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Notre Dame Vs Santa Clara

13

Replies to: Notre Dame Vs Santa Clara

  • hafamamahafamama Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    Sounds from your visit that you fall into the "love" ND camp. I'm sorry to hear about feeling let down with the financial aid office. I don't have experience in this regard. Other ND parents have said the aid amount is consistent, and I defer to their past experience. This doesn't help you right now, unfortunately. But although you mom may be skeptical, many parents on CC have mentioned the strength of the ND alumni network. I have also heard firsthand from ND students and alumni, about how much the network has helped them. So I don't think the professor's comment was too much over the top, especially with regard to Mendoza. But if it doesn't seem that you'll get your parents' support re: ND, you have fine options between Santa Clara and Univ. of Oregon.
    Other posters on this thread, notably @thumper1 are much more knowledgeable than I am, and even have (or have had) kids attend the schools in question. SCU is very well regarded, and you'll be able to see it for yourself when you visit.
    Best wishes! Keep us updated!
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 70,409 Senior Member
    Proud alum of a SCU graduate.

    The two schools are different.

    First...the weather. SCU has lovely weather year round. Unless you just love winter...and snow.

    Second...both campuses are very lovely in different ways. You will see that when you visit. SCU has put a ton of money into their facilities in the last 10-15 years...and they are constantly upgrading and building new. Their library learning commons is now about 8 years old but is state if the art. They take a LOT of pride in having updated and upgraded facilities. But I’m guessing ND does as well.

    Third. Location. Really...ND is sort of in the middle of nowhere. SCU is in a more urban setting.

    Fourth...reputation. I honestly believe both schools have excellent reputations in their regions. SCU is well regarded in CA, and the west coast. Lots of students from OR, CA, HI, WA. ND is well regarded and maybe a little better known nation wide.

    Fifth. Both provide excellent learning opportunities. We really liked the Jesuit mission of giving to community, which is required of all students, and is infused in many courses. I can’t comment to ND on this.

    Six...SCU is very ecumenical. I could be wrong about ND, but it impresses me as more “Catholic” and religious than SCU was...for my not Catholic kid. Both have theology requirements for graduation.

    Honestly...I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice.

  • SylvestorSylvestor Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    I just got back from SCU and am more conflicted than ever. As a Presidential Scholar, I was made to feel very special. the weather was beautiful, the dorms very nice, but without character. The Honors students were nice and went out of their way to engage with me - I went a day early by myself for a special receptions for a Johnson's and Presidential scholar's. Outside of the Johnson's, Presidential and Honors Students, the other students at SCU were not nearly as engaging as they were at ND. School spirit did not seem strong at SCU - of coarse at ND probably has the strongest school spirit that I have witnessed on any college campus. At SCU, the teaching faculty seemed nice but not quite as impressive as ND; however, I was exposed to only a couple at each school. SCU's internship opportunities seemed extensive - if you want to work in California. ND seemed to have a further reach with internships. Financially SCU is absolutely better, near term. The weather and campus were absolutely beautiful. I do feel that to be happy for 4 years, I would need to look off campus at SCU - but it certainly would be easy to do. Some of the questions I have include:

    1) If I want/need to go to grad school, would a degree from SCU with perhaps a better GPA be better or worse than a degree from ND?

    2) I have been trying to come up with a point based evaluation system for college admission offers. Does anyone know of one?

    3) It seems to me there would be more adjunct professor's at SCU, based solely on location. My Mom said some of the most inspiring and practical instruction she received in college was from adjunct professors as they are more tethered to the real world. Does anyone have any insight on this between SCU and ND?

    4) I started off this process wanting to go east to an urban school. Now I don't know what I want. I was looking for an undergrad business school. I was looking for at least some financial assistance. Neither of these two finalist meet all of my initial goals. I thought I wanted to work in corporate finance. Sometimes I even question now if I want to go to business school. My Mom said she will make either decision work financially but I don't want to burden her. Any last insights on how to make a good decision?
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 70,409 Senior Member
    I’m probably the wrong person to ask. Our kid graduated from SCU..we are from the east coast. After her four years at SCU, she did a 27 month Peace Corps assignment. SCU was very helpful in that process...they even had a time at their health center for P.C. physicals.

    My kid is now in professional school.

    Re: adjuncts... I think the only time my kid had an adjunct that she knew was an adjunct was when she took a summer course. As you know...SCU has no TAs teaching classes. Classes are taught by the faculty. That being said...she found the faculty to be easy to engage with...and her fellow students as well.

    It’s funny that you say the students weren’t all that engaging. SCU and one other school were in the running with my kid also, and the main reason she chose SCU at the end was because everyone there was so friendly to her and her hosts when she did her accepted student overnight.

