• November 1, 2014
November 01, 2014, 10:09:06 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Starting a 2nd (practical) degree program & student loans  (Read 13333 times)
data5112
Senior member
****
Posts: 798


« on: January 29, 2012, 4:21:40 PM »

I'm wondering what happens if one decides to leave academia to start a 2nd degree program in a more practical field, say law or medicine for instance. I'm in repayment for my Ph.D. loans (Income-Based), so is it even possible to take out more loans to go back to school? What about loans to take undergraduate courses that are required for medical school?

I'm finally thinking about pursuing a good Plan B, yet I'm getting hung up on the details involved in selecting one plan over another. (Other plans include applying for industry/professional jobs with my given credentials, working retail jobs while trying to write books, becoming a farmer, etc.)
Logged

Mr. Potato modeled eight thousand tacky blindfolds on Etsy.
zharkov
or, the modern Prometheus.
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 9,567


« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2012, 5:39:16 PM »


Financial aid can get really really complicated and the rules keep changing.  With loans, there are limits with respect to Federally backed loans, but you can also borrow from non-Fed lenders.  And there are rules about deferring loans while taking more classes.  My take, this is too important to rely on the advice from strangers on a discussion board.   My opinion is to (a) get a better idea of your next move (e.g., law school), then (b) ask the FA office at that school about your options.
Logged

__________
Zharkov's Razor:
Adapting Zharkov a bit to this situation, ignorance and confusion can explain a lot.
drnobody
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,108


« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 1:56:19 AM »

When I went back for my PhD in 2007, the PLUS loans had added Grad Plus loans, which upped the limits. Of course it's a two-edged sword, but with IBR or ICR, it won't alter payments if you consolidate. So look up Grad Plus and go from there. Same requirements as any federal loans and generally only a school policy would keep you from getting them, so that's a question to ask the school FA office when you do check it out.
Logged
farm_boy
Professor Demeritus
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,974

recalcitrant and trollish loser


WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 9:21:18 AM »

Law is practical?  I suppose if there were any jobs it would be.
Logged

Screw you... You're not a troll. You're just posting pathetic jerkish, troll-wannabe, crap.  (mystictechgal, Member-Moderator)
data5112
Senior member
****
Posts: 798


« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2012, 11:48:55 AM »

OK, maybe Law isn't practical. I'm too far removed from it to know this first-hand.

I'm not asking for professional advice here, just forumite experience with this matter. If I end up seriously considering a new career I will make sure that all of my ducks are in a row so that I'm not in a big financial mess.

Logged

Mr. Potato modeled eight thousand tacky blindfolds on Etsy.
ideagirl
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,111


« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2012, 1:49:18 PM »

I'm wondering what happens if one decides to leave academia to start a 2nd degree program in a more practical field, say law or medicine for instance. I'm in repayment for my Ph.D. loans (Income-Based), so is it even possible to take out more loans to go back to school? What about loans to take undergraduate courses that are required for medical school?

I'm finally thinking about pursuing a good Plan B, yet I'm getting hung up on the details involved in selecting one plan over another. (Other plans include applying for industry/professional jobs with my given credentials, working retail jobs while trying to write books, becoming a farmer, etc.)

I don't know about the details, but a woman I went to law school with left an anthro PhD to do law school.
Logged
anisogamy
Inordinately pleased to be a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,735


« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 1:58:38 PM »

I can weigh in here.  Will PM you soon.
Logged

A little compassion is better than kicking people when they are down, regardless of who has suffered more and longer or whose bad job market has the biggest dick.
farm_boy
Professor Demeritus
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,974

recalcitrant and trollish loser


WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 8:43:10 PM »

Plan E or F could be taking one class per semester while you teach.  This is my plan.  In about 10 years I hope to have a BA in a practical field.
Logged

Screw you... You're not a troll. You're just posting pathetic jerkish, troll-wannabe, crap.  (mystictechgal, Member-Moderator)
dr_prephd
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,342


« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 8:49:34 PM »

It's my experience that you have to be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program to defer payment and continue to receive federal loans (I'm talking Stafford, here). Also, there is a limit to the amount you can take out ($120,000, I think?, but some like med. students can get more). Also, there's PLUS loans, about which I know nothing. Anyhow, as others have said, do your research and don't rely on us for complete and accurate info.
Logged

alto_stratus
Middle cloud,
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,011


« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2012, 11:21:36 AM »

If I were you, I would start applying to jobs now, with the credentials you already have.  Don't restrict yourself to jobs that are directly related to your degree; but do try to find jobs that pique your interest or allow you to apply a skill or talent (think broadly about those skills/talents, like "persuading people," "jazzing up the ordinary," "developing strategies," or "mapping out projects").  Apply for jobs.  Even as a back-up plan.  You might be pleasantly surprised at what comes along.

You are a smart person, and there are jobs/careers out there that require a smart person, and you don't need an MD or JD to do them.  In fact, I've heard and read stories of people with just such degrees who are having trouble finding jobs or paying off their debt, and a few who just don't like being lawyers and doctors after all.  While those careers get good press, the work can be mundane, monotonous, soul-sucking, depressing, and, in the case of doctors, icky.  I have a friend who burnt out on law, tiring of being involved in divorces and other stressful life situations of others, or watching people lose their kids because they can't stay off drugs.  I know a doctor who laments choosing a career that involves peering into orifices.  I'm not saying all MDs or JDs are unhappy, just that the degrees are no guarantee of anything. 

