Real Answers from Real Pilots

Attending college and atp

I know my tag name says student pilot but I’m not actually one yet but I’m potentially going to be, my goal is to work for a major most preferably Delta and that’s only because I’m a non-rev and I kinda like the way their whole operation works, I’m 21 yrs old going to a community college online I’ve been wanting to be a pilot for a very long time that I even got a job cleaning airplanes just so I can be closer to airplanes and make airline pilot friends, I’ve been looking into aviation universities and ATP for over 2 years but I had nobody to sponsor me but now I have my credit build up enough to where I can get a loan at ATP for my whole flight cost I’m thinking about going for their accelerated pilot program and still take my college classes online so I can get my degree + ratings around the same time and also when I get a job with the regionals work on my BA online as well… Am I putting too much load of work on myself? Or has anybody gone through this path and was successful ? Pilots and ATP graduates please?


While I appreciate you ambition, attempting to do both is a recipe for disaster. ATP’s accelerated training can get you your licenses and ratings in a fraction of the time of other schools. They don’t do this by cutting corners or using loopholes, it’s done by pushing the student to work and study very hard the same way the airlines do. There’s just do much work to be done and either you college studies or ATP performance will suffer. Either way you’re putting your grades in jeopardy. Bust a few checkrides and you can forget Delta.


I can cut down the number of classes I take in a semester it’s something I Know I can do, I know several regional pilots who are taking online courses for their bachelor’s, I just want to start training now because the earlier I start the faster I can start accumulating hours and several pilots keep telling me the same thing about how now is the best time to get into this industry , I’m willing to work hard for it .


Working for a Regional where you have hours and days of down time is NOTHING like flight training, not even close. Ask the Regional pilots you know if they took those online courses DURING their newhire training? Listen this is America and you can do what you want but you’re literally putting your entire career (and a whole lot of money) at risk and you haven’t even started your training. People have tried and failed. A good airline pilot must have good judgment and the single most important skill a pilot must have is being able to manage risk. Confidence is a good thing, arrogance is not. If this was your Delta interview you just busted.

“Am I putting too much load of work on myself?”. Answer: Yes. “Well I’m going to do it anyway!” I’m curious why you even asked the question since you clearly have your mind made up?


I stated I can cut down the number of classes I’m taking to 1 or 2 and take the least difficult ones at least till I get to my commercial ratings which will only take 8-9 months at ATP that’s barely even 2 semesters , I apologize if I sounded arrogant I just really believe in my ability and I wrote this post to get opinions, not to sway me from my decision but to inform me so I can implement that with the decision I have made, I’m taking 5 classes now all online and I have no problem passing , the studying part for me is something I can deal with, I have concluded on making my pilot training a priority for the course of next year but then again I don’t want to quit school so I think one class won’t hurt. If I was in an aviation University it would be more classes and flight so it kinda balances out.


There is no way possible for you to take any college classes, even online, while you are enrolled in ATP. You can believe in your abilities all you want, but you are setting yourself up for failure. If I were you, I would take the advice of two very seasoned airline professionals, listen to us, and not try to attempt too much at once. I will bet serious money that you cannot take college classes and go to ATP flight school without something suffering greatly. I have a college degree, I have all of my pilot’s licenses, I know what it takes to be successful in this industry, Adam is exactly the same. You asked for opinions, our opinion is that you are taking on too much.


At ATP are you done with flight training when you start instructing ? And do you have a reasonably amount to time to go to school online while working for a regional ?


Yes, since you can’t instruct without a CFI and you can’t get your CFI without your CPL and you can’t get your CPL without your PPL (and it be pointless getting your CPL without your Instrument) you must complete the training before you can instruct. And yes (as I stated above) you’ll have plenty of down time at a Regional to do whatever you like.



Here on this forum sometimes we (ok I) get into debates which is really not the purpose. We’re here to mentor and hopefully offer sound advice. Ultimately it’s up to the individual to make a decision that’s best for them. Maybe it’s the holiday season but I’d like another kinder gentler chance at addressing your question.

You stated “If I was in an aviation University it would be more classes and flight so it kinda balances out”, problem is aviation universities take 4yrs to complete your training (or 2 at a community college) vs 9mos for ATP. ATP is one of the most accelerated programs in the country, many can’t handle the pace with zero distractions. You then go on to say " I just really believe in my ability". Again while confidence is a good thing and I mean no disrespect you frankly have no idea what your flying abilities are. You may be a really smart guy who’s done well in school but aviation is a different thing. There are physical (coordination) and psychological components and until you’ve actually started your training you don’t know what your abilities are. There’s a reason why over 80% of the people who start flight training never even get their Private license. You may very well be the next Sully but you may not be. Perhaps a better route would be for you to start ATP between semesters (or at the end of one) and see how it goes. If you’re the savant you (and the purple dinosaur from years ago) believe you are then no one can stop you from picking up some classes BUT if on the off chance you’re not well then no harm no foul, devote yourself to your training and finish you degree online while you’re a pilot at the Regionals.

That my friend would demonstrate some good decision and risk management skills :slight_smile:



Appreciate the input Adam and you as well Chris , I will stick around this forum for as long as I can and I will make sure to update you guys on my endeavors

What percent of students that start at ATP fail to complete the program successfully?

ATP’s rate for students completing the program is 80%. This number is for students who enter the program with no flight time. The pass rate for students entering the program already having the private pilot license is 90%, which makes sense as those students have already been vetted by the FAA and successfully passed a checkride.


When students fail out, do they get a partial refund?

ATP’s refund policy is on this page:

Yes, but the refund amount depends on how far the student got in the
program and if any extra training was required. If no extra training was
required, then ATP charges an early termination fee on the remaining
balance and then cuts the student a check for that amount. If extra
training was required, the cost of the extra training is often deducted
from the student’s account. This could potentially use up all of the funds
in the student’s account depending on how much was left.