UW Madison vs. NYU vs. Umass Amherst vs. UIUC

Hey Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone could give me some insight into my situation?

I was accepted to UW-Madison, NYU, UMass Amherst, UConn, Virginia Tech and waitlisted at UIUC. I’m planning to major in mechanical engineering. I was wondering which one should I select?

Money is an issue and I’ve already eliminated Virginia Tech and UConn coz they didn’t offer me enough financial aid. Surprisingly, NYU and UMass Amherst offered me a large amount of money in the form of scholarships and so far are the most affordable as I only have to pay $15000 a year at most. The financial aid package of UW Madison hasn’t arrived yet, but from what I hear, they don’t offer much to out of state students.

My main problem is that while NYU and UMass gave me alot of money, and are great universities on a whole, both of their engineering programs aren’t as good as UW Madison’s and UIUC (assuming that I’m accepted from the waitlist). While money is a big issue, I don’t want to compromise on quality of education and student life. Is it advisable to go to UW Madison even if they don’t offer that much financial aid in the first year and try to find scholarships to pay for the second year onwards? Is it true that UW Madison offers alot of scholarships for those who have obtain a good GPA in the first year? My parent’s say that they can somehow get me through the first year at UW Madison if I can guarantee that I will be able to manage the second year onwards somehow. Or am I completely wrong and are the engineering programs of UMass and NYU as good as UW Madison’s? In terms of student life, which one is better? I realise that both UW Madison and NYU are on opposite sides of the spectrum as one is in the largest city in the world and the other is in a beautiful college town. I’m open to the fact that both could be interesting in their own way. Please provide your insights and opinions soon.

Also, I was wondering if there is a difference in starting salary or if engineering companies prefer UW Madison students over those who go to NYU and UMass Amherst?

“manage the second year onward somehow” = you spend on year in UWisc, bankrupt your parents, and have to return home to attend a local community college. Which is miserable all around.
In short, if you can afford it for only one year, you can’t afford it.

What’s your parents’ budget per year or total (for 4 years), “out of pocket” ie., from income and savings, and without loans?
What the net price for each university?

*net price = (tuition+room+board+fees) - (grants+scholarships)

In my opinion my suggestion would be UMass Amherst. It is inexpensive and has a better program than NYU. The teaching and campus life will be very similar and comparable to that of UWM and UIUC.

This all sounds pretty crazy. Other than the concern of the high cost of living in NYC (the temptation to spend like classmates even though you don’t have the money), NYU would be the easy decision to me.

@PurpleTitan @KnightOne, Thanks guys for your opinions. But I think UMass Amherst and NYU are ranked similarly for Mechanical Engineering. But your point that UMass and UWM would have a similar student life is a good one.

If NYU has a decent program, I would choose NYU. Miracle of miracles, they offered you a big chunk of aid.

UW – UWM is UW-Milwaukee – is a great school and a complete blast to experience, but not $25k-per-annum-better than NYU. Same deal with UIUC.

I don’t know enough about UMass to comment much on it, but it would have a campus at least – that is one thing NYU lacks.

@prezbucky , sorry, I meant UW Madison, not Milwaukee

@prezbucky thanks for your opinion :slight_smile:

@MYOS1634 my net price for NYU and UMass Amherst is approx. $15000 dollars. According to the UW Madison calculator, my net price would come around $27000.

I was just wondering, since NYU Poly/Engineering school is located in Brooklyn and since most freshman engineering students are located/living in the dorms in Brooklyn too, do the engineering students feel like they are missing out on the action going on in the main campus/Washington square?

The engineering-specific rankings are of research, mostly. I would not use them as a key determinant for an undergrad education.

If both nyu and Umass end up at 15k a Year, choose based on fit : do you want a college town or a big city ? A defined campus or an 'urban’campus with cars driving across and no green? Do you want activities organized by the College or finding your own fun (but paying for it)?
Are you in honors at umass ?
Both programs are very good so it really depends what kind of experience you want.

I wasn’t accepted to honors to either NYU or Umass so far. Thanks @MYOS1634 for your input, I got alot to chew on now. Got to find out which is better fit for me overall. Anyone else got any inputs on what I should do? I’d especially like some input from any current/former engineering students from UW Madison, NYU and UMass Amherst

At this point, UW Madison is not worth it. In fact, there’s NO difference in quality, experience, outcomes that I can think of that would justify a price difference, let alone a loan. I’m not sure how you got your romantic idea that engineering there is special - there must be kids in Wisconsin desperate to attend NYU for 15K who think the exact opposite :smiley: but in the end, that’s it: just romantic notions about a school that aren’t anchored in reality.
The governor imposed severe cuts to UW as payback for whatever perceived slight so you will NOT be getting sufficient aid. Forget about UW now, you’ll do yourself a favor. Spend the next 2 weeks focusing on NYU and UMass Amherst. Visit if you can. Attend classes (Freshman English and Freshman Engineering), talk with students, etc.
BTW, Brooklyn is considered a happenin’ place these days :slight_smile:

Thanks @MYOS1634, I guess I should abandon UW Madison, I was just holding onto it for this long coz their financial aid hasn’t come yet, so I was kind of waiting hopefully for a miracle in terms of scholarship amount even though my research states the opposite.

Could anyone whose gone to UMass please tell me how the engineering program is over there? I’m also starting to reevaluate going to Virginia Tech. The net cost there is about $19000, although I think it might be a bit higher than that since Im in engineering. I was accepted to the honors program there. Just to put it out there, I plan to join the military regardless of the college I go to, and I plan to take the Rotc Marine option at Virginia Tech. I haven’t been offered a rotcscholarship in the first year, but from what I’ve read, I could be offered one from second year onward. Should I also consider Virginia Tech? (one thing that disappointed me about NYU and UMass Amherst was that they didn’t have ROTC)

To be honest, I’m really confused now. If I chose NYU or UMass Amherst, I would have to go through OCS after undergraduation. Where as if I go to Virginia Tech, I don’t have to.

Vtech is a good option if 19K/year is affordable. Don’t count on the ROTC scholarship, but your interest in joining could make the difference. VTech is better than UMass and NYU Tandon I believe, and since it has this option that’s important to you and that the others don’t, it sounds like a good idea.
Can you go visit?

@MYOS1634, as much as I would like to visit all these places, I can’t coz I’m currently living abroad.