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What was your reasoning for choosing USD???

student430student430 Posts: 18Registered User New Member
edited May 2009 in University of San Diego
I got accepted but have not taken a look at the campus just yet. I really like the pictures and location from the info I have seen so far and would not mind going there because it seems like a good school.

Now, US News rated USD at position 101 nationally. Other schools I was considering were UCI/UCSB which have a national ranking of 44. My concern is that I'm going to be paying twice as much per year 50k vs 25k for a mediocre education. The vibe I get from people when I mention USD isn't as great as the mid-level UC's. Would my chances decrease (or increase cause it's private???) for getting into a good grad school because USD lacks the prestige of other schools?

So my question is why did you choose USD or even consider USD?? Any and all reasoning vs UCD/UCSB/UCI would be greatly appreciated. I just need to be reasurred that this investment is going to be a good one :)
Post edited by student430 on
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Replies to: What was your reasoning for choosing USD???

  • pinkpanther09pinkpanther09 Posts: 158Registered User Junior Member
    The reason I am choosing to go to USD is financial reasons--it's the only non-state school I can afford because of financial aid. I'm going to be a freshman in the fall. The reason I am happy to be going there include:

    1) SMALL CLASS SIZES! This is HUGE for me! I don't to be just a number. I want to participate in class. The biggest class is like, 50 kids, and that's only because it's a freshman lecture class. Our tour guide was a freshman, and he had a class that was only 7 students.

    2) For me, it's the perfect size. Not too small that you know everyone, but small enough that you know many people. The student to facility ratio is very small, about 15:1. If I'm going to pay for school, I want to actually be a face and not a seat in a class or someone who gets lost in the system

    3) The city. I swear, USD is the BEST part of San Diego. Sea World, Old Town, the beach... everything is not that far. I was looking at Pepperdine, which was in Malibu--If you want to do anything, it's a 20 min. drive! Not the case here. This also means tons of internship opportunities

    4) Though I have no first hand experience, the school seems to have AMAZING alumi connections. I don't doubt it, since their endowment is hugeeee. Their Law School is top of the notch, along with their science and business program (which is ranked top 25 in the nation and top 3 in california!). They even have their own building dedicated to Alumni, because so many come back to find employees at USD

    5) I love the laid back environment. And the school is DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. Pictures really don't do it justice. And they are building a new place called the Student Life Pavilion... it's 100% dedicated to the students. I think that says a lot.

    6) NO classes taught by TAs! YAY!

    7) They bring amazing speakers to talk, like members of the UN and CEOs of major companies (like COSTO is coming this week...)

    8) They are ranked 6th in the nation for studying abroad. This was a big factor for me, I can't wait to study abroad. They work really hard to get you there.. even your financial aid transfers.

    My brother went to UCD... it sucks to not live on campus after freshman year because it's SO expensive to get an apartment or rent a house. I also have a friend who went to UCD... she came back and told us horror stories about lack of personal attention and falling through the cracks. But it IS a cool place to be because it's like, 100% a college town and it's a great ranked education. I don't know much about UCSB or UCI... so I won't even attempt to make any comments.

    I KNOW money is a huge factor. But if you can afford it, and are willing to make the investment, I think you are making the right choice.
  • arabrabarabrab Posts: 4,471Registered User Senior Member
    I think USD's study abroad numbers are skewed. They offer a winter term program in Mexico that's really cheap, but I don't consider a few weeks in Mexico (or any other country) to be a real study abroad program.
  • student430student430 Posts: 18Registered User New Member
    pinkpather09's reasoning is exactly why i'm a tad bit concerned. Most of the reasons are social one's, not academic. Yes they have small class sizes, which is great, but do they have good education with a decent amount of prestige is the question.

    All the reasons you mentioned are great and support that the area/campus is a very nice enviroment to study in/have fun in. And for this reason, I truly want to go to USD, but for 50k a year, it's got to have some academic prestige/backbone. I don't know if I make any sense hahaha.
  • swiss.miss.13swiss.miss.13 Posts: 139Registered User Junior Member
    student430- i get where you're coming from, so could someone say the negatives of the school? And if possible, could someone help me with the following questions?

    1. How far is the school from the the centre of San Diego, and would be easy to commute back and forth if we have a job?

    2. Is it even possible to find a job, like working at a shop or something as a freshman student in SD? haha sorry if this sounds silly, ive only had internships before and not in san diego, but i want to make some cash during the yr for myself when at college.

    3. Out of the freshman dorms, ive heard Maher and Missions A&B are the best, but whats wrong with founders|camino, apart from the seperation of guys and girls? And whats the best dorm to you?

    4. I dont really understand the intersession classes in january and october for 2 weeks- what are they? Do we go these classes or not?

    5. Roommate wise, would you advise i seriously look on facebook and try to join with someone that way, or just let it be random, or is there a type of questionaire we fill out?

    okay okay thats all my questions!!! Im sorry im asking all of them haha but i really would like to know all this kind of stuff before i send in my deposit, and im still debating between schools, but USD is still my first choice!
    Even if you can answer only one, it would be incredibly helpful!
    Thank youuu! =]
  • pinkpanther09pinkpanther09 Posts: 158Registered User Junior Member
    student430--I completely understand where you are coming from, and your reasoning is very, very valid. I pretty much didn't list anything academic besides the small class sizes, haha.

    It IS a TON of money, and I'm lucky to have gotten a lot of aid. And I'm not really concerned about prestige, because my field values internships and research over anything else--both of which are very, VERY easy to get at USD. And I've meet some professors--many of whom have had Ivy league education and are published, and genuinely love to teach. I believe the school is ranked 101 or something--which isn't high enough for a lot of people.

    I know I wouldn't be attending if it wasn't for the aid, so it would be wrong of me to convince you otherwise. Best of luck in whatever you choose :)
  • student430student430 Posts: 18Registered User New Member
    Yea academically, it's ranked 101 vs the mid-UC's (UCI, UCSB,UCD) which are all ranked at 44. I don't know how US News does the ranking but for 50k a year I better be getting some value for money....And I don't want to blow 200k and then not get into the graduate school of my choice becasue my school wasn't known for having hard classes. So much to worry about nowadays:( BTW, just for reference I want/wish to go to USC for graduate school hands down. I dont' want to be a bookworm though, which is why USD appealed to me, but I don't want to complety slouch either.
  • halopower015halopower015 Posts: 119Registered User Junior Member
    swiss.miss.13- I live in San Diego and can tell you USD is very well known around here so finding a job should be a breeze, especially if your in business. Also, there campus is 15 minutes from downtown. USD has some great views from the campus and overall is a great school.
  • Peaceful SeasonPeaceful Season Posts: 14Registered User New Member
    I am a current USD student (sophomore standing) and is transferring after this semester (Spring 2009). I will list the pros and cons plus the reasons I am transferring. I am neither encouraging you to attend nor discouraging you to turn down USD. I believe you can make the choice yourself.

    Pros:
    1) The university is nestled on the rolling hills with dazzling views of Mission Bay.
    2) Small class size, lots of interaction between professor and students.
    3) Awesome weather
    4) Nice dorms (only limited to San Buenaventura, Vistas and Manchester)
    Cons:
    1) Very “liberal arts” oriented (I don’t like to take Liberal Arts courses)
    2) Lack of diversity
    3) The campus is isolated and north of the campus isn’t really safe
    4) Campus food inedible
    5) Founders and Camino (dorms) are a bit shabby and noisy.
    6) “University” tends to be more conservative.

    Keep in the mind that the “cons” may be “pros” for you. Probably you will enjoy Logic, Theology and Philosophy classes. Everyone is very different. To me, I do not like liberal arts courses. The other reason is USD does not offer my major. I want to major in Design and Management/ Advertising design. Basically, it is general management infused with “design” elements. Furthermore, the internships offered by USD’s School of Business do not meet my needs. They do not offer internships at fashion brands (LV, Prada, Tod’s, and Marc Jacobs). Furthermore, I do not really “blend” into the student body. Most guys on campus are really into sports. However, I do not find any guys on campus sharing my interest (fashion and design).
    Again, I am not saying USD is an inferior school, just based on my personality, attending a design school will be a better choice!
  • TTwhiteTTwhite Posts: 750Registered User Member
    hey,
    I actually have much the same concern as student 430. I just visited and absolutely love the social side of the school. its beautiful, tons of stuff to do, I think id fit in well with the student body etc. Basiclaly I think i'd love the place and really enjoy myself socially.

    However, even w/ the trustee scholarship, my other top 2 choices would be of similar cost, and they're 'ranked' much higher (UNC-chapel hill and Davidson college). I know ranking isnt everything and can be pretty dumb, but it definitely has an impact on grad school admission and jobs, I think at least. Basically, while i love USD, im worried that it might not be academic enough for me and my future goals. Ive tried to research it but am not really sure how great USD's philosophy program is either (my intended major, probably double major w/ economics).

    if anyone could comment on the academic strength of the school/the intellectual side of it, and relative to my other 2 schools chance of better grad school/jobs with me being in philosophy.. itd help :)
  • pinkpanther09pinkpanther09 Posts: 158Registered User Junior Member
    Honestly, I don't like the whole "rank" thing. I personally believe that students will do well where they are happiest, and GPA and activities are just as huge of a part in grad school admissions as prestige is. And honestly, if your not going to school in the Top 25, I don't see it having a big difference...

    If you choose based on where you'll be happiest, that's where you'll be the most successful.

    TTwhite--one of the girls on the panel was a honors student in the philosophy program--she seemed very, very fulfilled and happy with the education she received.

    Haha I'd like to convince you guys to go, but I'm not a student there myself. So again, best of luck in your decisions. These are just my opinions. :)
  • student430student430 Posts: 18Registered User New Member
    This is an example of my concern.

    UC Riverside, which is known to have a horrible rep as a bad school, is ranked 89 nationally, where as USD is ranked 101....
  • ai117ai117 Posts: 6Registered User New Member
    i'm from the east coast, and have a lot of the same concerns as the other students about rankings, etc...is usd well known on the west coast? no one really has heard of it out here, which is understandable but at the same time i want to be able to get a job and go to law school. my other choice is american, which everyone knows out here, but i really love California and would like to go there. if anyone can give me some insight about how usd is seen on the west coast (or if u can compare it to schools with similar reputations) that would be great!
  • dubblyu91dubblyu91 Posts: 443Registered User Member
    Honestly, don't focus too much on rank. If a school is a good match for you, then go for it!
  • jesseboebessejesseboebesse Posts: 12Registered User New Member
    student430, i completely share your concerns
    my final two choices are USD and UCI
    USD offers me its honors program and trustees scholarship and just amazing financial aid! i visited last week and i LOVE it there! but UCI offers me its Campuswide Honors Program as well and its higher ranked.. so im not sure either
  • BayAreaCAMomBayAreaCAMom Posts: 250Registered User Junior Member
    I personally think it is very hard to compare a large UC school with a smaller private school - it is apples and oranges - they are just very different.

    FYI - I am a parent of a Freshman at USD and have another child in high school, so have spent quite a bit of time reseaching colleges nation wide the past few years. But, I am not an expert by any stretch.

    I think most public, larger universities with Masters and PhD programs and reasearch capabilities are almost always going to be ranked higher than a small or mid size university without a huge grad school population. So, I do think the rankings are very skewed. For example, I believe some said UC Riverside gets ranked higher than USD, but UC Riverside is also on several Princeton Review lists for the worst teachers, and "classroom discussions rare" - they are probably just riding on the coat tails of the UC system in the rankings. So, while there is prestige at a larger research school, it is not the same experience you get at a smaller school, like USD, where there are no TAs, lots of teacher and student interaction, small classes, and a more interactive, personal classroom and academic experience. And when it comes time to write you recommendations to Grad school, good luck finding a teacher who knows you at a UC.

    Again, I am not an expert, but I would think that the Philosophy Dept at USd would be very strong - they have the Institute of Peace and Justice - and there are only 2 of them in the country - USD and Notre Dame. The Catholic schools do an excellent job with the whole social justice, ethics area, in general, and USD has a very strong and well known law school, so based on that, I would think the Philosophy Dept would be good there.

    USD is very well know and highly thought of in California. I would also say it is pretty well known in the Mid West and some East Coast areas. My daughter at USD has lots of friends from Colorado, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and the mid west. About half the school is from California, and half from out of state - that is the highest out of state percentage of any of the Catholic schools in California.
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