Ok, I'll give you the rundown of my education so far:
Prior to last semester, I had a 3.74 GPA. Last semester I made a C in my first computer science class and shot my GPA down to a 3.48. I suppose I can always retake this class and get it back up there.
I'm currently at CC, and my state's CCs have a program that, if you complete the associate of science degree, it will transfer seamlessly as a junior to virtually all public (and some private) universities in the state.
Recently, the head of the computer science department at a university in my state visited our computer science class and spoke about his school and their program. The school itself is not particularly renowned (though it's a perfectly good school), but their school of computer science is very highly renowned. They offer the only undergraduate degree in bioinformatics (the field I'm interested in) in the state. They award full scholarships to students who complete the transfer degree program with a qualifying GPA. Mine is sufficient. I only have 8 more courses counting the ones I'm taking this semester to graduate with my associates degree. Then I'll be transferring.
My dream school is Vanderbilt. This is the school I'm aiming for for grad school. The head of the computer science department of the university mentioned above has two phds from Vanderbilt. He personally tries to help high achieving students get there, and I believe that if I make it clear to the department heads what my goals are, and do very well, they will help me to achieve it.
Of course the damning dark spot on my record will be the horrendous experience I had on my first college attempt back when I first started college. I flunked nearly everything, taking some classes several times and never passing them. I made no progress and it was just a complete failure of unbelievable proportions. I took a four-year gap and started at my current college. Since then my grades have been good.
So, what do you think? Go for it, or give up the dream?
Go for it. Persistence is worthwhile. Universities are good at forgiving early grade problems because young adults change. When I went back to the State University after 20 years, they eliminated my early failures with the stroke of a pen. "Like it never happened" as one commercial says.
I took hard seminar classes with dedicated seniors and some grad students in the classes and sailed right through. I was actually "the smartest guy in the room" in spite of having been kicked out 20 years earlier for poor grades. I was a poor student the first time around; I changed.
What they care about is "What can you learn now?".
What degree you get is determined by what you want. I wanted a BS in Government and Politics and I got it. I could have gone farther without much effort, but I didn't feel a need to do that.
And don't mistake a degree for knowledge. You can have either or both.
A brief story as evidence... At a Thanksgiving dinner, I was seated across the table from some guy I knew nothing about. A bit of conversation regarded human migration to North America and we ended up talking for 2 hours. He assumed I had a PhD on the subject. Unknown to me, he was the Anthropology Chair at a State University. And my brother in law's brother. LOL!
He was so shocked that I "only" had a BS in Government and Politics that he bugged my sister for the 3 days he stayed there to make sure I wasn't kidding him. He said I knew more than most of his grad students. Well, I'm an avid amateur. Which is why I mention that knowledge and degrees aren't exactly the same.
So do you want the degree or the knowledge? Knowledge is easier to acquire.