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Should I transfer to my state flagship?

username132username132 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
edited August 2010 in College Search & Selection
I'm currently a sophomore (or, will be a sophomore in less than a week) at a liberal arts school that costs my parents (in necessary fees not including books, spending money, etc.) about $18,500 a year. My state flagship I just found out (to my amazement), would cost only about $7,500 a year if I live with my grandmother for a year or two as I did this summer, or about $11,000 if I live in an apartment or house.

My state has a new lottery that provides a $5000 scholarship to all students who qualify for undergraduate education. I heard that my current school is going to increase their tuition each year (for ranking purposes I assume), but that my state flagship is committed to keeping their tuition the same in the coming years despite the economy and despite the scholarship.

So if I stayed at my current school, my parents would spend about $15,000 on average the next three years; and if I transfer, my parents would spend only about $6,000 per year.

Is my liberal arts school really worth the difference? My parents aren't exactly wealthy, and my dad even recently asked, "So what is your GPA?" He's asked this before. I answered, "Around a 3.00." He responded, "Ok, well can I see your grades? I don't really want to pay $18,000 a year if you're making less than stellar grades. You could be at [state flagship] making all A's with little effort." I'm not so sure that's true, but my grades probably would be a lot better if I went there.

So, leaving all the unsaid variables behind like how much do I like my current school, how much would I like my state flagship, how good is my state flagship, how good is my current school, etc (because I think I can account for them), what should I do? I have less than five days to decide.

Post edited by username132 on

Replies to: Should I transfer to my state flagship?

  • username132username132 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I just realized that there's probably not much input anyone can give without knowing more details. I do like my current school, but I don't love it. I plan to major in philosophy, and I don't think the professor I will be taking the vast majority of my classes with is very good. I'd like to study abroad for a semester or year, and my current school has great programs.

    I'd probably like my state flagship. It's in my hometown, and I've taken three classes there already (during high school and in the summer). I'm pretty sure its study abroad programs are weaker.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,611 Senior Member
    If your state flagship is in your town, why would you need to live with grandma?

    I would transfer. It's not necessary to spend that much for a philosophy degree - especially if your GPA would be higher elsewhere.

    What will you be doing after you graduate? If you'll be going to law school, then your GPA needs to be higher anyway. A 3.0 isn't very high.
  • username132username132 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Well I plan to go to some sort of graduate school. I don't think it will be law, but it might be.

    My GPA is low right now because during the first semester I took physics and calculus (I thought I wanted to be a physics major), but midway through the semester I changed my mind, didn't give that much effort, and consequently made bad grades. It should be higher in the future. But still, I know my GPA would certainly be higher if I transferred because I've taken courses at both schools and my state flagship is much, much easier.

    I wouldn't have to live with my grandmother, but I might for the first semester or year if I transfer just to save money.

    thanks for the response
  • username132username132 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    bump for more opinions?
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 34,398 Super Moderator
    Sounds like you have all the reasons in the world to transfer.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,611 Senior Member
    I wouldn't have to live with my grandmother, but I might for the first semester or year if I transfer just to save money.

    I still don't get it. Don't your parents live in the same town? Can't you live with them to save money if you transfer? Or, does granny live much, much closer to the campus?

    Anyway...you should transfer. and...For a good chance at grad school, your GPA needs a big boost.
  • username132username132 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    "I still don't get it. Don't your parents live in the same town? Can't you live with them to save money if you transfer? Or, does granny live much, much closer to the campus?"

    Kind of hard to explain without going into a lot of details. I could live with either I suppose, or maybe even with two friends who have a house (they have a room that could be made into mine), but I'm not really sure yet. I'm not even sure I'm going to transfer yet.


    I guess I do have plenty of good reasons to transfer, but, only looking at it from a selfish perspective, I'd really rather not transfer. I have friends at my new school that I don't really want to leave behind, my current schools is quite a bit better than my state flagship (it's not an elite LAC, but it's pretty good), and I just prefer liberal arts schools in general to state schools.

    So this is a tough decision. I want to stay where I'm at, but I probably shouldn't stay where I'm at.

    Thanks for the replies
  • informativeinformative Registered User Posts: 1,900 Senior Member
    It depends where you are located and what schools you are considering. Without this information, it is hard to say either way.
  • username132username132 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I don't really want to be specific, but both schools are in the same state. The state school is an average state flagship, and the LAC I'm at is a top 50 school.
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Registered User Posts: 24,853 Senior Member
    Younger S is going to a top LAC in the SE, but his school is not one of the country's top LACs. Still, his academics and writing assignments are tougher than what I had as a Harvard undergrad. For instance, in a required soph level class, he had to write a paper of 80-100 pages. He had freshman papers in his psychology class that were similar to what I had to write as a doctoral student in psychology at a second tier college with an excellent grad school.

