I'm trying to decide between these two great schools. I want to study politics/communications. Please help!
Here's a little about me
-I live in Virginia, so I get in-state tuition at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), while Emerson is private.
-I want to work on political campaigns when I'm older, specifically as a media consultant. At VCU, I would study political communication and may pick up a minor. At VCU, I would double major in political science and mass communications.
-My family is lower middle class, and my two older brothers are already in college at public universities. Both have to take an extra semester/year to graduate, which increases the financial burden. My parents want me to go to VCU, since I received generous financial aid and a $3k merit scholarship (renewable for three years). All together, it looks like VCU will cost $10k to $15k a year, even less if I become an RA for soph/jun/sen year.
-Since Emerson is private, it's way more expensive. I received an $18k scholarship (the Luminary scholarship, renewable for four years), and my financial aid hasn't been processed yet. Even after financial aid, however, it will still be more expensive to attend Emerson ($40k a year without any financial aid, and if I estimate $20k aid, which I'm not sure how realistic that is, it will be $20k a year to attend Emerson), and I'm not sure if the price is worth the advantages Emerson offers.
-I'm an extrovert, and I love the vibrancy of the city. Emerson is in Boston and VCU is in Richmond, so both have city campuses. However, VCU has a larger student body, which I like. Emerson is a small school, but maybe it's city location will compensate? I don't want to feel trapped like I have at my small high school. Also, I love VCU's diversity. There are so many different types of people at VCU, while I get the feeling there's less diversity (not just ethnic diversity, but religious, ideological diversity too, or just different "types" of people/personalities) at Emerson.
-I also want a sense of community. I want to be able to walk down streets and see fellow students. I want to feel like I'm a part of something, not just a floating piece. I loved how VCU had a campus within the city, while at Emerson, there are more dispersed buildings.
-I have a lot of experience with VA politics (Canvass Captain for local HFA chapter, finance intern and lead field fellow for governors campaign right now), so I know in Richmond and VA in general, the connections I've made will be advantageous. Part of me feels like at Emerson, I'll have to start all over with Massachusetts politics.
-Also, while in college, I really want to be a part of a campaign or some political organization. At VCU, I'll be able to continue working on the governor's campaign until November, and after that, I may be able to help out on a 2018 election campaign, or if I'm lucky and the candidate I'm working under right now wins, I could possibly join him in Richmond! Not sure how likely the latter is, but I know I'll be able to get politically involved somehow. At Emerson, even if I'm able to find a way to get involved, would I have the time? I'm not sure how rigorous the academics are, but I know they're probably more so than at VCU.
-On the line of academics, would the education I'd receive at Emerson really supersede that of VCU? Is the better education worth the financial burden?
-Yes, I do want to party in college. This is where VCU wins, but I'm not sure what Emerson's party scene is like to be honest.
What I hope to get out of posting this is, frankly, some advice. Admittedly I haven't visited Emerson yet, and I will in the coming weeks, but right now I'm leaning toward VCU because (forgot to mention this important detail), I already committed to VCU since I was waitlisted at Emerson! I never expected to get a scholarship off the waitlist, which is what's pushing me to consider Emerson despite already committing.
Any information you have on what Emerson is like would help. I know I'll be successful at VCU. I'll be happy there and I'll be successful after college. Will I be more successful and happy at Emerson? I'm not as sure, especially with the financial aspect.