College advice...

I’m thinking about going to college to get a Master’s degree in Library Sciences (AKA to become a librarian) and I randomly applied to one university in my state that allows you to get your degree by taking online courses (and is distributed across the state, so I could attend despite living a few hours away) and I got accepted into that college… and now I’m wondering what’s next. xD

I’m a high school drop out; dropped out after tenth grade for multiple reasons, but I was eighteen at the time and could. I also never got my GED either and I don’t have my transcripts, never took the ACT or SAT tests… The only thing I do know is that I have 3.5 GPA and what my last high school’s name was. xD

Honestly, I didn’t expect anything to come out of this because I thought they’d want to have all of that (scores, transcripts, etc.)—even though I’m twenty-five and it’s been like seven or so years since high school for me—to get accepted. I thought they’d look at my application, see a bunch of red flags, and throw it in the slush pile. But… they didn’t? Like, I just got an email from their director of admissions saying I’m admitted for Spring of 2023 and that I should be receiving my acceptance letter in the mail within the coming weeks… :sweat_smile:


And now I’m kind of confused and excited and nervous all at once. I have a lot of questions for their counselor to help clear things up, but I wanted to do all of that after I get the official letter just to know it’s for real. xD

But like, when I searched Google for things about getting the Master’s, it says it can take roughly two years to get the MLS? That’s the question that really bugs me because I thought it initially takes six years (two for each degree) or is it just depending on the degree itself (what major it is)? And then I’m thinking that I may have to take all the dumb English, math, science, etc. courses for however long before I could actually start taking courses for MLS… or is this different?

I don’t know… :upside_down_face:

But anyway, does anyone have any advice for me on what I should do now if I proceed with this?


I don’t know the specifics for a MLS, but here most Master’s degree programs are 2 years

The few programs I could think that take 6 years (aside from a Bachelors degree that takes longer than the usual 4 years) would be doctorate-level programs (think PhDs, those can take up to 8) and programs that combine Bachelors with a post-grad (like combined BS/MD programs, which, for example, can be 2 years of pre-requisite courses and then 4 years of the professional degree itself, for a total of 6)

This is mostly what I know and have heard from peers

I do wonder if the MLS you applied for has any prerequisites, otherwise I do find it interesting that they accepted without a prior degree :thinking: then again, idk much about Masters degrees :sweat_smile:


My sister started an MLS program. She didn’t finish, but it would have been two years. If you did your Bachelors before, that would make it about six years from start to finish. However, if you were just accepted into the MLS program, it really should only be two years. Most Masters programs that result in a specific job (like librarian) have a set course list across the two years, and those courses specifically prepare you for entering the field. So if you’re just getting the masters there shouldn’t be any extra courses. That would only be if you’re also getting a Bachelors.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of a masters program that accepts people without a bachelors, but I also don’t know everything haha. I will say, that when I was applying to my MSW program, I had to submit unofficial transcripts with my application, and then send official ones in later. If they didn’t ask for that when you were applying, then its quite possible that you don’t need it.

Definitely wait for the official letter, although an email should suffice in proving that you were accepted. Did the letter specifically say you were accepted into the program, or just the school in general? If the former, then I would say you’re just there for the Masters. If the latter, then maybe they think it’s also undergrad? Not sure…

I think meeting with a counselor is a really good idea. They could clear up exactly what courses you’re expected to take, and if you feel comfortable, you could bring up your questions about your past lack of degrees. But I also wouldn’t feel too pressured to, after all, they did accept you. Maybe do some internet searching, see if getting a masters without a bachelors is a thing

But congratulations! If it’s something you really want to do, I would say just go for it!


You also may want to ask if your acceptance is contingent on anything. I had to send my official transcripts, but only after I was accepted. If I didn’t provide them, my acceptance would be rescinded. Just to make sure they’re not expecting you to provide anything else.

