ASU Barrett vs College of Wooster vs UMass Amherst vs Creighton University

Hello, I know a ton of other students here have some super impressive schools they got into, so I do apologize that mine are all a bit more lackluster.

I’ve already eliminated a lot of other schools for various reasons included U of A, CU Boulder, and some other ones as well. I’ve also had to eliminate my top choices that I was able to get into, Reed College and GWU (Via Paris Scholars Program) due to costs.

This really bummed me out and is making my decision process that much harder to process, since I even visited GWU and I loved it, but I can’t go without racking up an insane amount of debt.

It feels really difficult to cut through the smoke of marketing and see how good the schools really are.

Anyway, on to the schools, I have left.

ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College

  • Net Cost of 15k (Instate + Scholarships)
  • Barrett, in particular, provides advantages (first choice in classes, more advising options, well-regarded)
  • Good amount of research opportunities, large university, but Barrett apparently gives it a smaller feel (ideal)
  • On the bad side, it’s massive, it’s a bit too close to home, and I’m not sure if it’s good enough I guess. Hard to explain that feeling, but it’s mostly because it’s pretty much in my backyard.
  • I am concerned it will not open the door to the best opportunities I could get.

The College of Wooster

  • Net cost of ~33k (prior to any loans)
  • Really small and cozy campus
  • Well known for its undergraduate capstone program (USNews compares it to Princeton in this regard)
  • The campus lifestyle is pretty appealing to me, I was able to visit it recently
  • A decent amount of opportunities, and more personalized mentoring, teacher relations, advising
  • However, it is so small that I’m not sure how good the research opportunities are, and it’s in a very rural location.

UMass Amherst

  • ~39K net cost a year (prior to any loans)
  • Highest-ranked school I am still able to consider
  • Beautiful campus and location
  • High-research output
  • However, it’s really far, and does not offer my preferred major. I applied and was admitted as a Classics and Philosophy major because I was super unsure at the time of applying, so I’d have to switch. Plus it’s the most expensive school I have left.

Creighton University

  • 25k net cost per year (pre-loan)
  • Well known for its pre-med programs
  • Most affordable out of state option
  • Low cost of living in Omaha
  • Increased admittance chance for CU Med School
  • However, I am not a huge fan of the Jesuit affiliation, personally. And I’m just in general not sure if it’s the best for what I need.

I am also waitlisted at Wake Forest University, which would be incredible to get into, but I have no clue what my chances are, plus it’s a very expensive school.

For context, I more likely than not to want to study Neuroscience, and possibly slap on some minor(s) or double major. Ideal for any school would be a lot of great undergrad research opportunities, great pre-health advising, and the potential for strong relations with faculty for eventual letters of rec. I would be on a pre-med track at all of these schools, and I am hoping to apply to Med school, a Ph.D. program, or some combination of the two. I prefer urban environments and cooler climates, and ideally a more progressive student body/ locale. Please let me know if I have omitted any crucial information!

Thank you in advance for any advice, I desperately need it. If you think I should put Wake Forest University, Reed College, or GWU back in the running, let me know!

Thanks again.

ASU, the others sound unaffordable (you mentioned loans).

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@sbdad12 has a daughter who is very happy at ASU Barrett. Maybe he can lend some insight.


I agree with @nw2this and @lkg4answers

We live in NJ. Our son is studying engineering at Barrett and is very happy there.

I don’t see why you would want to amass debt to go anywhere else.

@usma87 might have something to say on the matter too.


@weempwomp , all good schools. Congratulations!

As mentioned, my daughter is studying at Barrett with a full tuition ride. She is very happy, and passed up some other scholarships (Oregon, CU Boulder) and higher ranked schools (Michigan, Wisconsin, UCSB,UCSD, and Cal Poly SLO).

You are not compromising one bit by attending Barrett. It combines the best of a large school and a small school. We were really impressed with the program. My own opinion is that it’s the best of these four schools for what it offers, especially at that cost, which for you is even less expensive than our offer. I also think Wake Forest is a very good school, but I really like Barrett and think it has more going for it than Wake. Especially when you consider the cost. Barrett caters to students. As someone that went to a big university, that’s really key.

I had some doubts too and I asked my own grad business school, which is Top 30, if when they considered an applicant would they be an ASU grad vs a Barrett grad. The answer was Barrett, and it carried extra weight.

You might check about using your scholarship there for a 4+1 program at ASU where you can get a Master’s degree in the 4th year paid by the scholarship. My daughter is looking at that with Thunderbird.

Don’t bother looking at rankings. They are meaningless, especially when you look at all the schools that accepted you. Grad schools will respect any of these and they look for college diversity in their classes. If you don’t go to grad school, your major will have a bigger impact on getting a job than the actual school. After your first job, no one will care about the school or maybe even the major…they will only care about the job you are leaving and your experience.

The only bad choices are going to a school where you are unhappy and going into lots of debt.

FWIW, I have a friend who went to Creighton on a full scholarship, and he loved it, but I wouldn’t take out more than $40K in loans to attend there (4 years at Creighton vs Barrett). I certainly would be careful about taking an additional $72K (Wooster) and $96K (UMass) in loans. You could use that money for grad school, a down payment on a home, travel, a car, etc

You might also consider a semester or year abroad. That certainly isn’t your backyard.

Good luck and PM me for any questions. Glad to help.


I agree with everyone else. ASU is a very good university, and avoiding loans is huge. If you end up in medical school then avoiding loans for undergrad is big. If you do not end up in medical school and instead take a different path, then avoiding loans is big.

“First choice in classes”, “Good amount of research opportunities” are valuable. It might be close to home, but if you are living on campus it will feel like a completely different world compared to living at home.

I do not see any compelling reason to spend the extra $$. With a neuroscience major, save a few $$ for medical or graduate school.


Would you need to borrow money (beside the usual federal loans, 5.5K for freshman year) at any of these universities?

You’re clearly a very strong student.
Wooster may be the closest to your “ideal” college but it sounds too expensive.
My recommendation would be to do these 3 things:

  • if you prefer Wooster to Barrett, email Wooster and see if they can review your financial aid application, taking into account (z that changed in 2020 compared to 2019), explaining you would definitely attend if the college were affordable.
  • deposit at Wooster if affordable, or Barrett otherwise. Barrett is a great college as explained above.
  • wait for the list of colleges that miscalculated yield, it’s published early May. I expect that with TO and covid disturbing a lot of processes, that list will have interesting opportunities. If you have a few commonapps ready to go, you’ve got nothing to lose.
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Besides the usual federal, no, I would not need to.

I’m not sure what you mean by that last bullet point, could you please explain what that is?

ASU Barrett is a great affordable option for you. We’re local so we know many, many Barrett students and they all seem to be thriving. Both my kids got into Barrett but, like you, felt it was too close to home so I understand that feeling as well. As you’ve already figured out, Wooster ranks #14 on the list of undergraduate research opportunities, which is excellent.

It really comes down to whether your parents are willing to pay the extra cost for Wooster and wouldn’t consider it a hardship. I would not recommend going into significant debt to go to Wooster though, especially if you plan on med school, which is very expensive. I think @MYOS1634 last bullet point is referring to the fact that in May some schools will announce they’re still taking applications because they miscalculated yield.

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^ yes, in May some colleges re-open their applications because the students they expected to enroll… didn’t; due to unpredictable covid impact, there would likely be more colleges on this list than usual. As a result, you could try and find a college that is similar to Reed but more affordable for you.

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Oh got it, I understand, thank you both for the clarification. Is there a single master list that is released for this? And/or where would I find a list for that, when the time comes? @Corinthian

Thank you all so much for your responses, I really do appreciate all the perspectives and insights you have all offered!

I’ve still got a bit to think about, but I’m definitely leaning more and more towards Barrett. Hopefully, I can make the best of the situation, it was never really my topic choice, but thank you all again.

@nw2this @lkg4answers @NJEngineerDad @sbdad12 @DadTwoGirls @MYOS1634 @Corinthian


you deposit somewhere by May 1st, then you select various colleges from the list and see if you get a better offer.
Check this website, there’ll be a link and comments highlighting the best possibilities.

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Hi @weempwomp - as NJEngineerDad mentioned, I have 7 years of experience with Barrett. My oldest DS cycled through several majors before settling on Chemistry. With AP credits, he was able to minor in business with no issue and graduate in 4 years.

