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I need help deciding where to go for college from two amazing choices

aditi9339aditi9339 4 replies1 threads New Member
edited April 24 in College Search & Selection
Hello, I have absolutely no clue what to pick before May 1 and I've been accepted to some schools I really love (UVA, Vanderbilt, Fordham [full ride], UF) but I've narrowed my choice down to Cornell and Emory. I'd like to major in either international relations or middle eastern/south Asian studies with a minor/double major in English- hopes of going to law school!

At Cornell, I've been accepted into the college of arts and sciences and was super lucky to be chosen as meinig family scholar that's a prestigious program focused on leadership, community, and service. it involves yearly retreats, alumni mentoring, and help for loan/grant payment (up to $4000). and I know a lot of people don't like ithaca, but I don't think I'd really mind it! ofc, Cornell also has the upside of connections, a beautiful campus, and an amazing DC internship program that I'm in love with. But ofc, its also the IVY LEAGUE TUITION. and super far from home. I'm also a bit worried abt classes being too large to have strong student-teacher interactions but idk enough abt that!

At Emory, I've been accepted to the Emory Oxford Scholars Program as a Woodruff Scholarship recipient, meaning that my four years (tuition, room, board, meals) are all paid for. HOWEVER, it means that I have to spend two of the four years on the smaller liberal arts campus- Oxford- and then transfer to Emory in my last two years. there's obvious benefits to the small campus- easy connections, lots of leadership, rec letters, teacher-student relations. but its also in the middle of nowhere, has a weird niche social scene, and the transition to the main campus is difficult and may make being comfortable more difficult. ofc I could join organizations on the main campus and commute but ofc, there would be a difference!

Please let me know what you all think!! I'm super confused and would love some outside input as it's getting a bit stressful for me to continuously weigh the same pros and cons haha.
edited April 24
29 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: I need help deciding where to go for college from two amazing choices

  • PublisherPublisher 11235 replies148 threads Senior Member
    It would be helpful if you shared the annual COA (cost of attendance) for each school to which you have been accepted.

    We are probably entering into an economic recession. This is not a time to pay unnecessary tuition for an undergraduate degree unless from a wealthy family which can incur the COA without any difficulty whatsoever.

    Accordingly, it would be wise from a financial standpoint to reconsider the "full ride" offer from Fordham along with the "full ride" scholarship offer from Emory at Oxford and Emory University.

    Law school can be quite expensive.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6934 replies31 threads Senior Member
    ^^^this.

    Please tell us what your family can easily afford and what the difference of costs are. You honestly just have good choices here.

    Also don't think because one school is large and one small that you will have mentors or close relationships at the smaller one. That is totally up to you. I have kids at both large Big Ten school and a small liberal arts college. Both of them have made relationships with their professors etc. At Michigan some of my sons classes are 20-30 people FYI....

    It's also what you do on campus that gets you the connections. Just going to Cornell won't magically get you connections. What you do on campus and involvement with good grades, might.

    Look at fit /feel /costs. Having completely free 4 year options at known good schools to me is a really tough proposition to pass up.

    Congrats on your accomplishments.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7764 replies82 threads Senior Member
    edited April 1
    Seconding the above 2 posts. Law school is super-expensive, and absolutely all of the colleges you list can get you to a T14- LSAT & GPA and some work experience are the keys. You can make superb connections, get to know profs, do study elsewhere programs, etc. The good and bad things you have heard are all sort-of true: that is, they can be true for any given student. What your experience will be depends a lot on *you*.

    I wouldn't sneeze at Fordham either- it's the least fancy 'name' you list, but has some great IR profs, and a really strong Intl Studies department, it's a great location for getting internships (https://www.fordham.edu/info/24306/international_studies/6645/internships) and speakers- and you would be a star.

    Have you asked your parents about a undergrad/grad school deal? will they pay for grad school if you take one of your free rides? will they gift you what they would have spent in tuition for grad school or a house deposit? If so, that is a golden ticket for life.
    edited April 1
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  • CTCapeCTCape 297 replies9 threads Member
    ^^I second this re: Fordham. What an amazing opportunity. Congrats!
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6589 replies10 threads Senior Member
    If your family can write the check without blinking, Cornell. But if money matters, as it does for most of us, you really need to factor that in. You will be smart and accomplished wherever you go if you apply yourself and make the most of the situation. And these are good options!

    Because you are interested in IR, you may want to check on what language and study abroad programs are at each school. This is one of the things that can differ significantly from school to school, and it can vary depending on your interests.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30598 replies194 threads Senior Member
    Here's a good calculator. Run it with your parents or whoever it is who is helping you pay for your education. Talk about where the money would come from to cover the costs. https://www.finaid.org/calculators/awardletteradvanced.phtml
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  • aditi9339aditi9339 4 replies1 threads New Member
    For Emory, AOC is $72,000- my ride is all-inclusive (tuition, room, board, fees) for $72,000. For Fordham, AOC is $80,393- my full is tuition only: $54,730. However, I explained the situation (the Emory rate that is being offered) and the Aid Office is willing to consider a higher scholarship rate to cover room and board. At Cornell, AOC is $73,000. My merit scholarship is not much in comparison to that of others at $5,000.

    These are all without considering financial aid (but which is not much for my situation). Thank you so much for your wise response- my parents really agree with it too! Would you choose Emory or Fordham?
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  • aditi9339aditi9339 4 replies1 threads New Member
    TO Publisher and Knowsstuff
    For Emory, AOC is $72,000- my ride is all-inclusive (tuition, room, board, fees) for $72,000. For Fordham, AOC is $80,393- my full is tuition only: $54,730. However, I explained the situation (the Emory rate that is being offered) and the Aid Office is willing to consider a higher scholarship rate to cover room and board. At Cornell, AOC is $73,000. My merit scholarship is not much in comparison to that of others at $5,000.

    My parents are comfortable but the cost of college is a lot still. They are prepared to pay but would of course prefer not to. Personally, I would like to pay back my parents for every cent they put into my education as soon as possible.

    These are all without considering financial aid (but which is not much for my situation). Thank you so much for your wise response- my parents really agree with it too! Would you choose Emory or Fordham?
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  • aditi9339aditi9339 4 replies1 threads New Member
    To collegemom3717 ,
    Thank you so much for responding! Your response really helped me reconsider the Fordham offer! My parents are incredibly understanding and are willing to pay for my undergraduate and graduate degree. If I do take the full ride at either school, my parents are planning on investing in real estate or such to pay for my graduate. If I do not take the full ride, my parents are willing to pay but I personally would like to repay them ASAP.
    I feel confident in working hard to keep my GPA up. I was a bit worried hearing that Cornell's grade system is on a 4.3 scale but many professors grade on a 4.0 scale. Would you think that for leadership and internships, Fordham would be the best choice?
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  • Sunny66Sunny66 331 replies14 threads Member
    edited April 1
    I would choose the full-ride at Emory (Woodruff Scholarship) even spending years 1-2 at Oxford College, but then again I would not want to attend college in NYC. That is a personal preference.
    edited April 1
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  • aditi9339aditi9339 4 replies1 threads New Member
    CTCape,

    Thank you so much! Would you choose Fordham?
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7764 replies82 threads Senior Member
    From here your best choices look like Emory and Fordham. It looks as though both are affordable, you will graduate without debt and your parents will be able to help you with graduate school.

    So step back and look at the practical realities of both schools: what are the IR/IS departments like? what are your language and study away options? what would it be like to live at each place? are you a go-getter, or somebody who needs a push? does being around ambitious students spur you on, or put you off? are you somebody who would get an internship during term? those (and many others) will help you assess the relative merits of each place for *you*. They are both great options, so there is no 'right' or 'wrong' choice: the 'right' one is the one that you decide to make be *your* choice :)
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6934 replies31 threads Senior Member
    If Emory is full tuition/ride then maybe I am not understanding this. Go for it. Your parents can help with Graduate school. Having them pay for both when you have a free ride from an excellent school to me is selfish. But trust me I get it and understand. Let them put some money in an ira or retirement account for you now. We did this for our kids when making a certain decision affecting where they went to school. 4 years later, prior to the CV virus they looked into their accounts and were happy they made that decision. They both also have some funds in the bank account. My daughter who is graduating in these uncertain times is greatly appreciative.

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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    Emory or Fordham, although strong lean toward Emory b/c the full ride is a done deal. You can't go wrong with either, and if you decide to go to graduate school, you won't have UG debt to worry about-and all graduate/professional schools are expensive. And if you sit for the Foreign Service exam in four years, not worrying about debt will make it that much easier.

    Would prefer Emory b/c of the smaller campus and the winters aren't as harsh as NYC-but again, you can't go wrong with either.
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  • AfroPuffMomAfroPuffMom 35 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Talk to Emory Oxford scholars juniors or seniors and ask them your questions. It is better to decide armed with information. Then after you get that information, imagine the thing you like least about the two or three schools and answer whether you could live with that for 4 years. Best of luck.
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  • joecollege44joecollege44 409 replies19 threads Member
    no way would i turn down a full ride at emory. the oxford kids love their 2 years- I have never heard they have a problem integrating to main campus.
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  • melvin123melvin123 1755 replies29 threads Senior Member
    I’m curious, if you do Emory, can you study abroad for a year? Which year? When you are at Oxford campus or main campus?
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  • trippfolsomtrippfolsom 61 replies0 threads Junior Member
    My daughter liked you got into some of the top schools in the country. She actually got a very generous package at University of Chicago and a decent package at Brown. Now being a senior in Covid-19 times and watching our country possibly heading into a recession and knowing she would like to go to grad school, she decided to take her full ride at American University and turn down offers to two of the toughest schools in the country to get into. I told my daughter that an undergraduate degree is not nearly as an important as the graduate degree you earn but that is my two cents. It is such a blessing to have the choices that you have and I hope whatever you choose is what works for you.
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  • CollegeOdyssey2001CollegeOdyssey2001 151 replies1 threads Junior Member
    [WARNING: Long post]

    Okay, assuming that you are correct that you don't expect much from FA for your situation, net COA (not AOC) for your family after your reported awards so far appears to be:

    Emory = $0 for 4 years

    Fordham = $108,977 for 4 years*

    Cornell = ~$288,760 for 4 years**

    * ($80,393-54,730= $25,663 for Year 1. Plan on 4% increases per year, so Year 2 = 26,690; Year 3 = 27,757; Year 4 = 28,867). Of course, when you get you actual FA offer from Fordham, this may change. You should also run the net price calculator (NPC) for a better guestimate
    https://www.fordham.edu/info/21250/financing_your_fordham_education/2961/net_price_calculator

    ** ($73,000-5000=$68,000 for Year 1. With 4% increases, Year 2 = $70,720; Year 3 = 73,549; Year 4 = 76,491). Again, for a better estimate of your FA, use https://finaid.cornell.edu/cost-attend/financial-aid-estimator

    Please share these amounts (or better yet, the 4 year amounts after using the NPC at the links above) with your parents and ask the following two questions:

    1) Are they really "comfortable" paying $100-$300K for your undergraduate degree?

    2) If you opt for Emory, where there would be $0 cost to them, would they consider helping you with your law/graduate school education? You would benefit from having a more detailed conversation about how much they might allocate for law/grad school if that is possible.

    Given these costs and your goal of going to law school, it is a no brainer to me that Emory is the clear winner here for the following reasons:

    1) IT's ALL ABOUT THE GPA: For law school admissions, esp. post-2008 financial crisis, law school admissions are largely driven by GPA & test scores. And the median GPA for T14 law schools is high, over 3.8. See https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2018-08-21/how-high-is-the-typical-college-gpa-among-accepted-law-school-applicants

    GPA and LSAT are the two metrics reported on USNWR that are most watched by admissions officers to enhance their USNWR rankings. Like a pre-med student, you really need to focus on getting and maintaining as high of a GPA as possible, not only for admission, but also for playing the merit scholarship game for law schools. Choosing the more affordable school will leave plenty of funds for an LSAT prep course prior to taking the LSAT.

    a) For GPA, CONSIDER GRADE DEFLATION/inflation at your finalist schools. While this criterion is not a great one, because the trade-off may be in your intellectual development, I mention it because of the importance of the GPA if you stick with your law school goal. Cornell is notoriously known as the "easiest Ivy to get into, but the hardest to graduate from." Not only are there many distribution or GE requirements, with little ability to transfer AP credits, there is also grade deflation, esp. compared to other Ivies (except Princeton). See this thread from CC on this topic:

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/544379-is-cornell-the-really-hardest-ivy-to-graduate-from.html

    Similarly, Fordham also has a reputation for grade deflation for some reason.

    https://fordhamobserver.com/17215/opinions/grade-deflation-hurts-undeserving-students/

    In contrast, it appears that Emory Arts & Science and possibly Oxford do not have grade deflation, and may have grade inflation. See these old CC threads on that topic:

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/emory-university/2043781-oxford.html

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1617023-emory-oxford-college-vs-emory-arts-and-sciences.html

    There are a bunch of other reddit and other threads on grade deflation/inflation on all these schools if you care to search further. Bottom line, Emory Oxford/A & S does not appear to have grade deflation.

    2) BEST OF BOTH WORLDS--2 Years LAC, 2 Years National University: Emory's combination 2-2 program gives you an elite LAC-type education for the first two years when you are settling in and learning how to succeed in college, with small classes, close contact with teachers (great for future LORs), and leadership opportunities (helpful for your personal statement for graduate school). It will also provide more of an intimate bonding experience to make friends at Emory Oxford. These will keep these Oxford friends in your friend circle when you go to Emory A & S. Cornell and Fordham (Rose Hill?) are much larger and impersonal. After two years (or even 1.5 with AP credit transfer), you transition to the main campus with a wider selection of offerings when you need it for upper-division classes in your major(s).

    3) KEEPING OPTIONS OPEN: Emory choice offers you the best flexibility in your future options. For example,

    a) Okay, CORONAVIRUS: If you are at a $0 net COA school, you can start Fall 2020 remotely or on campus if the coast is clear. But what if you opt for the $26K or $68K/year college (Fordham or Cornell). Granted, you may not have full R & B expenses for Fordham if you are remote, but you may start and have to return, and it's unclear how much of your room and board will be refunded/prorated. It's an even bigger issue with Cornell, since tuition is NOT covered. Will your parents be okay with spending $29K for a semester of online classes, or $58K if it is all year? Plus any prorated room and board? Be sure to discuss the implications of Covid and the likelihood of at least a portion of Fall 2020 being online and whether they are willing to pay top dollar for that.

    b) ELITE CREDENTIAL IN A TIME OF UNCERTAINTY: Getting a full-ride merit scholarship is quite an accomplishment--CONGRATULATIONS! It is even more impressive at at T25 National University (Emory is #21 in USNWR). If you go to law school, the GPA and LSAT will become an academic index score, but then there are the soft discretionary factors that will come into play (LORs, statement) which will include the reputation of your undergraduate degree. Yes, Cornell is ranked higher at #17, but only slightly. The are in the same category of school, so the premium of nearly full pay is not worth it IMHO. We had a similar choice last year for S19 who got into Cornell with a whopping $1000 scholarship, but 90% or so full-ride at USC, which is ranked #22. And his major was more highly regarded at Cornell, but not $270K better over 4 years. Again, with the financials added it for people intending to go the graduate school, it is really a no-brainer. If you don't go to law school, but decide on some other graduate school, it certainly will not hurt you to have attended a school in the top 25, as opposed to Fordham at #74. I like Fordham, and my D19 applied there, but again, why go to a lower ranked school for a higher price without a better fit or major (my D19's situation, and perhaps yours)?

    3) "FIT": This is an important category and only you can answer this part. What I like about Emory in this category is that you have two networks you can tap to ease your transition to college and provide social and academic support--the intimate, teaching-focused Emory Oxford and the Woodruff Scholars cohort. You won't have these at the two other large national universities. We were warned off of Cornell for my S19 by my sister, who has many friends whose kids went there and reported that it was driven and somewhat depressing, given its remoteness and the harsh winter. Fordham was not ideal for D19 because it seems its culture is more of the traditional, buttoned-down Catholic private university and my she is much more activist in nature.

    BOTTOM LINE: I think Emory is your best choice even if all costs were equal. It is CERTAINLY the front-runner if these net COA's hold after you get your FA offers. Look forward to your follow-up after all your FA awards are in. Good luck and congrats again!
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