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Old 01-02-2013, 07:33 PM   #1
orchidman
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College help? Need ideas! *Calling all plant-heads*


Hi everyone! So before I get started, I would like to say thanks to everyone here for everything you guys have taught me and will continue to teach me! I have learned so much from you guys!

On to my question. Basically, I was wondering if anyone could give me advice about college, good majors, career choices, etc.

Here is some background info!

-I am a junior in highschool, so I have a little bit of time to think, but i need to start thinking!

-Next semester I will doing dual enrollment with my highschool and with a local college (Messiah College, possibly HACC (community college) as a second choice).

-When I graduate highschool and go to college, I really want to play Volleyball. So whatever school I go to would need to have an NCAA mens volleyball team.

-I love orchids (DUH)

-I love most all plants, but orchids and phals are obviously my favorites.

-My dream is to be able to make a living breeding phals and open a nursery down the road. Something else such as working at somewehre like Longwood gardens managing a collection would also be really cool. Possibly even teacher Hort or something a college. I don't know exactly, but something along those lines where I can incorporate my love of plants. And if its a career or not, I will indefinitely breed phals, but making it a career would be even better.

-I am a photographer. I have been for a while, I currently do portraits, weddings, etc. I sometimes even work with a marketing company doing headshots for their campaigns and event photography occasionally for them as well. I would like to pursue photography as a second job on the side, or somehow incorporate it.

-I really like working with people!!

-I am very artistic

-I work with my mom and we do floral things for weddings such, so I enjoy floristry and I have a decent amount of knowledge/skill.

-I really enjoy languages. I am currently taking french.

*note I am cyber schooled, so alot of the hands on classes will definitely not be offered by them, making those classes great ideas for taking at Messiah!*

**note-2 I would like to take as many classes I can at Messiah as opposed to at the school**

Classes I'm taking now are
-Honors English
-French 1
-Physics
-Pre-calc
-Health
-American Government

The way it works is if there are classes at Messiah that I would want to take and they are classes that my school doesn't offer, the school will pay for me to take them at Messiah or HACC. I can transfer now for the second semester; so if for instance, I wanted to take Hort at Messiah I could drop physics and take Hort at messiah in the spring semester.

So the given some background info, I was wondering if anyone would be able to give me some insight. I know alot of you have careers similar to what I would like to pursue (Ehum, Peter, *cough*).

So any advice you have I would love. Things like courses you wish you had taken and would find useful now, courses that you took that you would recommend. Possible careers/majors you'd recommend. Any classes you know of that I would take while I'm dual enrolled that would help with the Ornamental Hort/Floriculture degrees?

To those of you who read this whole thing, thanks for reading, and anything you have to say, I would LOVE to hear!!!

Thanks!!
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:15 PM   #2
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My head started swirling with all the areas of interests, but here's my 1/2 cents.
Find a major that gives you flexibility to take what you're interested in but also a smattering of other stuff. The fewer requirements frequently the more flexibility to design your own curriculum. I started out as a bio-major but it was too restrictive b/c it was also pre-med and I wanted to take art, and other stuff. I ended up as a Animal Science major but now grow plants for a living!
Look into tissue culture, right up your alley and it's as much an art as a science in some ways. Also look into Plant and soil Science could give you some good fundamentals to build on. Also start looking into plant breeding (genetics can get pretty esoteric pretty quick). Some plants take years to develop and to get new characteristics, you're young start now and you'll have stuff that people will kill for by the time your in your late 20's!
Good luck!
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:35 PM   #3
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Hey! It's great that you're going to do dual enrollment since you'll be ahead of everyone else in credits. I highly recommend that you develop good study habits now. I didn't study in high school and just crammed a day or two before; I'm paying for it now in college because I'm still trying to figure out which study method works best for me.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:39 PM   #4
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Unless you're getting a scholarship I wouldn't be dead set on them having an NCAA men's volleyball team. You can still play club and/or intramural volleyball at most colleges. I only say this because you aren't going to make a living playing volleyball in 6 years. You're most likely going to make a living doing whatever you went to school for.

I would put academics first and focus on the top schools for biology, botany, etc. Once you pick a school for your major look into minors for the arts or languages you desire. Spanish and Chinese are very good languages to know these days for business purposes.