    You have two wonderful, but slightly different choices. Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong at either.

    I don’t know about ND, but SCUs core course requirement was something my DD found to be terrific. She liked learning about areas she might not otherwise have chosen.

    My kid had a double major...bioengineering and biology. The school was very helpful in terms of making sure her courses lined up so she could graduate on time.

    One thing...and maybe this would have happened at ND too...my kid had a medical emergency second quarter of her senior year. We honestly thought she would need to withdraw. But the dean of students and her advisor worked with her, and the faculty to complete as much of that term as possible. She did have to drop one course...and that could have been an issue...but it wasn’t. They made sure she got in the next term. Because of this course bump...she had one core course to complete...because she chose to spread them out over the four years. Again...the faculty worked with her to find an online course to satisfy that last course requirement...which she completed during the summer after her graduation ceremony.

    Oh...she did live off campus for her last two years. Just FYI, it’s not a bargain to live off campus, and it’s not like the houses in the area have a lot of special character.

    Anyway...ND is also a terrific school with a great culture. Their sports “scene” is certainly more nationally known than SCU. I’m sure that contributes to the school spirit.

    Look up “Rough Riders” at SCU...I think that’s the name of the student boosters. My kid joined, and really had fun. No, they were never on national TV...but it was fun anyway.

    You can PM me for more specifics about SCU.

    I’m sure there are some ND folks here who can chime in as well.

    Like I said ...you can’t go wrong with either choice. They are just great schools...and different.
  • hafamamahafamama Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    The last part of your post says this:
    My Mom said she will make either decision work financially but I don't want to burden her. Any last insights on how to make a good decision?
    I can understand wanting to evaluate different factors and come up with some type of point system, but in the end, you've admitted that SCU is "absolutely better" financially. You've visited the campus and seemed to like it. Are you willing and able to spend twice as much for ND, knowing that your twin will be in college at the same time? Yes, both are good schools. So as an outsider (that's me) looking at your situation, this is what I see: one school gave you a merit scholarship plus other scholar perks, and will cost you half of the other school.
  • SylvestorSylvestor Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    @Hafamama, Your point is well made. My Mom and I were talking about some of this tonight. While SCU is cheaper, after our visit I came away feeling it was somehow lacking energy. I am not sure if it was a weekend and not everyone was on campus or the vastly different sports scene, it just seems a lot more casual. The one significant difference I noticed was the student questions and level of engagement in the finance presentation I sat in at SCU. At SCU it was the parents asking all the questions and the students in some cases were literally sleeping. At ND, during the business school presentation, the students were asking the questions and they were meaningful - about specific class sequences, internships etc. They just seemed more like minded at ND Mendoza. That said, I felt much better about the Honor's students and other top scholars at SCU, I'm just not sure there is enough of them to make a difference. I am concerned I might get complacent at SCU while Notre Dame may challenge me more. Any thoughts from ND or SCU students?
  • momcincomomcinco Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    OP I think that hafamama is right to suggest a serious look at the financial aspect. I would take this from another angle.

    First, tho, I am very sorry to hear that your sister has been dealing with a serious health issue. I am sure your parents have a lot to take into consideration. And I commend you for taking such a mature approach to this decision. You have some fantasic choices here and you can't go wrong!

    To mull over....sounds like you are comparing a merit scholarship from SCU and need-based aid from ND. SCU would give you the same scholarship for four years -- as long as you maintain a minimum GPA. Do you have any hesitation about this? Would it keep you from trying new disciplines or challenging yourself?

    Our goddaughter has that full tuition scholarship at SCU. Senior year, she had been disappointed to not get into more selective schools, but that lasted about a week into the first semester on campus. She is making the most of her time and has found some great professors. And...there's a lot to be said for sunshine :)

    Re. ND, as your family finances change, so would your aid package. This could actually work in your favor. Or not!! Time to get practical. Can you run the net price calc adding in your sibling as an undergrad to see if your aid will change? Also - some schools factor home equity and others don't; some factor private school tuition for siblings and others don't., etc. Can you find out if medical expenses considered? Your parents' income is volatile, but can you project ballpark figures for the next couple years? Make a four year budget...and look long and hard at those numbers.

    Our nephew graduates from ND next month and has loved the school spirit and vibrant community. His sister, our niece, is loving life at SCU! It's all about what will work best for you and your family.

    You have a lot to think over, but it sounds like your parents are supportive and you are motivated.

