Yo, I've decided that I like baking enough that I want to go to pastry arts school. Specifically, a 36 week certificate from Culinard, a small program offered by Virginia College. I've visited the kitchens and they're smallish, but seem well equipped. I wonder though, if the financial aid money might be better spent elsewhere? I'm sure there are a million other things to do but this is what interests me. One of the reasons I'm having second thoughts as this moves forward, is that I already know how to bake. Could I win a prize at the fair? Maybe, if I entered. I can already make almost everything. It seems like the gov't could give me the money instead, and I could spend it on a ton of cake decorating supplies and equipment, and just go to town baking on my own! Then I'd have a business, and a likely way of paying any loan money back. Of course, that isn't how it works unfortunately. Do you think I'll get $14,000 worth of pastry and confectionery arts in 36 weeks? 5 weeks of that is regular culinary school also in a different kitchen. I should probably mention that I'm over 50, and have already had 2 careers not counting my military adventures. I've been cooking a long time, and already know quite a bit. I just don't know what I don't know, and since almost nothing I bake is perfect I figure it couldn't hurt.