Northeastern V American

Hey everyone, I’m pretty torn between these two schools right now. Each have some pretty big pros and cons and I’m looking for some advice on what people think. I’ll lay out a chart as well as more in-depth explanations

At Northeastern, I’d have a combined major in International Affairs and PolySci. It’s definitely a good school academically, but I’ve heard that the College of Social Science and Humanities isn’t as well funded as the others. I really like Boston as well. (Boston and DC are about the same distance from where I live, I’d be fine in either city, although Boston weather is a bit rougher, so I’d give the edge to DC). The biggest downside is that it costs about $55,000/year, although I have appealed and am waiting to hear back. Both are theoretically affordable since I don’t have any other siblings in college and my family is decently well off, but I don’t want to stress my parents moneywise. Co-ops are also a super cool feature and I would still get to study abroad for at least a semester (hopefully an international co-op as well). They also mean that I’d be likely to get a job which is nice. Finally, I have one of my best friends I’ve known since middle school going, and another super good friend quite possibly going.

At American, I’d be majoring in International Affairs. Additionally, I was accepted to the Sakura Scholars program, which means I’d be spending two years at Ritsumeikan in Kyoto, Japan. It’s not a traditional college experience, but it’s something that seems really cool. I’ve been to Japan before and know some Japanese, but I’m a bit worried about fitting in since there’s only about 10 others in the program, and I’m not sure if I’d make any friends at Ritsumeikan since it’s mostly Japanese students. American would cost me $30,000/year. The campus is nice and I’m super into politics so DC is a plus. But, I’ve heard bad things about the food quality and dorms, and I’m not sure if the school is super great academically. I have one friend possibly going to American and my girlfriend might be in DC as well. I’m not sure if I’d be able to get a job coming out of college at American though, even with the Sakura Scholars program.



Academically stronger school

Co-ops basically guarantee a job after college

One of my best friends going, another one possibly going

Would probably get to skip a semester due to APs (would get a second study abroad or not have to take classes over a summer or something)


College of Social Sciences not valued very highly

Expensive- almost twice the price

Likely won’t have as many opportunities abroad



Sakura Scholars Program- Fresh and Senior year in DC, Soph and Junior in Kyoto


Campus and location

Politically-minded student body

Might have a friend at the school and girlfriend in the area




Job Opportunities after college might be limited

Limited group of friends while abroad

Thanks for the help!

I agree with your list for the most part. Congrats on two great admissions.

I would have a hard time personally saying no to American based on your objective and course of study. It’s a strength and location is amazing for internships.

Lastly, the adventure and opportunities you will gain in Japan will pay big dividends if you are interested in foreign service or related fields. The language immersion alone.

American’s dorms and food are not what you make them out to be. You don’t have as much of a variety as you would at NEU, but two of the three freshmen dorms were recently renovated and the dining hall is pretty good (as far as dining halls go). If that’s a deciding factor for you, you’re worrying about the wrong stuff.
I’m really not sure why you’re still deciding, to be honest. It’s $22,000 cheaper for one of the top 3 IR schools in the nation and AU SIS students have an 88% job placement/grad school rate, so that concern is pretty unfounded. Seeing as AU is in DC, and next to embassy row, you’ll likely be able to have an internship during the school year, which is comparable to co-op.
It looks like American is the obvious choice.

Both fantastic schools but for International relations you have to pick American.

American looks like the clear winner here. Even if the pros and cons were balanced before considering finances, American would win just for saving you six figures over four years. In this case, even at cost parity, American has more to offer for your particular interests and needs - and the language immersion too? Straightforward decision. Northeastern has built a certain “wow” factor that seems to be swaying you, but that reputation really is not built on your areas of interest. If you were a poli sci + data analytics person who wanted to do a combined degree program in the CS school at Northeastern, then there would be more to debate about. But for poli sci +IR, for $100,000 less? American for sure. If you’re really that worried about the food, allocate 5% of that windfall for takeout. :slight_smile:

American is better for political science major.

I also would like to ask if anyone or your kids have taken the combined General Chemistry for Science major in one semester at Northeastern. Will this meet the two General Chemistry in two different semesters as part of the pre-med requirements?

I agree that it sounds like American wins out mainly due to finances and major.

However, your comment about Northeastern’s lack of international opportunities is untrue. International co-ops and Dialogue of Civilizations programs (study abroad for credit) are very common.

Hey! I’m a rising Junior at NU, so I’ll of course advocate for Northeastern lol.

I’m a Criminal Justice and Political Science major and have taken a few international affairs courses, including one when I studied abroad. I also toured American so I’m not completely oblivious to that school. In terms of thinking that the college of social sciences and humanities is not valued as highly…idk I don’t really see it that way. Yes, there’s not as much funding in the department but that’s because there’s less students in the program. I’ve had fantastic Political Science and International Affairs classes. Professors were engaging, students were active participators, and there’s a wide variety of classes to choose from. The average class size at NU is 24, and most of my political science classes have been between 20-30 students which is fantastic for discussions. Even though the school is more STEM heavy, students from across the university are active in politics! For example, I’m co-starting an Amnesty International chapter on campus and 5/7 executive board members are in the STEM field! I also think its beneficial to not be constantly surrounded by people who are all interested in the exact same things or think the same way (one con that I had about American when I toured it).
In terms of opportunities abroad, there are actually SO many ways to go abroad with NU. Theres the NUin program where you are admitted to spend your first semester abroad, there are global co-ops, regular study abroads, and Dialogues of Civilizations which are 4-6 week summer study abroads led by Northeastern professors and you go with around 20-30 other students. I went on a Dialogue after my freshman year to Jordan and Egypt studying Middle Eastern Politics and Society (and International Affairs class), and Arabic Language. Theres also a fantastic Dialoge to Geneva, Switzerland where you basically intern at the United Nations for 6 weeks. I had a few friends who did that Dialogue and said it was amazing.

In terms of co-op at NU, I think the co-op program for Political Science/IA students are so worth it. Being in this field, finding jobs is a bit harder, so any leg up you can get is really good. There are tons of fantastic co-ops for Poli Sci/IA majors, and many of them are in DC! So you could co-op in DC to be in that environment and be by your girlfriend. I’d recommend poking around on the poli sci/IA website to see examples of these co-ops (there are many for think tanks, NGOs, campaigns, etc.)

This isn’t really something you mentioned in your original post, but I think the location of NU is far superior to Americans. When I toured American, not only did they not even have a student center on campus, there wasn’t really anything fun to do in the area. The closest area to grab food or go hang out was in Tentlytown, where you’d have to Uber to get there. NU is centrally located in Boston, and you’re so close to everything. Fenway is only a 15 minute walk, and there are four T stops (subway/metro) right on campus. I’m heading into my 3rd year at NU and I’m still discovering new things to do in Boston! Also being so close to so many other prestigious institutions/univiersities has been incredible and it means even more opportunities.

I know this post was super long but I think these are all important things to consider! Feel free to reach out with any questions!