My current Barrett DS is going to finish his BS in Computer Science in Dec. He is in the 4+1 program and will then have his MS the following December.

I can think of a few advantages of Barrett - you kind of covered them, but here is my take.

Small school on a big campus - there are a few aspects to this that are important. I can appreciate the daunting nature of the BIG campus. Barrett is truly an enclave within that campus. WIth you focus on neuro - research opportunities will be important. The BIG school gets you access to great opportunities that smaller schools will not. There is a strong connection with the Mayo Clinic in town, so that won’t hurt you either. The next aspect is flexibility afforded students on a large campus. If you want to change majors or add minors/second majors, a large school will have more ability to accommodate you with more sections and more fields of study.

Barrett students can easily graduate in 4 years or less. If you have AP credits, you can earn up to 30 credits through that process. You essentially start as a sophomore.

Barrett Community - housing is available all four years, should you want it. My DS has roommates from the greater Phoenix area, so it happens. The “Human Event” classes are smaller and many times a cohort of similar majors. You get the chance to form friendships right away. This is another big school challenge.

On the downside - it sounds like you are a local and looking for the opportunity to establish some separation. I get it. Also, not really sure of ASU’s or Barrett’s stats on pre-med. As stated above, if Med school is in your future, keep your financial burden for undergrad to a minimum. What happens if you determine that medicine is really not your future? Your other choices will leave you with more debt. I am absolutely against acquiring over $100k in debt to get a bachelors from anywhere.

That’s my 2 cents - best of luck to you in your decision.


First off, your choices are not lackluster. They’re unusual in grouping - but not lackluster. You got into some great schools - congrats.

GW - I’m glad you put finances into the equation. It’s why one should apply to many schools. It’s best not to fall in love - because in the end you don’t want debt. So congrats. As many have said, ASU is a fine school and Barrett is well thought of and I’ve yet to read a bad comment on the CC about it.

Creighton is fine - if you want to live somewhere new - just know it will be cold. UMASS - also solid - and cold - but why over ASU other than it’s out of state and perhaps you want to get away. So that to me is a question.

The “outlier” here is Wooster - small school in Ohio, known for research - what possessed you to apply. You’re talking about a few thousand kids.

You’ll likely get your most personalization here - but you won’t have the social opportunities of the others - or sports - i.e ASU big time in all, UMASS middle of the road and Creighton big just for basketball. Creighton, btw, is religious if that’s your thing.

So back to Wooster - if not ASU and you said you like Wooster’s size, I’d consider it. I wouldn’t say it’s exactly rural - it’s not far from Cleveland or Columbus - but yeah it’s out there. But you’ll be on a college campus, away from the big schools that have Einstein and Chick Fil A.

So is the $$ worth it to you to get that level of intimacy? It may be.

It’s odd to me you liked it though if GW was your favorite - because GW is just DC itself…it’s the city (their part of Foggy Bottom) - GW doesn’t even have dining halls so loving Wooster and GW is like loving the Yankees and Red Sox - polar opposites.

I’d think about what you want - large (ASU) or tiny (Wooster). Wooster will definitely give you more individual attention - and getting into med school is a huge project so it might help you there.

But few end up applying or going to med school…so decide if the $ saved, the travel time, seeing your family more, etc. is worth it.

But I think dismissing Wooster before thinking about why you’d go there - is a mistake.


FWIW, a friend of mine’s son was accepted to Wooster a couple of years ago, with generous merit aid. He declined due to cost and planned to attend his in-state U. Wooster came back and increased their aid offer significantly, to better than match his in-state tuition. Ultimately he stuck with his local university since by that time he had made up his mind and emotionally committed to it. However, Wooster’s efforts were impressive.


I think the OP is long gone :slight_smile:

No, I’ve been checking back, I’m just still thinking everything over… I’m leaning towards ASU Barrett but I’m not committed yet, unfortunately :slight_smile:

Nothing wrong with asu and Barrett. Just make sure what you’ll study is on one campus as they have multiple.

I still think you should look at Wooster. Your favored schools…Reed, Wake…are on a much smaller scale. Yes Barrett is a smaller school within a school but ASU is still one of the largest schools in the country.

Good luck to you.

What did you decide?