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Should I Go With (cheap) UF or (expensive) Shoot Higher?

nimaj21nimaj21 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
edited September 2016 in College Search & Selection
Okay here's the backstory. I'm from Florida, my family has FL pre paid and I'm going to get full bright futures as well. I'm curious as to whether I should stick with the easy UF route in which I'll graduate debt free and actually with some profit, or try and shoot for somewhere like Georgetown or NYU but probably end in much debt. My parents are upper middle class so we won't be able to get any financial aid and my achievements aren't good enough for merit scholarships so I'm pretty much going to have to pay the full price. My parents also have 3 other children in college/grad school and have to pay for them (all in FL though) and they have made it clear that we would need to take loans or get a scholarship if we plan to go undergrad out of state. They really don't have the money to spend ~40k a year on an undergrad. Obviously I'm not going to waste an out of state tuition on anything lower than UF, but I have such a bland record with nothing too exceptional that I doubt I'll get into the ivies or top 20 (hence why GU and NYU are some prospects). Additionally, I'm already set on striving very hard to get to a top 5 law school (Columbia is my goal) and therefore will need to pay for a grad school, so that's another ~200k I'll need to spend. My stats are:
GPA UW: 3.89
GPA (school weighted): 4.3
GPA (UF recalculated): 4.3
ACT: 33 (35E, 35M, 29R, 33S, 10W)
Class Rigor: Took every honors class possible and also a good set of dual enrolleds.
APs: 10th - APWH (4). 11th - APUSH (5), AP Lang (5). 12th - AP Chem, AP Calc AB, AP lit, AP US Gov, AP Macro
Sat Subject Tests: None (big problem)
Service Hours: Only 110 (60 from a consignment shop, 40 from a week long children's football camp, 10 various little things)
Extra Curriculurs:
-Varsity football 9th-12th (team captain 11th grade year) (lots of time everyday spent here, but I do not want to play in college)
-Varsity track and field 9th-12th (no distinctions)
-Member of NHS, NMHS (Math), NEHS (English), NSHS (Spanish)
-3 year member of FBLA

Any opinions on what choice I should make are greatly appreciated :)!

TL;DR - Either take cheap UF route or go in debt for a better but out of state school. Also will deffinetly attend a grad school after undergrad.

Replies to: Should I Go With (cheap) UF or (expensive) Shoot Higher?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,707 Senior Member
    "Much debt" does not seem like a good idea, especially if you will be taking on more debt afterward for expensive law school.
  • SouthFloridaMom9SouthFloridaMom9 Registered User Posts: 3,446 Senior Member
    UF (especially over NYU).
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    Your stats aren't as bad as you say. You should get into UF, but send an app to USF/UCF as a safety.

    After that, roll the dice and apply to a number of lottery schools with good need based aid (HYPSM etc.).

    If you just want to get out of state, the following thread has a list of schools with merit aid that you would automatically qualify for. They generally are at UF's level or worse.

  • bookguybookguy Registered User Posts: 182 Junior Member

    Your post shows that you already know the answer. NYU is not worth the extra money. Georgetown is a great university and DC offers some opportunities that you will not get in Gainesville, but you would have to consider the difference and how much your parents can actually contribute. UF will have a lot of great programs, smart students, study abroad, etc. If that prepaid program covers your entire tuition it's a no-brainer. BUT if the curiosity is there, why not apply to one or two private schools that you are really interested in and see what happens with aid. Also, only in a warped world do you have a "bland record."
  • nimaj21nimaj21 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    edited September 2016
    Honesty NYU would be silly, you're correct. It's just I feel like I'm lowering myself by going to UF when I could probably shoot a little higher. Then again I'm only a kid and really don't understand the value of money, so a free education vs a 200k education to me is just numbers. I appreciate the reply dude, I'm thinking UF is the smartest and I should just take a gamble on a few top tens and if I get in then maybe dish out the money. But truthfully a fully paid undergrad from a top 50 school is incredible and I just don't think I get that yet. Thanks!
  • Gator88NEGator88NE Registered User Posts: 6,404 Senior Member
    No way you should pay full rates vs going to UF. You need to shop around for either need-based aid (offered at more selective schools) or merit based aids.

