My son is deciding between USC (CAS) and UNC-CH (OOS) Ironically, these were both safeties for him; he was waitlisted elsewhere (fingers crossed for UVA). IR major, not planning on grad school (would he have to?). Wants to work in foreign affairs probably for the US gov., perhaps with one of the 3 letter orgs. eg CIA, etc. He wants to work on east coast (DC) one day, but not imperative.
T.O. honors program
smaller classes (with TO, even the core or GE classes would be small)
Presidential Scholarship (½ tuition).
prefers big city to small college town
USC encourages double majors and major minors across their entire system ie bus/eng/CAS schools
easy to change majors and/or change schools if interests change
distance: (we live on the east coast), cost of travel and difficulty networking/interviewing for east coast jobs
housing: not guaranteed beyond sophomore year, one can find housing but $$$
can't really take advantage of LA w/o a car which he won't have
great academic reputation
proximity to home and region of desired future employment
inexpensive off campus housing
can have a car as upperclassman
great college town
not in honors program (but can apply in Jan.)
no money coming (we do not qualify for any financial aide)
much more difficult to get in to certain classes (UNC actually warns you of this when planning your schedule)
very worried over budget crisis at the UNC system, 15+% cuts from state revenue coming, how will the UNC system absorb this? No one knows, but larger classes, fewer offerings, more TA's, more than 8 semesters to graduate (UNC actually warns you of this when planning your schedule), large hikes in OOS tuition, these are all very real possibilities
Visited both. Liked both. Students seem very happy at both. Similar student body size and academics, S got a little better vibe at USC, (liked the physical campus slightly more, and the laid back attitude of the students) and likes the honors option. Costs are a neutral for us. $ out of pocket about the same after all things such as travel, LA housing, merit aide etc. factored in.
The big issue comes down to UNC's budget crisis and what that will mean for academics, vs. USC's distance to home and desired future employment on the east coast.