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UVA v. JMU Honors Program w/ Scholarship

nova1234321nova1234321 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited February 2016 in University of Virginia
I was recently accepted into the University of Virginia and the James Madison University Honors Program (with a renewable $4,000 annual scholarship, for a total of $16,000 for my undergraduate studies). I am not entirely sure what I want to study, but I am thinking international relations or maybe international business. I really love UVA, but I plan on going on to graduate school, and it would be great to have more money left over to finance that. I was also thinking that it would be nice to be a "bigger fish in a smaller pond" at JMU, v. being "average" at UVA. Plus I've heard that it is very difficult to get into the McIntire School of Commerce, and I think I would have a much better shot at pursuing a business major at JMU (if I do indeed go in that direction...and JMU actually has an international business major, while UVA does not). But of course UVA has a lot of prestige and is well known outside of Virginia and I have worked very hard throughout high school in order to get accepted there.... I am currently very conflicted between both options, can anyone offer me any advice?

Replies to: UVA v. JMU Honors Program w/ Scholarship

  • CharlieschCharliesch Registered User Posts: 1,987 Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    Wait until April to make your decision. Spend the time visiting both schools at accepted student events, etc. Also take a look at depth of course offerings.

    Depending upon your family's finances, you may find that UVa offers need based aid that brings the cost close to the net cost of JMU.

    One of the valid reasons to not choose UVa is if a student really has their heart set on being a business major, but they believe they will have a very difficult time being admitted to McIntire. However, for a major like international relations I believe you will find that UVa probably has much more to offer.

    A person in any major at UVa can take the 3 intro commerce school classes.
  • ACollegeFanACollegeFan Registered User Posts: 292 Junior Member
    This is a tough decision. I would wait as Charliesch suggests and just keep mulling over your choices. I have a S at UVA and a D considering UVA or JMU (although she is only a junior-so it's just hypothetical for her right now). However, she has been thinking over the same factors you have. She sees what her brother has been going through to get stellar grades at UVA and is liking the big fish idea at JMU right now.
  • NedMartNedMart Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    I hire a lot of entry level new graduates in Northern Virginia. My daughter was just accepted EA at UVA which is why I am on the board. Since you are asking for advice, I will share mine with you.

    First, many studies suggest that where you go as an undergrad has little to do with your income 10 years into your career. I firmly believe that. Where you go to school might help you get your first job and will be a consideration for your second job, but after that, employers will only be looking at your accomplishments. Also, after your first day at any job, no one cares where you went to school. Your success is completely up to you at that point.

    However, if you are sure you want to go to graduate school, there are different considerations. I faced a similar decision 30 years ago. A top 20 school (not UVA) or JMU (the best VA school that accepted me). I went to the top school and it was life changing. Nothing against JMU, I see a lot of good grads come from there. But, if you want to go to grad school, going to the best undergraduate program possible may be an important differentiator. I was able to get into a top 10 MBA program, I believe, because I went to a nationally ranked undergrad program.

    $16k is nothing to sneeze about, but in the long-term, it will be insignificant. Live at home, drive an older car, live with more roommates, etc. You can save $16000 in 2 years just by lifestyle choices.

    Good luck!
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