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Traditional Degrees for Nontraditional Students: How to Earn a Top Diploma From America's Great Colleges At Any Age [Paperback]

Carole Fungaroli Sargent
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 15, 2000 0374299897 978-0374299897 1
A practical, witty guide for adult returning students

The number of adults completing bachelor's degrees later in life is at an all-time high. Many universities have targeted this market with expensive, substandard programs. In this essential guide, Carole S. Fungaroli challenges the conventional wisdom that advocates distance learning, Internet degrees, and second-rate weekend programs for adult students. She argues that adults are best suited to a traditional college experience, and she insists that even those with children, jobs, and mortgages can earn a standard, four-year degree at a first-rate college. As Fungaroli shows, traditional studies at excellent universities will foster a scholar mentality that leads to top grades, greater academic opportunities, and more fulfilling careers.
In addition to information on program selection, application, and financial aid, the book offers advice on such issues as overcoming fears of not being "college material" and taking part in campus life.
Fungaroli writes from her own unique experience as an adult returning student. She has also interviewed scores of adult students at colleges and universities across the country, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bryn Mawr College, and Harvard.

Editorial Reviews


“Fungaroli demonstrates that no obstacle, whether financial or academic, need stand in the way of those mature men and women who have the will to follow their dream of pursuing higher education. Those who entertain such a dream will find this lively book not only encouraging but invaluable in helping them solve the practical problems they face.”—Martin C. Battestin, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia

About the Author

Carole S. Fungaroli, Ph.D., earned her bachelor's degree at age thirty, while working full time. She has a doctorate in English literature from the University of Virginia and teaches at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1 edition (February 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374299897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374299897
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable. Buy It Now. January 9, 2002
Ms. Sargent has produced a work of inspiration. As a 37 year old man taking his first baby steps into the world of higher education, I suffer from not only various fears, but from complete confusion as well. Where do I start? Should I follow the recommendations of well-meaning friends and attend school at night while working full time? What the hell is "matriculation?" Of course, no one book can answer every question you might have about returning to college, but "Traditional Degrees for Nontraditional Students" comes very close. There is extremely useful information on applying for schools, navigating financial aid offices, and choosing a major. But more importantly (because it means you will actually ENJOY the book), the author strikes a pitch-perfect tone: warmth and humor tempered with enough authority to let you know she's had much experience, and knows whereof she speaks. I HIGHLY recommend this book - buy two copies in case your first one gets lost. The bottom line is that it was Ms. Sargent's book that inspired me enough to...get moving on a long-postponed dream.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
How often is it that one book answers all of our questions about any given topic? How often is a reference book a one-stop-shop for all that we're looking for? My typical experience is, more often than not, having to read several different books before I can locate ALL of the information I'm looking for. Finally, an awesome great book that answers every possible question about nontraditional higher education!

I was absolutely thrilled, and amazed too, that "Traditional Degrees for Nontraditional Students: How to Earn a Top Diploma from America's Great Colleges at Any Age," turned out to be a one-stop-shop reference book that met all of my needs. I attended college, many years ago, but never finished the degree I wanted. Like so many others, life sort of got in the way of my dreams, and I chose work and family and let my education go by the wayside. I had reasons for making the choices I did, but my goal of earning a "Top Degree" has not left me and I needed some professional guidance to help me fulfill my educational dream.

