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Could someone help me narrow down my school choice? :)

yikesitsjenyikesitsjen 11 replies1 threads New Member
Hi! I've been accepted into 9 schools in total: University of Texas-Austin, University of Oklahoma, New York University, University of California: Los Angeles, University of California: Santa Barbara, University of California: Davis, Seton Hall University (BS/MD), University of Virginia, and University of Southern California. I've also been waitlisted at Emory University and University of Notre Dame. I'm having a really hard time deciding which college would fit me best, especially considering that my plans to visit my schools were dashed due to COVID-19. I've made a pros and cons list regarding each school, but I still can't seem to narrow my list down. If anyone is going/has gone to any of these schools, or has any overall insight on what I should do, please help me out! Thank you!

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Replies to: Could someone help me narrow down my school choice? :)

  • yikesitsjenyikesitsjen 11 replies1 threads New Member
    Oh, I should have mentioned that at most of the schools I was accepted into psychology or neuroscience w/an emphasis on pre-med! Also I haven't received most of my financial aid packages, so I can't do much in terms of factoring cost in (but once I do receive them, it'll be a pretty huge factor!)
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6408 replies1 threads Senior Member
    edited March 30
    I am guessing that your acceptance to a BS/MD program mean that you are premed everywhere else. Is this correct?

    What would each of these schools cost you, and what can you afford without taking on debt? How much debt would you need for each school?

    Okay, your reply number 1 posted at the same time as my reply number 2. I see that you do not know yet what each will cost. You might need to wait to find out before it is possible to answer your question. Fortunately you do have some time.
    edited March 30
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2883 replies8 threads Senior Member
    The school in your home state should be, by far, the first choice. There's no benefit to paying triple the tuition to go out of state to obtain a bachelors degree. Plus, we have a crashing economy. If a parent gets laid off, you could lose your source of money. If you want to do medicine, your home state is your best shot because state medical schools give preference to state residents.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 484 replies5 threads Member
    The BS/MD program gets you through college and med school in 7 years. That saves you a year of tuition and guarantees you acceptance to med school. That’s a big plus.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4870 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited March 31
    Congratulations on your acceptances.

    Are you sure your financial aid packages aren't available in your portals? Other students from some of your schools do have their FA info.

    With that said, you must have an idea of how the relative costs will shake out. Did you run the NPCs? What can/will your parents pay for college per year?

    The Seton Hall BS/MD program is a great option...but requirements to matriculate to the med school are a 3.7 cGPA by end of jr/sr years and top 20% MCAT score. If you choose this program and meet the requirements, the cost benefit could be large....no med school application fees and travel for interviews (typically $5K min). Also, some students can graduate med school from that program in 3, rather than 4 years, which could be a significant cost savings as well.






    edited March 31
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  • yikesitsjenyikesitsjen 11 replies1 threads New Member
    edited March 31
    My mom has expressed the fact that she's between Seton Hall and UCLA, and I think that's kind of where I'm heading as well. However, the BS/MD program only guarantees me an interview, not admission into their medical school. Plus, I've heard that it's a fairly new program and with it's higher acceptance rate, they weed students out and have really high requirements. On the other hand, UCLA's pre-health/med program has a very cutthroat environment, but with the prestige behind it's name, I feel like as long as I do well in my undergrad years, I'll have a better shot at getting into a good med school. Are my thoughts correct? Sorry for asking a lot of questions!
    edited March 31
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  • yikesitsjenyikesitsjen 11 replies1 threads New Member
    coolguy40 wrote: »
    The school in your home state should be, by far, the first choice. There's no benefit to paying triple the tuition to go out of state to obtain a bachelors degree. Plus, we have a crashing economy. If a parent gets laid off, you could lose your source of money. If you want to do medicine, your home state is your best shot because state medical schools give preference to state residents.

    My home state currently is TX, but my family and I are moving to CA during the summer. Is there any way I can express this to my CA schools so I can maybe qualify for instate tuition?
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  • yikesitsjenyikesitsjen 11 replies1 threads New Member
    Bill Marsh wrote: »
    The BS/MD program gets you through college and med school in 7 years. That saves you a year of tuition and guarantees you acceptance to med school. That’s a big plus.


