Seeking a Critique of my DL plan (University of London International Programme)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Amator, Jun 27, 2017.

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  1. Amator

    Amator New Member

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    Hello all! I am planning on returning to college after a twenty-year absence in the Fall. I have what I think is a solid plan, but I'd appreciate if anyone here would mind critiquing my plan to see what I am missing.

    Background:

    After having a rather unspectacular academic career in my youth, I am now faced with the prospect of beginning university studies anew at age thirty-eight. I had a rather rough childhood, and ended up dropping out of high school during the last six months of my final year. I obtained a General Education Diploma (GED) rather than a standard high school diploma. I then enrolled in a private University and ended up leaving that school after a year. Fast forward twenty years and I have worked my way into a position as a technical writer at a telecommunications firm. I have reached the point in my career where I need a Bachelor's Degree to further advance and I am considering my options.

    Another factor is that several people in my life have told me I need to become a teacher. I've always wanted to teach, but thought I had thrown away my chances of doing so. I know that I do not want to continue in the corporate world for more than the next five-to-ten years. Teaching is often a challenging and underpaid profession, but I'll only have a mortgage for another five or so years and after that my financial needs will be more modest.

    I'm a bit of an autodidact and have read voraciously over the years but not as part of a structured program. I want to embark on a program not just to get the cheapest and quickest degree, but also in a program where I will be challenged.

    The Plan:

    My exhaustive search led me to UoL's International Programmes and I was immediately struck at the high quality and rigor of the courses contained within the Prospectus for the English degree. I very much admire that all of your examinations, apart from Creative Writing, are carried out through proctored essays.

    I would very much like to take on the challenge of your program rather than suffer the lackluster, lowest-common-denominator quality of American universities for which I would qualify. Admittedly, part of this appeal is also due to not having to take as many courses. A BA from UoL consists of 16 individual courses, but each of those seem to be difficult year-long courses.

    My current plan is to enroll in UoL for a combined BA (English major, Philosophy minor) while at my current job over the next three years. After which, I would plan to enroll in a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Secondary Education at a state university. I inquired with the local state university that is an hour from my home to see if the UoL BA would qualify for their MAT program and received this response:

    "I reached out to the program coordinator for the program about your situation. He doesn’t anticipate an issue, but would need to see your completed transcript before he can say for sure."

    This would be a total investment of five years of my time, three at UoL for the BA in English and two at a public university for the MAT.

    Thank you for spending the time to read this!
     
  2. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Member

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    UoL's the bomb, just make sure that if you're getting into public school teaching, primary or secondary, that it will be good to go for state licensure, their requirements are, paradoxically, more stringent than at the university level. I got into higher ed teaching at 39, late career change after being a lawyer and then in B2B tech sales. You might look into higher ed down the road, there are multiple technical writing and related programs that one can pursue online for a PhD that you might look into. It's not unheard of to get into higher ed academia at a later age, one of my colleagues didn't start pursuing his PhD until his upper 40s and didn't finish until his 50s, he has been teaching for in higher ed now for over 15 years and just turned 70--looks younger, acts younger, looks like he could go on forever.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2017
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    "but would need to see your completed transcript before he can say for sure"

    In other words, you have to spend three or four years and however many dollars earning the degree before you're sure it will get you into the MAT program that you actually need to reach your professional goals? I'm all for cross-border higher education, believe me, but given your specific goals that doesn't sound very wise.
     
  4. Amator

    Amator New Member

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    Thank you for the advice and the encouragement that I'm not too old to start anew.

    I figure I'll be 41 no matter what, so I might as well be 41 with a degree!
     
  5. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Member

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    Amator, y ou seem to be ahead of the game insofar as your writing skills and the fact that you have done extensive reading over the years. Have you considered prior learning assessment? Why not get credit for what you already know?

    There's also a key piece of information missing from your profile: What country are you in?
     
  6. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Member

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    Good attitude. I got an MBA at the age of 43, never too late, lots of people here have kept on learning and attaining degrees into middle age.

    Some Online PhD programs related to your expertise for down the road in case you want to go higher ed:

    Texas Tech: Technical Communication & Rhetoric | Technical Communication & Rhetoric | Department of English | TTU

    Clemson: https://www.clemson.edu/online/programs/rhetorics-comm-info-design.html

    Leicester (UK): Media and Communication Distance Learning PhD — University of Leicester


    By the way, consider what Steve F says, he makes a heck of a good point.
     
  7. Amator

    Amator New Member

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    Your point is definitely taken, but I do think most of that response is CYA from the view of the University. They don't know me from Adam and probably don't know anything about UoL either. If my future was predicated upon specifically going to that one school's MAT program than yes, going to TESC or another stateside school would be statistically more likely to achieve that goal. In that case, I'd seek a MAT from one of the many other schools that offer that program or pursue alternative methods of teacher certification.

