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Penn State vs Virginia Tech

afro_ninj4afro_ninj4 Posts: 443Registered User Member
edited April 2008 in College Search & Selection
im at a standstill and im extremely stressed because i have less than 3 weeks to make the biggest decision of my life..

I had decided on Penn State a couple days ago until.....I got my FA package from VT. I got 12.5k in financial aid, and 9k of it was grants. Including the merit scholarship i recievied that is $14,000 in grants/scholarships and an additional 3k in loans coming to a total of $17,000 in aid of any type. The thing is that Im instate and virginia tech only costs a total of 13k to begin with, so basically i wont have to pay a penny and I will have to give back a 1k grant and the loan to Virginia Tech.

So you would think the choice is easy, since tech is totally free and it is pretty comparable with penn state. Here is the problem with that. I recieved a scholarship giving me free tuition at Penn State. I also got 8k in aid for the rest (5k of it grants and 3k in the form of a loan). So basically i would end up paying $3k which they gave me a loan for. Im not well to do by any means and Ill probably end up paying for most of my college education, but 3k is definitely not a burden.

So now im stuck. two (pretty) good schools, 1 free and 1 very close to free. Im totally stuck

I did a pro/con for each. I think they balance out though because i found many more things to both praise and critisize regarding penn state that i did to virginia tech...

I want to dbl major in meteorology and geography. I may drop one depending on the difficulty. Right now i think i would pick meteorology over geography but i suck at calc and physics (the core of meteo) so who knows

PENN STATE
Pros
-Best meteorology program in the country and a highly ranked geography program
-good social/party scene,
-huge alumni base- good for networking
-good school spirit and sports
-higher retention BUT ONLY BY 1% (94%)
-The EMS college is small so they say theres lots of personal attention and advising
-State College seems like a fun college town
-easy to find interships because of intense advising, i think (according to the dept head)
-everyones heard of penn state
-i get to be around non-virginians (pro and con)

Cons
-really big (42,000 kids); possibly too big- i dont wanna be overwhelmed; i was reluctant to apply in the first place but my guidance counselor reconvinced me at the last minute----however students say it feels much smaller when you get involved and my specific college is RLY small (only 800 kids) so maybe it wont be that bad
-its in the middle of nowhere
-the weather sucks, but thats not a big deal at all
-the big one- many dont graduate on time i hear; Im OOS, lower-income, and my scholarship only lasts 4 years so ill plummet into debt if i dont graduate on time
-cant pledge a frat 1st year due to scholarship (not sure if i would anyway, esp 1st year)
-party scene maybe too tense (like thats all there is to do)
-freshmen cant bring cars

VIRGINIA TECH

Pros
-closer to home (so i can see friends, i wont get homesick)
-freshman can have cars
-more mellow party scene
-unarguably one of the best campuses for food
-blacksburg is a nice town and beautiful campus
-great sports/school spirit
-better size, although still a little big
-get to be around virginians (pro and con)

Cons
-They dont offer a meteorology program, only geography (if i went here i would probably end up minoring in environmental sci.)
-programs arent as well established as penn state's
-its in the middle of nowhere as well
-less prestige (only slightly though) then penn state
-advisors are mediocre i hear


Sooo like i said im at a standstill and im extremely stressed because i have less than 3 weeks to make the biggest decision of my life. Can anyone please help me
Post edited by afro_ninj4 on

Replies to: Penn State vs Virginia Tech

  • afro_ninj4afro_ninj4 Posts: 443Registered User Member
    bump. 10 char
  • vaaleainhoinenvaaleainhoinen Posts: 223Registered User Junior Member
    having visited both school on different occasions (PSU for a soccer tourney; VT for Governor's school two years ago), I'd have to go with VT. The only reason (again, very opinion based here....) I would choose VT over PSU is the feel of the campus. PSU was just way to big and not very connected, i.e., parts of campus separated by rather large 4-lane roads.VT, on the other hand, is large, but more of a "pedestrian zone", and there's plenty to do there because the activities they offer compare to a small city right on campus. I have friends who traveled down there this past weelend for the "Hokie Focus" thingy, and so far I've only heard good things back from them.
  • ericatbucknellericatbucknell Posts: 749Registered User Member
    if you werent seriously considering meteorology and geography, i would second the virginia tech recommendation.

    that said, there isnt a school in the country that can provide a student with stronger programs in meteorology and geography than penn state. heck, many would argue that penn state has the countrys best departments in BOTH meteorology and geography. i cant imagine passing that up, at essentially no cost, for virginia tech.
  • KandKsmomKandKsmom Posts: 1,173Registered User Senior Member
    afro_ninj, from previous posts you know how much I love and highly recommend VT, but if you are pretty darn sure you want to do meteorology (and you REALLY sound like you want to go into that field), I think your best choice is Penn State. Go to the school that has the reputation for being the strongest in whatever program you want to do. In this case it is Penn State.
  • musiclover<3musiclover<3 Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    i would totally reccomend tech, but if you are really interested in meteorology then maybe you should go for the major, but i totally understand not knowing what to do, i am having the same problem deciding between one school i really like, but another one with the major i really like... good luck in your decision!
  • tonerangertoneranger Posts: 3,723Registered User Senior Member
    "PSU is way too big and not very connected"
    Didn't find that at all. Actually, I think the campus makes PSU feel smaller than it is. For example, I thought Cornell's campus was much more spread out and hard to navigate.
    VTech and PSU are located in small towns in the middle of nowhere- so that's not much of a difference.
    But PSU has a VERY strong Meteorology program- now THAT's a big difference.
    If you work hard, you shouldn't have trouble graduating in four years.
  • afro_ninj4afro_ninj4 Posts: 443Registered User Member
    thanks for the answers. lets just pretend that i dont have a major selected yet. im afraid to base my decision on the major because who knows if it will change. I am passionate about meteorology and geography but who really knows if its right for me. After it involves a great deal of calculus and physics, both of which i am terrible at. And if i decided that i didnt want to to meteo and/or geography than i would have to transfer because my scholarship would be revoked and I wouldnt be able to pay for the school.

    When I think about the schools I can see myself i dont want to say being happier, but maybe more comfortable with the campus and size....im not sure though

    but excluding majors, would the obvious choice still be penn state?
  • MattmoosemomMattmoosemom Posts: 468Registered User Member
    If you really wish to major in meteorology, then go to Penn State. I know a current freshman majoring in meteorology at one of the SUNY's who struggles with physics and math, but he is doing what he needs to do to pass. He goes for tutoring, asks friends, etc. I know you have some "what ifs" floating out there, but so do many college students. None of us have any guarantees of success, so go with your current passions. Or you could play it safe and go to Va Tech.

    If your major is not a factor, I say go to Va Tech. But, really, only you can answer this question. You have thought this out logically; maybe it's time to go with your "gut."
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