User Tag List

123 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 72

  1. #1
    Intergalactic Badass mujigay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    1w9
    Posts
    532

    Default The cheap state school or the expensive ivy?

    I'm gearing up for college applications (yes, it's a bit early to most, but in my mind, it's never too early) and I'm caught in a bit of dilemma.

    I'm applying to seven schools, actually, but the top two are the University of Texas and Columbia University. I have a pretty fantastic transcript, not to brag, and I'm about 80% certain that if I apply to Columbia early decision, I'll get in (for Ivy Leagues, applying early decision is pretty much the only way to get in, unless you've got some kind of gob-smacking application), but if I do that, I lock myself into that school. Furthermore, I'm not sure what kind of financial aid I'll be getting, and as I'm sure most of you know...it's not cheap to go there.

    If I go to the University of Texas at Austin, I'm pretty much guaranteed to get in, and it'll be practically free. My father was in the military, and state scholarships for children of veterans combined with academic awards I've picked up would make it very, VERY, cheap to go. However, I've been desperate to get out of Texas, and the thought of another four years here kind of weighs me down.

    Advice?

  2. #2
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    MBTI
    INtP
    Posts
    2,169

    Default

    I know more than a little bit about this (and that's all I'm saying -- if you want details PM me ). There are a few things I'd take into consideration. Foremost among them are financial reasons. Having a ton of debt at age 22 coming out of undergraduate school is *not* a situation you want to put yourself in. 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. Ask them. They may not advertise the fact (if they accept you early decision, they want you there -- and although nonprofits are *infinitely* better than for-profit institutions, there are "business realities" for them too), but realistically they've almost got to give you a way out if you simply can't afford it. There's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if that happens to you -- private schools like Columbia (and I'm not picking on it, it's a great school) are terribly expensive.

    Another thing to take into consideration is your intended major. There are probably circumstances where an expensive school is worth it. Not that the coursework will be so much different, or the learning environment so much better (the differences between schools you'd actually consider, public or private, are probably minimal), but there are cases where the name matters. It's unfortunate, but true. If you're looking at *extremely* high-paying careers, it won't matter as much. But note that a LOT of people have an idea of what they want to do career-wise when they enter college, and then change their minds. I certainly did.

    Most important, though -- college, especially undergraduate school, is largely a matter of getting what you put into it. Some schools may *force* you to push yourself more, but it's pretty unlikely that any of the actual material you'd be exposed to at Columbia is fundamentally different from anything you'd see at UT (assuming that the specific programs you're interested in are offered at both schools). You may have to be a bit more proactive, but the variance between the two's not so much educational as it is extracurricular.

    My advice? Check with Columbia about the possibility to reject an early decision admission based on financial reasons if the aid offered isn't sufficient for your needs. If they will accept that as a reason to pull out, take the shot. Also apply to UT. See exactly what you'll be dealing with, financially (generally you'll probably find out about your financial offer within days after your admission). Then really think hard about the difference in cost and the difference in what you'll get (including life experiences of living in NY, which certainly do exist... but Austin's a pretty good town too -- I used to live there, and still have family there).

    It's mercenary of me to say it... but I'll state it again... think long and hard about taking on a lot of debt for college. It's no exaggeration to state that being low-debt or debt-free coming out of college is literally a life-changing circumstance, when compared to starting your adult life with a lot of debt. I don't know your financial circumstances, and old, relatively highly endowed schools like Columbia do have the ability to offer large aid packages. Depending on your circumstances, it may not be *that* unequal cost-wise. Give them a chance, but ask them to prove viability to you before you accept.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Posts
    2,158

    Default

    UT is a great school. I'd take UT (and no debt) over Columbia (with a mountain of debt) any day of the week. At your age, I probably would have chosen Columbia because I would have thought, "Who wouldn't want to go to Columbia!?", but now that I've been through college and in the workforce - it just doesn't matter that much. By going to UT, you're saving yourself a ton of money. College really is about "getting out of it what you put into it" - no matter where you go. Suck up 4 more years in Texas - get a 4.0 at UT, then move to New York with your great education and kick some butt.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

  4. #4

    Default

    I would probably echo what Kelric said...college choice is probably less important than you think for most careers, and almost certainly less important than the amount of debt you will incur. It's possible that at an Ivy there will be an "old boys network" that you could exploit, but for the most part I think it's more important how you distinguish yourself at your college than which college you attend.

    Some information is missing from your OP, too...If you've decided on a major, I think it's more important to evaluate the program for your major at each school rather than the overall quality of the institution. For instance, if you were going to major in English, then Columbia would be the clear choice even though UT also offers English. And if you were going to major in film, then UT is the clear choice even though Columbia also offers film.

    A last thing I'd keep in mind is that if you have any desire to attend graduate school, then consider UT strongly. The more you save on your undergrad education, the more money you free up for grad school. I'd have never been able to attend grad school if I didn't get my undergrad education for free.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

    Johari
    /Nohari

  5. #5
    Intergalactic Badass mujigay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    1w9
    Posts
    532

    Default

    I have looked into the programs for the major(s) I'm interested in, and Columbia is without a doubt better, but UT isn't bad either, which makes it a doubly hard decision. 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. However, the points you all have made about about the qualities of education being pretty much similar anyway are very good.

