Columbia vs. USC full ride (Trustee)

<p>Hello,</p>

<p>I thought I was all decided with USC full ride (Trustee scholarship). But then I was accepted to CU from the waitlist. CU is giving me some aid (~1/4 tuition).</p>

<p>I am struggling with saying no to the Columbia label, and clearly CU vs. USC are completely different experiences.</p>

<p>I want to study physics and something politics oriented (like Poli Sci, IR, or Gov). I may go to grad school if I find physics is my calling or maybe Law school or something along the lines of public service. </p>

<p>I need to decide soon! Help!? </p>

<p>I posted a similar thread on the Columbia forum, I'm posting here to get some other opinions.</p>

<p>You don't state your full Columbia Fin-Aid package but at its simplest level:</p>

<p>Out-Of-Pocket Costs/Commitments</p>

<p>USC = $0 X 4-years = $0 (plus whatever return you retain on the unspent $176,000)</p>

<p>Columbia = ($54,000 - $10,000) {1/4 tuition} X 4-years = $176,000 OOP commitment</p>

<p>Basic Questions:</p>

<p>Is Columbia's "prestige" worth $176,000 to you? If so, what do you expect that added prestige to get you? Is that benefit worth $176,000?</p>

<p>What do you expect to learn/experience at Columbia that justifies spending/incurring this extra $176,000?</p>

<p>You will need financial resources when you go to graduate school; does going to Columbia and the additional financial burdens that entails (financially) limit your options for graduate school?</p>

<p>Am I right that a Trustee scholarship is for tuition only and doesn't cover room and board or other fees? Is the $54,000 figure for Columbia also tuition only? The basic question posed by vinceh is still very accurate but I'm not sure the math is right.</p>

<p>Two of my three kids are recent college grads and were able to graduate without debt. Both are self supporting but they wouldn't be if they had loan payments.</p>

<p>Barty,
There are some other things to consider other than cost. Where do you live now? Are there any family reasons for you to remain fairly close to home? Can your family afford the extra funds for Columbia or does it mean taking out large loans? Where do you hope to live after graduation? Many graduate schools these days appear to prefer students who have been in the workplace for a time.</p>

<p>What kind of experience do you wish to have in college? Both of these universities are urban in large metropolitan areas. Do you prefer New York or Los Angeles? What about climate? Do you enjoy outdoor sports such as swimming, hiking, surfing or sailing? Are your favorites ice skating or cold weather sports?</p>

<p>What about fit? Did you feel one university fit your personality better than another? Do you feel "at home" at SC or Columbia?</p>

<p>There are many factors to consider. For the difference in cost I would suggest USC. </p>

<p>On the Facebook USC Class of 2014 there is a list of colleges students turned down in favor of SC. You might find it of interest.</p>

<p>@Georgia Girl: I live in France, so culturally California is many more steps removed than the east coast. I won't be close to home either way =P. </p>

<p>My family can afford Columbia without large loans, USC would give me financial independence though. I have no idea where I want to live after graduation. I think I may ultimately switch coasts no matter which way I go. </p>

<p>In terms of fit both fit me. I love New York City as much as I love the weather, surfing and (better) skiing in CA.</p>

<p>Did you have the chance to visit either school?</p>

<p>Regardless of your decision, I'm sure you'll do great things at either school!</p>

<p>For Law school I'd go with USC since USC places students in all top American law schools and the undergrad school does not matter as much and law school is expensive so the less undergraduate debt you have at the time of graduation, the better. If you knew you wanted to study poli sci/IR and work in politics/policy on the east coast or internationally I would go with CU for sure if cost is not an issue as their polisci/ir is leagues above usc. </p>

<p>For physics I am not familiar with which would be better.</p>

<p>FYI</p>

<p>$54,000 per year is the approximate total cost of attendance at both USC and Columbia. In both cases, (can you say price-fixing?), tuition comprises about $40,000 of that total. I admit that when I read the thread title I only saw "full ride" and assumed all expenses paid. Regardless, since the room & board are essentially identical I think the question is still valid: What value are you going to receive at Columbia that is worth the additional $120,000?</p>

<p>Have you decided whether you'll take Thematic Option at USC. As a Trustee, you were invited.
If the Core at Columbia (which actually is required by all students) is something else that is attracting you, be aware that TO is also well known as a liberal arts honours program, and as challenging, intensive and rewarding.
Just another thing to think about.
Tough decision...good luck!</p>

