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Can't decide which college to attend-any advice would be very much appreciated!

evguy307evguy307 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
Hi CC community!

Going through a college-related existential crisis right now and have no idea where I should go next year. I somehow managed to narrow things down from about 20 acceptances to a few schools that I am seriously considering. There are also a few schools that I'm still waiting to hear back from. Anyway, here's what I'm considering:

-After an interview/presentation process I have been chosen as a Chancellor's Scholar at TCU. This constitutes a full tuition scholarship and admission into the Honors College/Program. The total cost would be about $14k a year.

-I was admitted to Notre Dame and received about $15k a year in financial aid. The total cost would be about $50k a year, though I'm considering contacting the financial aid office and seeing if there is any way I could get more financial aid.

-CU Boulder is my in-state/safety school and it would be about $20k a year for me to go there given the scholarships I received.

-I'm still waiting to hear back from Stanford, Duke, Yale, and UNC Chapel Hill. I'm assuming that I won't get any financial assistance from these schools but am hoping for the best.

My family is in somewhat of a unique financial situation where we have a fairly high income but a lot of it goes towards supporting family. Because of this, we'd have to take out loans for anything above $25-30k a year.

Right now I'm leaning towards either TCU or Notre Dame (or Stanford if I get in) but I really feel like I would be happy at any of these schools and am super conflicted.

Do y'all have any advice? It would be very much appreciated!!!
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Replies to: Can't decide which college to attend-any advice would be very much appreciated!

  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 3,542 Senior Member
    What do you want to study? How much can your parents pay?
  • evguy307evguy307 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    I'm planning on studying business. The most my parents can afford without taking out loans is $30,000 a year
  • evguy307evguy307 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    edited March 18
    I'm also somewhat considering UCLA. Just got admitted yesterday and am waiting on financial aid
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 27,683 Senior Member
    edited March 19
    In considering your packages, look at the total estimated cost minus grants and scholarships. Do NOT count loans, as they will need to be repaid. Work study (if awarded) is just money for working (often on campus)--you do have to work to earn it and wages are generally around minimum or slightly above.

    Compare the net cost to you and your family of each of these schools for all 4 years, realizing that tuition and expenses will likely rise about 5% per year.

    What do you plan to study and what do you intend to do with your career?
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 27,163 Senior Member
    Don't take out more than your federal loan amounts. ND isn't going to work for you. Sounds like you are OOS for UCLA, so you won't get much aid. TCU and CU seem like your best choices.
  • my2caligirlsmy2caligirls Registered User Posts: 386 Member
    Given the financial constraints, TCU is a great option with a solid business school. Congrats on the full tuition scholarship.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 3,737 Senior Member
    This is the classic prestige v money dilemma that many high achieving students face, and the pull of prestige (which is right here and now with your peers and family) is really powerful in the moment. However, the money is the long term, more powerful consideration: it's not your classmates who will be paying off student loans, figuring out how to live on an entry level salary, how to pay for an MBA program, etc while still paying of undergrad debts: it's you.

    As it happens, your proposed major - business- makes it a little easier: ND is not $80K of debt better than CU or TCU for a business major. Put another way, what you do in college (and over summers) will affect your post-graduation job prospects much more than whether your diploma says ND, CU or TCU.

    Don't underestimate the value of being a star either: in the short term, the prestige of the Chancellors Award will take some of the sting out of not going to the most 'selective' college that you were admitted to, but the longer term benefits are also worthwhile. A lot of getting early internships and jobs is about contacts and/or getting the attention of people in a position to be helpful. TCU will be doing their best to see that their Chancellor's Scholars do well in the wider world (that's why they you to come so much: your anticipated success will reflect well on them).
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 9,403 Senior Member
    As an OOS at UCLA you will get no aid at all.
  • evguy307evguy307 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    @HImom @intparent @my2caligirls @collegemom3717 @TomSrOfBoston
    Thank you so much for the advice! It definitely is hard to look past some of the prestige and see that if I go to TCU or CU (especially TCU) I will likely be graduating debt-free. Only thing I'm worried about is, especially since I'm studying business, the connections/networking that I would have at each of these schools. I feel like at ND I would have better opportunities for this. Also when I visited ND I really felt at home there (I did at TCU as well, but am not sure that I would fit in as well at TCU because I am unsure if I want to join Greek life, which is a really big thing there) and it would be hard to turn that down. Thanks again for the advice though, will definitely be incorporating it in my decision-making.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 27,683 Senior Member
    Remember, many students change majors, decide to go to grad/professional school, get 2nd degree. Graduating with little of no debt will give MANY more options. If you care about prestige, the GRAD or PRO school matters, not the undergrad school.
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 1,171 Senior Member
    You can't go wrong at both Notre Dame or UCLA. Both are recognized for their world class business programs.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 3,737 Senior Member
    I agree that both ND & UCLA are good programs- but not worth the debt the OP would incur.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 10,822 Super Moderator
    With the current acceptances you have, I'd choose either TCU or CU-Boulder. Those are really the only affordable options you have, and with two excellent universities on the table you shouldn't go into massive debt.

    I mean, by all means, see what you get from the others you're waiting from, but if you already know your EFC is higher than those schools' cost of attendance you may know that you won't get enough aid to bring the costs below TCU and CU Boulder.
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 14,528 Senior Member
    It sounds like right now TCU and CU-Boulder are your affordable choices and it also seems that of those two you prefer TCU. But for now, I'd wait and see if you get other affordable options.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 27,683 Senior Member
    edited March 20
    Graduating with a boatload of debt would really limit your options upon graduation. Choose among the affordable options so you can have options after you graduate--going to grad/professional school, working for a start up (that may not pay much but give you equity), etc. since your family is already burdened supporting other family members, don't be an additional financial burden.
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