Personally, I chose chemical engineering when I went to school because it gave me wide range of options once I graduated and it paid well. I did not want to do a major which had a very niche area or small job market. A major like biology can be used in a lot of areas and you could then get a masters/phd in a more specialized area if you so desire.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:35 PM   #5
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Make a list of colleges or universities you may want to apply to next year. In-state institutions will offer lower tuition rates and more attractive scholarship opportunities, but don't let that stop you from looking elsewhere. Browse the websites of the schools on your list, research what majors are offered, and narrow down your selection accordingly. Look for the 'Academic' section, or one similar, to find a description of available areas of study.

For instance, on the undergraduate admissions page of Penn State's website, I find this list of majors. I notice that the college of agricultural sciences offers a horticulture major, and gives students the option to specialize in floriculture. The college of science offers a biology major with the option to emphasize plant biology. I choose Penn State as my example because it has a volleyball team, but I agree with UDGags--don't let this become a make-or-break factor in your application process.

I dual-enrolled at a local community college during my senior year of high school. My advice is to knock out as many general education requirements as you can. We're talking general social science classes, like psychology and sociology; introductory science classes, such as chemistry and physics; basic mathematics and writing courses, your college algebras and English 101s. These pesky courses are required by most degrees and will plague your schedule during your first few years of higher education. Use the aforementioned websites to determine which are most likely to be required for your field of interest and knock them out early. They are often easier at the community college level.

Course codes are often helpful in determining which credits will transfer from one college to another, but this is not always the case. I notice that Introductory Sociology has a different course code at Messiah (SOAN 101) than at Penn State (SOC 001). Check in the 'Transfer Students' section to confirm which incoming credits will apply, or contact the institution's admissions office directly.

I find websites such as ratemyprofessors useful when enrolling for classes.


Don't let my input ruin dual enrollment--it can be a lot of fun. If you're taking, for example, three classes at Messiah next semester, allocate two to satisfy general education and pick a fun or interesting third class (I chose Creative Writing one semester). Just bear in mind that arriving at university with most of these requirements behind you will free up space in your schedule for French, photography, and volleyball, in addition to new interests you're likely to discover along the way. Also note that if you acquire a certain number of credits (in Florida, 60) you will need to apply to the next college as a transfer student. Good luck, orchidman!
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:48 PM   #6
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biology and horticulture/agriculture seem like majors you'd be interested in with you want a profession out of it.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:12 PM   #7
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Keep your grades up and concentrate on academics. Don't put athletics ahead of academics. You can play volleyball all you want, but it won't pay your bills.
Men's -anything but football and basketball- will be the first sports to be cut if the athletics budget comes up short or Title IX balance needs adjusting.

Try to narrow your range of colleges as each application will cost something.
Don't put a huge amount of value on a one day visitations or orientation. All colleges and universities put on their best show for visiting families. You can not get to know a town or institution in a day or weekend.

If you get on the National Merit Scholar list, colleges will be seeking you. Some will seem silly and weird. Don't automatically turn them down until you've actually checked them out. Some will offer a free ride. School, unless you are seeking a specific "name" on your diploma for professional reasons - is what you make of it. The quality of the teaching professors is more important than the name on the paperwork. Don't let the number of faculty to students influence you. Every research institution has a substantial number of research professors who don't teach. So their reputation means little to your education.

Just like the military, Make sure any offers you seriously consider, are in writing.

Some schools in areas adversely affected by hurricanes (in the last five years) are still trying to build their classes back to where they were. Tulane made both my college age kids, very interesting offers.

Now is also the time for your parents, if they are planning to help you in any way financially, to look at the structure of their finances. Making some changes while you are a junior may help your shot at financial aid.

Visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ for more information on financial issues. Have your parents look at the forms. Keeping in mind that reporting requirements change. One recent change vastly altered the reporting for some retirement investments.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:31 PM   #8
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If you are interested in running your own business, I would strongly recommend business and accounting classes- including web design and accounting softwares. I struggle the most with the "paperwork" side of running my own business.

No matter where you choose, don't spread yourself too thing. Pick a major that you really will be passionate about, you can always take electives or take courses after you graduate to fine tune for your interests.

