Stuck in scary situation. Any advice would be highly appreciated.

<p>Hey guys,
About a year ago I transferred out of a community college in IL with a 3.9 GPA and went to Illinois State University. I went through a lot of hardships throughout high school and afterwards so going to a community college was incredible itself but the concept of transferring to an actual university and being part of it's community was something out of a movie for me.</p>

<p>I wanted to get away from the city and ISU was so quick with financial aid information I didn't bother to apply anywhere else. I simply assumed no one would give me more than a state university. That tied with some emotional attachments to the campus, I gladly accepted. I thought for that kind of money everyone here must be studying 24/7 and striving to learn the most. My understanding was that "prestigious" school are just a name brand and the students would be the same anywhere you go. I had ambitions of starting a small company while in college and work on networking with some great people. </p>

<p>Unfortunately, my amazing transition to this 4 year college started to go downhill as I began to feel like an utter outcast. The community as a whole paid no respect to classes or education in general. Many students simply don't care for it and it showed. I became the only one participating in nearly all my classes and the only student who seemed to be engaged with the professors and actual concepts revolving around subjects. I asked questions while my fellow students looked at me like "Dude, just take notes and leave." By no means am I saying I am the smartest one here or anything even close to that but it certainly pains me to not be able to share my passion for Finance and Economics with others who are in my classes. Though I have had fun experiences at this beautiful campus, I want to ensure a future with limitless possibilities. I do plan on getting my MBA after graduation but I want my 4 year university to be a prominent business school which can offer me more than just one or two good professors. Again, I do not intend to disrespect ISU or the students here, I just want to do what will be best for my education and career. </p>

<p>Earlier this year I applied to DePaul and Indiana University. I hear amazing things about both, particularly IU. I wanted to try another transfer with hopes of being in a place where I could feel like I belong. I am not worried about the difficulty; its not suppose to be easy. I was hoping that by transferring I would be around more passionate students. I would gain my ambition back and be the work-horse I was a year ago. I would major in finance and minor in economics, talk to great people in finance markets and business industries about what I view as problems ahead and in the end land a job where I can be happy, make money and grow professionally. </p>

<p>Of course, if it was as simple as getting into a good college I would have actually tried in high school. I have no family, thus no financial support. I have been on my own for a while now, my permanent address is whatever apartment I am leasing for the this semester and if it wasn't for FAFSA and private loans I wouldn't be in college. I got accepted to both of the universities and as much as I want to transfer I am extremely scared about the financial aspect of it. I made a small chart to be able to see my costs for next year and total loan amounts (not including interest) as what they would be when I graduate from that college. </p>

<p>College Financial Aid (Cost of Attendance - Aid)</p>

<p>ISU: $25000 - $14,660. Loan amounts: Federal $7500, Private $2840. Total debt at graduation: $44,187<br>
DePaul: $42,070 - $21,420. Loan amounts: Federal $5500, Private $15,150. Total debt at graduation: $64,747<br>
IU: $44,860 - $5200. Loan amounts: Federal $5500, Private $34,160. Total debt at graduation: $91,827 </p>

<p>This has turned my dreams of transferring into a nightmare. I do not know if such costs are justifiable in the real world. I value education a lot more than what the loans might be but I still want to be able to make my loan payments after I graduate. I look at IU's 90K debt and think I can pay that off in 3-4 years (if I at least make around $50,000/year) by living exactly as I live now, no more luxuriously or frugally. Right then, I am reminded of all the horror stories of people stuck in never-ending loans for the rest of their lives. </p>

<p>I would really appreciate some guidance here. Not having a family to fall back on makes every step I take feel like a massive risk. I am shaking inside from fear of being rejected at prominent firms for not having a degree from a well-known business school or not having the right networks to help me advance. </p>

<p>Thank you for taking the time to read this, I know I said a lot in here.</p>

<p>While your situation may seem complex and overwhelming, it is something many go through when choosing where to attend school (undergrad and graduate).</p>

<p>It seems you are really trying to justify going to IU. If those numbers you gave are correct, financially I would recommend you stay at ISU or possibly take a chance and finish at DePaul.</p>

<p>The assumption you will get a 50k per year job right after graduation is dangerous in determining how you will pay off nearly 100k in loans in 4 years. You may be right in your conclusions, and maybe IU is the only place where you can see yourself, if so, go there, the decision has to be yours alone and so will be the responsibilities of such a decision.</p>

<p>I can certainly relate to you feeling a bit adrift at your current college. I felt out of place and even a bit intimidated while engaging in the classroom at community college. However, once I got over this and accepted I had to be here, both financially and academically, the remainder of the semester and the 3 semesters following, I excelled. </p>

<p>While I will be transferring to a top college, and I am of course thrilled, I would have been content being a great student at a “second” level university, if that was all that was available to me financially this fall.</p>

<p>There is nothing wrong with being a student who is visible in the classroom. It is ok to be the best student in the environment you describe. Talk about networking! If you are a positive force at ISU, the professors will notice, the administrators will notice, and eventually some students may notice. As far as those students who roll their eyes at your involvement in the classroom, forget them. </p>

<p>I refuse to have any sympathy for young people that do not actively participate in the outcome of their own future. Do not let the lack of effort or ability of others determine your path.</p>

<p>Embrace being the best where you’re at. It may never happen again. Though I do not believe you would be anonymous at the other two schools, you may not stand out as much. </p>

<p>Life is risk. Whatever decision you make in regards to school, it will not ultimately decide who you are as a person and what plans you may have. Massive risk is involved all the time. It is not making the “wrong” decision that is the worst of it. It is how you react when a decision has been made and the outcome is not what you expected. This is the case for you at ISU. Is an IU degree worth twice as much as a ISU degree? maybe. However, if you endear yourself at ISU to the people who matter and will be able to further your ambitions, you will be just as good. Graduate with a 3.75-4.0, do not take on the additional 50k worth of debt, tell your story to a top grad school and see where you land. It will not be far from where you would have if you transfer.</p>