    His analytical, time management, and writing skills have soared. If he were interested in law, the academics at his LAC would be great prep for the workload in law school and for the LSAT.

    He has close relationships with many profs, and his idea of a large class is one with a dozen students!

    I've taught at a tier two public and have taken classes for fun at a tier two public. What was expected of students was nothing like what S has at the LAC. Classes were big, assignments were not that difficult -- short writing assignments, multiple choice tests. Professors were far more interested in research than teaching.

    Older S went to a tier 2 public, turning down 2 top 25 colleges due to his getting more $ from the tier 2 school. He ended up being bored and flunking out. In his honors English class in college, he read the same book he had read as a junior in AP English, and had very similar assignments for the book -- assignments that the other students struggled to do, but that S thought were too easy.

    He also was surrounded by lots of partiers, and ended up partying a great deal, something that was a surprise to H and me because S -- by his own choice -- had worked a job in high school and hadn't partied at all.

    So... be aware that changing schools may not have the results you expect.

    Can you help with expenses by working during the school year (my LAC S works up to 13 hours a week and is on dean's list and participates in time-intensive ECs) and during the summer? That could shave a few thousand dollars off what your parents are paying. You also could take out some loans.

    The average amount of loans that students take to pay for their college education is a total of $17k, something that's reasonable to be able to pay back.
  • newchicknewchick Registered User Posts: 121 Junior Member
    Some rhetorical questions you should ask yourself (or, feel free to post them here, others could probably give you better advice):

    Have you tried talking with your dean, or with a career counselor at your current LAC? Have you talked with the philosophy professors at the state flagship school? Have you sat in on their classes? Do you like the course offerings there? How interested do they seem to be in their students? Are there are other professors of philosophy who you could work with instead at your current school?

    Have you talked to whomever organizes study abroad at both schools? Have you made a list of the features of study abroad programs at both schools? Have you identified a country you're interested in? Have you compared the study abroad program in this country at both schools? Have you talked with students at both schools in that particular country/abroad school to see what their study abroad experiences have actually been like?

    If your grades in physics and calculus had been comparable to the other grades you have at your current LAC, what kind of GPA would you have? Assuming that you only take classes for the next four years that are suited to you (mostly writing intensive classes), how long would it take/is it possible for you to bring your GPA up to a 3.3? A 3.6?

    How are you as a student in talking with your professors outside of class hours? Do you shoot the breeze with them, show your interest in the subject? Consult them on assignments? Do you talk with your dean when you feel like you are getting into academic trouble (experiencing a lot of stress, not completing assignments on time, etc.) Do you think that these habits are something you'd be willing to work on, and eventually improve?

    Do you take a lot of writing intensive courses? Are you a good writer? Are you willing to work on your writing? (If you take a lot of writing intensive courses, and you are serious about your academics, you will probably improve your writing.) Do you go to the writing center when you have difficulty writing an essay?

    Do you enjoy the learning experience at your current LAC? Do you enjoy the learning experience at your state college?

    What percentage of students at your LAC get into law school, what are their statistics, and to what kinds of law schools are they being accepted? Then ask this series of questions about your state school; and then about grad school at both your LAC and your state school. If possible, you'll want to look at philosophy students getting into law and grad school at both your LAC and state school.


    I dunno, I personally feel like it's too early for you to say that you should transfer. It seems like you have a lot of unanswered questions; or maybe you have answered these already. I would suggest that you wait another semester, if not another year, and see what happens. Then make your decision. The reason I say, wait a year, is because I remember that in my sophomore year I happened on a variety of study skills--talking extensively with profs, dean, managing my time better--that increased my grades like whoa. Also, becoming a better writer is critical in college, and you will undoubtably become better the more you write.

    You said that the classes at your state school are far less intensive. Chances are, you're going to learn less at a less intensive school, but you will have a better GPA. So, I think it would be good for you to really think hard about leaving that learning experience behind. You'll probably learn better skills for life at a more intensive school than a less intensive school.

    Ultimately, though, GPA is critical for law school (as is your LSAT score--only two things that matter), but not so much for grad school. Grad school admissions are a bit fuzzier, from what I hear.

    Good luck!
  • username132username132 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member

    thank you both for the detailed responses. you both mentioned a lot I hadn't thought about
This discussion has been closed.