Should I accept a tuition scholarship and give up on MIT?
So here's my situation. My absolute dream school is MIT - I love everything about it: the academics, the culture, Cambridge. But chances are that I'll get zero financial aid from them (I've run the finaid calculators on several schools).
That means that IF I get accepted into MIT, I'll have to pay $55K a year.
But I just got notified that I've qualified to be a Posse scholarship finalist for UCLA. They'll pay all the tuition costs - currently ~$13K a year. That leaves UCLA at ~$19K a year. The thing is, if I accept the finalist position, it's binding Early Decision; i.e. if I win the scholarship, I have to go to UCLA. I have to make the decision by tomorrow.
Now, I know UCLA is a great school, but I really think I have a good chance of getting into MIT. Should I decline the scholarship and try to make my dream school? Or should I accept the scholarship and give up on MIT?
It's a lot of money, and I know that $55K a year will be a heavy cost on my family.
^ You really need to discuss this with your parents, who will pay the bill.
I would say that of all the students admitted to MIT whose parents are paying full tuition, 100% have turned down scholarship and full-ride offers elsewhere. This was the case with my daughter, who recently graduated from MIT.
On the other hand, UCLA is a great public school, and if you do really well there, you could go to graduate school anywhere, with more money in your family's pocket and probably zero debt.
Tough decision. Look, all you can get on the board is anecdotal evidence. Our family feels great about having paid full freight at MIT because our daughter excelled there and now is in a great graduate program, fully independent, doing what she loves. But for all we know, she could have ended up in the same place having taken a Regents Scholarship at Berkeley. We told our son he could attend anywhere he was admitted, but he surprised us by turning down a couple of universities ranked in the top 20 to attend Willamette University, a school that offered him such a large merit scholarship that it costs LESS to attend than a UC campus. He is really happy there. Before we agreed to let him go, we visited the school twice, then decided that we agreed with his choice. What is the take-away lesson in these two very different experiences? I guess it's that it all depends on the individual's fit with the school and the fit with the family finances. In the best scenario, everyone is happy with the decision.
MIT awards scholarship aid only to families that really need the money. A middle-class family earning above a certain level (not sure what it is, any more) might receive some offers for small loans only, leaving a large amount to pay.
Ack...I guess more choices does equal less satisfaction. If only MIT decisions came out earlier...I would almost feel better if I was rejected from MIT and could accept the UCLA scholarship with no regrets.
I would go ucla. Just think of the cost of mit and then include the travel costs and such. You would probably get almost as good of an education at ucla, still have a very prestigious school behind your name, and a great college experience that cost very little. I would pick UCLA if I was in your position. Plus UCLA has very acceptance rates at grad schools. And the alumni from UCLA are very proud of their school.
CalAlum --- Last time I checked the admissions page, the "cutoff" was <$75,000 you get no loans.
When I went to visit in sophomore year, our presenter said that if you make $75,000 or less, you get a full ride. Not sure why he said this, other FA officers have said differently.
I would go to UCLA. Congrats on being a finalist!! You have interest in both schools, maybe more interest on MIT. But in my opinion, I wouldn't go to a school no matter what if i had to pay full price.
If your parents make so much money that you don't even qualify for financial aid, you'd probably have no problem paying $50k/year.
I would definitely NOT pick UCLA. They are only giving you $13k per year, which can be easily made up if you go to MIT. Plus, you'd live the rest of your life not knowing if you could've gone to a school like MIT. Why not decline the scholarship and take a chance? An MIT education will stay with you the rest of your life. It's definitely worth more than $52k. Just think about it: You can easily make up your tuition money after graduation, when you get a crazy good job as opposed to a mediocre one from UCLA.
Just because a family doesn't qualify doesn't mean that they can pay $50k/year with "no problem."
This decision should be made with your parents involved. You are obviously a strong student and will thrive anywhere. did you know about Posse being binding? if you did, then you knew you liked UCLA enough. You aren't paying this bill, your parents are.
It's a common misconception that you can just "make up your tuition/pay off all your debt" when you graduate. that's way too much money. it's not that easy.
you will always have "what ifs" in life. there's always grad school for MIT if you are still interested, not that it's any easier to be accepted then, but this isn't a one and done chance.
not everyone from mit is better off than ucla graduates. ucla is a great school. if you like it, you should go with it. as they say, if you're good enough to get in to mit and other top schools, you'll do fine regardless where you go. i believe in that. decide based on whereth you like ucla or not. if you like it much, do it. but once you do, don't look back.
by the way, i thought posse is a sort of low-income program. i guess i'm wrong..
The program recruits strong student leaders, looking for a multicultural mix of students. The Posse Foundation has three goals:
To expand the pool from which top colleges and universities can recruit outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds.
To help these institutions build more interactive campus environments so that they can be more welcoming for people from all backgrounds.
To ensure that Posse Scholars persist in their academic studies and graduate, so they can take on leadership positions in the workforce.