Cornell University (debt) vs. William and Mary (full scholarship)

Hi guys I have recently been admitted to both William and Mary and Cornell University, however I have a major dilemma. If I go to Cornell I would have to pay 5300 a year (that is my student contribution + my federal work study) or I could go to William and Mary and pay absolutely nothing. I know both are good schools but I’m extremely torn at the moment. I don’t work and have never worked before in my life, and I don’t think I could do work study bc I wouldn’t be focused on my academics enough (especially since doing engineering). Also I don’t have student contribution money as I don’t have a job, and haven’t had any luck getting one (never been called back for an interview). Any advice would be helpful, and I really don’t want to take out student loans but might have to if I go to Cornell. Thanks for any help!!

Both of my kids went to Cornell and they worked ~15 hrs a week while in school. They didn’t qualify for work study, but it was my stipulation in giving them monthly allowance. A lot of students work while in school. If you have never worked before, maybe it is time to start. The reason I insisted on them working was I wanted make sure they could get summer internship and ultimately a fully time job.

William and Mary is ranked #32 and Cornell is #14. You need to figure out if the difference is worth the money.

Have you been admitted to Cornell via ED already? If so, you should have withdrawn from W&M already.

No via likely letter

Finding an internship will rest on having work experience. So you should try and work 5-6 hours a week regardless of where you go.
5,300 is for your own expenses, ie’, books, transportation, clothes, pizza, toothpaste, etc. Take the $2,500 subdsidized loan, rent books instead of buying them, live frugally, and work about 5 hljrsa week for your basic expenses, and that’s done.
Have you visited either one?
If you haven’t been to Cornell, email admissions and ask them, on the eventualiry of your admission, if they do fly-ins for low income admitted students.

Paying 5300 for Cornell is a great deal. You should be able to pay back the loans very quickly.

Getting an Engineering degree from Cornell is a big deal. I don’t know about an engineering degree from W&M.
It is probably a good one, even if not Cornell good. But, yes, there is a but. You know yourself best, how you learn, how you manage your time, how you handle stress, etc.

Some students juggle work study and class work well, some don’t. My daughter’s RA has double majors ( not engineering), work as RA and cooks to order to make extra money. He can do all of that and succeed academically. I ask several of my daughter’s engineering friends, none of them think# they could do double major and work. Several of her engineering frineds do not work, has one major and often are stressed. They study hard. According to my daughter, harder than her, a liberal art student (she works 7-8 hours a week). This can also be because mine seems to enjoy a social side a bit much.

Think carefully and, talk to your parents. Will you be able and willing to work very hard, manage work and study and handle stress well? If you are not able or willing to, it does not matter if it is Cornell or Harvard, it is not for you. Not every student has the same make up or determination. You know your strength, weaknesses and limitations better than any of us. However, Cornell is a wonderful school according to my D. They provide a lot of support to help students succeed. So, that is a big plus.

@ayeekayyy If you don’t mind me asking, how did you find out your FA package for Cornell? I was also admitted via LL and have not received/been aware FA info was out.

From your original post, it looks like you are going to major in engineering. William and Mary does not have engineering other than through a 3+2 program with Columbia (where you would pay Columbia tuition), so that would favor Cornell. What would your intended major be if you go to W&M?

I don’t think running up too much debt is advisable for undergraduate in many cases, but I agree it should be pretty manageable from Cornell @$5,300 per year.

Cornell is the wiser choice–especially for one intending to major in engineering.

If I went to William and Mary I would most likely do pre-med, so I would major in biology or chemistry. But after reading all these posts I think I will go with Cornell, so thank you!

@erstwhile I used the Cornell net price calculator, using my parents tax information. All my other schools financial aid packages have been extremely accurate, which is why I am assuming Cornell’s will be the same as well

If pre-med, as opposed to engineering, then that makes Wm. & Mary attractive. Cornell for engineering, Wm. & Mary for pre-med if free.

Don’t major in biology - there’s an oversupply of them due to many of them not making it into med school. See if you could major in biostatistics for instance.
W&M 3/2 would leave the last two years unfunded so Cornell is a better deal.
Cornell Engineering sounds like a better path to a career than pre-med at W&M since about 75% pre-meds never pass the pre-med pre-reqs gauntlet (and among those half don’t get into meeting school).
What else are you interested in that you could take at W&M?

If you are interested in medical school, engineering can be a pretty tough route, because the classes are tough and they don’t prepare you as directly for MCAT as a pre-med curriculum. Just something to consider. You have to have high GPA and high MCAT for medical school.

If you are interested in engineering, I would definitely say Cornell is a better option as it has a very good engineering school, your cost of $5,300 a year, if accurate, is very reasonable and probably manageable. W&M as indicated does not have engineering, so you would need another route like 3/2.

Personally, I would say Cornell because everything about Cornell matches my interest. This is biased. You should look up the two universities yourself and see which one matches you better. Rankings are just numbers. 5300 a year is a good deal. You can work part-time and start saving your money to pay off the loans. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

“I don’t work and have never worked before in my life” “I don’t have student contribution money as I don’t have a job”

Seems to me both of these can be solved by getting a work-study job. As others have said, $5300 per year is a great deal and would be silly to pass up just because you’re scared of getting a job on campus. I’ve had a work-study job here my full four years and haven’t found it hard to balance with academics. Last year I worked two on-campus jobs, had an internship, did research with a professor, and was interviewing for post-graduate jobs. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can. There are a bunch of options available for work-study. I work in a library and have the flexibility to do a lot of my work/studying while I’m working my shift (it’s one of the smaller libraries so it’s typically less busy). If this is really all that’s holding you back, don’t let it.