I bought this book about 60 days ago, frustrated with myself for not having completed a degree program in a timely manner. And even though my resume appears to be quite extensive and impressive, the lack of having a completed degree likely prevents me from obtaining the kind of career I'd really enjoy. Many years have passed since I made my first application to a college or university degree program. Can you imagine how anxious I was about even considering applying to one of America's many "Great Colleges"? Would I be accepted? Could I work, raise a family and go to college all at the same time? How could I afford a "Top Degree", even if I my application was accepted?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Yes, You Can Go Home Again April 20, 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can see it now. Legions of us, aging, intelligent, eager, interested, heading back to college with Dr. Fungaroli's book firmly in hand. Traditional Degrees for Nontraditional Students has just the right combination of gentle encouragement and hard-hitting practical advice to help those of us who may be anywhere from 10 to 60 years older than traditional college students. She brings us up to date on the realities of getting admitted, doing the work, and enjoying the journey every step of the way. My guess is, she has created an army of returning scholars by writing this book. What a wonderful gift to the world. What a wonderful gift to each us us who reads this book with such eagerness and hope.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for undergraduates! August 23, 2002
Although Fungaroli's book is geared to adults who haven't finished college -- and some who never started -- returning students can benefit at any age and any degree level.
Her information is dead-on accurate. She's frank and realistic about options of attending prestige schools, finishing up those last few credits, ending unsupportive relationships and more.
A friend of mine was just like one of her interviewees: needed a few credits and sold himself short. A quick letter to the registrar and presto -- he got credit for life experience and an extra summer school course!
I'm recommending this book to my clients who ask, "Am I too old for school?" As she would say, the answer is always a firm NO.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Just 3 weeks ago I had an epiphany and came to the conclusion that I want to go back to school and complete an undergraduate degree so that I may begin a lifetime of continuing education. I've been very timid about going back to school, hiding behind many excuses and thought I had finally put all those aside so I can really go for it. I began looking into programs of study, stopped in at the local bookstore to buy some guides to financial aide and writing the admissions essay, when I found this masterpiece on the shelf.
I bought it thinking that maybe it would have a handful of useful pointers but didn't realize that it would not just affirm that I wanted a degree, it also ignited a passion in me that I now realize I _need_ that degree to find happiness in life. The stories were touching, thought provoking and I easily found myself identifying with many of the people and their feelings. I'm no longer feeling timid about the admissions process, instead looking forward to it and the fears of rejection that reemerged just a couple weeks ago as I began to investigate returning to school now seem like a small obstacle compared to the learning process I will go through not just to get into school, but beyond admissions and into the academic programs I choose.
I can't overstate how thankful I am to Dr. Fungaroli Sargent for writing this book and sharing not just her story, but the stories of others that have found themselves outside staring in, wondering, and dreaming of a life that can be more fulfilling now that they've realized their appreciation for education. This book has been the best investment I've made all year and I look forward to returning to school full time so I can stop chasing my dreams and catch a real experience of a lifetime.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired me to go back
Many of my friends had master's degrees, and I wanted one, too. But I felt at a disadvantage because my undergraduate record was a bit spotty. Read more
Published on April 16, 2010 by Barbara Wilcox
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
At one time, I may have owned the largest collection of college bulletins in the world. In each of the past ten years since my high school graduation, the stack has grown higher... Read more
Published on January 11, 2002 by Scott M. Cuomo
5.0 out of 5 stars A good antidote for distance ed hoopla
I was glad to find this gem of a book. As a distance ed dropout, I blamed myself for difficulties in sticking with undergrad correspondence courses and grad level online programs. Read more
Published on December 31, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it, buy it, buy it.
With all the misleading stuff out there about adults in college, this book is especially timely. Excellent writing. Best research I've seen.
Published on December 25, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging
As an older student, I thought this book was highly motivating. It helped me search for the best schools, not to settle for a second-rate professor, and to take charge of my... Read more
Published on December 14, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Class of 2003!
I am 46 years old and have struggled with the idea of being too old to go back. This book has stories from people much older than that who got honors. Read more
Published on May 29, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of stories to make you think
I read this while recovering from surgery and actually started crying at one point. The people in the book have so many different stories but all somewhat like mine. Read more
Published on April 15, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars You have to read it to believe it.
The right message at the right time, good info for single fathers.
Published on April 12, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Controversial, smart.
Heard her on NPR, bought the book, where has this been all my life? Inspiring. Was on 60minutes too but I didn't see the whole thing. Read more
Published on April 12, 2001
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