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Library science isn’t a competitive feild by any means so that’s not too surprising imo.

they might mean 2 years on top of the 4 it takes to get an undergrad but idk

English you absolutely need, there’s a lot of writing involved in ls degrees. Math not so much. Science, ehhh, depends on the type of science. Some knowledge of computer science and the socials sciences is good but you probably won’t run into stuff like biology or chemistry.

Check to make sure its a reputable college!

and congrats!

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Hey I think you should go for it!

My story is different but I can relate in many ways. I am currently finishing up my MA in Professional Writing and was recently accepted into a Ph.D. program in Rhetoric which I will begin in a few months. My MA program has been remote.

I have been incredibly fortunate to complete all my education thus far, but my BFA was in Classical Piano, completely unrelated to what my MA is in. I wouldn’t have had an academic career at all if I hadn’t received a scholarship to study piano. So I can relate to your anxiety because I went into a graduate degree that’s completely different from my BFA and with it came a complete and total career change. I took the plunge and I’m so, so happy I did.

I can’t speak for the school you were accepted into, but most of them are this way: in my experience, undergraduate programs weed students out. But graduate programs want you to succeed. You typically join a smaller class (or cohort) and you will be a student, not just a number (again this depends on your program, but it tends to be the case).

I have received such an unbelievable amount of support throughout my graduate experience. I have been very transparent about my career change and my advisors and classmates have always been willing to help me if I experienced difficulty in the program. I have had moments where I was behind because everyone else was coming in with BAs in English or coming in with not only degrees in the field but over one or two decades of professional experience whether it be teaching in public schools, conducting research, and writing for pretty serious journals. I didn’t have any of that. I just knew how to play Beethoven really well and I knew how to write fiction, which was completely unrelated to the kind of writing my MA is in (although it’s benefitted in so many ways as a student that I can’t count them). But because of the support I’ve received and because I’ve been working really hard, I was able to “catch up” pretty quickly and I have been maintaining a 4.0 GPA with several publications in the works. I was expecting to barely scrape by, but I’ve been doing really well despite the rigor and unfamiliarity of my program.

My classmates, professors, and department have been so patient with me. I have so enjoyed my program and I have enjoyed watching my skills flourish. The work has never been too overwhelming but challenging enough to keep me engaged. I am excited about my future whereas before, I was feeling pretty hopeless. COVID killed my career as a musician and having to make a complete 180 with my life was so daunting, but I’m so glad I did it.

My program is a year and a half total, but the length of your program will depend on your school, department, and your personal life…like if you are going full time or not. Three courses a semester is considered to be full time. Two or less is part time. A master’s program is typically two years. Library science is typically two years (my department works closely with the MLS students so I know a good bit about the kind of program you are doing). The timeline for American higher education for full-time students is usually 4 years for undergraduate, 2 years for master’s, and 4-7 years for Ph.D. You do not need a Ph.D. to be a library scientist. Your field is incredibly lucrative and you have chosen a fantastic career path. There are lots of great jobs in library science that an MLS will award you, and these are the kind of jobs that will take care of you for life.

You may or may not have to write a thesis. Things are changing and more schools and programs are offering elective tracks where instead of writing a graduate thesis, you diversify and take more courses. This is because employers would rather see diversity in a CV than time spent writing a long academic paper–but this is definitely on a case by case basis. For my field, my employers want to see diversity (yes, I can do grant writing, teach literacy, conduct research, utilize databases, work on databases, draft professional documents–legal, scientific, and engineering, all because I took elective courses rather than writing a thesis. This makes me more competitive in my field). But it depends on the field, the program, and the department.

Sorry for the long post, but I 100% support whatever decision you make! However, I also don’t think you need to be so anxious about it because I think you’re going to get into it like I did and realize that it’s not that scary at all, that you can do this, and that you can do it really well.

I hope this helps!


