One day left, help me decide where to go!

<p>I have to decide where I am going for college by tomorrow afternoon. I realize that this doesn't allow very much time for responses, but it's getting down to the wire and I would really appreciate some last minute insights that might make a difference.</p>

<p>So you know the kinds of things that I am looking for, my intended major would be Music in vocal performance, and I would want to have the option of double majoring in some humanities subject. As such, I would like a place that is strong in music and humanities. I consider myself to be pretty proactive in terms of striking up relationships with professors and taking advantage of varied opportunities, so school size is not a big issue for me. I would prefer a place with nice weather, but I feel that I could adapt to just about anything. I do intend on attending graduate school in one form or another, so finances are an issue for me.</p>

<p>Here is a list of the colleges to which I have been accepted, with a star by each one that I have visited personally and how I did in terms of scholarships in parenthesis afterward.</p>

<p>UCLA* ($28,000, since I'm in-state this works out as Tuition+)
UCSB* ($28,000, since I'm in-state this works out as Tuition+)
Oberlin* ($48,000)
Johns Hopkins University/Peabody Conservatory Double Degree Program*
Tufts/New England Conservatory Double Degree Program*
Boston University* (A bit over half-tuition)</p>

<p>I've visited pretty much everywhere that I've been accepted except for UCSC. At this point, my favorites are the following four:</p>

Johns Hopkins University/Peabody Conservatory</p>

<p>In terms of food and campus I liked Oberlin the best, though I didn't like how isolated it seemed (though that might help me focus on studying), the comparative lack of opportunities, and the sort of eccentric feel to the place. I also didn't much like the dorms. However, the conservatory in Oberlin is one of the most highly regarded there is.</p>

<p>In terms of opportunities, I liked UCLA the best as it seems that I would get to perform a lot, and the voice department is expanding rapidly and just hired a famous baritone with whom I am told I would get to study. I would also get to be part of a special small ensemble with seniors and masters students as part of the terms of one of my scholarships. UCLA also had one of my favorite campuses and has second place in terms of food. UCLA's dorms are my favorite. However, I don't much like the LA smog, and I always imagined myself going somewhere that isn't so much like home (I currently live in San Diego).</p>

<p>In terms of prestige, I like Northwestern and Johns Hopkins/Peabody best. The area around Northwestern, Evanston, was my favorite of any of the surrounding areas. Baltimore around JHU was my least favorite. However, while both really capture my imagination (JHU/Peabody in particular), the double degree situation at JHU/Peabody seems exceedingly hard, and it doesn't look like I'd get to perform very much until Junior year at the earliest at Northwestern. I also didn't receive any financial aid at either.</p>

<p>This is my last chance to collect ideas, opinions, and insights about these places, so I would REALLY appreciate any additional information or advice you folks can give. Thanks a lot.</p>

<p>Personally, I would rank them:
1) UCLA- I know you don't want to be that close to home, but it offers too many good things to pass up! A chance to perform, a strong reputation, a lot of $, good campus/dorms/ can't ask for much more.
2) Oberlin- Oberlin is well-known for their music program, but if you don't like the isolated campus...Coming from CA, that might be a big adjustment. $ and its small size are other factors in its favor.
3) Boston University- Many people underestimate it. It has a surprisingly strong music program, and good humanities programs (particularly communications). Boston is arguably one of the best college towns in the U.S., although the weather is not the best. </p>

<p>You might want to post this under the Musical Theater forum; the posters there are a wealth of information.</p>

<p>I'd say UCLA.</p>

<p>Thanks a lot warblersrule86, I've been leaning towards UCLA for those reasons as well, it's just with all the different things that I've been hearing about all these different places from friends and family members I've been having all sorts of last minute doubts. I'll post this under the Musical Theater forum immediately.</p>

<p>UCLA, all the way, but how did u get $28,000.
That's preety cool, so they are actually paying you to study there (cost is about $ 22,500).
Did you scholarships? Does this include any loans?</p>

<p>I got two large music scholarships, one for $20,000 and one for $8,000. The second is the one that gets me into the special ensemble. Thankfully, this doesn't include loans. However, there are a few strings attached, such as I can't change my major from music and keep the money and a few other small issues. I'm free to double major though, and it's perfectly possible to go to law school or medical school with a B.A. in music if for some reason music doesn't work out, so I figure I would be okay.</p>

<p>Oh, just so it's clear, the $28,000 is over 4 years, not per year, though everybody probably figured that out.</p>

<p>Why did you have to decide earlier than May 1?</p>

<p>I would say UCLA. There isn't much smog in that area of LA. It is in Westwood which is really cute, and it is near Beverly Hills and all that stuff, so it is pretty nice. It doesn't seem like LA to me that much, and it is a very good school. How come you have to decide so soon?</p>

<p>A few reasons. First, some of the scholarships have earlier deadlines. Second, some of the voice faculty want to know as early as possible for casting purposes. Third and last, one of my parents is going out of town on Saturday and I'd like to make the decision while he's here. These factors combined unfortunately kind of rush things, and the date agreed upon was tomorrow afternoon or Saturday morning at the latest. If I absolutely had to I could probably take an extra day or two, but that would complicate things.</p>

<p>you are passing up a $48,000 scholarship to Oberlin? I'd think twice about that. Just the fact that they offered you that shows how bad they want you. That's the highest amount I've heard from our circle of MT friends.</p>

<p>Go for it-you can always transfer back to UCLA later...</p>

<p>Sounds like UCLA has great possibilities for you -- music and liberal arts wise! I do not agree with mtlvrmom about Oberlin. It is VERY difficult to do a double degree there unless you are extremely self-disciplined. They tout the double degree but practically it is hard to do - there is definite tension between the conservatory and the college. In addition, performance opportunities are few and, coming from CA, the town/area may be a culture shock - forget any foreign study (outside of summer) -- they actively discourage it. IMO, Oberlin is way overhyped for voice. My D looked at it long and hard (three visits, lessons, etc.) and chose to go elsewhere. It is an eclectic place and, if it clicks for you, go for it. However, the vibe I'm getting from your posts leads me to believe UCLA is the best place for you. GOOD LUCK!</p>

<p>I'd agree with Warblersrule, and like Boston U as a dark-horse choice. You should note the comment about the difficulty of a double-degree program at Oberlin, though I think they are tough anywhere. </p>

<p>Finally, you make a good point about taking a music degree to law or med school. Just make sure to structure your studies outside your major(s) to keep those options in play.</p>

<p>Oberlin -- they're paying you to go there. And it'll give you everything you're looking for except warm weather. The campus is on the liberal side so be forewarned about that; make sure you that the dorm you get reflect your personal beliefs, etc. since a couple of them offer "alternative and free-thinking" options. It's a great school with a highly respected voice program, as you said.</p>

<p>Second choice: Northwestern. But for the money & what it offers: Oberlin.</p>

<p>so what university did you decide on? :)</p>

<p>can anyone help me decide between the two conservatories???</p>

<p>Sorry it took me so long to post what my decision was, I've been rather violently sick the past few days and have essentially been sleeping most of the time since I sent in the required forms.</p>

<p>Since there seems to be some confusion, the Oberlin scholarship was over four years, just like the UC scholarships. I know that I probably should have listed them as per year or have been more specific, sorry!</p>

<p>I did end up deciding to go to UCLA. Of course I am having a bit of buyers remorse as is inevitable when the decision is this borderline, but I am generally very happy with my decision. From what I experienced at each place, I don't think that I could receive a better vocal education anywhere else, and the performance opportunities, price, and overall balance of food, location, and campus combined to edge out the rest. Since I'm planning to go to graduate school, I figure that prestige isn't quite as much a factor as it would have been otherwise, and besides, it's not like UCLA isn't prestigious.</p>

<p>Thank you all so much for your input, it was really very helpful for me to get to see some outside opinions and I feel much more confident about my decision as a result. Perhaps that makes me look a bit insecure, but hey, I was, and you guys really helped.</p>

<p>nice choice, and good luck. see you there</p>