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Now which college do I go to?

ImVeryStupidImVeryStupid 17 replies6 threads Junior Member
Hi! Some of you have probably seen me ask a lot of questions about colleges in this forum, but none of my parents have even finished high school and I really need the help in info. So, I basically have 4 choices (I have 3 other waitlists): Case Western, UAlabama, Ohio State, and UCincinnati. I intend on majoring in engineering, civil or mechanical.

UAlabama is free if I designate it as my national merit first choice school, but it's far from home and its ranking is not great.

Case Western is in state but they estimated it would be 40k a year. It's engineering is pretty good

Ohio State is also in state, and I pay in state tuition. Probably 20k a year.

UCincinnati I don't even want to go to. It is around 20k a year

Waitlists at Emory, Carnegie Mellon, and Vanderbilt.

I really have zero idea what I should choose. Which one would you guys choose?

28 replies
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Replies to: Now which college do I go to?

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3260 replies74 threads Senior Member
    Alabama is going to scream up the ranks in short order, considering the fantastic scholarships they're handing out to high-performing students. Having said that, you can't go wrong with OSU at that price. CWRU is a highly rated college and truly a wonderful school, but I don't think $40k/year is worth it IF you or your family have to go in debt to pay for it.
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  • JulioAlvarez1999JulioAlvarez1999 7 replies1 threads New Member
    My pick would be Ohio State University as it's a good public university with good track record for students.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9737 replies371 threads Senior Member
    How much can your parents pay per year without borrowing? If they can't pay $20k or more, Alabama is your only affordable choice.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11184 replies146 threads Senior Member
    If you get off the waitlist at CMU, will you be a full pay student or do you qualify for financial aid ?

    We probably are entering a recession, so free is good, debt is bad.
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  • melvin123melvin123 1752 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Free vs at least $80,000. For engineering. At a time when our economy might freefall. IMHO, there’s no question, I’d pick Alabama.

    I specified “for engineering” because, from viewing CC over the years, I’ve heard that the most important thing for engineering is whether the school is ABET accredited, which Alabama is. And your salary isn’t going to be any different if you go to U Alabama or U Ohio.

    Just FYI, U of A has a high number of out-of State kids, so you shouldn’t feel like a fish out of water. The campus is nice, and there are plenty of students there so you will be able to find a group of kids you’ll like. FWIW, I’m a transplant to AL and have been surprised by how much business is here. I’ve also been to the campus several times, both for football games (what an experience! So much energy!) and award ceremonies. The state is pro-business and growth oriented and the university seems to have a good partnership with the state. My impression is that the university aspires to higher levels, and can offer some interesting opportunities.

    Good luck to you as you try to get info so you can decide.
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  • daunt18daunt18 154 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I would narrow it down to OSU and Bama.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7754 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Agree with @daunt18- and for me the variable is debt. UAl for engineering is entirely credible, and as noted above it has been wooing high-achieving OOS students, so you would be in with smart, achievement oriented peers. No debt is worth A LOT- honestly, more than you can imagine right now.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2885 replies8 threads Senior Member
    I wouldn't worry about the rankings. Alabama is ABET accredited. If you're low income, you HAVE a scholarship, which means you have guaranteed money to pay for school in writing. That being the case, an in-state university is a pretty safe bet with low income. OSU, however has a very competitive engineering program, and there are no guarantees you'll even get in to that program even if you get into the university.
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  • ImVeryStupidImVeryStupid 17 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the replies! CMU would be 50k a year so that's not great. I know Bama is a great deal but the average income out of there would be lower right? By thousands. Also I feel like a higher ranked school has more resources and connections. Being a "perfectionist" my entire life I can't bring myself to seriously think about going to Alabama. My parents strongly discourage my going to Alabama either. They want the highest rank school I got to which is CWRU.

    Maybe by some miracle I get off the Vandy waitlist? Wouldn't that be a godsend.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6419 replies1 threads Senior Member
    Can you afford all of these schools without taking on any debt? Are your parents in jobs that are safe even with a significant economic downturn?

    OSU is a very good university. As others have said, you should attend a university that is ABET certified. I think that these all are. The education is not going to vary much from one school to another. Opportunities are not going to vary much either, although in general companies are more likely to recruit close to where they are located. The cost of education may vary by quite a bit.

    If you can afford OSU with no debt, then it would be my first choice. Being close to home is a good thing, particularly in a pandemic where long distance travel may be iffy. Engineering is a tough major and some students take 5 years to graduate. If you need to take a 5th year, you will still be in-state for OSU. It is a good and well known university. My understanding is that it is ABET certified but I have not looked this up.

