Yale vs. Vanderbilt

<p>Hi guys! </p>

<p>I just got accepted to Yale off the waitlist, but am currently enrolled at Vanderbilt for next year. I have a full-tuition to Vanderbilt, but Yale won't be giving me anything. Planning on studying International Relations/Political Science/Math.</p>

<p>I guess my question is, for current students and people who know more about Yale than I do, what reasons are there for me coming to Yale for $42,500 more a year? My parents will pay for it, and probably won't make me take out loans, but I feel kind of bad, and they'd be less likely to pay for my grad school...</p>


<p>Ask yourself why you bothered to stay on the waitlist after you already had a merit scholarship to Vanderbilt. Virtually no one would choose Vanderbilt over Yale unless they were tied to Nashville geographically or had a significantly better funded offer there. That being the case, you do have a better funded offer there so you need to go over the finances with your parents and make sure they are happy to and not begrudgingly paying your tuition should you choose Yale. I think Yale has more national and international reputation, more top 10 departments, a more accomplished student body, a more diverse student body, etc. but this is a money issue that reasonably could trump all those differences. It would be very generous parents who will let you make this decision and I can assure you that on the general admissions boards, almost all non-Ivy parents would tell you to go to Vanderbilt.</p>

<p>Wow, tough decision. I don't really have advice for you. My S had the same decision and waited until the end of the last day to pull the trigger for Yale. (We told him it was up to him.) He has been really happy at Yale, but I think he would have been happy at Vandy too. Big pros for Vandy would have been the music scene in Nashville and the fact that they would have taken his APs for credit so he would have had lots of flexibility. He visited Vandy and loved it. I think his final decision came down to the fact that Yale is closer to home, and was a known quantity due to his brother going there. He was not positive that Vanderbilt was the right place for him since he had only one visit. On the other hand, I think he was a little worried that he might not measure up at Yale, so it has been good for him to find out that he does.<br>
Good luck with your decision - you really can't go wrong!</p>

<p>The poster evil_robot a few years ago about this. Also this was featured on the choice blog in the new York times blog "the choice". In both cases Vanderbilt was the choice. It might help your decision process to search these out.</p>

<p>^^Thanks for the institutional memory, a great suggestion, here are evil_robot threads:</p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/558534-your-dream-school-versus-your-finances.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/558534-your-dream-school-versus-your-finances.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/37237-long-financial-road-matriculation.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/37237-long-financial-road-matriculation.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>$170,000 is a lot of money to spend to go to Yale. What do your parents think?</p>

<p>I just finished my first year at Vandy majoring in CS and am considering transferring. Nashvegas is amazing and the social life at Vandy is thriving, but the math and science department is uninspired and designed to be difficult for the sake of weeding out pre-med students. For example, my roommate was pre-med taking the basic calc, chem and physics classes and wound up withdrawing from the university</p>


<p>congratulations! obviously, both schools would be lucky to have you. </p>

<p>my cousin had a similar choice -- he was offered a full-ride scholarship to a school just like Vanderbilt (slightly higher ranking, same size, campus climate). He ultimately chose Yale, and he had lots of choices including Harvard too. He loves it --he says the students are engaged, the opportunities in international affairs are amazing (given Yale's reputation around the world), and the residential college system is a blast. For anyone interested in political science, the Yale Political Union is a real draw. Yale has the highest retention rate (slightly higher than even Harvard's and Princeton's) -- it's 99%.</p>

<p>if you do choose Yale, you'll find lots of other students there who were also offered full ride scholarships elsewhere. so you won't be alone at all -- good luck on your decision!</p>

<p>This is not a no-brainer by any means. These two schools are close enough in quality that you have to consider the impact of the cost. But I would say that if you can go to Yale without getting loans, and without impacting your parents' overall financial plan (including retirement) too much, you should go to Yale.</p>

<p>What would you like to do with your life? If its medical school - then I'd probably say Vanderbilt as you're likely to have loans up the wazoo for med school and it won't matter as much. If its business (job), politics, or graduate school I'd lean Yale. It depends on how much the stronger network at Yale is going to help you.</p>

