Alright, so I was accepted to both early and still haven't made my decisions.
I know Chicago is #5 in the country and could rise, while Tulane is comparatively much lower (#50 or something?). So, obviously Chicago is the better school, especially for my intended majors in Economics and International Relations (Chicago School of Economics and Committee on International Relations anyone?). Obviously a degree here would be amazing.
HOWEVER, I got a pretty substantial scholarship (27k/year) at Tulane, plus I was admitted to the honors college. Furthermore, I am currently a finalist for their new Altman program, which gives a dual-degree in Business and International Relations, as well as a ton of travel abroad money (plus, it's the inaugural class, so that's pretty cool).
So now I can't decide which to go to. I'll be visiting Tulane in about a week for their Honor's College Day, but I LOVE THE CITY OF CHICAGO. It's an awesome city.
Tulane is an up-and-coming school with a great reputation. The program you were admitted to is fantastic, and, to be honest, with the financial aid you're getting, I would choose Tulane any day. You're not selling yourself short by going to Tulane.
@xp1123 To answer your question specifically about "do people who get into better undergrad schools (like Chicago over Tulane) have a better chance at getting into really good grad schools"--the answer is 'yes.'
I am not knocking Tulane, but look--we could argue all day about what are the top 5 or 10 schools in the country. But do you really think the admissions staff at Harvard won't know that UChicago is one of the top few schools in the country whereas Tulane is maybe top 50?
If you are in doubt, here is the recruiting schedule for Harvard Law School:
You will notice they may make a special visit to UChicago, as they do to certain other schools. I don't see Tulane on the list.
Now, I am not here to plug Harvard Law School. Hell, go to UChicago Law. But that was one link that a quick Google search turned up.
Of course, that does not mean you cannot get into great schools from Tulane. However, if there were two copies of you, and one went to UChicago and had a 3.9 and the other went to Tulane and had a 3.9, the copy of you that went to UChicago would have a better chance of getting in to the top schools--in whatever field.
And, yes, if you apply to the UChicago Law, as I noted elsewhere, you will have a better chance of getting in from UChicago than Tulane:
But what if one has a 3.9 from Tulane and a 3.6 From Chicago and an identically high LSAT? I think one might find a tilt toward Tulane in that case. Now which outcome is the most likely, two 3.9s or a 3.9 and a 3.6?
@idad, Law schools don't give a crap about what undergrad school you went to; all they care about is LSAT score and GPA. For example, if one went to Arizona State got a 175 LSAT with a 4.0 GPA, while a kid went to Harvard got a 3.6 GPA with a 175 LSAT, they won't care; the ASU kid would be admitted over the Harvard student, anyday.
Now back to OP's questions:
If I'm not mistaken, I believe Chicago for the 2012-2013 school year is about $63,000. So if you take out $4,000, that leaves you with $59,000 to pay out-of-pocket. Will you parents contribute anything? If not, that leaves you with $236,000 in student loans plus the interest. That's considering UChicago's costs remain the same for 4 years, which I doubt they will.
Hell no I wouldn't go to Chicago if it meant being nearly a quarter of a million dollars in debt.
That's CRAZY! Go to Tulane. No University on the face of this planet is worth that much to go to.
Also at Tulane it may be easier to keep a higher GPA than Chicago. So, you will have a great shot at Ivy grad schools.
Last edited by WhatsaUsername; 04-08-2012 at 04:48 PM.
1) First of all, I don't even know if you're interested in law school. I was just using that as an example. You may want to talk to an admissions officer for whatever sort of graduate program you are interested in to find out what emphasis they place on what criteria.
You will often hear claims on college confidential that law schools don't care what college you went to because, as it turns out, the top law schools may accept students from 75 to 200 schools:
However, there are 2719 four-year colleges in the U.S. and the fact that top Law Schools are taking students from less than 10 percent of them does not mean that where you went to school does not matter. And a lot of those 100 or 200 schools send maybe 1 student to a top school whereas the top undergrad schools may send quite a few. And indeed the top undergrad students seemed to be accepted at a higher rate than students from other schools.
