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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mujigay View Post
    So grad school is probably a better investment than undergrad, as far as career opportunities go, or am I mistaken? Is it better that I hold off on undergrad spending and go to one of the big schools for grad school?
    At least for me, I didn't mean to imply that a quality graduate education is a better investment than a quality undergrad education. I simply meant that if you already have aspirations to go to grad school, then spending judiciously on your undergrad schooling is a good idea to reduce your future debt. If I'd gone to a more expensive college as an undergrad, I'd have never had the means to go to grad school at all.
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  2. #12
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    I would say stick with the one that will incur the least debt, especially if that place is good/great. I mean, if you can graduate for almost "no money" at your expense, why not?

    Once you know that you are financially stable, that is when choosing a graduate school of your choice seems most viable.

    There are other places I could of gone besides staying in my city I am currently in. But I decided to choose it because the programs weren't at all half bad and it was pretty much a well known state college (at least to the state,) and I'll be accumulating little debt as opposed to going somewhere else.

    I do know your feeling of wanting to get away though.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Sanctus Iacobus's Avatar
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    I know it sounds cliche but how much effort you put into school is the biggest and I can even argue the only factor. For undergraduate work, you're covering the basics and although the teachers will behave more rigorously, besides that and trivial matters like facilities you won't find a difference as far as the effective outcome. For masters and doctorate work, you'll be expected to spend more and more time on your own doing independent research, so again it's a matter of your effort. Even when you're done with college, your personal effort in the classroom is what will get you the kind of professional references that will give you the edge in getting your desired job.

  4. #14
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelric
    Having said that, I strongly, strongly suspect that if you choose to apply early decision to Columbia, get accepted, and then don't get a financial aid package that's sufficient, generally you *can* back out under those circumstances [...] but realistically they've almost got to give you a way out if you simply can't afford it.
    that would be my suspicion as well.

    Most important, though -- college, especially undergraduate school, is largely a matter of getting what you put into it.
    YES. i chose to attend a small state school, even though i'd been accepted to an ivy. graduated with no debt. i LOVED it and was very, very involved there, and had so many awesome opportunities to take advantage of. my transcript and resume are excellent, and i love telling people about my school and all the adventures i had. it might not be an ivy, but i think in a lot of ways it was better than the other school i'd been looking at. at least, better for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by mujigay
    The thing is, I'm also very internationally focused, and am speaking two extra languages, studying a third at the moment, which made me feel like New York might be a better place to be.
    check UT's study away programs - and study abroad! it's entirely possible that you might be able to study in new york - maybe not an ivy, but NYU, perhaps, or a SUNY - for the price of the state school. i have a friend who has just come back from a year abroad, and also studied a semester away. she's spent nearly half her time out and about.

    i don't know if it matters to you at all, but i also really ended up appreciating being less than a plane flight away from home when i went to college, which i hadn't anticipated.

    most of all in the end i think what's important is to find a school that suits who you are. if you think columbia is better tailored to who you are, then give it a shot. worst come to worst you transfer to UT the following semester or year. i've talked to so many people who have been unhappy at schools that sounded amazing and so many who have been happy at schools that aren't even on my radar, and it always seems to have a lot to do with how well they themselves fit with the school. if you and your school are a good match, the results will be synergistic.

  5. #15
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    @jwn86: I think so too.

    @mujigay: I hope you toured both UT & A&M. :) I went to the University of Texas for a short time and transferred to Texas A&M University. I preferred the campus, camradery and traditions at A&M. I didn't think there was any comparison. I also didn't care much for Austin. College Station is a quaint little college town and it was closer to my hometown. It's nice to be within driving distance, so if you get homesick, you can visit the famdamily on the weekend. That's something you won't be able to do, if you go out of state. I recommend taking tours of all of your prospects. Ivy league would be ideal on a full scholarship and you would get the opportunity to see what life is like outside of Texas. However, if you're taking out loans, I would strongly encourage you to go cheap, in state. I'm thinking your costs will way outweigh your benefits of going Ivy League.

