UNC Vs WashU for Premed

My D has a few good selections for premed and we have narrowed it to #unc-chapel-hill and WashU. We have no financial aid for both colleges. For UNC, she is out of state for this year and got into honors Carolina. She is a shy and sensitive girl. For other unrelated reasons, our family will move to the Raleigh area in the fall, and she will get in-state tuition at UNC next year. She always went to a private school not because we are super-rich, but because there are no good public schools where we lived. So, we are concerned that she will not be able to adapt to the public school setting at UNC. We will be able to afford both schools, but we are not rich enough to waste money just for prestige or ranking. However, if there are good reasons why she will do better at WashU, then we will manage to send her there.
Any reasons why Washu would help her the most given her scenario? Appreciate your thoughts!

Have you had the opportunity to visit both schools to see which one is the better fit? Both schools are very strong.

If she attends UNC will that free up some money to help pay for medical school? Medical school is expensive and often involves lots of loans.

I am not sure what you mean about not being able to adapt to the public school setting. I can help answer if you elaborate a little.

No. And don’t forget to consider how she might feel at WUSTL. This is their first need-blind admissions cycle, so in theory it should change but it has had the highest average family income and the 3rd lowest economic diversity of its peer schools for years. Put that together with a strong pre-professional campus culture and consider whether she might have trouble adapting to that environment.

There are lots of people on CC who love each of those schools. Your daughter should visit both and make her own call.

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Yes. We are going to visit both the colleges next week. Attending UNC will definitely free up some money and leave more for my other kid’s education.
She is shy and sensitive. She never had to go and seek opportunities in her current school, and whenever she had to, she avoided it. I am just worried that she may have to make more efforts to get opportunities at UNC and given her nature, she may not be able to do it. Every kid is different and I can’t force her to become someone else she is not.

Thank you for mentioning this point. I didn’t think about the economic diversity at WUSTL.

I would not put myself in a position where paying for Wash U might mean struggling more to pay for my younger kids. That’s not a good place to be.

UNC has many, many opportunities…but nothing is handed to you. Your child will have to send emails, knock on doors (profs are open to this), make phone calls etc. Opportunities are there and plentiful, but nobody knocks on your door and hands you a research position. I assume the same is true for Wash U. Nothing is handed to you there either. I know kids at top LACs and Ivies- nothing was handed to them.

That being said, your daughter might very well get emails telling her about different opportunities- at both schools. It’s up to her to take the next step.

Learning to take the initiative, adapt to new environments, etc is part of life, and is certainly part of medical school…if that’s where she ends up. These are skills that are important and that she will need. You can’t change your kid (nor would you want to), but helping them flourish and grow is certainly something to strive for (imo).


@twogirls makes an excellent point: even at top LACs you have to put yourself out to get the opportunities. Both schools will definitely have more opportunities than she can ever take advantage of- and will also have a lot of very motivated students going for them.

Both neurologically and circumstantially your daughter is about to do some serious growing, so what looks daunting relative to where she is now may be just the right amount of challenge for her when the time comes.

In case it’s not coming through- I do get how hard this is! but your core question was ‘is WUSTL worth $175,000+ more than UNC-CH’ and imo, unless you can write the check without compromising anywhere else, the answer is no.