It’s definitely possible to be accepted into a MA program without a BA, but it definitely depends on the school. I’m not sure if the OP means she got accepted into the school but not a program yet (which is how a lot of universities work, you get accepted into the school then you apply to your major separately) or if they were actually accepted into the MA program. Some MA programs will accept students without BA degrees based on Statement of Purpose alone as well as CV

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I remember you trying to apply to a bookstore to be with books. I can see you have a huge passion for books (especially since I went to become a bookseller myself and debated on becoming a librarian if I didn’t get the bookseller job). From my limited research into what it takes to become a librarian, it’s all about how and why information gets spread and how it affects society. I don’t know anything about your previous grades, your academic record, or anything pertaining to that but I do know that you have a passion for books. If you can cling to that passion and let it help you through 2 years of schooling then I’m sure you’ll do just fine. The goal is to graduate which means you can get a degree with C’s (or whatever equivalent of C’s is in this program). And if it doesn’t work out, you can always drop out. No decision when it comes to a career is permanent.

Yeah, I’ve done a little bit more research and it seems they don’t have programs where you can get a Masters without a Bachelors. I did ask the counselor, still waiting on a reply though, with a few other questions, so… we’ll see.

But it does seem that I’ll have to do the four years plus the additional two years for the actual degree.

No… :sweat_smile: It just said I was admitted into the university, so I’m guessing I’d be an undergrad student lol.

Really? That’s so weird… you’d think they want your transcripts beforehand so they could officially accept you. :confused: But good to know and good question to ask!

It’s an okay college lol. It ranks 75 out of 167 colleges within the Midwest. But one of my colleagues went there, they’re fairly cheaper than most colleges (it’s rough 4,000 a semester; 8,000 a year), and they offer a lot of various programs and courses. So, I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily a bad school. :sweat_smile:

Thank you. c: And I’m not too sure about accepting it because money is tight and the fact that I have to do four years that isn’t even part of the actual program is a little intimidating. :upside_down_face: But on the other hand, six years isn’t that far away—in no time, it’ll approach and I’ll be 31 years old. I had briefly talked about it with one of my sister’s and my parents, and the main reason I wanted to take it was so I could earn a better salary. Of course, librarians and most other departments within a similar field, don’t earn quite enough to live off of, but I’d be making roughly twice as much as I am now (13 an hour; roughly 24,000 a year give or take, and that’s without taxes added into the mix). I’ve seen that the median income is 45,000 with others possibly making 60,000 or more, and right now, that seems all right with me. xD

But like, if I take it and go through all six years, I could be making a better salary, my future career could be completely different to what it is now, and it could happen within a blink of an eye. I just… don’t know. With the expenses piling up and the fact that I may have to do subjects I’m not entirely proficient in (I may have a 3.5 GPA, but that doesn’t mean I’m good at all subjects haha).

The good thing is that my acceptance letter comes in a few weeks and the actual start of it all happens in spring, so I have time to get more answers and take it more into consideration.

Thank you everyone for replying and helping me! It’s given me a lot to think about!! :blush: :heart:


Oh okay so you will have to complete a BA as you go through the program. I pay for my degree with FASFA. Student loans are a headache, but you are going into a really good field. State-paid librarians usually get very good health insurance and great benefits and they manage to pay their loans. University librarians are usually even better off. Data science is a massive field and it’s not just limited to jobs as a librarian. Those are extremely high-paying jobs. You’ll be qualified to work research jobs as well and there are so many opportunities in that alone…oftentimes with high pay and great benefits as well. I cannot stress enough how good of a field library science is. It’s like the heartbeat of academia, we all need you.

I feel you on the 31 years old thing. I’m starting my Ph.D. next August and I will also be around 31 and 32 when I finish. It was weird seeing those numbers on my plan!

Most graduate programs offer assistantships too that pay for your tuition and offer stipends. You should definitely look into this when it’s time. I have loans from my undergraduate degree but my master’s is completely covered by my assistantship and my Ph.D. will be too. I just pay university fees…so really I’ve been able to go all the way through a MA and soon a Ph.D. with just under 20k in loans…which I hope…I HOPE…will be forgiven please please please let that loan forgiveness go through. Anyway, definitely check out these options! It might be daunting to see how much a BA and an MA will cost, but most full time MA students just have to pay loans on their BA because of assistantships. The university wins because they get to exploit you as an extremely cheap professor, and you get to win by having your tuition paid for. It’s a…decent deal. Lol.

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Just out of curiosity… do you/ will you get funding for a PhD that’s not a loan? Like grants or sponsorships?

I have an offer for a PhD but my supervisor advised against it because I don’t have a grant. Apparently the optics for employment don’t look that good these days if you don’t have one. In my field in the UK at least. So I think I’m going for a PGC in Academic Practice instead next year.

I second this lol. Teaching assistantships are a godsend.

We’re going on strike next week though because part time staff are being effed over.

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It depends on the program, but most of the ones I’ve seen cover tuition through assistantships. I will teach undergraduate English and receive a stipend to do so. I don’t have to apply for a grant. The department has the money to pay for my degree. That’s why the cohort is extremely small. The school will also cover the cost of my tuition as long as I stay as a full-time student and as long as I work as a professor (or if I don’t want to teach, I will do research). Doctoral programs are different depending on so many factors, but a few operate as mine does. I live in the US though. I have no idea how UK education works.

America likes pumping out Ph.D.s because it makes us look good lol. A lot of people end up getting their Ph.D.s because the department pays for it.


I had to send unofficial transcripts in with my application. The official ones were just to make sure I wasn’t lying lol. So since they didn’t ask for unofficial transcripts with your application, that tells me they don’t need them…?

Def see what type of financial assistance you can get. I know costs can be intimidating (trust me, I’m suffering in my master’s program right now lol) financial aid can be super helpful.

Also, if you’re getting you undergrad degree, some degrees are shorter than others (for example, English will likely have fewer requirements than Biology). That might be something good to talk to your counselor about, which majors are shorter, so you could potentially shave off a year of undergrad. I did my Bachelors in three and a half years and I had one major and two minors, so theoretically I could have graduated in 3 if I wanted to.

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Congratulations! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

And yeah, it definitely feels weird thinking about what age I’ll be… whenever. xD I always calculate and be like, “Uh… I’m gonna be how old when?!” Haha

Oh, that’s cool!

My sister had informed me that some places, like Starbucks, has programs—even for undergraduates—that will help pay tuition if you work with them. Her old company did it, too. She used to work at Discover and they gave her a free-ride for two years (she only got an associates degree). So it’s nice that some places do it.

I actually got my acceptance letter today and it did describe that I do need transcripts and or a GED score. :upside_down_face: Which I was like, “Okay. That’s fine. I’ll just get my GED.” I could get one online, and then I found out that they need your transcripts there too. :upside_down_face: Ugh…

And I mean, yeah I can call my old online school but like, this is way too much of a hassle… It’s discouraging, honestly. And then I just realized about the cost this is all gonna be. Like, the university isn’t as expensive as others, but it’s also all the textbooks, the calculator I’ll have to use, and more. It’s quite intimidating. I can’t really pay for it, and not to mention, my sisters and I hope to move here soon (within the next year or so—we keep saying we will, but we never do because we don’t have any money to actually move) whether to Colorado or Ohio and if we do actually move, then that just messes everything up.

I don’t really know.

I know I’m overthinking it, and I know I’ll regret it if I don 't do it or if I do it I can be in a totally different position than I am now (in a positive way). I mean, I didn’t think I would be where I am three years ago. My life has drastically changed since then. Okay, that’s a little too dramatic, but we’ll just say that it changed quite a bit. :sweat_smile: So, I mean, who knows?

I just have to think more on it… It’s a great opportunity if I do it, but am I willing to go through the struggle of it all and the cost? :confused: I wouldn’t mind being a librarian, but I also don’t know if it’s what I’m truly passionate about…