UC Davis vs UW-Seattle vs Northeastern

My D22 finally has all her decisions in! Well that is minus the 7 waitlists she has! :laughing: Her top choices right now are UCDavis, UW-Seattle and Northeastern (NUin). Her majors are environmental studies at UW, combined major of environmental studies & international affairs at NEU and sustainable food systems & agriculture at UCDavis. We are oos (Arizona) for all so cost isn’t a factor. Can anyone give me some pros or cons for these schools? She is leaning towards NEU right now bc she loves the idea of studying abroad her first semester in Ireland and the opportunities she could have with the co ops! We are going to admitted students day next weekend in Boston. The following weekend we will visit UCDavis as she has not seen the campus yet. We visited UW last fall and she was also in love with the campus there! Any insight would be great! My D22 is so confused!

Here is her final list of Acceptances, WL & rejections:

Accepted- Northeastern (NUin), Lafayette College, Michigan State, ASU, UCDavis, Loyola Marymount, UW-Seattle, Gonzaga & Cal Poly Slo

Waitlists- NYU, Hamilton, Cornell (she might choose if she got off), Lehigh, Middlebury, UCSB (also a contender if she got in) & UCSD

Rejected- Wesleyan, USC, UCLA(my D19 is here) & UC Berkeley

Honestly, I know little about the schools you are talking about to fairly compare them, except to note that in agriculture and environment, Davis is one of, if not the, best schools in the world. Honestly, were price not a factor, Davis is one of the schools I would have my kids apply to…alas.


I am excited for my daughter to visit UCDavis also! I have heard it’s such a cute town!


Mom of a UCD grad and Environmental science major. UCD is the quintessential small town where at the campus and downtown are highly integrated. Predominant bike culture for students with a down to earth vibe but a work hard but collaborative work ethic. Sacramento is 20 minutes away but the Davis area is surrounded by rural farmland and the Yolo Bypass Wildlife area bypass (wetlands).

My son was an Environmental Science and Resource management major with a concentration in Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation.

He loved his time at UC Davis after much traveling for work currently returned to the Sacramento area where he works for a Environmental Consulting firm.

Plenty of opportunities to study abroad with UC Davis. Study Abroad

Enjoy your trip and visit. Best of luck with her decision.


I am copying and pasting here my response on another thread asking about University of Washington:

Well, I hesitate to speak on behalf of my entire state :smile:, but it is my impression that most people are proud of U of Washington, our state flagship, and think it is an excellent school. It has excellent, cutting-edge programs spanning a huge number of fields with international reach.

That said, the alums and current students who are most likely to LOVE it — in my experience — are those who majored in a subject that was not capacity-constrained or was “lightly” capacity-constrained (that is, one that still accepts most applicants).

It has been more of a mixed bag with some of the STEM and business majors. A few kids we know were just miserable and stressed out and transferred to a lower-ranked school (although that may happen in engineering programs everywhere). Others thrive there.

It might just be the people I know, but in recent years, UW has seemed to favor extroverts or particularly not-shy introverts. The ones who seem to do best now are those who are comfortable speaking up for themselves, starting conversations with others, and raising their hands for leadership roles. Many joined fraternities or sororities, also, including some I would not have expected. That certainly isn’t everyone, by any means, but it made me think that maybe Greek life is an easier path there to making friends and/or housing?

The quieter introverts seem to struggle more, but that could be pandemic-related or just due to the small sample set of my personal circle.


Our daughter attended Davis:

  • The kids work together and help each other out. There is free tutoring which swarms of students take advantage of because it is known that the GA’s are strong and prepare the students well for the classes.
  • It’s on the quarter system, so the students have 10 weeks to prove themselves. Hence the collaborative, supportive environment that stems from the large amounts of information provided over 10 weeks.
  • They are a green campus. My daughter loved it and made great friends there.
  • The train goes into the town-you can hear it. The kids take the train to SF, Berkeley, Bay area and Sac ($9 Amtrak tickets).
  • Most of the popular classes are impacted: Tractor driving and Intro to Brewing and Beer.
  • There are 40K bikes on Davis. Hence, the “Bike Barn” (repair and new bikes) is in the middle of campus. If you decide to go there, ask me later about the Freshman Stripe. (About 10-15 bike shops in town.)

