Seattle University or Syracuse

Hi! I live on the east coast. I want to major in Communications, and I was accepted to both Seattle University and Syracuse’s Newhouse school, which has a very prestigious Communications program.

However, I got a very good scholarship to Seattle U and I really love everything about the school, even though they’re not really well ranked for Communications. I love the location, the people I’ve met that are going there, their radio/newspaper, and so much more. I was really excited about the school, even though it’s very much a “safety” school when it comes to admissions statistics for me.

Syracuse, on the other hand, has a stellar Communications program and great connections to utilize post-graduation. But I’ve struggled to connect with anyone going to Syracuse online. And I’m not AT ALL interested in Greek life or the whole “party school scene”, which I’ve heard is very prevalent at Syracuse. And I’m not thrilled about the location either.

I’m struggling to pick between the school and unfortunately, due to the Corona virus, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to visit either school. Should I just go to Syracuse, even though I don’t think I’ll fit in there? Would I be stupid to go to Seattle, considering the fact that their ranking is SO much lower?

This probably isn’t going to help, but since you haven’t visited either school, you may want to consider a gap year. Why? These two schools couldn’t be more different: Seattle is Jesuit; Syracuse is nonsectarian. Syracuse undergrad is double the size of Seattle U. The cities-Seattle v. Syracuse-couldn’t be more different, even just considering the weather.
And if you are worried you’d be “stupid” to attend one school, while being worried that you wouldn’t “fit in” at the other-well, those are valid points and valid concerns.
It may well be worth waiting a year to do more research.

The Jesuit affiliation and size of the school aren’t really factors for me, because I don’t really have a preference about affiliation or size. While I prefer Seattle/the big city setting, I’m more worried about if I should be going to the school with the better program or the school I feel like I might fit in better at? So I was hoping for some insight on the schools/advice that might help me tip the scales a bit.

I feel like if I took a gap year I’d be in the same situation, if not worse because I’d have to reapply. Thank you for the advice. :slight_smile:

There is going to be a lot of people who aren’t able to visit their choices, and I think the OP is right that that doesn’t imply that he or she should take a gap year. It sounds like you prefer Seattle University. Is it cheaper enough to cover the extra cost of travel? And perhaps the scholarship will allow you to be able to afford study abroad or a semester in NYC or whatever.

Your post really leans towards Seattle. You don’t indicate is Syracuse is a financial stretch. Personally, I don’t put a lot of stock in rankings. If you’re happy where you go, you’ll thrive.

My D21 currently has Syracuse at the top of her list. She’s not interested in Greek life and not a huge partier. When we visited, we definitely got the impression there’s plenty to do outside of that at Syracuse. I think that’s an advantage of a bigger school- you can usually find your niche.

You have some time to decide. Maybe schools will be coming out with some “virtual accepted student days” because there will be many people in your situation. Good luck!

Syracuse, the city, placed first in this college-towns ranking, if that’s of interest to you:

My husband and I are Syracuse alums and have careers in academia. I have 2 family members who teach (poetry) at SU currently, so I’m biased, of course :). Syracuse, specifically Newhouse, is tops in this field and is HIGHLY regarded and offers all sorts of media/comm industry connections. I mean no disrespect and I’m sure Seattle is a great school and absolutely Seattle blows Syracuse away re quality of life but tbh I’ve never heard of Seattle University until reading your post today. If you are looking for a career in something where alumni connections and a degree with high prestige will be helpful, then go with Syracuse if you can afford it and won’t be saddled with debt the rest of your life. SU is so big that there truly has something and a scene for everyone - my husb and I didn’t do Greek life but had lots of friends and fun. A Newhouse degree really is a big deal - if you can swing it financially, I’d say grab this amazing opportunity! However, as a college counselor, I believe you can find your way and get a good education anywhere, so do what works best for you. Good luck!!

Selecting a college is huge financial and personal decision, so have to disagree with anyone recommending that you select a school without visiting. While OP does appear to be leaning to Seattle, s/he also seems very unsure of that. The difference, using geography and weather alone, between these two locations is stark, and if the OP, like so many others, clearly is seeking not only an academic assessment-which no one has yet supplied-but a social one, too. And there’s no way that can be addressed without a visit.
Normally, I’d never recommend a gap year-but these are not normal times.
And that T&L list of college towns was the strangest, and most inaccurate, I’ve ever seen.


Just thinking of all the “I don’t fit in at college x and want to transfer” threads that appear a few weeks into freshman fall semester.

OP: The difference in cost is not clear. Is Syracuse University $30,000 more expensive per year, or is Syracuse University $60,000 more expensive per year ?