Yes, LSAT and GPA are very important. But it is not clear that simply getting high LSATS and a 4.0 GPA at any school in the country will get you into every law school in the country. As we all know, top colleges turn down many applicants with high GPA's and test scores and I imagine it works the same way with law school.
This person seem to have a good explanation of the relative importance of undergrad:
bonanza said: "The short answer is that, yes, it matters, but where you went as an undergrad is not as important at most law schools as are your grades and LSAT score. That said, when faced with two applicants with similar GPA and LSAT scores, if one went to a top ranked undergraduate school and the other one didn't, the former will usually win out. Most law schools publish statistics about where their students come from. If you look a the top law schools, you will find that a large number of their students went to top undergraduate institutions. But certainly not all. A 3.9 from a state flagship will beat out a 3.3 from an Ivy or equivalent. But it may not beat out a 3.7 from an Ivy or equivalent."
Will my undergrad college affect law school admissions?
2) I do not mean to minimize your concern about finances and paying the bill. It is a big deal. I do not know how much your parents can or will contribute, etc. However, I will just suggest considering these few points:
--indeed, people on CC can get a bit nutty about insisting you must go to school X or your life is over; still I wouldn't always just recommend choosing a college by always taking the cheapest option. I paid more to go to UChicago and I don't regret it.
--what do you mean by 'worth it?' clearly, you think it would be academically. but if you mean, will you make more money by doing it, that is impossible for any of us to predict, though UChicago does have a strong alumni network in business and academics. It has more billionaire alums that many schools and has more Nobel Prize Winners and Rhodes Scholars than many schools.
--after you get into grad school or get your first job, people won't care about your GPA anymore. They'll just know where you went to college.
--I didn't have to pay (much) for grad school because of graduate research assistantships (tuition waiver plus stipend) I received and I definitely feel that the fact that I went to UChicago carried weight and helped me receive them. (Those were not based on financial need but were awarded based on merit.)
--are you likely to go into a high-paying field or not? (In some fields, coming out with some loans may not be a big deal, but in others it may be a tremendous burden.)
--although I would tell anyone to go to UChicago over another school , I would also tell anyone to go to a top 10 or 20 school if at all possible over one further down the list. So this is not just my saying go to UChicago over Tulane. I would tell you to go to any top school 20 school over a second-tier school IF you can reasonably manage it financially.
Hi there -- how do you know you are a 'finalist' on the Altman program??? The application was due March 30, it's April 14th today -- forgive me for asking, but did Tulane actually contact you immediately to tell you that you were a finalist? I am asking, because my D was 'invited' to apply, but has not heard anything since she filed her app by the required deadline. Any information would greatly help, thank you!!!
They called me last week saying I was a finalist and that I needed to have a Skype interview with the program directors. It wasn't immediate, but I did submit my app at the very beginning of March. Also, I'm at the Honors weekend right now. According to the program directors, they are extending the application deadline to Wednesday, so I don't know what that will do to the Finalist or non-Finalist standings.
Hi there! Thank you for your information... what is your 'language' ?? I did not know they had extended the deadline to Wednesday, do you think they did not have enough applicants? Good luck to you, in any case!!
My language is Spanish. When I visited, they said they had 80+ applicants. I don't know how many they were wanting, but that's quite a few applicants for a 15 person program.
Honestly, when I visited Tulane, I didn't like it that much. There's nothing wrong with it per se, but I just couldn't imagine myself as a student there - there wasn't the same kind of "spark" that I felt when I visited Chicago in November (and hope to replicate this Thursday and Friday at the admitted students overnight).
Tulane and Chicago are definitely different schools. At one, the party scene is so present that it's easy to see the effects, even among honors students. At the other, academics are really the forefront of the collegiate experience. They're different fits.
However, even after what I said above, I could feel that there was at least some degree of academic engagement among the upper tier students at Tulane. There were higher level classes and honors students that were definitely on par with their UChicago counterparts. But that segment of the population is much less profuse than the "typical party-going college student" that seems to make up Tulane's student body.
That's why I'm so interested in the Altman program - you're with the most academic of academic students at Tulane, and the perks are incredible.
Is your daughter considering both Tulane with the Altman Program and UChicago as well?