    These pieces of advice about debt are valuable to me, thanks for the perspective, guys. 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?

  6. #6
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Posts
    2,158

    Default

    I've heard it put like this before: the name of the school you graduate from only matters during the first 5 years after you graduate (very early in your career, it can help you land some positions that you may not have had access to otherwise) - but outside of those 5 years, nobody really cares where you graduated from. They'll look more at your experience and your post-education, work-related knowledge, ability, and performance. Who cares that you got a 4.0 from Harvard? Can you do high-quality work right now - in this company, in this job - that's all that matters. So, my point is that I don't even think you should spend a ton of money on grad school either. Spend as little as possible on your undergrad and as little as possible on your grad, while still going to a good institution. It just doesn't make sense in today's world to dump 100k (or even 50k) on a degree if you don't have to. If you can go to UT for free - I'd ride that horse until the wheels fell off. I'd go UT all the way through a Ph.D. if I had discounted tuition.

    In the workplace, in the real world, all that really matters is how you perform after you graduate. The only exception that comes to mind at the moment is if you were going to be an academic. Then I think where you graduate matters.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

  7. #7
    Intergalactic Badass mujigay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    1w9
    Posts
    532

    Default

    Hmmm, makes sense to me, the way you put it.

    I wish I had heard this kind of thing earlier in my life. I'm Japanese, growing up in a predominantly Indian and Chinese community, and have heard nothing but the virtues of Ivy Leagues, reasons why you should work your ass off and manipulate transcripts to get in, and seen cousins and families friends practically glorified for getting into Harvard, Brown and the like.

    I don't plan on being an academic, I have too much plain business ambition for that, so what you all are saying is really sensible. It's just a totally new perspective to me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Posts
    2,158

    Default

    Don't get me wrong - I think it'd be awesome to go to an Ivy League school. It's probably a really good experience. But, quite simply, Columbia isn't going to make or break your life success or your business success or your ultimate happiness. No institution can do that for you. That stuff has to come from within.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

  9. #9
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    6w5 sx/sp
    Socionics
    ILI Ni
    Posts
    17,910

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    Don't get me wrong - I think it'd be awesome to go to an Ivy League school. It's probably a really good experience.
    I agree with everything that's been said so far - in particular the part about going into debt. Here is a true story.

    - Student visits all the Ivy league schools, Stanford and Duke
    - Don't like most Ivy's but likes Stanford, Dartmouth, and Duke
    - Doesn't get into Stanford and Duke (is heartbroken); wait listed at Dartmouth; does get in at Northwestern, U of Illinois, and Notre Dame
    - Picks U of I - wants to "have fun" at the State School
    - Gets 4.0 college GPA; Applies and gets into 10 different Medical Schools including Hopkins, Emory, Chicago, and several others
    - Is offered Medical School scholarships from three different schools Decides to go to Chicago - which offers a full scholarship.
    - Will graduate from one of the best medical schools in the country in a year with no debt from undergraduate or medical school

    Would it made a difference is she had gone to Northwestern, Stanford, Harvard? Yes - it probably would. She would owe a lot of money.

    I guess if money is no object or you don't need to go into debt to do it, I'd pick the Ivy.

    Please provide feedback on my Nohari and Johari Window by clicking here: Nohari/Johari

    Tri-type 639

  10. #10
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w4
    Posts
    2,158

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I agree with everything that's been said so far - in particular the part about going into debt. Here is a true story.

    - Student visits all the Ivy league schools, Stanford and Duke
    - Don't like most Ivy's but likes Stanford, Dartmouth, and Duke
    - Doesn't get into Stanford and Duke (is heartbroken); wait listed at Dartmouth; does get in at Northwestern, U of Illinois, and Notre Dame
    - Picks U of I - wants to "have fun" at the State School
    - Gets 4.0 college GPA; Applies and gets into 10 different Medical Schools including Hopkins, Emory, Chicago, and several others
    - Is offered Medical School scholarships from three different schools Decides to go to Chicago - which offers a full scholarship.
    - Will graduate from one of the best medical schools in the country in a year with no debt from undergraduate or medical school

    Would it made a difference is she had gone to Northwestern, Stanford, Harvard? Yes - it probably would. She would owe a lot of money.

    I guess if money is no object or you don't need to go into debt to do it, I'd pick the Ivy.
    Great story about making the best with where you're at. She performed well at the state school and everything else fell right into place for her.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

Similar Threads

  1. Seek 3rd Major or Grad School or.....?
    By ZiL in forum Academics and Careers
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 06-22-2009, 11:42 AM
  2. Replies: 23
    Last Post: 12-14-2007, 03:50 AM
  3. Helloween party, or whatever the spelling.
    By Punggung in forum The Bonfire
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-03-2007, 03:45 PM
  4. Replies: 10
    Last Post: 07-24-2007, 07:35 AM
  5. The Human Mind - the sum of its parts or something more?
    By Geoff in forum General Psychology
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 05-15-2007, 06:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO