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HELP US DECIDE: Georgia Tech (Full Ride) VS Other Great Schools

ser7in1ser7in1 12 replies1 threads New Member
edited April 20 in College Life
My D got admitted through the 2024 admissions cycle to a few schools and we're having a difficult time making our decision. We are considering: full ride to GTech, Cornell, UCBerk, Rice, and JHU (BME).

D says she can see herself at all of the institutions and believes the difference in weather/location/terrific social life in each school around balance each other out. She plans on coming back to the east coast for a job no matter where her undergrad is. She also wants to look into going to graduate school.

I've listed two of the main discerning factors below.

Finances: We are lucky enough as a family to be able to afford paying the full cost of her undergraduate/graduate education with the money we saved up for that exact purpose, but the 300K-400K could, of course, go towards other things/savings. For perspective, my husband and I can earn that much back in net income in about 3-4 years.

Major: D is still figuring out her exact interests in engineering. For Cornell/UCBerk/Rice, she will enter as undecided engineering with the possibility of exploring any major she wants. BME at JHU is a separate and very great program, but we see that all of the other engineering majors at JHU seem to be overshadowed by this major, and fear that if she changes out of it, she won't get the best education.

We have done a lot of research, but are really new to this process as we let D do her own admissions/applications.

I believe a school's prestige and other small factors add up and still matters, and I don't want my D choosing a school just for money. We have worked so hard in our careers just so she can be able to not worry about money. We want her to get the best education.

Any opinions about the relatively negligible or large difference between an education at GTech and the other schools are appreciated, along with any other opinions. Thank you!
edited April 20
25 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: HELP US DECIDE: Georgia Tech (Full Ride) VS Other Great Schools

  • ser7in1ser7in1 12 replies1 threads New Member
    GA tech is an excellent university. If it seems like a good fit for her I can't imagine turning down a full ride there and paying full pay at the other schools.
    Not a chance I’d turn down a full ride at GT for engineering.

    Can I ask if there are more reasons why? We are new to this, and a few of the other people we've talked to have said if we can afford it, we should go for it.
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  • janiemirandajaniemiranda 520 replies24 threads Member
    @ser7in1 The reason I say it is because GA Tech is a highly respected institution for engineering and a degree from there will open just as many doors for your daughter as those other schools.
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  • racereerracereer 406 replies1 threads Member
    For an engineering degree, I would choose GT over any of the listed schools even paying full cost. I could not see passing up a full ride at one of the best engineering schools in the country. I don't think there is any loss of prestige with GT. Many students that get rejected from GT actually get accepted at the other schools listed. Also if you are concerned about changing majors, GT makes it extremely easy to change to any major they offer.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7754 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Re-stating the question to be sure that I understand it correctly:

    Our daughter is equally happy to go to GaTech for free or to Cornell, UC-B, Rice, or JHU for $300-400K and as a parent I want to be sure that she isn't giving something up by not going to a more 'prestigious' name?

    Or....

    Wait! we didn't have to do all that careful saving for the last 18 years b/c our daughter turned out to be smart and hardworking and got herself a free ride at one of the top engineering schools in the country??

    :)

    You should be just so so proud of the young adult you have raised!

    (tl;dr: she won't be giving up *anything* to go to GaTech. And with an investment nest egg like that she can chose any path going forward).
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9830 replies110 threads Senior Member
    GT has one of the very best engineering programs in the country. Higher ranked, and in my opinion, more industry connected than the other schools on your list. Save your money. Especially in today’s uncertain times.
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  • itsgettingreal21itsgettingreal21 317 replies5 threads Member
    This one isn’t even debatable. Take the full ride to one of the engineering programs in the country. I’m assuming it’s the Stamps scholarship? Icing on the cake.
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  • WhrlingCollegesWhrlingColleges 74 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Wow. I would gladly pay full tuition at Georgia Tech for engineering over any of the others. Johns Hopkins would be the only one that would give me any pause at all, but given the totality of the offerings at Georgia Tech, I don’t think even Hopkins can match it. Full ride at GT is so hard to get. Grab it and go.
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1766 replies75 threads Senior Member
    GaTech gives very few full ride scholarships, so the prestige of that scholarship on a resume will get your D noticed as she applies for internships and co ops.

    Ga Tech reputation is solid, meaningful, and many students find it to be a good fit. It is a campus that melds into downtown Atlanta, it is not an enclosed, gated campus. As a preference, some students will embrace the urban life, others will find the busy traffic irritating as they make their way from one class to the next.

    If you can let yourself move past the prestige factor, which school has the best fit for your D? Stop focusing on measuring prestige and look at best fit for your child instead.

    I suggest your D list what her ideal college life looks like, and see how each school fares against that list. Are the other schools very similar, or are some complete opposites?

    Compare Dorm rooms, general education requirements, AP/Dual enrollment credits given, will scholarship give D early registration for classes?

    Would she be living in dorm with other scholarship recipients?
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  • monydadmonydad 7962 replies160 threads Senior Member
    edited April 7
    They are all good in engineering, so that is a wash, or nearly so.

    Georgia Tech is obvious if $$ is the primary consideration, but it isn't necessarily, I take it. In my case, we allocated money towards our kids' education, and there seemed like nothing more important to spend the money on. (at the time). D1 had a free ride and turned it down. Many students who attedn selective private u's had cheaper alternatives.

    So consider the other aspects more carefully:
    - distribution requirements, major requirements, programs of study
    - social life, quality of life, nature of campus, types of fellow students, campus vitality, setting, weather
    - ease to get home
    If, upon closer scrutiny, they still really "balance each other out" then the only criterion left is the money.

    In terms of future location, although all these schools are nationally recruited, in my experience there is an underlying regional aspect to engineering recruiting generally. IIRC something like 40% of Rice grads wind up staying in Texas. My guess is even a larger percentage of Berkeley grads stay in-region. Etc. The large midwestern engineering firm I worked for (eons ago) did some selective recruiting out of region, but didn't even recruit at Berkeley, because they figured nobody would come.

    On the other hand, though there was east-coast regional recruiting at Cornell, the fact is my personal cohort from there is scattered all over the US.
    edited April 7
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  • monydadmonydad 7962 replies160 threads Senior Member
    FWIW there is also a regional tendency towards dating, when a large proportion of students are from a particular regon.
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  • brantlybrantly 4228 replies75 threads Senior Member
    This may or may not matter to your daughter: diversity of scholarship. How would she feel studying at a university where there are no English majors? No history, political science, or philosophy majors? Where naval science is considered a liberal art (really)?

    Many people love that the entire university is focused on tech and science. Many people want to be exposed to more diversity of thought among the student body. Where does your daughter fall on that spectrum?
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  • ser7in1ser7in1 12 replies1 threads New Member
    monydad wrote: »
    They are all good in engineering, so that is a wash, or nearly so.

    Georgia Tech is obvious if $$ is the primary consideration, but it isn't necessarily, I take it. In my case, we allocated money towards our kids' education, and there seemed like nothing more important to spend the money on. (at the time). D1 had a free ride and turned it down.

    Can I ask how your thoughts have changed since then (regarding the "at the time"), and maybe a little of if your D has seen any worth of the more expensive education? Thank you so much!
    GaTech
    Wow. I would gladly pay full tuition at Georgia Tech
    Take the full ride to one of the engineering programs in the country.
    GT
    she won't be giving up *anything* to go to GaTech.
    racereer wrote: »
    I would choose GT.
    racereer wrote: »
    For an engineering degree, I would choose GT.

    Thank you all so much for all of your kind advice! Was overwhelmed by how much support GTech got! The scholarship is indeed Stamps. Many have suggested looking over the other factors (other than money/prestige/major) again. We have tried many times to make a pros and cons list, and could pretty much eliminate Rice/UCB. The others schools each have their own thing that about balance out. I added the two schools to the list in case there was something else we could glean from others' more experienced opinions.

    I also looked back and realized I forgot to add MIT. Sorry about that! Listed down the colleges and skipped over one!

    My husband and I are not from the STEM field, and really know no one in STEM and did not do any of our education in America. MIT seems like one of best based on online rankings, but we have heard that rankings do not matter all that much. Do any of you have insight you can kindly provide on the comparison of these two schools?

    Sorry for the hassle, we did not expect this decision to be so hard and did not have much prepared. With COVID19, we haven't been able to visit most of the schools, adding to the difficulty.

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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4938 replies86 threads Senior Member
    I also looked back and realized I forgot to add MIT. Sorry about that! Listed down the colleges and skipped over one!

    Well that was a material omission!

    What would MIT cost? MIT is the premier stem institution in the country. No offense Cal Tech.
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  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope 2119 replies216 threads Senior Member
    One more nugget for GT :) My OOS daughter attended GT, loved it....then applied to grad school...she applied to 7 schools, got into 7 schools, and received great merit aid from all...she's now in Boston, living her grad school dream. GT opened every possible door for her.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7754 replies82 threads Senior Member
    MIT is THE name...but the one caution I would have is that MIT really tends to be a 'fit' school. My STEM collegekid (currently at Cornell) didn't even apply to MIT b/c she felt it didn't 'fit' her. This is highly personal, so not nay-saying MIT at all!! Just saying that imo, w/ no chance to visit it's a harder call.

    And, I would still take the STAMPS- it's not just $$!
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  • ser7in1ser7in1 12 replies1 threads New Member
    edited April 7
    Mwfan1921 wrote: »
    What would MIT cost?

    It would be full cost minus a few small scholarships D got (around 3K one time); we do not qualify for financial aid.

    We have heard MIT is great, but with all these school names its hard to put everything in perspective.

    edited April 7
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  • racereerracereer 406 replies1 threads Member
    @ser7in1 MIT is probably the only one in the list that I would pick over GT assuming you were full pay for both, though GT would still be 20K cheaper per year. I still couldn't pass up the Stamps full ride at GT even for MIT, unless you are really that well off that 300k is meaningless. As others have brought up, you need to consider fit.
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1766 replies75 threads Senior Member
    Trying to make such a big life decision without in person visits is tough. Can you describe your D--likes and dislikes, what she would enjoy doing at college just for fun? Is she a social justice warrior, taking food to the homeless on the streets, or an introvert who will stay in her dorm room 24/7 ? Would she find a pick up game of Ultimate Frisbee on a sunny afternoon, or find local museums to tour in her free time? Is a social life important, Greek life, intramural team sports, the Ga Tech football games are a big deal on campus, lots of school spirit, does any of that interest your D ?

    In and around Ga Tech, you can hang out and get the best greasy food at The Varsity, attend a play at Shakespeare's Tavern, eat international cuisine, attend Dragon Con over Labor Day weekend, attend music concerts, and take advantage of one of the best Recreation Centers on a college campus (home of the 1996 Olympics for swimming).

    You can escape to smaller towns in metro Atlanta via Marta trains, or drive to the Georgia mountains and get in some hiking. Stone Mountain Park is a huge draw for the area, and even now during the shelter in place, we are allowed to go there and hike the trails, some of them right by the lake. You can hike up Stone Mountain (the largest outcropping of Granite in the world) and when there is not a pandemic, there are restaurants, museum, attractions, laser shows at night in the summer. Six Flags over Georgia is a short drive from campus.

    Double check on deadlines, I believe many schools are extending their decision deadlines. Admissions Offices should be able to connect your D with students in her major, to get more feel for daily life on each campus.

    Also go to the colleges and universities Forum here on CC, and read posts about the schools you want to know more about.

    I would say Ga Tech is your top bet on paper, and you should investigate MIT to see if the fit of that campus culture would have anything to offer your D above Ga Tech.
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