Advice on college decision

I am currently a senior in high school in NY deciding on what college to attend. My dream school has been Tulane University, which I got into with a 29k/yr scholarship and honors. However, with the scholarship, the school still costs around 47k/yr. My parents have agreed to pay around 30-35k at most per year, meaning I would be responsible for the rest of the cost. I am unsure if it is worth it to take out around 12k in loans per year totaling 48k by the time I end college. My other options with scholarships are Ohio state at $29,500, Umiami at 46k, university of Georgia at 32k, Florida state at 17k, Binghamton at 25k, and UF at 39k. I love Tulane and fell in love with the campus and city when I visited, but my mom is so unsure about me taking out loans because she doesn’t think it’s worth it. I plan on majoring in psychology which I know isn’t any better at Tulane but I love the class size, location and emphasis on community. My other option I am leaning towards is Ohio state because i would not have to contribute any money on my behalf, Ohio state is ranked well for psychology I believe and I would possibly be in the health science scholars group which would help with finding internships especially since the campus is in the capital, Columbus. While I know in the long run Tulane wouldn’t help that much more than osu when applying to graduate school, specifically a physician assistant program, but I just haven’t pictured myself anywhere else. Ohio’s size worries me a little but with the scholars it would make a smaller community I hope. I am also considering University of Georgia. as well, UF would only require me taking like 3-4K/yr in debt which isn’t awful and ik it’s ranked the best out of all these schools, but I just don’t see myself there. I don’t want Binghamton Bc I am from NY and it’s just the same kids I went to school with, I don’t particularly like FSU and it’s location even though it’s the cheapest, and umiami would also require loans. I know this is ALOT but I was wondering if anyone knows anything about these schools or psychology and student life or has an opinion about what I should do?

Pick one of your options that does not require loans. Psychology grads don’t make much on average. You’ll likely end up going to grad school, which will likely require some debt.


With grad school likely in your future, avoiding debt will be a good plan.

If you are worried about size, you can probably find ways to make Ohio State, which sounds like the runner up, smaller. Scholars program, clubs, Greek life. Take a look at some of those and see if you can feel better about that choice.


I’m sorry, but I think Tulane is out of the running. You personally can only take out $5500 as a student, and eventually $7500 per year. I guess you could ask your parents to take out private loans and you could pay them back, but graduating with $40,000 of debt is not just a mountain, it’s Mt. Everest times ten. You might spend your life paying that back, in addition to maybe wanting to buy a house someday and have a family.

Sounds like you are instate for NY. Binghamton is a great school and is similar in size to Tulane. My son attends and absolutely loves it. I know a lot of very happy students. There’s plenty to do in and around Binghamton. Academics are rigorous. If you are looking for a big rahrah sports vibe though, Bing doesn’t offer that. I can assure you there are plenty of parties if that is what you like, but it’s not known as a raging party school. The price is great and the school has a growing reputation for producing excellent grads.


First of all, you are not in love with Tulane. You are infatuated with Tulane. To be in love with something, you have to go through some bad times. Second, Tulane isn’t worth a penny more than tOSU or Bing. Throwing out Tulane should be an easy decision.

You real choices are between tOSU, Bing and FSU. Everyone always thinks that the state flagship is just like High School. That they will know everybody. You won’t. I don’t know about Bing, but for tOSU, the largest HS feeder sends about 80 students a year. That is less than 1% of the freshman class. If you want to avoid them, it is easy.

Is tOSU worth $40k more than FSU? Will your parents let you bank the difference for possible grad school? If not, what does paying $40k less mean to your parents? Are they really stretching themselves for the 30k/year? Psychology as an undergraduate degree doesn’t add any value on top of a general studies degree. It is very difficult to cost justify spending more.


Good point re in state Uni not being like high school.

My son knows four or five kids from high school who attend Bing. His roommate is one of them, and is the only person he hangs out with from high school. All of his other friends are people he met there from different parts of the state, plus a few out of state kids. It definitely isn’t high school.

I enjoyed reading your response. We’ve never been to Bing, don’t know of anyone who’s ever gone there, but right now it’s my daughter’s #1 OOS option. It looks like it might be a toss up between Bing and Rutgers (the college locals don’t want to go to because they think it will be high school, my oldest discovered with 37,000 students it was not). Hoping to take the drive in April, my husband used to work in Binghamton for a year back in the day (monday - Friday commuting from NJ), so he’s a little familiar.

I freely admit that at first I wasn’t convinced Bing was the right place for my son. He had other options but he chose Bing for a number of reasons, value for money being the primary one. He loved living on campus last year. A good friend’s son from NJ felt that even with OOS tuition, it was the “best decision he ever made.” Anyway, my son knew himself better than I did, as Bing is the right place for him.

I love the location too. In the autumn, that whole area is the most beautiful place on earth. They get a fair amount of snow, so it’s at least a little more interesting in the winter than just grey all the time.

The primary disadvantage of Bing is that it can be hard for underclassmen to get classes. My son has always managed to swap around his schedule during the add drop period, but he has to spend a fair bit of time on the computer and be persistent.

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They did offer enough to make it cheaper than in state, which is why it caught our attention. It’s under 3 hours away, and it appears there are buses that leave to and from NYC. This covid situation is making this so difficult. Snow won’t be an issue, she’ll be thrilled not to have to shovel. It’s up there with UMASS Amherst, which we also haven’t visited, and UCONN, no visit.,

My son was in the same position 3 years ago deciding between Tulane and Ohio State for business. He loved Tulane, but it was too expensive and he ultimately decided not to take on debt. He chose Ohio State and is very happy. He does not have any regrets about his decision.

Good Luck!


SUNY Binghamton is a decent school (my sister went there).
The town is depressing, the campus is marginal, but everyone I know seemed
to have done just fine after 4 years there.
I think OSU will be a more fun experience though.

(as far as Bing vs Rutgers … I think Rutgers wins by a decent margin)

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For Tulane, does your financial aid package include any loans or would the 12k per year all be private loans?

Do you like sports? Ohio State usually has a football team that annually competes for conference championships. It’s basketball team is often competitive and sometimes qualifies for the March Madness.

When were you last there, out of curiosity? I have to say that there are parts of the town that are depressing (not by campus), but that is never the word that comes to mind when I visit. It’s a bustling small city. The campus is much improved from when I first visited three years ago. It’s not lovely though. Binghamton, both the college and the town, is a place that grows on you.

Is it common for students to go anywhere off-campus?

It is for my son and his friends. They go downtown. That’s where there are restaurants, shops and bars. (Of course, I’m talking pre COVID). The college has a free shuttle bus that runs until 4 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Yes, a lot of kids go off campus. There’s a lot of stuff on campus too.

I think you got me there …
I haven’t been up there in a while, so my perception is very dated.
I think academically the school is quite strong …
DS will be applying next year, but SBU will be his SUNY tgt for CS

I realize I am going to be out on an island, but I am having a hard time allowing you to let Tulane go.

  1. You earned a $29k per year merit scholarship. That is so incredibly impressive.
  2. If you set out to earn $5k-$10k per year working a part-time job and/or in the summer, that is something you can easily accomplish.
  3. So you may end up with $15-$20k in loans. Honestly, you will take out more when you buy your first car.

My question is less about debt and whether you really want it? Write your own story! Seize the opportunity! You are getting the experience you envisioned! Don’t give up!


Two people on the island :sunglasses:
I think OP should look at making Tulane work. What about going back to the financial aid office and seeing if they will contribute more? That, work and small loan could close the gap.

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I’d love to know how a psych major is earning 10K per year working part time and summers.

Please elucidate us. The psych majors I know (who are heading to grad school) need to spend their non-class time doing ordinary $15/hour jobs for 8-10 hours a week, and spend summers doing the kind of internships and volunteer work that prepare them for competitive applications to competitive grad programs.

Sure-- you can get an online Masters in school counseling, but the kids aiming for the top programs aren’t gearing up for that.

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Wouldn’t it be possible to do a job $10-11 hour (whatever the minimum wage would be or close to it), do close to 20 hours per week for at least $200 per week. If working this amount for 50 weeks, that is 10k.

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