Anyone out there get 2nd Undergrad in ID?

Has anyone out there gone back for an undergrad degree in ID after studying something else as an undergrad?

I am set on returning to school for ID. It’s a lifelong interest, been considering it for years, but I have a few obstacles.

Briefly, my situation is this: I got a BFA in dance performed for a short time, and at 31 I am basically ready to “retire” and move on to another career. I have a survival job creating presentations for an investment bank that pays very well, but it is not something I want to do with the rest of my life. I have good design, drawing skills (father taught foundation drawing/design at a university) but I have an abysmal transcript (due partially to a drug and alcohol problem) only a few courses in design and art.

So… I don’t feel I am a good candidate for grad programs. I could go back and take some undergrad courses and try to get into grad school after a year or two (looking at Pratt – in NYC). I feel confident about my ability to put together a good portfolio and I do have some relevant work experience. Or… dive right into an undergrad program (Pratt, once again). Either way I would probably finish at about the same time.

On the practical side – how do I pay? I make $75k right now which may wreck my Fin Aid (I know – I will make less in ID after graduating – don’t bother telling me). I will of course, have to quit this job but could make a little money freelancing at night. Not really a design question, but ANY thoughts are appreciated.

I’ve read through all the archive and seen the discussions about grad versus undergrad for people returning to school who got non-design undergrad degrees. My feeling was – yeah that’s an interesting discussion, but for most people grad is probably more practical. So I’ll repeat the question. Has anyone actually gone back for a second undergrad degree or knows someone else who did?

First of all if you go for a 2nd BFA you will not be eligable for Fin Aid. You can get private student loans.

I am finishing up my 2nd BFA in graphic design… had to do the private loan thing. Graphic design pays even less than ID. I have had student loans from both my 1st two degrees and paid them off. I’m sure I can do it again.

I do have a MFA in industrial design. Got this after my BFA in sculpture. Granted I did work as an IDer for many years but it was a tough start. I also had to take some undergrad courses while in grad school… and payed grad tuition for them! I think you would be better off going the undergrad route in the long run.

Don’t sweat your age… I’m older than you and I went back.

don’t worry about it. I went back after a first unrelated degree. there are quite a few people like that here. we’re all taking out big loans. a little “older” than the other students. its all good.

Thanks for the replies.

So… big loans hunh? Private shool tuition is scary, but I guess I’ll just look at this one step at a time.

as far as age – I’m not too worried about that.

I think I’m going to throw together a portfolio and apply to Pratt for Fall 2005 (I have one month to apply). I thought about trying to take drawing and design classes elswhere, but I would really love to do the foundation program at Pratt.

thanks again for the encouragement.

one thought…get as good as you can before you enter into a fulltime program. spend 6 months building up your drawing and pfolio. it will help you down the line.

That is pretty much what I am doing now. I haven’t really drawn for 10 years or more, but I have this incredible case of beginners mind right now, though. I can’t believe how good I am getting and how fast it is happening. Somehow all the dancing and life experience come into play and I am better than I ever was before.

I’m thinking about enrolling in FIT and taking a basic fine art series of courses (they don’t really have much of a foundation program). It is really cheap and only a few blocks from where I live. I don’t know how good the classes are, but I’m at that point that I don’t really need someone to lead me too much. Later the credit could be transfered to another program.

i went to business school the first time around , now getting my second undergrad degree. the wise people of this site told me that if i wanted to be a designer, not a prod. manager, then i should go do my undergrad.

I did indeed go back, at age 29, to get an undergrad in ID. first degree was in anthro (archaeology)…obviously didn’t do much work as an archaeologist- but worked in the outdoor industry for a while.

The first year as an undergrad was difficult, for many reasons, not the least of which was the change in income. The first year was bootcamp! so I didn’t work and literally went to sleep hungry.

I went to a school that didn’t have much of a portfolio requirement (it was required but I’m not sure how much of a stopper it was- maybe check into that- you may not need the kind of fine art background you might think you would need). I had a bunch of fine art background, though. though I found that drawing/sketching was like any physical activity…practice, practice, eventually the body does what you want it to do.

The maturity level was an asset- for sure. I could talk to my instructors as an equal, with respect and intelligence. Not so for the 19yo kids, who still wear their pants low. Work ethic, ability to hear criticism and internalize it, time management, PERSPECTIVE, all great advantages in this line of work, and in school.

things to consider, which I didn’t really…try and meet your prospective faculty…or really understand the program and its intensions in educating you. I found that that there is pretty strong split between ‘practicle education’ schools and ‘theory’ schools (in my area). decide which you want more of, or what balance is right. Talk to the students too. though they’ll undoubtedly be synicle about some things, they are doing it. they’ll know what the real deal is. Also…do they have a strong alumni or co-op struture. my school really did not. swim on your own is tuff in this industry.

if you really care about what you are doing, you may find it really really difficult to hold on to friends and lovers. especially the first year. oof.

it is REALLY REALLY fun going back to school. you’ll love it.

last word of advice- if you are gonna go, go BIG. enjoy it to the fullest…no part-time, don’t worry about the loans…they will work themselves out.

i went back. plenty of financial aid. only mistake made was thinking i didnt qualify. blew thru over $12k in one semester. worked fulltime second semester to stay in. got smart. talked to Financial Aid people (make them your best friend). i qualified for Grants, Student Loans, Private Univ Scholarships, Work-Study, and earned competitive scholarships. others received more sometimes. but not much. do your homework. beats working full-time.

good luck.

When did you go back? Did you actually have a Bachelor’s degree? The rules have changed… and there is a lot less money available.

Sure there are some private scholarships that the school might be able to offer. I know one art school that always has trouble finding enough students that went to a catholic high school… requirements of one of their private scholoarships.

“When did you go back? Did you actually have a Bachelor’s degree? The rules have changed… and there is a lot less money available.”

this was true 10 years ago. and yes, i did actually have a Bachelor’s degree (good laugh too, now).

some rules have changed. like Pell Grant one year. not the next. then back again. aso. but rules depend on situation. whether private or public. there may be less money overall. but then some may just be harder to find. whatever the case, advice from anons (or anyone) on a forum shouldnt be the last word. original poster needs to learn for him/herself. that means talking to Financial Aid directly.

I will be talking to admissions/fin. aid people soon. From what I can tell at this point, the situation for people getting second undergrads is different from schoo to school. It is true that Pell Grants are currently not given to those with BFAs already, but Pell grants are only one small part of a typical Fin. Aid. package and are usually granted to those with the most need. I think my biggest problem will be that I will not qualify for much $$ the first year because of my income for 2004. Obviously the next year my income will be much lower.

Don’t know if would be passed over for merit scholorships because of my existing degree…

I am pretty set on a BFA at this point. I don’t see that I would be able to get what I needed in a 2 or even 3 yr. MFA, nor do I think that I am very competitive to get in. Getting a BFA also opens up a grand total of 2 programs available to me in the area (have significant other, can’t relocate at the moment): Parsons and Pratt.

I am totally excited about it all right now – Drawing my @55 off every waking minute to get a portfolio together.


Parsons and Pratt… both excellent options

“I think my biggest problem will be that I will not qualify for much $$ the first year because of my income for 2004.”

maybe. maybe not. i assumed that when i went back. wish i hadnt.

there was a thread while back. someone looking for suggestions on money for school. think in NYC. might search it out.

Great thread. Most everything I would normally say has been said.

One addition on the Financial Aid front. It turns out there are really no hard and fast rules in the financial aid department. I know a very talented designer that got a scholarship for female fine arts students four years in a row, and HE was a dude in ID. The skweaky wheel gets the greese down there my man, if I had only swallowed my pride and kissed more but I wouldn’t have had as many loans. As a more mature student I’m sure you’ll be able to convince them more effectively than a sheepish 18 year old. My school bragged about how many millions of dollars it had in un-used scholarship funds, go get that money so that you can focus on learning.

yea … i just finished my first 2 terms of ID. i got a first BS in business admin. everything u hear is true. im on the private loan thang … ZERO financial aid … sucks but i try not to think about it.

what really keeps me going are those magical moments when things start falling into place. when what you imagined in your head slowly materializes into reality. its awesome . . . sure it gets frustrating sometimes, but its worth it. yes, there will be always be someone better than you, but it’ll suck to be the best one anyways. don’t sweat the age thing, your dedication is more important.

i had pretty dismal grades in my first undergrad too. but im doing pretty good this time around. u kno why ?? cause im actually doin wat i wanna do . . . its all about the love ;D

I could Survive zero financial aid at a state school (no in state programs in NY) but probably not at a 25k private. Are you going to a private school? Are you also working?

I hope I can convince the admissions folks that it is all about the love – my GPA is something like 2.6 (ouch). It is not really appropriate to take the SAT – I wish I could since I scored in the 97th percentile when I was in High School. I have been working as a supervisor in the creative services department of an investment bank. Obviously I’ve developed some discipline since undergrad and the problems I had then I don’t have now.

On the plus side – I can draw quite well, thank you, and my portfolio should be in good shape for someone whos previous degree was not in art or design.

As soon as admissions office is open again I will get some answers and stop clogging up this board with my personal delimas :slight_smile:

– Ian

its funny … after a year of unemployment (and working on my portfolio at the same time) i finally landed a job 3 days after i got accepted to school … and i didnt take the job. i was considering the working full time and masters in ID thing. i talked to people at pratt, and said to really be good, ull need to do an undergrad … and i still think theyre right about that, so i went all out and dove into an undergrad program (not at pratt though). the loans im taking out are much more than 25k =P yes i go to a private school. theres lots of people with unrelated previous degrees at my school. but it doesnt really matter, all that matters is how good u are now.

ya’know, when I went back I got a nominal $500 scholarship- mostly I think because I had done some hat design for an outdoor company -it buffed out my portfolio…but after a semester I got even more financial aid for good grades…another year after that, I was getting a third of my tuition paid in grants (not chump change!), just for good grades.

I think I had a 2.6 from my first undergrad…(there was a lot of pot at Santa Cruz) but the second time around it was easier to focus (literally) and the money came in…so follow yhk’s advice and get friendly with Fin Aid. they can be your best friends and lovers for four years, or they’ll be the ogre under the bridge.

good luck and have fun