There are so many other opportunities for success that do not involve more debt and career handcuffs.  The fact that you are considering being a doctor or lawyer says to me you are not sure exactly what you want to do, just want something stable and impressive; but I think those salves are short lived for someone who doesn't feel a connection with the work.  I think you are better off trying to identify a few jobs or roles that give you a sense of drive or energy.  Even if the pay isn't fabulous to start, it's still usually a better choice than getting in more debt; and as you get to know yourself better, you can steer yourself toward better options, adding in any additional education or training you need as you go along.
Logged
data5112
Senior member
****
Posts: 798


« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 1:11:44 PM »

If I were you, I would start applying to jobs now, with the credentials you already have.  Don't restrict yourself to jobs that are directly related to your degree; but do try to find jobs that pique your interest or allow you to apply a skill or talent (think broadly about those skills/talents, like "persuading people," "jazzing up the ordinary," "developing strategies," or "mapping out projects").  Apply for jobs.  Even as a back-up plan.  You might be pleasantly surprised at what comes along.

You are a smart person, and there are jobs/careers out there that require a smart person, and you don't need an MD or JD to do them.  In fact, I've heard and read stories of people with just such degrees who are having trouble finding jobs or paying off their debt, and a few who just don't like being lawyers and doctors after all.  While those careers get good press, the work can be mundane, monotonous, soul-sucking, depressing, and, in the case of doctors, icky.  I have a friend who burnt out on law, tiring of being involved in divorces and other stressful life situations of others, or watching people lose their kids because they can't stay off drugs.  I know a doctor who laments choosing a career that involves peering into orifices.  I'm not saying all MDs or JDs are unhappy, just that the degrees are no guarantee of anything. 

There are so many other opportunities for success that do not involve more debt and career handcuffs.  The fact that you are considering being a doctor or lawyer says to me you are not sure exactly what you want to do, just want something stable and impressive; but I think those salves are short lived for someone who doesn't feel a connection with the work.  I think you are better off trying to identify a few jobs or roles that give you a sense of drive or energy.  Even if the pay isn't fabulous to start, it's still usually a better choice than getting in more debt; and as you get to know yourself better, you can steer yourself toward better options, adding in any additional education or training you need as you go along.

Alto, I find this particularly helpful. At the moment it's difficult to envision myself utilizing my Ph.D. without going the academic route, but I'm recognizing that this is something I need to do. I agree that I need to get some work experience. I just don't know where to start.
Logged

Mr. Potato modeled eight thousand tacky blindfolds on Etsy.
alto_stratus
Middle cloud,
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,011


« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2012, 6:07:53 PM »

The simplest approach:
1) List top 10-15 skills/interests; narrow down to your 8 favorites
2) Try to come up with 3-8 different types of jobs that use those skills
3) Research them and figure out which ones best fit your needs (salary, location, etc.)

If you need more help brainstorming, this website allows you to generate lists of jobs/careers by skills, interests, abilities, knowledge, etc.: http://www.onetonline.org/search/ (use the first pull-down menu on the page to search)

I recommend the "interests" search, which lists results in terms of education and training required (1/lowest - 5/highest), so you can look toward the end of the list for the careers that require more training (and might be a better match for your current education level).  If there is certain knowledge you'd like to capitalize on, you can do a search on that, too.

Then, once you have a field/industry/job in mind, start looking at job sites and reading job descriptions (available on company websites, aggregators like Indeed, and websites of professional organizations) to help you figure out how to market your skill set.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 6:10:33 PM by alto_stratus » Logged
jaded_and_fading
New member
*
Posts: 10


« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012, 8:41:36 PM »

I'm halfway through 4 years of dental school after failing to secure any job (academic or otherwise) with my English Ph.D.

If you re-enroll you can put your grad school loans on hold; of course the interest keeps accruing on unsubsidized loans (and from here on out, unfortunately, ALL the loans you'd be getting are unsubsidized -- latest budget did away with that erstwhile perk). Don't know how much this varies but at my particular institution I can borrow federally subsidized loans up to $220k. I brought in $35k debt from grad school; I'll probably come in just under the max when I graduate, but if I go over there are other loans available at higher interest rates (grad plus, etc).

I can only speak for myself here -- I'm glad I did what I did, but it is a long road: in the case of medical, getting the rest of those pre-rec's (and make sure your institutions of interest will honor your pre-rec's from way back when you took organic, etc. -- mine did, thank god!), and going through an application cycle will eat up a year and a half at least, and that's before you find yourself back at day 1 of a doctoral program, sitting next to a bunch of 23 year-olds, wondering how the hell you ever got there. Dentistry is nice b/c it's "only" 4 years till you're working -- no residency -- and every single graduate from the first to the last will be making 6 figures upon graduation (boy, that was a culture shock after coming out of academia).

But as I said, buckle up for a long road. Get ready for many, many late nights, and working your ass off for long, long semesters. This was more than a little embittering after I'd already "earned my stripes," but with a family to support my pride has had to take a back seat. Perhaps you'll have better luck than I did but I found job opportunities out there were scant. Used to be grads from my top-tier english program could get great jobs at Google, Ebay, or chic ad firms if they decided to go the nonacademic route, but now you'll be compared to the many unemployed or underemployed people with years of actual industry experience.

Good luck out there, and feel free to message me if you want more nuts and bolts from somewhere who has been there-

Logged
data5112
Senior member
****
Posts: 798


« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2012, 2:24:00 PM »

Thanks, jaded. It's nice to hear stories from those who jumped ship.

At this point I'm just researching back-up plans that complement my degree and could make me a stronger candidate for jobs in my field. I'm giving myself another 5 months to apply for academic jobs, so we'll see what happens.
Logged

Mr. Potato modeled eight thousand tacky blindfolds on Etsy.
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.