UVA vs Barnard

Hey everyone, I need to make a decision in less than a week on where I am transferring.

I am choosing between UVA and Barnard. I am not quite decided on a major, but am leaning towards biology or neuroscience or even kinesiology (only at UVA), and I know I will be going on a pre-med or pre-health track. I would get in-state tuition at UVA, making Barnard basically triple the cost. I plan to go on to grad school/med school/some other professional school after undergrad, so I’m trying to keep that in mind when thinking about money. Obviously, UVA is the smartest option as far as finances go. However, the location is not my favorite and I don’t feel like I fit into the general culture of the school (partying, going to sports games, lots of school spirit). Barnard is a dream because it is in the city (I love NYC) and I feel like I would fit into the culture there a bit more easily. Overall, I just want to be in a place where I can focus on school, hanging with friends when I can, but keeping academics as the main priority. Another factor for me is keeping up with ballet, since that has been a huge part of my life, and Barnard/Columbia have amazing ballet clubs. I know there is a ballet club at UVA but certainly not of the same scale/caliber as the ones at Barnard.

While Barnard seems amazing in so many ways, the price tag is definitely pushing me away. Adding up those student loans with any I acquire after undergrad seems like a bit of a nightmare. It’s 3 years of my life, right… so I’m thinking maybe I should stick it out in Charlottesville and still be grateful for getting an excellent education.

I’ve been reaching out to as many people as I can to figure this out and it’s still a really hard decision to make! I would appreciate any input anyone may have!

Congrats on those amazing choices - both will set you up for success for grad / med school. If you have friends where you are, you should finish out at UVA - I have heard that undergrad debt is almost never worth it. But if you are really unhappy, then probably it is best to go ahead and make the change. Hope that helps!

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You know the answer- you just don’t like it! Who will co-sign the debt for Barnard?


hey thank you so much! I’m actually not at UVA currently, I just got in as a transfer. sorry maybe I could’ve made that more clear!

hahah true…my parents would help and said they would cap off at 40k per year, and with tuition plus all other living expenses adding up to about 80k, that leaves me paying for the other half

and of course i would be paying for anything after undergrad…

Where are you getting the $120,000 dollars for your half? You can only borrow a tiny ~$7-12K/pa (amount varies by year) of that in your own name.

$120,000 in loans for an undergraduate degree is a really, really, really bad plan.


haha yeah. the money would come from my career in science/medicine in the future but would definitely take a long time to pay off. thanks for your input.

OP wrote: “I would get in-state tuition at UVA, making Barnard basically triple the cost. I plan to go on to grad school/med school/some other professional school after undergrad…”

I would choose UVA. An amazing school at an amazing price. Take the money saved and put it towards med school (or grad school)(maybe at Columbia or NYU) which is insanely expensive. Undergrad debt may not seem too terrible now but it will when you’re paying it off for a decade or more.

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hah yeah, putting it that way, it seems pretty clear what to do. thanks for highlighting this.

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thank you for this! yes i do think it’s a good option to aim for columbia/nyu grad or med school

thank you to everyone that responded—I’m going to UVA :slight_smile: