GW vs BU guaranteed transfer

major: CS / could potentially go into neuroscience or biomedical eng.

  1. Got a guaranteed transfer to BU for my sophomore year of college. Obviously no merit for transfers
  2. Got presidential (20k/yr) scholarship for GW

Issue: I’d have to stay local and commute for option 1. Only reason I’m considering this is because I’m being told that a degree from BU holds much more than GW. I do like both cities. BU was my top choice (after UT Austin lol) but it’s throwing me off that they didn’t want me as a freshmen admit.

I get no need-based aid from either, so three years at BU = 4 years at GW. Putting cost aside, which one would be worth it.

Bottom line: which school is better? BU or GW. BU ranks higher so I was considering staying here for another year and then transferring.

Please let me know any opinions on the matter!!

You want your four years of college to now just be three ?

GW wants you, is cheaper. Hmmmm.

Who is telling you BU is better ? Have you looked at GW’s CS outcomes.

Stop listening to hearsay. Find the facts.

Forgetting that, even if BU is better, one wants to give you a full experience. One wants you for your money, putting you in a difficult position social wise. Both will get you great employment.

GW is clearly where you should go. The BU guaranteed transfer is a disservice to students.


How much more time do you have to make the decision? If you are guaranteed transfer by BU, and like it more, why don’t you consider enrolling in a community college and do basic courses that will transfer. That way you will be saving the tuition for a year. You may want to contact BU admissions to get a list of community colleges and equivalent courses they offer for transfer to BU. Of course they won’t count them for gpa calculation at BU.

Bio medical is the most sought after discipline at BU, don’t make plans based on getting into that later if you haven’t already applied for that major now.

Eh, I disagree that a guaranteed transfer is a disservice. The best finance writer I’ve ever read (Morgan Housel) transferred to USC (I believe from a CC) and entered IB from USC. He’s mentioned before how that’s the smartest path. Save money and still graduate from a good school.

But it would make switching majors and graduating on time very difficult/impossible.

Well - I see it as a disservice in that it’s an advantage for the college. You are backfilling early grads and / or transfer outs. But for the student, they are denying you a four year experience, the opportunity to start off with your peers.

You could make the CC argument about most any school in regards to $ and cents - and for many it is smart. That’s why the UC system has such a robust path.

But for the student who clearly wants a four year experience or they wouldn’t look at GW - I see it as deficient.

While I do agree that for some it can help save money, the issue is that BU won’t give me any merit as a transfer and both schools are’t giving me need based. So 3 full years at BU will end up totaling 4 full years at GWU in the long run(money-wise). Since I’m STEM focused, I want to choose the best school for that field if I’ll end up spending the same amount.

I’m not enthusiastic about missing out the first year and coming in as a transfer to be very honest. But, if it’ll benefit me more than all four years at GWU I might take it?

Will it be that bad being a transfer and missing out on the rigor and experience of a first year student? If Boston is that much better than GW, then maybe I’ll do it.

As for major, I applied as CS for CAS. I’m not set on what I’m going to do in the long run, but it’s definitely revolving around STEM.

Can’t advise much on GWU Stem/CS strengths. But BU is planning on a new Data Science building exclusively dedicated to CS, statistics and few other inter related departments. Slated to be done soon but guess got delayed by the pandemic. Something you may want factor in.

My son goes fo Alabama engineering. Find it in the rankings. He’s interning this Summer, rooming with 2 Ga Tech kids. Rankings, in STEM fields like this, are great pub. You won’t find Alabama in the rankings but you will find most everyone with an over 30 ACT and getting great jobs. Just like you do at other unranked schools like Fl Tech, UAH.

My point is… you applied to GW for a reason. If you like it, you want the four years, then it’s fine. In the end, guess what-you’ll get a job or go to grad school. You can only get one job!!

Go to BU. Guess what. You’ll get a job or go to grad school. Go to the best opportunity…the best feel…not where you hear or you read it might be better. Ask your parents who they work for. Or your friends parents. You’ll find a lot of schools you couldn’t imagine…with far less reps/pedigree.

It’s about you my friend. Those are both great schools. Four years for the price of three, making connections and friends from day one instead of after everyone else has made them. Honestly it’s obvious. Well to me at least.


Yeah, that brings up an interesting point I forgot to mention :slight_smile: the acceptance rates. For BU it has been in teens overall for past few years and even lower in engineering and CS. You may want to compare for GWU. Also recommend to check the faculty profiles at both the places.

No question BU is harder to get into. No question GW is a money school…they get aggressive. They want the kids. BU a stronger name. GW a level down in rank etc

If the question was four years vs four years then it’s is BU worth $80k more? To some maybe. To others not.

But one school is treating him first rate. One as second class.

My daughter is going to College of Charleston this Fall. They pushed hard for her…dean, prof called. She’s a Charleston Scholar And Intl Scholar. Yes, her tuition oos next year is $1k but honestly it was $22k when we accepted. They’ve upped her greatly since.

She got into Washington & Lee, Florida, Miami, American. Plus UGA and #1 U of SC Honors

I travel for work and in knoxville a girl who waited on me several times went to Utk over Northwestern. Sub in Harvard and you will find the same story at every flagship.

If every kid only chose highest rated or best faculty, college would be like the top 5k kids in the country went to Harvard. The next to Stanford. By the time BU went they’d all have 28 ACTs. GW. 26.

Fortunately it’s not how it works.

There are trade offs. The OP has to decide what’s right for him…


Yeah, you all made really good points.

If I got into BU as a freshmen, I’d pick it no doubt. I know I should be grateful for being given the chance to transfer but something about it doesn’t sit right with me. It didn’t make me feel good, I have a 4.3, multiple ec’s, leadership of programming team, and even research from nasa sees internship. I guess I saw it more of a target than a reach so that would be my doing. It’s still an opportunity to graduate from there anyway.

As for GW, I’m ready to choose it but thinking about how I’d spend the same amount as 3 years of BU when they have better standings on the ranking scale makes me feel a bit anxious about picking it.

All in all, college is what you make of it and I’ll try to make the best choice!
Again, thanks for all the input!

I’d take the GW offer and immerse yourself in the experience. You may find you love GW. You can still use the BU transfer offer if you’re unhappy with your GW experience, knowing there’s no obligation to actually transfer if you ultimately elect to stay at GW. You could also try to transfer to a bunch of schools for sophomore year. I think BU has a fairly substantial transfer class but I have no idea how well they treat their transfers as far as housing, financial aid, events/orientation for transfers. I’ll also note that they’re still taking transfer applications for this admissions cycle….and looking at their common data set from prior years, their transfer acceptance rate is much higher than their freshman acceptance rate FWIW.

Good luck wherever you land! You’ll do very well because you’re already a excellent student.


You’d choose it at $80k more four years to four years? Then if you feel so strongly maybe you should choose it. Many would choose GW four to four due to finances. $80k is a lot. That’s the emotional battle within. That you don’t know your ultimate goal is another red flag. You say CS now. Depending on the study 35-60% of kids will leave STEM. Many STEM majors…bio and chem…don’t lead to good paying jobs.

Before you said $$ matters. But based on if you got into BU as a freshman, you’d go. Maybe you should re evaluate.

Not sure your SAT/ACT but you made the mistake of so many. Society is grade inflated. Everyone…ok I’m embellishing…but tons have a 4.3. Frankly it’s not that high. BU. NORTHEASTERN. there’s kids getting into Ivy getting rejected. USC rejects Stanford people. Admissions is a crazy game. You have solid public schools with over 4.0 on avg students…not top…just solid. So perhaps you should have applied to safeties with big merit. If you have a sibling that’s a good lesson for them.

Not sure what state you are from but do you have a cheaper flagship option if not too late ?

Anyway you’ve heard opposing viewpoints. I’m interested to see what you choose.

It’s clear you think BU is superior…I’d ask why ? Is it the rank (which is not a good reason to choose a school), the city, comfort on campus or something else ??

I wouldn’t necessarily say BU as treating him as second rate. There is simply no room for them to accommodate all the students with excellent credentials applying for a few limited spots in professional fields like CS, engineering and business.

Also one need not necessarily get carried away by whatever royal treatment one gets showered at one place vs hardly any notice from the other. An example of my niece vs your daughter’s. She got admitted to a business major for undergrad at a reasonably well known technical school (now a days business, math and technology are tightly intervened) with the max possible scholarship they are known to be giving. Also the dean of the business school there called and left a voice mail to contact him if any further questions or guidance required. Though finances were never a concern for her family, they were mightily impressed and urged her to consider going there seriously but left the final decision to her. She decided to go to some other school with no price break and with hardly any communication from.

100% agreed. It’s to each kid what matters.

College is a Business. BU knows they will have churn…drop outs and early grads. This is their way to fill the gaps. They know there’s enough willing to pay full pop for the ‘prestige’ they’ve marketed to.

