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Should I commit? (What is Northeastern like?)

denk0403denk0403 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
So here's the thing... the deadline to commit to a college is tomorrow (May 1st) and I'm truly stuck between two schools: Northeastern University and Stony Brook University in NY.

Most of my family is urging me to go to Northeastern; they believe it's a better school, in particular for Computer Science, their co-op program is undefeatable, and plus, I got into the honors program. And honestly, I feel like I might like Northeastern more, too. However, due to some untimely circumstances, I have not been able to visit the school or even just Boston at all. As a result, no matter, how much research I do, I kind of feel like I don't know anything about the environment or atmosphere there. Basically, I'm wondering if there is anyone out there that could possibly provide some kind of advice or perspective that can help me decide if the school is a good "fit" for me?

The only person urging me to go to Stony Brook is my mom because she wants me to stay closer to home and because it's cheaper. I also got into Stony Brooks Honors College and their Honors program for Computer Science, which combined make it quite tempting, but the issue with it is that I still feel like I consistently hear Northeastern is better, and when I visited Stony Brook, it sorta felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, which I'm quite not a fan of. Though, I also hear that most things are actually just a 10-minute bus stop away. Nevertheless, Boston on the other hand, I assume, is quite the opposite and more what I'm looking for. But again, can anyone provide an honest description of the school and surrounding area, perhaps also including what kind of people or personalities thrive in such a place?

Side note: Northeastern is currently too expensive (meaning costs are also sorta playing a role in my decision) but my family is in the middle of appealing the financial aid package due to a drastic change in income, which we do expect to improve it a decent amount, but ultimately it will still be more expensive than Stony Brook, but probably not so that it's still impossible to pay for.

Replies to: Should I commit? (What is Northeastern like?)

  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Forum Champion Northeastern, Forum Champion Math/Computer Science Posts: 3,652 Forum Champion
    edited May 1
    @denk0403

    Hey, Northeastern CS student here - I think I've commented on your threads before! Some notes:

    - While Northeastern has a bit of a better rep and program for CS, Stony Brook is known in its own right and will be plenty solid. CS isn't about where your degree is from, and while co-op can help open doors, CS is a very hot field right now so most grads from good CS schools do well. It's worth noting that SBU comes up at #31 on research to top CS conferences in the past 10 years, only 10 "ranks" behind Northeastern. While I love Northeastern's program and think it is indeed the better program in many ways, SBU is not uncomparable or drastically worse.

    http://csrankings.org/

    - Boston is indeed an incredibly vibrant city, and Northeastern is right in the middle of it with plenty to do. That fit factor is absolutely important. I'd be happy to detail more, but generally, your description is right. It's central to many great areas, easily able to walk to Fenway, Back Bay, Copley, and the South End and the T means you can get more or less anywhere in Boston or Cambridge in 45 minutes. It's a pretty clean city compared to NYC, a bit smaller in height but plenty of character and very young given the concentration of college students. Northeastern students are generally very much city people who go out and explore Boston as much as they are on campus. There's a pretty diverse social scene in terms of personalities just like most schools, but city lover and bigs fans of co-op are generally two ubiquitous traits.

    - Given that it's May 1st and you're likely not getting your package back by then, I would commit to Stony Brook no matter what happens in the end. Before though, make sure you understand how the deadlines for both work given the situation.

    - Once you hear back with financial aid, it really depends on what the difference is and if your family can afford it. It sounds like Northeastern would be worth some premium since it seems to be a better fit and a slightly better CS program, but not if it means loans or financial hardship for your family. That really can only be answered once the new package comes back.

    Hope that helps!
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