    I would only pay extra to attend CMU if your parents could afford five years with no debt (and with no financial aid for the fifth year). I will admit that I am a bit cautious about taking on debt, but this has worked out well in our experience.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7754 replies82 threads Senior Member
    I know Bama is a great deal but the average income out of there would be lower right? By thousands

    But not for the reason you think: the 'average salary' stats you see reflect the people who stay in AL (a low-cost place to live). Your income will be the same as any other newly-minted engineer at company X- whether your degree is from CWRU or Bama.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2885 replies8 threads Senior Member
    Pay no attention to "starting salaries." It's a false statistic. East/west coast schools ALWAYS have "higher" salary because they have a higher cost of living. Wherever you find a job will be a starting salary based on the local market. For instance, a starting salary of $60k in Texas will go a lot further than a $100k starting salary in L.A. That's because you have more purchasing power in Texas.
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  • joecollege44joecollege44 408 replies19 threads Member
    20k per year is still a good deal for a very good school that's fun to attend. let's not get greedy.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9830 replies110 threads Senior Member
    Just a quick story about UA. Last Fall my H was hiring for an engineering position. He had final applicants from MIT, Cornell, UA, UIUC, etc... The UA applicant blew him away. They lost him to another company because he had a ton of offers and was able to choose based on his preferred location. Runner up who got the job was from UIUC.

    My point - you can make your undergraduate experience spectacular wherever you go. All the schools on your list are solid, accredited universities. You'll have lots of opportunities to shine. Some would argue, that you'd have even more of an opportunity to stand out at UA over CMU. Aggressively pursue work experiences and do well in your classes. That's what's going to get you a job. Not the name of the university on your diploma.

    Go with your cheapest option. Don't go into debt. It's unnecessary!

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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6906 replies30 threads Senior Member

    Think of it this way. You can spend the next 10 years after graduating paying $1,000/month (just estimating) extra or possibly putting that same $1,000/month or lots more into the bank/retirement account /investment

    If your active on campus. Seek internship /coop opportunities get good grades then the sky is the limit. Two recent Alabama grads I know got offers from Google and Tesla.

    What you don't know about Bama is that they have close ties to the industry. The companies are trying to make Bama successful.

    You can only take out $27,500/4 years. Your parents would have to pay the rest. Do they really want that unneeded burden?

    In Chicago the last 4 years students are turning down much higher ranked programs for Alabama. Much higher ranked then Case Western. One mother told me "who would turn down a free education especially in these uncertain times"
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  • melvin123melvin123 1752 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Well, if you can’t bring yourself to seriously think about AL because you’re a perfectionist, then take it off the table. Let someone else who’d appreciate the opportunity have the spot.
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  • happy1happy1 23831 replies2384 threads Super Moderator
    Start with this question.........what can your parents afford with no loans and no hardship?
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1766 replies75 threads Senior Member
    Tell me more about your options as a National Merit Scholar? Is U of Alabama the only school where you can use this scholarship? If not, can you go back and apply to other colleges that accept NM?

    You are holding a golden ticket, and I can not imagine dropping that ticket so you can pick up $20,000 in loans. Do you see the world we are living in now? So many companies, and maybe even entire industries, will be closing their doors for good.

    Please pause and let yourself consider how/where this NM scholarship can give you the freedom of a debt free college education.

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  • powercropperpowercropper 1766 replies75 threads Senior Member
    Also, since your parents have no experience with the college process, they are going to naturally think "we want the best for our son, let's go with the top ranked school". But there are so many good schools out there, and most companies are going to be recruiting from hundreds of colleges, not just the Top 20. There are industries, like finance, that are more particular about your undergrad school, but for engineering, you just need to graduate from an ABET accredited engineering major school.

    Normally, you want to honor your parents and do as they say. This is one time you want to reach out to more knowledgeable people in your life. A teacher, school counselor, relative that did attend college, or other trusted adult, or even an older cousin who has attended college.
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  • sevmomsevmom 8784 replies61 threads Senior Member
    Ohio State sounds like an excellent option at $20,000. Really no need to pay substantially more for CWRU, CMU, Vanderbilt, or Emory for an engineering degree. You and your parents sound very uninterested in Alabama and you say you don't want to go that far away for school, so you might just want to eliminate that one .
    Good luck with the decision!
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