    It's true that it'll save on tuition during my undergrad, but Seton Hall's BS/MD isn't guaranteed acceptance, it's a guaranteed interview (granted, that's still really good!) I really like the idea of BS/MD programs, but would it be the same as if I just graduated early going the traditional route? I want to weigh all my options, and if graduating early is about the same as following the BS/MD route, then I feel like I'd be happier in CA since I'll still be close to family as opposed to being thousands of miles away from everyone. If not, I think Seton Hall would be really good for my future.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4870 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited March 31
    My home state currently is TX, but my family and I are moving to CA during the summer. Is there any way I can express this to my CA schools so I can maybe qualify for instate tuition?

    @gumbymom can you help with timeline for qualifying for in-state tuition in California?

    OP, pre-med students will be weeded out at all schools, but yes, some undergrad schools have more of a cutthroat feel than a collaborative one. The fact is it's really hard to know what's true and what's not when listening to students speak about their experiences and where a school falls on the cutthroat/collaborative continuum.....most haven't attended more than one school, so they are unable to compare the mindset across schools wrt to premed experience.

    Suffice it to say....prestige of undergrad does not matter in med school admissions. It's the student's stats that drive admission....GPA and MCAT. You will need to earn a high GPA regardless of your undergrad school. Choose the environment and academic setting where you believe you can be successful.
    edited March 31
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  • yikesitsjenyikesitsjen 11 replies1 threads New Member
    Mwfan1921 wrote: »
    Congratulations on your acceptances.

    Are you sure your financial aid packages aren't available in your portals? Other students from some of your schools do have their FA info.

    With that said, you must have an idea of how the relative costs will shake out. Did you run the NPCs? What can/will your parents pay for college per year?

    The Seton Hall BS/MD program is a great option...but requirements to matriculate to the med school are a 3.7 cGPA by end of jr/sr years and top 20% MCAT score. If you choose this program and meet the requirements, the cost benefit could be large....no med school application fees and travel for interviews (typically $5K min). Also, some students can graduate med school from that program in 3, rather than 4 years, which could be a significant cost savings as well.

    Thank you! I'm sure. I've only received two so far. I know for a fact that I have to do verification for OU, UT-A, UVa, and USC and that my FAFSA got messed up on my end for the UC schools so after I do verification and the UC schools receive my FAFSA, I'll be receiving the rest of my packages soon.

    NYU after financial aid and work-study comes out to be a little over $27k, and Seton Hall gave me enough merit-based scholarships that I'm completely covered for at least my freshman year (after financial aid and work-study it comes out to be about $22k), but those are the only two that I have packages for.

    My NPC for the other schools are $29k for UT-A, $39k for UCLA, $60k for UCSB and UCD (if when my financial aid package comes for these two schools and the numbers still look like this, they're a definite no), $26k for UVa, and $5k for USC.

    My parents are separated, but they'll both contribute. Dad is unemployed due to an injury so he can't help pay that much, and my mom is a nurse but she doesn't work much right now due to her being enrolled in school, so I assume that she won't be able to help pay that much either. My EFC is 0, but I think my parents are willing to pay whatever is left after financial aid.

    Seton Hall does sound really good when you put it that way! I'm just really nervous about the fact that it'll be thousands of miles away from family and I've never been far from them before.
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1761 replies75 threads Senior Member
    I suggest you listen to your gut. No school is worth the price of mental health suffering. And having to live far away during uncertain times is going to add to your anxiety.

    You sound like a candidate for a Gap Year, to possibly allow you to gain instate tuition rates. What is the purpose for your family's move? Is it job related? I do not know California rules, but do know they are very strict.

    Who in your family is moving? Just one parent, or both? Someone more informed can jump in and give you more info about FAFSA and separated parents. It does get confusing.

    There is the possibility that Fall 2020 classes could still be online only for a lot of campuses. No one knows the future. This might be another reason to take a Gap Year, so that Fall 2021 you can have a more normal, traditional college freshman experience.

    I am confused about costs. Are you saying that you need to come up with $22K to pay for your portion of one year at Seton Hall? With one parent out of work, and the other parent working part time and going to school? Do you have younger siblings? I hope I am confused with the numbers, but it sounds like Cost Factor (and distance from your new home in California) should be the top priorities.

    Another Plug for Gap Year--you can look for work and save up money to help pay for college costs.
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  • GumbymomGumbymom Forum Champion UC 30286 replies383 threads Forum Champion
    edited March 31
    Regarding CA residency. You and your family would need to live in California for 366 days prior to having your status being changed to an in-state resident. You would be paying Out of State tuition for at least the first year before you would be considered in-state.

    These are the requirements for qualifying for residency for tuition purposes.

