Need advice for college and flight training


Well-Known Member
I am approaching a total of 68 units by the end of this semester at a community college (will transfer to San Diego State Spring 2004) and though 60 is all you need to transfer, I switched my major from Graphic Design to Int'l Business along the way and must complete some business related coarsework requirements before I transfer to SDSU. I have always wanted to become an Airline Pilot. I'm only 21 now and want to fulfill this dream.

Here are my questions:

1. In order to increase my chances of getting into SDSU, I'd like to finish the most amount of prereq coarsework to get in by quitting work, getting student loans for living expenses while I go to community college right now, and take a big load of 21 units and just concentrate on studying. Is this wise? Keep in mind that I'll be attending a state school so my school expenses are kept to a minimum (about $2000 a year).

2. Should I work at all while going to school or concentrate on school more and not work AT all by living off of student loans (my brother did it this way at UCLA for 4 years and it all worked out).

3. Can I finance my flight training at a local FBO while having my financing for student loans?

4. When should I be through with all my flight training to become a flight instructor...towards the end of my senior year in college?

My dad advised me on what to do (he is retired CFII, ATP, etc), but I want some more opinions. Thanks!

First I'm glad to see you're working on your degree. I can't stress enough how important it is in this business if your ultimate goal is the majors.

Second, choose a degree in a field you'd be happy in if aviation doesn't work out for whatever reason. Int'l business seems like a good choice. As you're probably aware, but many aren't, an aviation degree is not a prerequisite for an airline flying job.

Third, relax! You're young and have plenty of time to reach your goals. Don't get buried in debt since the lenders will expect you to pay it all back eventually. I know it all seems like easy money now but some people get buried in interest payments alone.

If you can continue to work and keep your grades up then don't stop. Pay as you go or as much as you can. If grades begin to suffer and you're in a position to stop working for a period of time then that may be the better choice.

Can you finance flight training at an FBO while living on student loans? Yes and no. Yes, most FBO's will let you finance flight training. However, the FBO wants to know you can pay them back in a timely fashion as they're not a charity organization. They're a business which usually operates under very thin profit margins. Someone with no income coming in other than living off student loans presents a financial risk to the FBO or it's lender. Your parents may have to co-sign for any training loans. Are they willing to do that?

4. When should I be through with all my flight training to become a flight instructor...towards the end of my senior year in college?

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There is no time table. You'll finish when you finish. It's nice to set goals and it sounds like you've set some aggressive ones. Nothing wrong with that. However, there are many variables that will control when, or if, you finish as planned. Yes, it would be nice if you could have your CFI by your senior year. If you don' what?

Why not concentrate on getting your degree and then look into one of those accelerated flight schools. You could have all your ratings within 6 months. Is that an option?

There really are no easy answers. Get the degree first and then worry about obtaining ratings.

Here are my 2 cents

1) I wouldnt take out a loan for community college, There is no need to. one quarter cant be more than 150 -200 dollars. I say work and just split up the load of 21 units to 2 quarters. You cant start SDSU until the fall anyway right? SO its not like you'll be delaying your entry if you take another semester, if you attend summer school.

2)I think you should work while attending SDSU. I did while i attended cal poly poomona. Not to take anything away from you or SDSU, but UCLA is a lot more difficult than our state schools. Its all about time management. I think if you dont work it will just make you more lazy. Work part time and go to SDSU. A lot of cal state students work full time.

3) I dont see why you couldn't finance your flying while your attending SDSU. I have a loan to pay back for college, and I plan on pulling a loan for my fligh training. I would recommend pulling little loans as possible for SDSU. I talked to a guy who pulled a sallie may loan for one academy and then switched schools and pulled a large key loan for another academy. SO it can be done.

4) I dont know, since I barely started mine.

whatever you do, good luck

Being (kinda) in your shoes I might be able to help a bit

first of all enjoy being in college; once it's over it's really over and you can't do it again! you'll be able to fly PLENTY in your life

second there isn't really a time table... I'd suggest not going into debt if you can as loans are a bitch to pay off.

as for the timetable question... just fly as much as you can afford and when you get there you'll be there. senior year is a great goal but remember you'll have to commit yourself to a lot of work, and after you get the CFI you'll have to have time to fly on the job.

good luck in whatever you do and don't put so much pressure on yourself!!!! SDSU is a great fun school; be sure to make a few Tijuana trips
Hi Jason:

Currently I'm going to SDSU, majoring in Business Management. I decided to take a loan out and am doing my training at one of the 141 schools out here. This semester I'm taking a light courseload, so I can do my instrument/comm... Hit me up if you have any questions!

Thanks for all the advice so far

I definately want to have a part time job while going to SDSU, but only around 15-20 hours a week and no more. I'm gonna have to really save up some money so that I can start my flying lessons soon - it'd probably be best to start my PPL this summer when I can work 40 hrs a week and pay for it that way.