Seattle is a very wealthy, booming city. Lots of high paying jobs. Home to Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and many more. The wealth & job opportunities which are everywhere in Seattle do not exist in Syracuse, New York.

Seattle University has a great location in the city of Seattle.

Seattle University grads get hired by major employers which also happen to be local.

Although you have not made it clear, but the cost difference between the two should easy fund a masters degree in communications or a one year specialty masters in business.

Somewhat similiar weather in that both are overcast for most of the year, but Syracuse gets much colder & snowier.

A visit to each school should resolve any doubts whatsoever regarding Seattle University.

Road trips from Syracuse can be depressing while venturing out beyond Seattle will open eyes to how spectacular the world can be. Whether South to Portland ot to the Columbia River or to Washington wine country or North to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada or taking a cruise–with or without your car–to Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia living in the Pacific Northwest is an exhilarating experience. Living in Syracuse, New York is depressing.

Consider a major in business & a minor in communications from Seattle University. Then pursue a masters degree in communication if still interested in that field.

It would be helpful to know the actual difference in annual cost for each school.

P.S. The brainpower & wealth found in Seattle may be a bit of a culture shock depending upon where you live. In Seattle you are likely to encounter lots of wealthy twenty-somethings & lots of wealthy folks in their early & mid-thirties. And the natural beauty is astounding.

And some basics: Syracuse gets, on average, over 10 feet of snow per year. Seattle averages almost 40 inches of rain annually. How does OP feel about either of those numbers, if anything? Upstate NY and western Washington state are two very different places, and that doesn’t address the huge differences between Syracuse and Seattle, discussed above by publisher.
Take a year off; compare costs and if it’s still a toss-up, visit both.

If OP takes a gap year, OP will lose his scholarship to Seattle University.

OP lives on the East Coast, and has never lived in or visited Seattle. Not sure what a “good” scholarship entails, but Seattle U isn’t cheap so unless it’s at or near a free ride, it doesn’t make sense to me to move 3000 miles to attend a university s/he’s never visited and about which s/he still has significant doubts. And perhaps reading too much into OP’s posts, but s/he also apparently doesn’t know a soul there, and has lived on the East Coast his/her whole life.
A scholarship alone just isn’t worth it, especially in light of OP’s stated doubts(doesn’t think will “fit in” at Syracuse, would be “stupid” to go to Seattle). Take a gap year. College is a massive personal and financial decision, and decisions are best made with as much information as possible.

My scholarship would cover around 75% of tuition. I’ve never been to Seattle, but I have family in the city and I’ve met some really kind people (and a few potential roommates) online and in Facebook groups.

What would be your cost of attendance at Seattle U-tuition/room/board; what is your COA at Syracuse?

I completely disagree with the suggestion to take a year off simply because you are unable to visit. If you want a gap year for other reasons then take one, completely think a gap year can be right in some circumstances. But not because you can’t visit due to Covid 19. EVERYONE is in this boat including my daughter! There is a ton of information on line and there are virtual accepted student days coming up. Also, there are usually accepted student FB pages and Instagram. If there isn’t one for Syracuse, start one and people will join. I already messaged you privately with my comparisons between the two schools but just wanted to chime in on the gap year comments.

With respect to standardized scoring attributes, your choices (as general schools) land remarkably close to each other in the below (somewhat older) national comparison (Syracuse at #251, Seattle at #257). However, Newhouse offers a fantastic reputation for communications specifically, of course.

Sorry #16, but completely disagree with your advice. When a prospective student writes the following-as OP did:

“Should I just go to Syracuse, even though I don’t think I’ll fit in there? Would I be stupid to go to Seattle, considering the fact that their ranking is SO much lower?”

It’s not simply a matter of visiting the school; it’s clear that OP is massively conflicted. In light of that inner conflict, how can any thoughtful decision be made without a visit?

How many posts appear on CC every September, with “I made a stupid decision” or “I don’t fit in” and want to transfer? Every fall there are legion.

With respect to just tuition:

Syracuse University should cost OP about $55,000 per year.

Seattle University tuition should about $12,000 per year if OP received a 75% tuition scholarship.

The difference is approximately $33,000 per year or about $132,000 over 4 years.

OP: $132,000 is enough to pay for a masters degree at most universities in the US assuming that you receive no merit money or work study or financial aid.

Specialty masters degrees quite often lead to excellent career & job opportunities.

P.S. OP: What if after one year you decide on a major other than communications ?

Seattle University seems to be the better option unless you have a definite career path in mind that would be facilitated by a Syracuse degree from Newhouse. But, you can always get a masters in communications.