    1. Physical Presence

    You (or your parent) must be physically present in California on a continuous basis for at least 366 days immediately prior to the residence determination date.

    Residency may not be established in absentia and the prior residence must have been relinquished.
    -You or your parent must be able to demonstrate physical presence in California with sufficient documentation. The documentation can include receipts, bank statements, credit card bills, and housing contracts. The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that you were present (as opposed to the University having to prove that you were NOT present).
    -Within the 366-day period, you or your parent can be absent from California for a total of six weeks.
    -A residency classification will not be granted for absences that exceeds six weeks.

    2. Intent to Remain in California

    You (or your parent) must demonstrate the intent to make California your permanent home and relinquish ties to your previous place of residence. Examples of establishing California legal ties include but are not limited to:

    -obtain a California Driver’s License or State Identification card within the first 30 days of arriving in California
    -register vehicle in California (if applicable) within the first 30 days of arriving in California
    -register to vote in California (if applicable) within the first 30 days of arriving in California
    -file California state income tax returns as a resident or part-year resident on all taxable income earned in or out of the state after arriving to California
    -file out-of-state income tax returns as a nonresident or part-year resident on income earned prior to arriving to California
    edited March 31
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  • yikesitsjenyikesitsjen 11 replies1 threads New Member
    I suggest you listen to your gut. No school is worth the price of mental health suffering. And having to live far away during uncertain times is going to add to your anxiety.

    You sound like a candidate for a Gap Year, to possibly allow you to gain instate tuition rates. What is the purpose for your family's move? Is it job related? I do not know California rules, but do know they are very strict.

    Who in your family is moving? Just one parent, or both? Someone more informed can jump in and give you more info about FAFSA and separated parents. It does get confusing.

    There is the possibility that Fall 2020 classes could still be online only for a lot of campuses. No one knows the future. This might be another reason to take a Gap Year, so that Fall 2021 you can have a more normal, traditional college freshman experience.

    I am confused about costs. Are you saying that you need to come up with $22K to pay for your portion of one year at Seton Hall? With one parent out of work, and the other parent working part time and going to school? Do you have younger siblings? I hope I am confused with the numbers, but it sounds like Cost Factor (and distance from your new home in California) should be the top priorities.

    Another Plug for Gap Year--you can look for work and save up money to help pay for college costs.

    My mom's moving because she wants to get a job in CA. I don't think my dad will move with us. I should have been clearer: without my merit scholarships, I have to pay $22k out of pocket, but with my merit scholarships, I don't have to pay anything. I have three younger siblings. Cost and distance ARE my two top priorities, but I'm also concerned about if whichever school I pick will be the right school for me. I'll look into taking a gap year, but I don't think my mom will be very happy about it, so that's something we'll need to talk about together. Thank you!
    Gumbymom wrote: »
    Regarding CA residency. You and your family would need to live in California for 366 days prior to having your status being changed to an in-state resident. You would be paying Out of State tuition for at least the first year before you would be considered in-state.

    These are the requirements for qualifying for residency for tuition purposes.

    1. Physical Presence

    You (or your parent) must be physically present in California on a continuous basis for at least 366 days immediately prior to the residence determination date.

    Residency may not be established in absentia and the prior residence must have been relinquished.
    -You or your parent must be able to demonstrate physical presence in California with sufficient documentation. The documentation can include receipts, bank statements, credit card bills, and housing contracts. The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that you were present (as opposed to the University having to prove that you were NOT present).
    -Within the 366-day period, you or your parent can be absent from California for a total of six weeks.
    -A residency classification will not be granted for absences that exceeds six weeks.

    2. Intent to Remain in California

    You (or your parent) must demonstrate the intent to make California your permanent home and relinquish ties to your previous place of residence. Examples of establishing California legal ties include but are not limited to:

    -obtain a California Driver’s License or State Identification card within the first 30 days of arriving in California
    -register vehicle in California (if applicable) within the first 30 days of arriving in California
    -register to vote in California (if applicable) within the first 30 days of arriving in California
    -file California state income tax returns as a resident or part-year resident on all taxable income earned in or out of the state after arriving to California
    -file out-of-state income tax returns as a nonresident or part-year resident on income earned prior to arriving to California

    That makes sense! I'll relay this information to my family, thank you! If I end up going to a CA school and don't take a gap year, could I qualify for in-state tuition my sophomore year? How would I, for lack of a better word, "appeal" my OOS status?
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3683 replies24 threads Senior Member
    @yikesitsjen

    Congratulations on some great acceptances!

