Accepted off the waitlist at northeastern, with a mandatory gap year, but was awarded a merit scholarship

Was it just lack of space? Lack of demonstrated interest? I don’t quite understand why I would be rejected as a normal applicant and then be given a merit scholarship for the next year.

Just so you know where I currently stand on this. I am already enrolled at Lehigh (with a scholarship worth slightly more). I really don’t think this is an enticing offer. I know NEU is better for my major (computer science), but my subset (computer science and business) is dually accredited at Lehigh and not NEU (please correct me if I am wrong). Additionally from what I’ve seen, aside from the very top CS programs, it is pretty much a wash between the top 100ish. You probably do not agree with me on that but you may believe what you want.

I agree with your assessment. For this combination, I think Lehigh’s interdisciplinary program is more cohesive and I doubt there’s any meaningful difference in the quality of the CS. If you were paying more for Lehigh, then it might be worth weighing whether to wait a year for a better financial value. (Maybe. Although the opportunity cost of a year’s professional income on the other end is significant too.) But with Lehigh as the more affordable choice and arguably a more desirable program as well, why wait when you could get started? I wouldn’t be enticed either. A deferred offer is, IMHO, slightly less obnoxious than a guaranteed sophomore transfer offer, but still underwhelming. Stay the course with Lehigh, and congrats!

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Lehigh has a higher base price, so I will end up paying slightly more for Lehigh (raw numbers make it look like 10,000 but after sophomore year at Lehigh I will probably move off campus which will reduce the price). I honestly think that for my career I’d rather spend the next 4 years at Lehigh then get a job. At northeastern I would be waiting at least 5 years to get a job, but realistically it would be around 6 years because of northeastern’s coops. The return in lifetime income will probably be similar, but the extra 2 years of salary kind of make up for the 10,000. Also I honestly don’t think taking a gap year would be productive for me.

Schools have more “qualified” applicants than they can admit - so that’s why this happened. They had others they just liked better.

Both are solid - and unless you want to take a year off, go to Lehigh. You’ll do well.

Northeastern is really tough to get into - really tough - so that’s a great admit - but the admit is to benefit them and their cash flow, not you.

A WL is a rejection and this is similar - pat yourself on the back for getting in - and keep your plans - unless you literally aren’t ready for school and would like a year off.

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The dynamics are different at every college are different right now in terms of fall enrollments in 2021 and 2022. Every college has been hit with students taking gap years and then having to be factored in the following year. I have no idea what ‘s going on at NEU, but that could have factored in. Freshman admissions may be smaller this year because admitted students who deferred for a year last fall due to Covid are taking seats next fall that would normally have gone to new applicants. They may well see you as a strong applicant who would normally have been admitted but was squeezed out due to unusual circumstances. If that’s the case, their offer may be a solid indication that they value you as a student whom they’d like to have join them.

You will not be waiting 6 years as a result of NEU’s co-ops. They have revised the co-op program so that it can now be done in 4 years by cutting back from 3 co-ops to 2 and by doing some summer course work.

The co-op system at NEU offers an interesting possibility if you prefer NEU. I wonder if they would work with you to line up a work experience this year that could later count as a co-op. I know that this would be unorthodox since their co-ops don’t normally begin until sophomore year, but they are asking for some flexibility from you. So, I think it would be reasonable for you to ask them to be equally flexible. By doing this, you would also be showing initiative and the ability to think outside the box, which could stand you in good stead later on.

You have two good choices.

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If you like Lehigh better, already enrolled, and don’t want to take a forced gap year when otherwise you don’t have to, say “Thank you but no, thanks” to Northeastern.
Lehigh is a very strong school for what you want to study and it sounds like that offer unsettled you more than excited you, which is a big hint that you want to stick with Lehigh. :wink: