 kids, a mortgage, working in a mall, and an unhappy college drop-out. At the age of 31 I made the decision to return to colleg finish my degree.
Great! Congrats. It’s not an easy jump to make, I know.
I started at the local community college, primarily because the cost was by far cheaper.
Also a great choice.
Unfortunately, the college does not offer the degree program that I am after (Anthropology) so I know that I am going to have to transfer to a larger university next fall. My grades at the Community college have all been excellent (Dean’s List 3 semesters!),
but as a wife and mother I haven’t had much time to do what is necessary to beef up my resume’ for my application for that transfer.
Well, I’m going to ask the crowd here to correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that volunteer work and campus clubs will have very little to do with whether you’re accepted as a transfer student. It’s not the same type of application that you fill out as a freshman trying to get INTO the four-year school in the first place, where you have to wow the committee with what a well-rounded citizen you are. It’s going to be based completely on the transferability of the courses you’ve taken.
For those of you at home who are in the earlier stages of this process, it’s a great idea to pick out the school you want to transfer into as early in the process as you can. That way, you’ll be able to coordinate the transfer and know with more certainty which credits will transfer and which will not.
(Incidentally, this is another great reason to go to community college for a lot of people — it’s like a hidden “back door” to colleges that you may not be able to get into as an incoming freshman. You can get rejected by a school as a new student, and then voila, two years later when you’re a junior, you just fill out the transfer student app with strong grades from your community college, and then you’re in. IT DOESN’T WORK PERFECTLY IN ALL CASES…but it works a lot of the time, especially if you’re moving to a larger institution in the same state that already has a good relationship with your community college. So, just saying…if you’re dying to go to State U. and you get rejected but you don’t want to give up, consider doing community college for the first two years and transferring in as a junior.
I call it the “back door” because it’s really exactly like you see in a movie when the heroes are trying to crash a party or event or something. You can try the front door, but it’s harder because that’s where all the security (admissions committee) is. But if you just hang out for a while, look the part then stroll on around to the back door, then you can light up a smoke with the cooks and dishwashers and then just head back inside with them.)
OK, back to Margie:
I haven’t done any volunteer work
Ha! You mean other than raising your children every day? 🙂
I don’t belong to any campus clubs– there really is nothing that is relevant to put on college app that would give me a leg up.
Again, you’re a transfer so none of this is going to matter a whole lot, I don’t think. But just for kicks, let me fast-forward to the process of applying for both scholarship and jobs and say that campus clubs carry very little weight with judges/employers. They’re nice and all, but other things impress us much more, like work experience and skill mastery. Volunteer work is a notch up on the hierarchy, and it can definitely help you get scholarships (although not so much a job).
Between t-ball games, brownie meetings, and car pool, there really isn’t enough time in the day.
I hear ya, sister. 🙂 I’m a 36-year-old father of two with a third on the way.
The avereage age of the student that attends the university that I will be transferring to is 18-24, that is, straight out of high school.
No worries. That’s the case in most places.
Any suggestions on what I can do to off-set my “non-traditional” status without sounding like a whiney mommy?
A couple years back I wrote this article about taking care of your family that is still very relevant. Here’s the summary: taking care of your family is an underrated and under-mentioned part of scholarship applications. It gets the short shrift.
Taking care of your family is one of the most important things you can do in your life. It’s a primary component of the criteria we use to judge people as human beings. You can be a scoundrel in a variety of other areas of life, even, and as long as you take care of your family, you’re probably going to be viewed as at least a halfway decent person.
But students don’t often think of this when it comes time to apply for colleges and scholarships. They think what Margie thinks — that my resume isn’t strong enough because I don’t have student government or Future Business Leaders of America or other such things on it.
Bah! Totally false. Taking care of your family isn’t AS important as those things — it’s MORE important! So don’t be afraid to mention the nuts and bolts of what you do every day for your family on any application that requires you to account for how you spend your time.
Don’t be afraid to announce your dedication to spending hours every day with your children as they grow up. It’s more valuable and admirable than anything you could be doing on campus.
Any advice you could give a mom returning to school would be super appreciated!
Well, that’s mine — I hope it helps. Anyone else out there have advice for a mom headed into the second half of school? Let us know in the comments below.