    You need to run the Net Price Calculators at a few schools. Your grades are good enough that you have a shot at some selective schools that would offer significant amounts in need-based aid (grants), particularly if your family already has several other children in college.

    Try out Vanderbilt's, as an example:


    Next, look at schools that offer merit-based aid. Zinhead's link is a good start.

    Good Luck!
  • nimaj21nimaj21 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    edited September 2016
    I really appreciate both the tips and the link! I'm curios when you say the HYPSM etc. have good need based tuition what you mean. Does that mean if I were to theoretically get in they would work with my needs and provide a reasonable tuition? Also that list is great and I'm thinking of maybe applying to CWRU after seeing it. Thanks!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,707 Senior Member
    Try the net price calculator on each school's web site to see what it's financial aid may be like.
  • Gator88NEGator88NE Registered User Posts: 6,404 Senior Member
    You will be shocked at how affordable an HYPSM school can be for a middle class kid....run the net price calculators. :)

    of course, getting accepted to one of these hyper selective schools is another issue...
  • moscottmoscott Registered User Posts: 990 Member
    Lol...lowering yourself for UF. What exactly is your reasoning for wanting an Ivy? Captain junior year but not senior? Sounds very strange. Were you Captain for coin flip in 1 game or team Captain for the year?
  • nimaj21nimaj21 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    UF isn't exactly a reach for me and I feel I could do better. I'm not lowering myself whatsoever. I simply want to get into the best school I can since I worked very hard my whole life for these numbers. As for the captain thing since you really want to know, no I wasn't a captain for one game. We sometimes changed captains and I was on the rotation practically every week. I was our objectively best offensive and defensive lineman the whole junior year despite playing with a torn meniscus, a concussion, and whiplash during the course of the season. I could ask my coach tomorrow who was the most influential player last year and he'd say me or this one linebacker (I'm not trying to build myself up, I'm just stating what it was). Over the off season I lost a lot of fat (bad for a lineman) and tore my same meniscus again, so going into this year I'm not quite the player I was. I literally have no padding left (due to the two tears) between my knee, can't get close to a 90 degree bend, and feel burning pain from my cartilage/bones rubbing every time I run. Despite that, I still start as a lineman and I really can't explain to you why I'm not a recurring captain now. I guess my physical abilities have fled due to the injuries and weight loss so my coach doesn't see me fit for the job. I still humbly consider myself influential on the team and would say the only thing I've lost from last year was my physical abilities (due to a personal choice of weight loss and an unctrollable and painful injury).

    I hope that did not come off arrogant by the way, I was just stating the facts. I did write some of my essay on football, hence the lengthy explanation haha. It's an area that has a plethora of both negative and positive influences in my life.
  • insanedreamerinsanedreamer Registered User Posts: 1,536 Senior Member
    UF, definitely. Save the $/debt for grad school.
  • moooopmoooop Registered User Posts: 2,038 Senior Member
    If u put some UF professors in a room with some Ivy professors, u wouldn't be able to tell who taught where. Getting a fulltime faculty job at a research university of Florida's level is incredibly difficult. Go there, learn from them.
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 3,204 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    Run the NPC's at the private schools you are interested in and try to determine a value threshold. When my son applied privates (e.g. Vanderbilt, Rice) were 2-3x more than our state flagship (Michigan) and was a poor value. If the NPC shows a cost that is reasonable for your family and would work with a small amount of debt, then apply there.

    Personally, I was shocked how expensive privates after the FA figures were returned and it made the decision fairly easy.
  • bookguybookguy Registered User Posts: 182 Junior Member

    nimaj21, it sounds like you would do well to check out your options. Since you are wondering what else is out there, it might be best to have this conversation with some real options -- a Florida university vs. whatever other universities accept you and offer aid. This is all assuming that your parents are willing to entertain other possibilities. Hope you have a great experience wherever you go...
This discussion has been closed.