How to choose between two colleges

I am very conflicted between two schools and my time for choosing is waning

School A (St. Bonaventure University)
Pros: I like the campus
Sense of community
Mainly it is cheaper, $19,000 after taking out a loan

Smaller School (1,500 undergrad)
My entire family and my best friend went/are going there. I kind of want to get away from everything I Know

School B (University of Dayton)
Pros: I also love the campus
Like their academic program better for what I want to study
Larger enrollment (8,000)

Further from home (distance is important, but will not make or break my decision)
More Expensive $29,000 with a loan TC)

As an aside I am planning on doing International Studies and participating in Army ROTC, if I do ROTC and commit to it, cost will become a non factor. (Not that I would ever consider doing it for just the money)

What do your instincts tell you, if all financial things were equal? Then factor in the cost - you like UD’s academic program better, but you may decide to change majors later on - happens all the time. What if you decide not to do ROTC and cost does become a factor? Then you’re stuck with a big bill. It sounds like you have 2 good options, but you need to decide which feels like home and whether you can afford it.

If you don’t do ROTC, then what will be your total debt after 4 years for each school? Also, how much will you have paid for the 4 years?

The loan would be for $5,500 at either school. I am lucky enough that my parents “could” afford both but that does not mean money is not a factor

So about $20,000 in debt over four years and I am still waiting to see about any possible FAFSa financial aid

A larger university will most often have more options and facilities to choose from than a smaller university. That’s, of course my opinion. :slight_smile:

There are good calculators at Run some of those and talk the money issues through with your parents.

Sounds like you prefer Dayton but hesitate because of the cost. What do your parents say?
Have you done any overnight (attended classes, ate in the cafeteria, visited the library…) at both?

Also consider:

  • Dayton’s book scholarship. As long as you’ve visited and filed fafsa, your award should have included $4000 ($1000 per year) for books.
  • Dayton tuition guarantee means costs stay about the same over 4 years. If you are at $29k year one, that is your cost years 2-4 as well. There maybe be slight changes if you pick very expensive housing later, but basically, you know your cost. Other schools may go up maybe 3-5% per year.
  • $3k study abroad scholarship- did you receive this? Might be helpful with intl studies major. There are some issues with it, but if used right it is great. Just DM me if you want to hear more.

All of these things add up and should be included in your spreadsheet. Hopefully Dayton is closer to SB costs than you think, all things considered! Good luck!

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Sounds like you prefer Dayton. Hope you can make it work out.

We visited both. St. Bonaventure seemed like a great place for someone who wants a small, self-contained, nurturing college environment, but it is certainly small
and rural. Dayton is also pretty self-contained, but is so much larger and has options off campus. Students seemed happy and friendly at both locations, but it sounds like Dayton would offer more of what matters to you academically and socially.

Bonnies! I’m not even a sport person, but watching basketball in the Reilly Center can’t be beat.
Seriously though, the reason so much of your family and your friend have gone is that it’s a really great environment. I wouldn’t pay more for Dayton unless the major you are looking at is better by a huge amount. What major is it?

Ok so I looked at post history and can’t really comment on international relations. But I will say that St. Bonaventure alumni tend to be very helpful to other alumni. I don’t know anything about Dayton, so I can’t say that it’s different with them.
Additionally, I participated in ROTC my freshman year. This was ages ago, and I don’t know what it’s like everywhere. But at SBU, it was a close knit group. ROTC students seemed to become very good friends. Again, maybe it’s like that with any ROTC program, but it was a nice feature at SBU.