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Boulder-Bang for the Buck? OOS

Bughunter87Bughunter87 25 replies1 threads New Member
My daughter was accepted to Boulder with honors and the Chancellors scholarship. Her major is in environment or biological sciences. We are OOS, in IL.
She has also been accepted to UW-Madison; UMinn-Twin Cities; U of I-Urbana. She was deferred from Princeton. That and Brown are pending-but as they are ivies, they are long shots.

As we consider the 4 places she has been accepted to, I am wondering if Boulder's significantly higher tuition has the bang for the buck. The other 3 schools are academically more selective and their name recognition also seems to carry more respect. Boulder is a lovely campus, no doubt. But so is Madison. And Minn has great city access and carries huge value for the dollar. She does not really want to go to Illinois and live in the corn belt but the tuition is certainly appealing because we are in state. That said the overall vibe at Boulder was definitely was appealing.

I am asking that you sell me on Boulder academics and academic reputation. I don't know that much about it. (Boulder is her current first choice after Brown). Tell me how the OOS tuition is indeed appropriately priced. Tell me why we will not have post graduation buyer's remorse. Note that she is neither a partier nor a skier. :)
Thanks in advance!



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Replies to: Boulder-Bang for the Buck? OOS

  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    You will get most people on this site that will tell you to go to UW-Madison or UMinn-Twin Cities, as those are much more prestigious than CU Boulder,and the "name" is the only deciding factor. I am not one of those people. I think there is so much more than getting into the "best" school, because who is the judge of the best?

    When my D was applying to schools, we discussed safety vs. match vs. reach, and what it would mean if she went into a school in any of those categories. I always thought to myself her reach would be nice (ironically was UW-Madison which she did not get in) but thought she would always be playing "catch-up." Her answer was the best though - "I want to go to a school that makes me happy." I was really proud of her to hear that, because at the end of the day, if at all financially possible, they need to be at the school that they will work best at and fit in.

    My D just committed to CU Boulder over the weekend. Boulder was her safety school. We were so torn between Boulder and UMass-Amherst (the "better" school which is a bit harder to get into), where she got a nice scholarship, coupled with the fact that UMass was cheaper to begin with. That money part made ME happy. She didn't see UMass yet for a couple of reasons, but she was getting nervous about being so far away from home. She did see well over 10 other schools, and nothing felt so "right" as Boulder did.

    I too, struggled with the fact that Boulder's "reputation" did not live up to other schools. And it was a struggle. I think your D can make of the school as she wishes by her class choices. Boulder has a top physics program and great engineering. My understanding is that they have great internship opportunities and a great career center, as of course the other schools that you mentioned have. Boulder has RAP's that cover both environmental and biological sciences. I have heard from countless people that my daughter WILL get a good education there, and there are plenty of people who don't party or ski. UW-Madison probably has a more notorious party reputation, but at the end of the day they get the job done. I am sure (or at least hopeful) that Boulder will get the job done for my D, as long as she makes the right choices, as she would at any school. Boulder is a big school, and there are plenty of people who are there for academic reasons and not party reasons.

    Financially, it was hard to take. My D was in tears. We talked a lot. She just found a job so she can make a contribution, and I think it will actually make her appreciate the school more. She is thrilled with the choice, as am I. Honestly, I still struggle somewhat with the fact that maybe she could have gone to a "better" school, but if she didn't thrive at that better school because it wasn't her fit, then we would have wasted a ton of money, plus what should be 4 great years of someone's life.

    Good luck with the decision. I know how it feels.
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  • Rousse54Rousse54 487 replies33 threads Member
    My son attended CU Boulder and graduated in 2014. We are out of state also. He also received the Chancellors's scholarship, which helped but really is not that much money. He was an aerospace engineering major, and for us it was a pretty easy decision as that program is in the top 10 of all aerospace engineering programs in the country. He graduated and now is working for Boeing. I am not familiar with the environmental science or biology programs there. My other son attends UW Madison so I am also familiar with that school. Both schools are great schools and will give your daughter a lot of wonderful experiences. Tuition at CU is high because as others have said, the out of state tuition funds the university. The same is true for OOS students who choose to come to California universities. Only you can decide if your family can make it work financially. If you have any questions about either school, please free to PM me. Good luck with your decision!
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  • MayzieMayzie 83 replies1 threads Junior Member
    We are In State. My son currently attends CU Engineering/Computer Science. My daughter has been accepted for next year in the Honors Program. She is still waiting on some other schools (some of the UCs, and some private). I think it is a hard decision and one that we are struggling with too if she gets into some of the UofCal schools. My husband believes that she should only pick an out of state school if it is better than CU. I do feel that the reputation of the school is important.

    I'll highlight what I think are the best depts. at CU. All of the Natural Sciences are very strong, especially Biology and Physics (several Nobel Prize Winners - in fact, my son had one of them as his Physics professor last year, so they are still in the classroom). The Dept. of Atmospheric Science is starting a new undergraduate major and they have just been ranked the top dept. in the country. Environmental Sciences and Environmental Law are top depts. Of course, the Engineering College is ranked very highly, especially Aerospace. The Computer Science program is probably as good as any Engineering School's dept. (no better, no worse). One benefit of being in Boulder studying CS, is that the Boulder/Denver area is currently a hotbed for small start up companies. Google is here and building a large new Google campus (on the downside, our real estate prices are going through the roof because of it.) Oracle is down the street. Bing is here, etc. There are lots of opportunities in the area for internships and jobs. My son during his freshmen year got hired to join a CS research group by one of faculty, and is actually being paid to code.

    CU has opened a new College of Media Communication and Information (previously Communication and Journalism). This is exciting as they are bringing in lots of new faculty. Coupled with this is the TAM Program (Technology, Arts and Media). Google it! An undergraduate can get a certificate, a minor or a major in this dept. The Film Dept. is also world renowned for Experimental Film Making (started by Stan Brakage). The Studio Art dept. is well known for it's ceramics program.

    Hope that helps a little.

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  • 3mamagirls3mamagirls 253 replies27 threads Junior Member
    @mayzie - this was very helpful. One big reason my D picked Boulder is that she has a ton of options for majors, as I am sure it is going to change from what she was admitted for. She actually started thinking of film and the Media Communication Major, so it's nice to hear those are both very well respected. When we were at Boulder for a tour, it was discussed quite a bit that they pride themselves that many students go for two very unrelated majors, so my D was thinking of actually adding one of these for sure.
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  • MayzieMayzie 83 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I'm glad that the info was helpful. And even though the film dept built its reputation as an experimental film dept. it has hired a diverse group of faculty over the years, and is now known for documentary and narrative film, too. But, will always be known as an experimental film dept. I think coupling Film with either the new CMCI College or TAM would be a good bet.

    CU is currently looking to redo their Core Requirements to add flexibility to students to do more double majors, or add one or two minors to their degree.
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