My biggest regret is that 12 years after graduating college I am STILL paying hundreds of dollars a month in school loans for degrees I don't even use. Don't rush your decision.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:47 PM   #9
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i know nothing of business, but if you love plants and want to grow them for a living, being a botany major or something similar seems logical.
the only school i can really speak about is mine: rutgers. Im in rutgers SEBS (school of environmental and biological sciences) and i know we have a major called "plant science" and that we are pretty good at the sciences in general; but cant tell you much about the major as i dont know anyone in it (im an animal science major).
another thing to consider is biotechnology. a lot of plants are produced in vitro nowadays, and there are various needs to know how to produce strains of plants resistant to X or Y. this could easily be applied to orchids, say orchids who dont rot so easy (i never kept one alive over a month).
and of course the business aspect if you want to run your own nursery. however, you could also partner with a businessman down the road for that instead of being a sole proprietor.
so i would recommend a plant science major, economics/accounting/etc. minor, and a few useful biotech classes.

though what you study in school can end up being totally unrelated to your final career. it happens to tons of people and its sometimes a good thing.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:38 PM   #10
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I agree with msjinkzd to at least focus on some business, basic accounting, etc. These are things that are essential whether you are running your own greenhouse or photo business, or whatever you are doing, being able to handle the accounting side of things, will make you more independent, save you money instead of paying someone else big money to manage that side, allow you to mange several small business if you do some photos, some orchids, some of this, some of that, save your a$$ from the IRS. Marketing courses as well would be helpful. I don't imagine there is a huge orchid market out there for high end ones, so you need to be able to make yourself standout and marketing helps you with that. If you go the photo side, everyone and their brother has a DSLR camera now and will undercut real photographers rates, so again, business and marketing will help you understand how to make yourself stand out there as well.

Part of the choice, if your plans are to make a business for yourself work based on your hobbies and what you already know what to do, then don't worry about a degree in it. If you don't know if you want to go the self-business route or don't think you can stick it out, then get a degree in the field you feel like you will fall back on. 4 years of school in a horticulture program telling you how to grow flowers would be better suited, as would the money, spending 4 years setting yourself up if you already know how to grow them, but being a self-business requires a commitment to it, self-discipline, etc. It's easy to say, I don't want to work today when you have no boss to call in to, or I'm closing early, it's dead today.

If you truly want to run your own greenhouse with a photo business on the side, or even working the photo side into the plants of nice macro photos, etc, then maybe a business course and pushing yourself and putting the extra money aside, can make your dream come true.

If you rather work after college and play it safe and then try and setup your business while working, then go for something in the fields you like. Just be warned, it's even harder to work a full day at a job, then go run your own business afterwards. You become comfortable with getting paid from the job and the self-business will suffer.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:47 PM   #11
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Rather than shine you on as has become the norm in this country I'll share some numbers with you.

We currently owe 16.7 trillion dollars
Our deficit spending is approximately 1.7 trillion per year
There are roughly 326 million men women and children in this country
Our workforce is approximately 130 million.
Of that number 47% DO NOT PAY TAXES.

Given these basic facts I strongly advise you to abandon the entitlement, no child left behind, "I can go to College and then graduate and make money doing something I love" garbage the Govt has pumped into society for decades. Acquire fundamentally productive skills and let your interests be a much smaller guide. Being as you have an affinity towards Botany I would look more into the food market as a grower of produce on a smaller scale.
Many will disagree, but fundamentally our society can not continue much longer. Orchids and ornamental plants aren't going to provide much when people can't put food on the table and the dollar is worthless.
Sorry man. I wish someone would've told me this 20 years ago
As an easier way to understand my point. Gold has been a fundamental standard for currency for nearly all of recorded history. In 2003 an oz of good was $271. It is now $1681 an oz. Did gold (which basically sets the standard for currency) skyrocket or did our fiat (read fake) currency plummet?
Just want you to make an educated decision as to your choices moving forward. You can guarantee that your peers will not. The majority of the current unemployed epidemic are recent college graduates...
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:40 AM   #12
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Thank you so much for all the advice you guys have! I will consider everything you guys have said! I don't have time to reply to each post ( I'm swamped with homework, gotta keep my grades up!) but if I had time I would! Thank you all, any more advice, as always, is very welcome! I feel a little more secure knowing that I can change majors and change course if I decide to. And in reality, I really only need to decide what gen-eds to take next semester. And since I know the basis of what I would want to study, I can take the classes that I will need, or that would help me, for all of those. A bio or botany would be good, I want to see if i can take horticulture, because that would be helpful. And also through these classes now I can even start to learn what I do and I don't like.


greenman- As far as tissue culture and in-vitro propagation, almost all orchid seeds need to be propagated in-vitro, so even if i don't end up in that field, classes like that are things ill want to take and look into!