<p>NYC and LA are both great places to be... tough choice either way. i'd pick based on where you want to be after college... do you plan on staying on the east coast, or staying on the west?</p>

<p>Barty,
Los Angeles is a center for entertainmnet, technology, telecommunications, biomedicine, aerospace, fashion and trade. It is at the crossroads of the Pacific Rim and Latin America. More than 100 languages are spoken in the city.</p>

<p>It is also a thriving center for dance. There are theatres such as the Ahmanson, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Mark Taper Forum, Gibson Amphitheatre, Greek Theatre, Kodak Theatre, Nokia Theatre. Incidentally, the Disney Concert Hall was designed by Frank Gehry, a Pritzer Prize winning architect alumnus from SC.</p>

<p>In or near Los Angeles is the famous Getty Museum, Norton Simon Museum, Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Other museums of interest are: African American Museum, Grammy Museum, L.A. County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Natural History Museum and more.</p>

<p>Due to the mild climate hiking is available all year in the nearby mountains, Point Mugu, Runyon Canyon and Topanga Canyon. There is the Autry National Center and the Griffith Park Observatory. </p>

<p>SC has outstanding schools of music, theatre and cinema. These schools have cultural events scheduled throughout the year. It is a privilege to hear the great Midori and Ralph Kirshbaum share their gifts.</p>

<p>Scratch my last post, i missed your comment on that.</p>

<p>I might be biased because i'm from NYC, but you'll always have interesting moments while you're living here. Granted, the public transportation system is a rip-off, and king bloomberg just bought himself another term as mayor, but I don't think the new york experience can be found anywhere else. You're at what many consider the art capital of the world (though being from france, i would imagine you could argue otherwise :P), and you'll have an unlimited assortment of cultures, languages, cusines and more here.</p>

<p>Though i'm headed to LA next year, I believe everyone should live in new york at least once in their lives. :)</p>

<p>Academically; Columbia is top-notch material... can't go wrong with it. Its campus is much smaller than USC's though.</p>

<p>I can't imagine campuses getting much smaller than USC, honestly. Wikipedia tells me that both are about 300 acres.</p>

<p>USC has an excellent polisci and IR program, and is home to the largest number of international students of any university in the US. Somehow I think those two are related ;)</p>

<p>Financial independence is a wonderful thing. Don't underestimate it. Tell your parents to take that $120 grand you save them and buy you some awesome birthday presents or something!</p>

<p>As someone who's been to both campuses... it is much smaller haha. search the campuses up on google maps and you'll see what I mean.
Then again... 'SC has pretty much everything within its defined campus, where columbia has things that lie outside the main "campus" with lots of streets running through the area (urban campus)</p>

<p>USC, no doubt. Columbia isn't worth the extra $120k, especially since this is undergrad education we're talking about.</p>

<p>My son had a similar choice 4 years ago- Chicago[ very similar to Columbia], Brown and Dartmouth vrs the Trustees at USC. He took the Trustees scholarship and has had no regrets. The support and encouragement from USC has been outstanding. He has been able to secure summer internship positions through USC all 4 years.
If you were offered the Freshman Science honors and/ or Thematic Options- take them! You will get as rigorous an education at USC as you would for a lot more $$ at Columbia. Plus the advising at USC is much better- Columbia's advising program has a reputation for being " sink or swim on you own" .You will find loads of really really smart students at USC-many from the Engineering program- if you take the Freshman Science Honors classes. The Physics textbook used is the same one used at MIT .</p>

<p>i'll be honest, after you get past honors physics with bickers i hear the physics program isn't that great here. i have a few friends in it and they seem a bit unhappy with the variety of classes and professors. check both curricula and see if they offer a similar range of classes you think will interest you. the IR/poli sci stuff seems great though and if you really like physics you should thrive no matter what, so the extra ~150k probably isn't worth it.</p>

<p>oh man, PHYS-161 and 162 with Bickers. I got out of working on the homework in his office at 3AM once, and I wasn't even the last one. Was totally worth it though.</p>

<p>Dear Barty,
Please let us know about your decision.</p>

<p>@Georgia Girl and all the others. </p>

<p>I have decided to go to USC. Yes Columbia is amazing, yes CU is a unique experience. But the ivy league name is overblown, can wait for grad school and trustee scholarship + honors is just as prestigious in the eyes of grad school admissions or an employer. With a 5.9 billion endowment, CU seriously can do a whole lot better with financial aid.</p>