    Keep us posted!
  • SylvestorSylvestor Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    I have looked at the GPA requirement at SCU. I talked to some students there and a 3.5 doesn't seem too difficult to meet. My Mom and I went to the financial aid office to discuss the GPA requirement and they were pretty liberal - giving a number of warnings and time to improve before a scholarship is pulled. They even said some more challenging majors they actually relax the GPA requirement for Presidential Scholars. While this sounds very supportive, it makes me concerned about it just being too easy, too good to be true. I am used to and like being challenged.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 70,409 Senior Member
    edited April 17
    Oh for heavens sake. You will be challenged at SCU. You will be challenged no matter where you attend college. There are smart kids everywhere.

    If your family can afford ND, then go to ND because that's your choice. But stop making silly excuses why you should do so.
  • FrozenNorthFrozenNorth Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    My reaction is both similiar to and different from the previous post. It sounds to us like maybe in your gut you've already made a decision on a favorite....I think the way forward is to ask your Mom if she's fine with either school. If the answer is yes, then I think you should just decide which one is your favorite and go with it. As many have said, you are fortunate either way, and you'll be happy either way. THere is no right answer.
  • hafamamahafamama Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    @Sylvestor As noted by @FrozenNorth and @thumper1, it seems that you've got a favorite. Now, you want validation from this board to support your decision. Frankly, it sounds like you want someone to tell you that it's okay to choose one school that literally costs twice as much as another school, while at the same time you profess you don't want to be a burden financially. I'm glad that your mom supports you. That's what moms are for, and as a mother, I know how much I want to give to my child. But here is the reality: what your family pays to ND for tuition/fees is gone. Period. What your family does not pay to SCU is money they get to keep, and use for other things.
    Yes, it's hard letting go of your dream, but a mature decision has to be made.
    Yes, being a grown up stinks sometimes. (A lot of times.)
    Best wishes on your decision.
  • SylvestorSylvestor Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    @hafamama - You are both right and wrong. You are right - I have come to realize I do favor Notre Dame because of the culture and it being better all around academically. You are at least half wrong on the money and me making mature decisions. I am quite sure I got a good sense of what mature decisions look like when my twin sister endured brain cancer treatments, only to come out and now have a new tumor - from her cancer treatments.

    As for the money, this forum as well as working with various financial aid offices and calculators have given me a better sense of what a minefield financial aid can be. For my situation, Santa Clara and a full tuition merit scholarship are known and I am pretty much in control of the outcome - if I maintain a 3.5 GPA, I will pay for room, board, books and personal expenses.

    Notre Dame is financial aid and while generous, less than Santa Clara. Notre Dame's aid is dependent on my sister attending a four year college - or not - and my Mom's income. Freshman and sophomore year numbers are set for income. Junior and Senior numbers are not.

    My sister's situation is volatile. Should she attend college, I get more financial aid at Notre Dame. If I attend Santa Clara, she gets less financial aid. While it is not a direct offset, her aid will be lowed if I attend Santa Clara.

    If my sister does not attend college but is stable, Santa Clara is better for me financially. If she does not attend college and requires additional treatment and my Mom needs to quit work to care for her, since Notre Dame is financial aid, I could potentially get everything paid - except about $10,000 in subsided loans - junior and senior years.

    If my sister is sick, Santa Clara is a lot closer to home.

    My situation is simply too complex for a forum.

    I do know I favor Notre Dame.

    I do know I have a lot to think about.

    As my Mom said, I can analyze things, run what-ifs, try to quantify all the variables, but not everything is always about money. Some outcomes are simply not in my control.

    I still do not know what I am going to do but know I will make the best decision I can with the information I have by May 1.

    Thank you all for your input.
  • hafamamahafamama Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    @Sylvestor Your last post included much more information about your financial situation than you'd shared in the past. I did not intend to be mean -- I was basing my comments on what you had posted previously. And what I had read showed a focus on notions of not being challenged enough and SCU being too easy, in contrast to the more engaged students and intellectual challenge at ND. Clearly, I did not have the entire picture. Please forgive me if I gave the impression that you were not making a mature decision. Your post reveals that have thought through the implications of your family's situation, and how finances and other reasons will affect financial aid and both you and your sister's college plans.
    You have all the information you need, and will make the decision that is right for you. I wish you the best, and extend prayers to your family and your sister.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 70,409 Senior Member
    edited April 18
    If I attend Santa Clara, she gets less financial aid. While it is not a direct offset, her aid will be lowed if I attend Santa Clara.

    This is NOT absolutely true! Your sister would only get less need based aid IF her school met full need to begin with. If her college does not meet full need, it’s very possible her aid would not change...at all.

    And if she gets merit aid, it doesn’t matter WHERE you go to college.

  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 10,389 Senior Member
    Maybe you and your sister should go to a local school, close to home.
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