    Have you gotten your UT package yet? If you are a TX resident with a EFC of zero, I would think there would be some need-based state grants that you might be qualified for in additional to Pell and Federal student loans.

    I thought that the UC system did not provide financial aid for OOS students. That 39K from the UCLA NPC doesn't sound quite right. Have you gotten any financial aid info from them? If everything went well with residency qualification, do you know how much you would have to pay in state thereafter? Currently room/board/tuition/fees is around 30K for in state full pay.

    Has Seton Hall committed to covering your full costs with no loans?
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  • MistySteel27MistySteel27 88 replies0 threads Junior Member
    From what I’ve read it’s far more difficult for California residents to get into medical schools than most other state residents due to the volume of applicants and the very few spots instate. Texas has an excellent medical school program that’s very affordable for their residents. If one of your parents is instate then that’s the route I’d choose. Most students change their mind about medical school so make sure you go to a college that’ll easily allow you to switch if you choose to. Whatever you decide keep your undergrad as cheap as possible with good opportunities for volunteer work and where your grades will be excellent. Med school is expensive so the least amount of debt you have the better. On the grad school medical major boards there’s a lot of info about undergrad. It seems the consensus is school name is inconsequential, it’s what you do that matters.
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  • yikesitsjenyikesitsjen 11 replies1 threads New Member
    edited March 31
    @yikesitsjen

    Congratulations on some great acceptances!

    Have you gotten your UT package yet? If you are a TX resident with a EFC of zero, I would think there would be some need-based state grants that you might be qualified for in additional to Pell and Federal student loans.

    I thought that the UC system did not provide financial aid for OOS students. That 39K from the UCLA NPC doesn't sound quite right. Have you gotten any financial aid info from them? If everything went well with residency qualification, do you know how much you would have to pay in state thereafter? Currently room/board/tuition/fees is around 30K for in state full pay.

    Has Seton Hall committed to covering your full costs with no loans?

    I haven't received my package for UT yet because I have to complete FAFSA verification for it first.

    I also haven't received any information regarding financial aid from UCLA, but I called the financial aid office the other day and they said it'll take a couple days since my FAFSA wasn't sent to them. When I filled out the NPC for UCLA, I got $39k, I don't know what to do about that. According to the NPC, without scholarships or aid, it would cost $65k out of pocket, but after subtracting the projected financial aid, it came out to $39k. I would assume that if I could qualify for residency, I would end up paying somewhere in the $20k-$29k range, but I don't know for sure.

    I actually went back and reread my financial aid for Seton Hall, and it turns out that I misunderstood it :(. My scholarships and financial aid go strictly towards the cost of tuition only, so I would still have to pay for room and board, as well as any other miscellaneous costs, which is the $22k. I don't want to keep giving out wrong information, so I'm going to call Seton Hall's financial aid office and confirm this number as well. Please bear with me, I don't have a lot of knowledge concerning college and financial aid.
    From what I’ve read it’s far more difficult for California residents to get into medical schools than most other state residents due to the volume of applicants and the very few spots instate. Texas has an excellent medical school program that’s very affordable for their residents. If one of your parents is instate then that’s the route I’d choose. Most students change their mind about medical school so make sure you go to a college that’ll easily allow you to switch if you choose to. Whatever you decide keep your undergrad as cheap as possible with good opportunities for volunteer work and where your grades will be excellent. Med school is expensive so the least amount of debt you have the better. On the grad school medical major boards there’s a lot of info about undergrad. It seems the consensus is school name is inconsequential, it’s what you do that matters.

    Thank you for your insight, that makes a lot of sense! Am I allowed to use one parent over the other to qualify for instate tuition, or does it have to be the parent whose income tax I am filed under?
    edited March 31
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  • MistySteel27MistySteel27 88 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I don’t have any knowledge about custodial parents and tuition, that’s a great question to ask on the financial aid forum. Good luck!
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4870 replies86 threads Senior Member
    @yikesitsjen

    Congratulations on some great acceptances!

    Have you gotten your UT package yet? If you are a TX resident with a EFC of zero, I would think there would be some need-based state grants that you might be qualified for in additional to Pell and Federal student loans.

    I thought that the UC system did not provide financial aid for OOS students. That 39K from the UCLA NPC doesn't sound quite right. Have you gotten any financial aid info from them? If everything went well with residency qualification, do you know how much you would have to pay in state thereafter? Currently room/board/tuition/fees is around 30K for in state full pay.

    Has Seton Hall committed to covering your full costs with no loans?