Have your daughter explore the wiki page before you both visit.


Thank you so much for your input! We are excited to see the campus. However, the only negative is that my daughter actually wants a more urban campus because we come from a small town in Northern Arizona. She is wanting to be in the middle of a city but we will see once she visits. She has been making pros and cons lists to help with her decisions.

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I appreciate all the info!

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My daughter is also considering the NUin program (Bilbao, Spain). If she’s not already, have her follow the NUin program on Instagram. Current students are posting videos about their experiences in different countries and answering questions.

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Costco and Big Box stores (Home Depot, Best Buy, Target, etc.) are in Woodland which is 15 minutes north of town, by car, so it doesn’t really feel “small town” at Davis because everything you need is relatively close. There is a Target just east of campus and some kids bike over to that shopping center.
She’ll be traveling all over NorCal while with at Davis with her new friends. My daughter spent weekends in SF/Berkeley, Tahoe, Sacramento and went whitewater rafting, mountain climbing, hiking in the Sierras.

The Sacramento airport is just east of Woodland.

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Don’t the country choices fill up quickly for NUin? I forget how it works…

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We put the deposit down for Ireland a month ago realizing we may lose it when our daughter decides.

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Thank you! D22 started following that Instagram page also. She is so excited to study abroad. That’s actually a huge plus for her for Northeastern right now!

Cannot understand paying OOS rates for UC, particularly when your instate schools are very good. Just a bad value prop, imo.

That said, for a few dollars more, Northeastern. And Cornell for sure if she gets off the WL.


My daughter only applied to ASU in state and believe it or not she did not get much merit aid. She has a 3.98 UW gpa and they only give the most money if you have a perfect 4.0. Plus the fact that she wants to get out of Arizona. I already have D19 at UCLA so we are well aware of the OOS tuition but have been very happy with the education she is receiving there so worth it for us.


NU family here (my dad, me, my DD class of 20) I cannot say enough fantastic things about the school! Especially if your DD is excited about the study abroad first semester as that seems to be a negative for a lot of potential applicants. The coop opportunities are outstanding and the application to the real world learning back in the classroom, as well as helping to inform/adjust/strengthen her ideas for a major and career are really comparable to no other university. My DD went in thinking she wanted to major in journalism but two coops in the field made her realize it wasn’t what she wanted and she preferred a more academic-focused career and major track. So she switched over to English with a dual degree in education, and then she has the chance to do 2 coops in that field, which confirmed her decision. Boston is an incredible city - never boring, never too overwhelming (well, we are native Bostonians and NYers so maybe our perspective is a little off!) with something for everyone.


Thank you for this! My D22 is definitely leaning towards Northeastern. Very excited to visit the campus again this weekend for admitted students day which may seal the deal! She would also at this point consider Cornell or even NYU if she by some miracle got off the waitlist for either.

I am replying as a parent of a current UW student, Cornell alum, 10-year Boston-area resident, and 5-year northern Arizona resident.

  1. UW has been a wonderful experience for my daughter, who is in an open major (Classics). It has not been as great for her friends in the more capacity-constrained majors (Environmental Studies, Chemistry, Engineering, Computer Science). Her happiest friends seem to be in the humanities and social sciences. Nonetheless, Seattle is a fun and beautiful city for college students.

  2. I spent the best 4 years of my life at Cornell and found my people very quickly. That said, my prerequisite science classes were beyond rigorous and GPA-crushing. The weather is unpredictable and gloomy in later fall and winter but often glorious in spring and summer. I had dealt with snow from early October through early May. The weather can also present travel challenges; getting from Ithaca to northern Arizona can be tough. And I know northern Arizona is no stranger to deep snow, but AZ winter sun is spectacular. All said, I never lacked for things to do in geographically-isolated Ithaca.

  3. I love Boston! It’s a great city partly because of its large college population and very good public transportation. However, winters are gloomy and cold. In my time there, Northeastern was a second-tier university, so my impression does not match its current stellar reputation.

Wishing you and her the best!


Thank you for this! I am sharing all of this info with my daughter as well. I do believe she does not have a bad choice and will be happy wherever she ends up! :heart:

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Bilbao?!!! No way, I am so jealous! That is too cool! Bilbao is a wonderful city. Possibly my favorite place in the world.