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Oxford/Emory or University of Alabama Huntsville?

4Hurley4Hurley Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
I posted this on the college search and selection forum but thought I might have more luck here with this.

My daughter has narrowed down her school choices to two: Oxford College of Emory and University of Alabama-Huntsville.

She has the full tuition scholarship from UAH, which means we would only pay room and board, about 10,500. She would not need to take any loans for UAH. She's also been accepted into the honor's program. She likes the school well enough and the cost would be great.

Oxford College is really a great fit for her and we have family close by. With aid it comes out to be about 17,000 to attend. That aid does include a student loan for her of 5,500. We can pay the balance with savings and current income, but it is a lot more money. If the cost was lower, she would pick Oxford for sure. She is hesitant to take the student loan. She's pretty frugal, like her parents .

My question is this: is Oxford/Emory worth the higher price? It would end up being around $12,000 more per year. With student loans, our extra cost would be around $6,500. She plans to major in biology or psychology and minor in Spanish. She wants to become a psychiatric or dermatology physician's assistant, so will be going on to PA school.

Any advice is much appreciated!
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Replies to: Oxford/Emory or University of Alabama Huntsville?

  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,944 Senior Member
    It'd be a different experience. Honors at UAH? If so, what is that like? Definitely a lot of attention at Oxford@Emory. It's like a LAC that feeds in to main Emory. It would be harder to get a high GPA there, though.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 9,371 Senior Member
    Has she visited UAH? Is it a good fit for her at all?

    Oxford/E is a terrific option but $48K (over 4 years) is a lot.
  • 4Hurley4Hurley Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    She's visited UAH and likes it well enough. She said it's a 7.5 out of 10. She is doing an overnight there this week that will hopefully make the decision easier.

    Both schools are good choices, we are just debating whether Oxford is worth that much more. As frugal people, it's hard not to pick the cheapest option.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,424 Super Moderator
    has she visited either/both? Where is she most comfortable? I loved the question

    Your D having $27,000 in loans is not onerous. If you feel that the $6500 is not going to place your family in a hardship position, there let her go to the school that she likes best.
  • 4Hurley4Hurley Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    She felt very comfortable at Oxford. She went to an accepted student's day and loved it. Loved the class she sat in on and the people. She'll do an overnight this week at UAH, which may help sway her one way or the other.
  • bucketDadbucketDad Registered User Posts: 167 Junior Member
    I've travelled to Huntsville for work multiple times. I've stayed in the area around UAH. Make sure your D can handle four years there. Great place if you want to be a defense contractor.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,424 Super Moderator
    edited April 17
    Since she will need 2000 of direct patient care hours, wouldn't she have more opportunity(or be just more convenient) to get those hours at Emory, especially since they have a medical center
    Post edited by sybbie719 on
  • 4Hurley4Hurley Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    Good points about Huntsville and patient contact hours. Atlanta is such a great city with so many opportunities.
  • morningside95morningside95 Registered User Posts: 349 Member
    @4Hurley - Big fan of Oxford Emory, here, as our nephew will be attending in the fall! Isn't the campus about 30 miles outside of Atlanta? Can you wait until 3rd and 4th year to get in those patient hours? Although there is a hospital there, in Oxford, GA. Oxford is less than 1,000 students, for those first 2 years, vs 6,000+ at UAH. Does that matter to your D?

    This is just food for thought. From what you are saying, it sounds like your D is leaning toward Oxford, so if you can swing the cost to your family, you should just let her choose where she'd be happiest and get the best education. Let her know that taking some loans is the norm for most college students these days. We are keeping ours 2 sons to less than $22,000, which we feel is a reasonable amount, and still far below the avg of $30,000 of most college grads.

    Can your D cut down the amount of her loans, with a summer job and work study? Are there any scholarships for which she can apply? She can continue to apply for scholarships throughout college, to help defray some costs.

