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Question: Hi, I am 35, and received my BA in Hotel Management from CalPoly Pomona. I received my Master's Degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University. I would like to get a Masters in Applied Mathematics because eventually I would like to teach in a university setting. I have checked with many universities and all of them required math in the 300-400 level. How do I obtain this? My last math class was Calculus 2 from a two year college. I'm not sure where to start if I really want to pursue a Masters in Applied Mathematics. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Also, I"m not a native born, so I have problem with GRE testing. My score was quite low. - Kes

Answer: Kes, you may need to gain more ability to speak English as all schools require a TOEFL score – or a level of understanding to be successful at graduate study. After that you may do better with the GRE, and there are preparatory courses you can take to help you score better on that admissions test. You must have taken it at one time to get into your Master’s of Education program. When you decide on the school you want to attend, get their Admissions department to work with you to select undergraduate courses in math at the 300-400 level at their school. Many graduate students have to take preliminary courses to enter a master’s program. Show them you are a good student and it will greatly help to get into the program you want to enter. - Faith

Question: Hi, I am 50, live in Pennsylvania, and have a question about returning to college to earn my BA in Psychology. Is it safe to enroll in an online program at a for-profit university? Will I be able to find employment (at my age)? Please advise. I'm not hearing good things about for-profit universities. - Terrence

Answer: Terrence, whether you choose a non-profit, or for-profit college or university, make sure it has regional accreditation – this is the best academic accreditation. All schools have pro's and con's, that is why it is so important to find the best fit school for your needs. Most for-profit institutions tend to have higher tuition rates. There are thousands of colleges and universities that have great programs for adult learners, so don't always be "sold into" a school because of its great advertising budget. Age is always a factor in hiring – whether it be young or older. Some companies seek the experienced worker. Remember, going to school part-time will take you longer to complete so you may find graduation to be another five or more years away. It is best to call a few companies that you would want as your employer and ask for their data on average age of current workers and average age of new hires for the past three years. This will give you a better idea if you will fit in with their culture. - Faith

Question: I took some college courses at Ventura College from 1966 through 1968, then at Catawba Valley Community College from 1973 through 1975, and again from 1980 - 1933, ending with Central Piedmont Community College from 1978 through 1979. Is there any way to consolidate all of these credit hours along with work experience and military training/ time into a degree? I am 63, and live in North Carolina. - Thomas

Answer: Thomas, hundreds of colleges and universities offer programs for adult students. These programs are designed for working professionals, who often have previous college credits from various schools. Because of this, they tend to take more credits in transfer than the more "traditional" programs. Be aware though that some schools will not accept any credit over 5 or 10 years old based on the credit's field of study. As an example, a school may take history credits that are 30 years old, but not transfer in computer credits that are older than 5 years, as the curriculum has changed so much through the years. It sounds as if the major is not as important to you as pulling your credits and learning together to complete a bachelor' degree. Again, there are hundreds of programs that will take your transfer credits and allow you to use your work/life/military experience to gain credit towards graduation.

Excelsior College and Thomas Edison are some of the more reasonably priced programs that are very adult-friendly and offer distance learning degrees you can complete from your state. You could also contact Appalachian State University, Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Campbell University, Catawba College, Gardner-Webb University, East Carolina University, Greensboro College, Guilford College and High Point University. All of these schools have online programs for adult students and would be more flexible on transfer credits and ways to earn credits for your pior education/experience. - Faith

Question: HI! I am 25, and have a Bachelor's in Finance with a low GPA (2.5). I've been working in my field for two years now and hate it. I'm wanting to make a career change in to the nursing field. How do schools go about calculating the GPA on a second degree? Obviously I would need a good GPA to get into nursing school. I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Thanks! - Taylor

Answer: Taylor, since you did not earn a BA in a science discipline, you will need lots of courses in the sciences. Find out what the "pre-requisite" courses for the nursing program are – meaning the lower level courses that are introductory to nursing and that everyone must have completed before entering the program. Take those courses and do very well – i.e. A's and B's. This will help raise your GPA and show you suceed with related coursework.

Since finance and nursing are very diverse majors of study, I hope you have obtained some good career counseling – try your local community college for some low cost counseling and assessments. Make sure you have the interest and aptitude for nursing before you begin the program. You don't want to make the same mistake twice and lose more time and money on a program that is not what you want in life. - Faith

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