I think I have pretty much given up the idea of opening a nursery, at least not as a main source of income. Maybe down the road a ways though!

As far as volleyball, I really really want to play in college. I have played for 7 years and I love it, its a passion of mine, and I would be upset not playing. I also would like to pursue coaching after college as well, i have talked to my highschool coach about this a little bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FaceWise View Post
Make a list of colleges or universities you may want to apply to next year. In-state institutions will offer lower tuition rates and more attractive scholarship opportunities, but don't let that stop you from looking elsewhere. Browse the websites of the schools on your list, research what majors are offered, and narrow down your selection accordingly. Look for the 'Academic' section, or one similar, to find a description of available areas of study.

For instance, on the undergraduate admissions page of Penn State's website, I find this list of majors. I notice that the college of agricultural sciences offers a horticulture major, and gives students the option to specialize in floriculture. The college of science offers a biology major with the option to emphasize plant biology. I choose Penn State as my example because it has a volleyball team, but I agree with UDGags--don't let this become a make-or-break factor in your application process.

I dual-enrolled at a local community college during my senior year of high school. My advice is to knock out as many general education requirements as you can. We're talking general social science classes, like psychology and sociology; introductory science classes, such as chemistry and physics; basic mathematics and writing courses, your college algebras and English 101s. These pesky courses are required by most degrees and will plague your schedule during your first few years of higher education. Use the aforementioned websites to determine which are most likely to be required for your field of interest and knock them out early. They are often easier at the community college level.

Course codes are often helpful in determining which credits will transfer from one college to another, but this is not always the case. I notice that Introductory Sociology has a different course code at Messiah (SOAN 101) than at Penn State (SOC 001). Check in the 'Transfer Students' section to confirm which incoming credits will apply, or contact the institution's admissions office directly.

I find websites such as ratemyprofessors useful when enrolling for classes.


Don't let my input ruin dual enrollment--it can be a lot of fun. If you're taking, for example, three classes at Messiah next semester, allocate two to satisfy general education and pick a fun or interesting third class (I chose Creative Writing one semester). Just bear in mind that arriving at university with most of these requirements behind you will free up space in your schedule for French, photography, and volleyball, in addition to new interests you're likely to discover along the way. Also note that if you acquire a certain number of credits (in Florida, 60) you will need to apply to the next college as a transfer student. Good luck, orchidman!
Thanks for this!! SUPER informative, thanks a lot!! I'm trying to do dual enrollment that way when I get to full time college I can have a somewhat lesser load so I am able to play volleyball. I think its a great idea to take some fun classes too! I will probably do an art class, I was looking at Messiah's catalog today with my mom and I might choose photography (there may be schedule conflicts), Design and Color, or a class that is basically 3D design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbosman@msu.edu View Post
Keep your grades up and concentrate on academics. Don't put athletics ahead of academics. You can play volleyball all you want, but it won't pay your bills.
Men's -anything but football and basketball- will be the first sports to be cut if the athletics budget comes up short or Title IX balance needs adjusting.

Try to narrow your range of colleges as each application will cost something.
Don't put a huge amount of value on a one day visitations or orientation. All colleges and universities put on their best show for visiting families. You can not get to know a town or institution in a day or weekend.

If you get on the National Merit Scholar list, colleges will be seeking you. Some will seem silly and weird. Don't automatically turn them down until you've actually checked them out. Some will offer a free ride. School, unless you are seeking a specific "name" on your diploma for professional reasons - is what you make of it. The quality of the teaching professors is more important than the name on the paperwork. Don't let the number of faculty to students influence you. Every research institution has a substantial number of research professors who don't teach. So their reputation means little to your education.

Just like the military, Make sure any offers you seriously consider, are in writing.

Some schools in areas adversely affected by hurricanes (in the last five years) are still trying to build their classes back to where they were. Tulane made both my college age kids, very interesting offers.

Now is also the time for your parents, if they are planning to help you in any way financially, to look at the structure of their finances. Making some changes while you are a junior may help your shot at financial aid.

Visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ for more information on financial issues. Have your parents look at the forms. Keeping in mind that reporting requirements change. One recent change vastly altered the reporting for some retirement investments.
Thanks for this! Most of my remarks are noted above. As far as finances go, my dad works at PHEAA so he works with student loans all day, so he will definitely be able to help me figure out what is best!
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:21 PM   #13
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As far as volleyball, I really really want to play in college. I have played for 7 years and I love it, its a passion of mine, and I would be upset not playing. I also would like to pursue coaching after college as well, i have talked to my highschool coach about this a little bit.
I think you might be missing the point. Currently, there is 83-111 (depending on what number you look at, I'm pretty sure 83 is the newer number) NCAA colleges that offer mens volleyball across division I-II-III compared to women ncaa volleyball which has 1700 colleges and universities that have a program. For mens this is the general guidelines recruiters look for.
Men’s Volleyball
NCAA DI NCAA DII NCAA DIII
Libero/Defensive Specialist 5’9″+ 5’8″+ 5’8″+
Middle Hitter 6’5″+ 6’5″+ 6’3″+
Outside Hitter/Right Side 6’4″+ 6’3″+ 6’1″+
Setter 6’1″+ 6’0″+ 6’0″+

Many colleges have club volleyball, or you can do volleyball outside of school. Do not base a huge decision in life around a very small fraction of schools that have a mens ncaa program when you can do it outside of school.

I'm not trying to discourage you in any way, just presenting the numbers for you. If it is truly something you are passionate about you need to NOW in your junior year get your name into recruiters from these schools. Talk to your coach he will be the biggest help in regards to getting you recruited by a college. There is only a few programs in Pennsylvania so you need to be very diligent and make sure you are doing everything in your power to be recruited by them. Go to summer camps at colleges, talk to their athetic departments, talk to the coach's even if that just starts with a email, do whatever.

"Hello, thank you for taking the time to read my email I am currently a junior in high school and would love to play ncaa volleyball I would like to know of any information available about your program and how you recruit for your team. I currently play for volleyproX (making it up) and would like to know what I can do in order to make my dreams of playing college volleyball a reality"

You get the point, get your foot in the door now you are going against people who breath eat and sleep volleyball. Start with D 1 colleges and work your way down. Ask if they have tryouts or if it is recruit only. I don't know how large a college roster is for volleyball, ask how many players are on the team...

You see my point?


Quote:
Thanks for this!! SUPER informative, thanks a lot!! I'm trying to do dual enrollment that way when I get to full time college I can have a somewhat lesser load so I am able to play volleyball. I think its a great idea to take some fun classes too! I will probably do an art class, I was looking at Messiah's catalog today with my mom and I might choose photography (there may be schedule conflicts), Design and Color, or a class that is basically 3D design.

Take core classes. Communications/English 101, Psychology 101, Sociology 101, Bio 111... the classes you HAVE to take in your first two years, worry about your electives when you are at college this way your core classes will easily transfer to 4 year universities.

I would recommend going to a community college for dual registration, classes are easily transferred out from a community college vs a private religious school.

Look up what people with X degree do, and look at where they live. It might be unrealistic to get a degree with plants if you can only grow plants x amount of months a year because of your climate and instead you would be in a college lab doing research or you might end up doing field research in other countries a majority of the time with a specific degree... Do you get what I am saying? Get a degree with something that will open the most amount of doors for you in the future as well as set yourself apart from others. You need to research specific degrees and what to expect from them, is there anything available for them to do with just a bachelors degree, how many people are graduating a year with this degree and how many job openings are there? I'm just saying be realistic with your degree choice, ask these questions when you are looking for a college/degree.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:15 PM   #14
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Not my area of expertise per say, but a few words of advice. Do NOT get a business degree -- DO get a minor in business or accounting or, at the very least, take a few classes. Business majors are a dime a dozen on a good day. Also, I always recommend getting a bachelors of SCIENCE instead of a bachelors of arts. They are tougher degrees, but if/when you need to shop your resume around it is stronger - bar none.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:25 PM   #15
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Not my area of expertise per say, but a few words of advice. Do NOT get a business degree -- DO get a minor in business or accounting or, at the very least, take a few classes. Business majors are a dime a dozen on a good day
I think we need to make a distinction between a business degree as a degree in general business and a degree that deals with business such as accounting, financing, economics etc. There is a huge difference in an accounting degree and a degree in general business on your resume.
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