  6. #16
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
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    why are your choices only between columbia and ut?

    it helps to get perspective on what your academic
    and career interests are. also how good you are
    at milking what you've got.

    if you're going to school for "hi i'm here to discover
    about meeeeeeeeeee!" your criteria to choose will be
    different than "hi i have 80% of what it takes to make
    me successful, and i know exactly what i have to do to
    get the 20% to be where i want to be."

    the opportunities that arise due to location, networking,
    are very real in schools, even if it's an undergraduate
    programme.

    i'd think long term. i value my network and access to
    opportunities way more than anything else. i didn't
    need college to be the experience to open my eyes
    to the world, could already do that on my own.
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
    to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
    and begin slitting throats.
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  7. #17
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Think about what school you want to go to regardless of tuition and why.

    Are you looking for a specific major or department? Prestige? To be in a particular city? A particular vibe on campus?

    For instance for me, I wanted a prestigious liberal arts college with progressive politics on campus that had a strong English department/writing program and I wanted to meet cute girls and be free to be a man hating feminist (HAHAHAHA). I also went to college for the extracurriculars. So going to my women's college was an obvious choice. HAHAHAHHA. If I had known then however there were coed liberal arts colleges that were 'gay and progressive as hell' I would have applied to those and in retrospect gone to one of those instead. The school I went to on paper was what I wanted but in practice was a DISASTER. The first mistake I made was not factoring in location or size AT ALL. I would have done much better going to a larger university (not just college) in a major city or very near one. On the other hand, I had a friend who was gonna go to NYU but she went through some things and decided not to because she thought she'd go crazy basically, never study, and get kicked out. That is actually what ended up happening pretty much to our other friend who went to NYU. You really have to think about what you want your life to look like and how much academics (and specific academics, like departments) are to you. My college was great and well known for certain fields but if you wanted to study say art or theater or dance, it was not a good pick IMHO.

    You should have a clear idea of what you want from your college experience and education before you even think about tuition. If money is a bottom line, major factor, then that becomes your primary factor.

    I think many folks at age 17 and 18 have no idea really what they want from college. It is truly an overall experience so the size of the school and the location will make a HUGE impact on your life. It's not just about the level of prestige of the school or whatnot.

    So I would say instead of making the question "cheap vs expensive" think about what you want. THEN start sorting by cost.
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  8. #18
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmhmm View Post
    the opportunities that arise due to location, networking,
    are very real in schools, even if it's an undergraduate
    programme.
    Can you elaborate on this? I think you're right but there is a question of costs vs. benefits. That is, if you go to the Ivy for undergraduate, what difference does it make really in terms of the network you develop? I think if you were getting a Harvard MBA or something like that, you might make some nice connections. For undergraduate though - as much as going to Dartmouth would probably be an idyllic experience, how much would the connections you make there be worth? You make connections later when you get a job after you graduate - while getting paid for it.

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  9. #19
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Choose the cheaper one. The benefit from going to an expensive school isn't worth the difference in price.

  10. #20
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Can you elaborate on this? I think you're right but there is a question of costs vs. benefits. That is, if you go to the Ivy for undergraduate, what difference does it make really in terms of the network you develop? I think if you were getting a Harvard MBA or something like that, you might make some nice connections. For undergraduate though - as much as going to Dartmouth would probably be an idyllic experience, how much would the connections you make there be worth? You make connections later when you get a job after you graduate - while getting paid for it.
    for cost-- am an international student, there was
    no financial aid available for me, back then we
    had to pay it on our own or secure a scholarship.
    so perhaps that's the fundamental difference
    in opinions.

    peer group wise, the nature of connections during
    u/g years vs p/g years are very different. and i
    don't think everybody needs to do their p/g.

    but also in terms of accessibility of resources;
    whether it be faculty or adjunct staff; proximity
    of participating companies which can all lead to
    different opportunities--again, depending on the
    student's interests and how focused they are.

    it's not so much that it has to an ivy, but i see
    the importance of being in a competitive school
    that's in the same league.

    my undergrad wasn't an ivy ivy but it was
    ranked competitively and higher than some of the
    ivies. and my masters was at an ivy.

    it's like the debate between cal vs stanford.
    i got into both cal and stanford, and chose stanford,
    not based on the cost, but that it was a better fit.
    my friend also had the same acceptance and chose
    cal because of the in-state tuition.

    however, i don't know enough about UT enough to determine
    if it's comparable to Columbia in the broad sense.
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
    to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
    and begin slitting throats.
    h.l. mencken

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