    Here are the reasons that UoL appeals to me over a traditional DL option:

    1. Three years vs. Four Years (yes, it could taken longer than three at UoL and yes I could rush through credits at TESC or another school in an equal amount of time)
    2. UK schools go by the assumption that general ed classes unrelated to the specialty are taken at the secondary school level. Because of this, UoL has four in-depth courses per year instead of taking many shorter classes, many of which are general ed. The UK system is a better fit my for schedule and requires less materials/bureaucracy/professor interactions/etc than taking 12-15 smaller classes a year.
    3. Many DL schools offer classes that meet educational requirements but seem to be "least common denominator" classes, especially at lower levels. Consider this entry-level literature course at UoL versus what many schools offer:
    [​IMG]
    4. I will admit that part of my draw to UoL is the snob appeal of going to a more-exotic program. I'm enough of an Anglophile to want to immerse myself in British English and bureaucracy from a distance. I would love to travel to London for the graduation ceremony. These things aren't the main draw, but they are part of the appeal for me.
    5. Cost - I will again use TESC as an example. They offer an annual tuition of $9,820 for out-of-state residents for up to 36 credit hours per year. Their B.A. in English consists of 120 credit hours, so this would be roughly 3.5 years or $34,370. Assuming I finish in three years at UoL, it will currently cost £6,280 for all three years. This currently equates to $8,034.
     
  8. Amator

    Amator New Member

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    I am in the United States, South Carolina to be more specific.

    That is certainly an option, and one I would do well to consider. The "hacker" part of my personality would enjoy taking prior learning assessments and cramming for individual classes to gain credit by exam. The only such program I have investigated is TCSC and it appears to carry a cost of $39/credit for registered students but 16 credits have to come from actual courses at $499/credit registered. The approximate costs would seem to be $7,984 (16 credits * $499/credit) + $4,056 for the credit by exam + plus books/fees/etc. Let's round up and estimate 15k all told. This would be roughly double the cost of UoL but would carry the advantage of being able to be accomplished very quickly.

    It's definitely a good option and I'm not opposed to it, and I'm sure there are other schools that I should investigate. Are there any others in particular you would steer me toward? Thank you!
     
  9. Amator

    Amator New Member

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    Thank you for the links! The Clemson link in particular is very interesting, as Clemson is in the same county where I live and was the school I corresponded with about the MAT program. They currently do not offer this program as it is being redesigned and will be redeployed in 2019.

    I agree, Steve makes an excellent point and I will definitely take it under consideration. That is, after all, why I posted here to begin with. If I go with UoL I will be taking a gamble that future schools/employers/etc will accept their certification. Still though, there are many factors at play including the individual classes, course load, costs, etc. I do not believe it is a high enough risk that I should immediately dismiss the option, but it certainly demands enough research to make it a calculated risk. As such I am very grateful for everyone's advice.

    Edit - I have written an in-depth reply to Steve to address that concern as well as additional reasons why I believe UoL might be a better fit, but since I am a new member that reply is awaiting moderation. Hopefully that will not take too long.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2017
  10. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Member

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    No problem for you, as you won't be ready for it until about 2022.
     
  11. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

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    I wish you luck....with that said every single person that I know of that has started the program has not finished. Steve Levicoff gave you sound advice, test out at one of the big three. Or better yet, find a local program that suits your needs. If you feel you need the challenge, go for it.
     
  12. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

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    Look at you being overly optimistic...I'd say realistically 2025.
     
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Active Member

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    Hardly anyone on this forum or the sister forum spends four years attending TESU (it's now a university), Excelsior, or Charter Oak. They transfer in most of their credits. You only pay $9,000+ for the Comprehensive Tuition Plan. The Comprehensive Tuition Plan is designed for those who are taking 24+ credits per year at TESU. People who are primarily testing out pay the residency waiver under the Per Credit Tuition Plan. You can also opt to take 16 credits in online, guided study, or e-Pack courses in order to avoid the residency waiver. At TESU, you can earn a lot of the English credits cheaply through Shmoop.

    Or, you can just training for your teaching license at the undergraduate level through Western Governors University. South Carolina also has an alternative teacher certification program for those who have a bachelor's degree, but did not complete a traditional certification program.

    Alternative Certification Programs - South Carolina Department of Education
     
  14. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Member

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    Maybe, it took me four years to get an MBA online part time while working.
     
  15. Amator

    Amator New Member

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    Thanks for the information. Yes, I the data I had for TESU was out-of-date. I need to spend some time this weekend evaluating both it and WGU. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a detailed reply.
     

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