    Lastly, it sounds like she is an excellent candidate for either school. So, have you spoken with the financial aid office at Oxford Emory to to see if they can add a bit more to their fin aid offer? Since many students have probably already accepted or rejected their offer of admission, perhaps some extra $ has opened up? If there is no $ for extra merit aid, is there something in your family finances that did not show up in the FASA or CSS Profile? Did income go down in 2016? Extra medical bills? Other issues that make 2016 different than the 2015 figures used on the financial aid forms? My #1 motto is - "It never hurts to ask!" And schools are used to this type of request. especially from students who REALLY want to attend their school, but it is a bit of a financial stretch. Definitely ask!
  • VAOptimistVAOptimist Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    I would choose Oxford/Emory as it will provide more opportunities for her major and will likely have more name recognition for PA programs. And it sounds like the fit is better. I think it is a great investment in her future if you can handle the extra cost.
  • powercropperpowercropper Registered User Posts: 1,340 Senior Member
    edited April 19
    I encourage you to dig into the departments of her prospective major at each school. Have your daughter email professors and ask some specific questions. See how your daughter reacts to the responses. How many professors in the department? Are there multiple choices for science majors, maybe some minors/concentrations?

    What kind of acceptance rates for PA schools? Get past just the numbers, and have a discussion with appropriate staff to understand what kind of support the under grad students get as they prepare to apply to PA school. Does every student get supported or is there a weed out process at the under grad level?

    Talk with the PA schools she is interested in attending. Ask about both these colleges, do they accept students from both places? How many students?

    Can you get all the required courses in four years that PA schools need you to complete? What GPA is needed to be competitive ?

    And what if she changes majors? Look at other majors offered and see how those departments compare.

    I encourage your family to set aside the finance question for now, and concentrate on finding the best fit. If your child is unhappy, can't easily find her tribe, that could affect her academics. But fit includes other things, like campus location, campus food, and surrounding areas.

    I have been to all three campuses....Oxford, Emory, and UAH. They have pros and cons. UAH is small campus but in the middle of a city. Oxford is small campus also, but extremely remote. I don't know how she would get hospital hours easily at Oxford. Emory is the best campus for medical type students. Ask Oxford how they assist their students in connecting with local hospitals. Emory is in Atlanta, but not in the downtown Atlanta area. Emory is near small but interesting neighborhoods. Lots of dining and entertainment near Emory as compared to the other two schools.

    I wanted both my kids to consider UAH. Both my kids would have been Stem or CS majors. That is the real strength for UAH. I would not be as excited about sending a biology kid there. UAB in Birmingham is where I would send a kid with that interest. So be sure to check the depth and strength of the biology major at UAH.

    Emory has a better reputation in the medical fields, and might offer a better support system for students applying to PA school. Emory is more liberal and preppy than UAH, and Greek life is more dominant at Emory. (Not sure about Greek life at Oxford.)

    Good luck as you consider all the aspects of these schools.
  • powercropperpowercropper Registered User Posts: 1,340 Senior Member
    Sorry for the long post above. Bottom line, you need to figure out how to get to the finish line, to get your daughter through PA school.

    Does going to Oxford /Emory leave any money to pay for PA school? And what is backup plan if she is not accepted into PA school. Will her salary from Plan B major job be enough to live on and pay back student loans?

    So many unknown variables, and time is closing in on decision time. Feel free to ask more questions or PM me.

    Anyone visiting Atlanta in the next few months needs to be aware of several major Interstate closures.
  • momreadsmomreads Registered User Posts: 3,224 Senior Member
    I have a son who attends UAH, and he loves it. Lots of opportunities in volunteering (he has 115 hours alone this year). Strong STEM majors (although he is not one, but has a math minor). Did your daughter speak with anyone in the biology/psychology departments to learn of the various opportunities open to undergrads? I definitely would do that. For example, my son has been offered the chance to earn his masters degree, with a full tuition scholarship, housing and TA stipend. He has friends already working for various engineering/STEM-like businesses in Huntsville.

    But I would have her speak with someone in her major area interests to see what is offered.
  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 Registered User Posts: 3,414 Senior Member
    edited April 20
    Rankings when looking at tiers can have some value when there is a very significant difference between two schools.

    UAH is top 200 out of 300 national universities (so it is essentially in the bottom third)

    Emory is in the top 20.
    (Top 10%)

  • powercropperpowercropper Registered User Posts: 1,340 Senior Member
    I truly think UAH is a hidden gem, and if the student in question wanted engineering or computer science, I would strongly urge her to attend UAH.

    I have seen multiple comments from UAH students in non-stem majors mentioning they feel like a stepchild on campus. So it is important to do your research on the biology/psychology departments before she commits to attend there.
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