<p>It’s easy to make an argument for Vanderbilt. Your family saves a significant amount of money. In terms of academic talent, there’s not much difference between students at the two universities. As of a year ago, the 75 percentile for entering students at Yale was 800V, 780M on the SAT. For Vanderbilt, 760V, 770M. There are very strong faculty members in both places, though in each, some departments are better than others. A talented student with a sense of direction can find a wealth of resources and build a terrific program at either place. And, the research evidence says that college choice does not predict career success, after you control for characteristics of the individual student. </p>

<p>Having said that, when we recently faced a very similar decision with our our own son, we went the other way. For him, it was Harvard with no aid vs. merit awards at two very good universities (one of which was full ride plus spending money). As a family, we chose Harvard. It was his dream school, and we all think it’s the best fit for him. But we wouldn’t have done it if we couldn’t make it work financially. We're fortunate that we won’t have to take loans to get him through. It was roughly a $200,000 decision – that’s big money any way you look at it, but we had to ask ourselves what else we’d rather spend that money on.</p>

<p>honestly people, can't you realize that there's more to this than money vs prestige? What about pervading campus culture? What about the vibe that you get on campus or from students/professors? What about the gut feeling that tells you that one place, not the other, is where you're "meant to be"? It's really not as clear-cut as money vs prestige, and we need to realize that because otherwise we take all of the passion and student/school chemistry out of the system, and all we're left with is tuition bills and US News rankings...and what's the true value of a system like that?</p>

<p>OP, check your message box.</p>

<p>^^^Sunshinee77: Before making a judgement, please read up on the subject of college debt. Here are just a few of the articles you can google:</p>

<p>News</a> Headlines
Is</a> A College Education Worth The Debt? : NPR
7</a> strategies to avoid the college debt trap
College</a> Debt Worse Than Credit Cards: Worth It?</p>

<p>Saying that there is necessarily a single "place... where you're 'meant to be'" is as disingenuous as comparing two colleges solely based on finance and prestige. Most people could be happy in a number of places; if you have acceptances to two of your top choices, it may feel like a monumental decision, but either way you will probably feel like you made the right choice in the end.</p>

<p>Before I start, congratulations! A full ride at Vandy is a pretty admirable achievement!</p>

<p>That said, I get the idea that your decision isn't about finances; it's more about justifying the finances. I think that if your parents are happy to pay (and adopt the sort of philosophy of "we can't take money to the grave"), you should go. If you want to go to grad school, you'll probably be able to take out a loan and pay it back eventually, unless it's a PhD... in which case you'll probably have a fellowship. If that is the case with your parents, consider carefully the benefits and downsides of each option. Here's what I'd put as the benefits for the different options:</p>

+Strong cohort; you can learn from others -> I'd probably put this as number one, as it can completely change your perspective
+Huge international resources for internships
+Alumini network
+Rich extra curricular program (national conferences, political unions)
+Brilliant academics
+Community and individual attention</p>

+If you're on a full ride, it'll probably be easier for you to stand out
+Perhaps your peers won't be as intimidating at first?
+You won't have the $$$ guilt?</p>

<p>I don't know; it's up to you. Best of luck!</p>

<p>gibby, I'm by no means downplaying the significance of college debt--I was more suggesting that perhaps there's more to be said for Vanderbilt than the fact that it's cheaper.</p>

<p>notanengineer, I think the argument of whether or not there's a "meant to be" place goes far beyond the scope of what should be discussed on a CC thread, so I'm not going to go into that one. I do agree, though, that it's very possible to be happy at a number of places, and that in the end people usually DO make the right choice for them (even if they might question it at times). Again, by bringing up the "meant to be" issue, etc., I was more suggesting that just because you CAN go to (and afford) Yale (or Harvard or Princeton etc.) doesn't necessarily mean that you SHOULD/that it's what would be best for you.</p>