    I haven't received my package for UT yet because I have to complete FAFSA verification for it first.

    I also haven't received any information regarding financial aid from UCLA, but I called the financial aid office the other day and they said it'll take a couple days since my FAFSA wasn't sent to them. When I filled out the NPC for UCLA, I got $39k, I don't know what to do about that. According to the NPC, without scholarships or aid, it would cost $65k out of pocket, but after subtracting the projected financial aid, it came out to $39k. I would assume that if I could qualify for residency, I would end up paying somewhere in the $20k-$29k range, but I don't know for sure.

    I actually went back and reread my financial aid for Seton Hall, and it turns out that I misunderstood it :(. My scholarships and financial aid go strictly towards the cost of tuition only, so I would still have to pay for room and board, as well as any other miscellaneous costs, which is the $22k. I don't want to keep giving out wrong information, so I'm going to call Seton Hall's financial aid office and confirm this number as well. Please bear with me, I don't have a lot of knowledge concerning college and financial aid.
    From what I’ve read it’s far more difficult for California residents to get into medical schools than most other state residents due to the volume of applicants and the very few spots instate. Texas has an excellent medical school program that’s very affordable for their residents. If one of your parents is instate then that’s the route I’d choose. Most students change their mind about medical school so make sure you go to a college that’ll easily allow you to switch if you choose to. Whatever you decide keep your undergrad as cheap as possible with good opportunities for volunteer work and where your grades will be excellent. Med school is expensive so the least amount of debt you have the better. On the grad school medical major boards there’s a lot of info about undergrad. It seems the consensus is school name is inconsequential, it’s what you do that matters.

    Thank you for your insight, that makes a lot of sense! Am I allowed to use one parent over the other to qualify for instate tuition, or does it have to be the parent whose income tax I am filed under?

    The parent who you live with the most is the one who determines your state of residence. So if that's your mom, and she moves to California, you won't qualify for Texas in-state tuition after your first year. You would qualify for in-state tuition in California if you satisfy the residency requirements that gumbymom posted.

    It doesn't matter which parent claims you on their taxes...some parents alternate years, for example.

    As always, double check residency information on each school's website, as policies can vary widely by state.
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  • CollegeOdyssey2001CollegeOdyssey2001 148 replies1 threads Junior Member
    First, congratulations @yikesitsjen on all your impressive acceptances! Sorry to hear about your misread about your Seton Hall FA offer. At 22K COA, that may be a dealbreaker. It now looks like USC at $5K based on your NPC numbers is best. Let's wait for your FA offers to come in with fingers crossed. USC tends to include loans and work-study (and gaps) even for EFC $0 families, so be forewarned, and keep us posted as your offers come in. Good luck!
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1761 replies75 threads Senior Member
    This is a great place for you to ask questions and gain understanding. You have a LOT of colleges you were admitted to, and lots of unknowns due to your ongoing FAFSA verification.

    I suggest you focus on FAFSA, and look at your Texas and California admissions colleges first. If the colleges in those states do not pan out financially, then you can move on to other colleges in other states. That will temporarily narrow down the colleges you need to get more detailed financial costs/scholarships from.

    The Financial Awards for each college will look different, and there is a high likelihood that they will confuse you. Some colleges list Private Loans as part of your "Financial Aid Package" and so it is easy to think they are GIVING you a bunch of money when in reality they are mixing in LOANS with Scholarships and Grants.

    It is okay that you and your parents may be confused at times. Posters on here are very experienced and are glad to explain things. Just may sure you ask enough questions to be able to understand how your college education is going to be paid for, and by whom. Understand that payment in full is due before each semester begins.

    Students are allowed to borrow a limited amount of money through Federal Student Loans each year, and above that, parents must take out private loans. Avoiding Private Loans if you can is best. Federal Loans are not paid back until 6 months after you graduate, or 6 months after you drop out of college. Federal Loans allow you to make monthly payments over many years' time. Private loans vary, and some must be paid back starting immediately. Parents must have good credit in order to qualify for Private Loans, and each year of your college studies, it will get increasingly difficult to qualify, as the Previous Private Loans still outstanding may keep your parents from qualifying again.

    You want to make sure you have thought through all four years expenses and how they will be financed. Don't just look at the first year. You want to have a feasible plan, not a lot of uncertainty. And at any point, you can ask a college to defer your acceptance for one year. Some colleges will agree, others may not. But I assume there will be a lot of flexibility right now due to so much uncertainty in the world.
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