Many would choose BU at $80k over GW. Many would choose GW to save the $80k. If ONE got into their home state school for half of GW, most would choose that.

My daughter chose C of Charleston…in part due to dad. Her top choice was American but at $58k I didn’t see the value. Or $53k at Miami. Or $81k at W and L. Had she won the full tuition scholarship at W&L she interviewed for, she’d have chosen it. But she would not have liked it. It’s mountainous, outdoorsy. She was in heaven in Charleston on both visits. The school reaching out three times helped but I knew for more than a year she’s end up there. When I eliminated AU she didn’t bat an eye. If she gets off the Emory WL, it’ll still be C of C.

Everyone is different. The OP is basing this on ranking…which as we all know is data US news decided to throw into a formula. It’s near meaningless. Does the OP even know what is in that rating ? Does the OP know the career outcomes for each school in his major?

The OP is destined to be unhappy. If he goes to GW, for some crazy reason he thinks it’s lesser. It’s not. And you know what mom and dad can do with the extra coin. Help you buy a house and car. Alleviate their stress.

If he goes to BU he’ll be uncomfortable trying to make friends. And by the way, what if he goes to CC and struggles first year. You still need to meet certain marks to get that guaranteed transfer. So yes, to me, they are making a business decision and they are able to hoodwink the student into a one sided deal by flexing their pedigree story. It’s marketing and operational excellence. Does the OP want to fall for it ?

He needs to realize BOTH are great schools…neither high ranked for STEM…but both are great names.

The grad outcomes, as in salaries, can be found on the College Scorecard. BU CS majors earn more on average than GWU CS majors. BU also graduates more CS grads than GWU. But that may mean smaller class sizes at GWU? And GWU has a BA/MS program while GWU MS CS grads earn more on average than those with only a bachelors from both places. BU also has a BA/MS CS program.

@PengsPhils can opine more.

Will the OP bring in AP credits?

Oh, and college admissions is simply crazy competitive these days. Especially this year because there were a lot of deferrals from last year so few slots available this year. USNews ranks 388 national universities. That means BU is in the top 15%. And actually, most of the privates in the top 1% (excluding NYU) take in a small/tiny number of undergrads. When you consider that there are 3.5M HS grads in the US each year, eyeballing it, the top 20 research U’s only take in 1% of HS grads, #21-28 take in another 1%, #29-35 takes another 1%. That’s means, if everyone ends up based on how they did in HS and USNews rankings (obviously they don’t but let’s play along), BU would be top 4th percentile (top 5th percentile if you include LACs).

Those stats are only kids on federal aid…correct ? I have no doubt that on avg, BU is ‘better’ although you also need to take location into account…I listed other reasons for choosing GW. In the end, you can only take one job. To me, the $80k + starting a year later are red flags…to me. Maybe not the OP.


You make good points. I don’t think I was clear about the money so I’ll try to explain it.

If I pick BU, I’d be staying home + commuting to a local state college for the first year(~4k for the year). At GW, I got the presidential merit scholarship(20k/yr).

By the time I finish all four years, it will be nearly the same amount as BU for three years.

It won’t be an extra 80k, it’ll be nearly the same final amount by the end of all four years for both options. If I were starting freshmen year at Boston then it would definitely be wayyy more expensive than gw.

So my big question is if I were to end up paying nearly the same amount for either option anyway, which would be better? If I go to gw I will no longer consider transferring to BU, that’s more expensive than staying home.

My only issue against GW is that their engineering school doesn’t seem to be as strong as BU. I am content with CS, only reason I haven’t made the jump to engineering is because I’m still unsure of what it’s like and wanted to test the waters first. I get that rankings don’t matter but some schools excel more than others at certain fields so I just wanted to make sure!

So cost is still factored in, it just won’t play such a strong barrier if the college is worth it, if that makes sense?

Starting a year later is definitely a red flag, not my preferred choice but could be a sacrifice for the final result. I wanted to know if it might be a big mistake.
I hope that all made sense :)) I got a lot of replies I didn’t think I’d get so soon and I’m grateful. I think I’ve made my final choice.

Go to GWU. Neither you nor your parents want you at home. Most people would put the two schools in the same category. Ok Have the full 4 year experience at one school. Transferring is a subpar experience that should be avoided unless it is necessary. Our neighbor took the transfer to Cornell, he wished he had stayed at UVA. So much of the social scene gets established freshman year. If it was MIT, sure. But not for BU.