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Yale (10k) vs Washington and Lee (full ride)

AirkreuzerAirkreuzer 6 replies3 threads New Member
I want to preface this by saying that I realize how extremely fortunate I am to be in this position. I was recently accepted into Yale/UPenn/Brown. If I choose to go to any of these three schools, my family will be expected to pay around 10k a year for total costs (UPenn is around half that, but for simplifications sake I'm lumping it in). My real conundrum is Washington and Lee, where I was selected for a Johnson Scholarship (Full ride+books+7k for a summer program). I had the opportunity to go to W & L for a weekend and really enjoyed it. I could totally picture myself going there and loving it. However, my dream school has always been Yale from the first time I toured. (I suppose this is more of a Yale vs. W & L post). My question for all of you is which school would be best for me to attend? Which school will prepare me best for the future? And which is the best value? I'm having a really tough time grappling with this. I don't have anything to compare W & L to because I was able to stay there and attend a few classes before COVID-19 cancelled everything. Thanks in advance.
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Replies to: Yale (10k) vs Washington and Lee (full ride)

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7724 replies82 threads Senior Member
    I have an opinion- but it reflects me, my experience of each place, and my priorities. Lots of people will weigh in with their own opinions.

    But: none of us are you. This is your moment to figure out for you what path you want to take.

    Happily, it seems that both schools are affordable to you. Both schools are academically credible. So, there is no "wrong" decision here.

    This is where you trust yourself: the school you choose will be the "best" for you, not because of something at the school but because of what *you* choose to do with what is available at the school. Neither school will prepare you for the future: both will give you an environment in which you begin to build that future. This is a small point that reflects the huge difference between HS & college.

    In HS, you were responsible for doing your part- work hard, be a good citizen- within the world of your HS, like a paint-by-numbers painting. In college you are handed a blank canvas, and shown a wall of things to work with (oils, water colors, pastels, brushes, palette knives, etching blocks, etc. etc.) and told to come up with X pieces of art. You are given a few boundaries (maybe GenEds, required courses for your major)- but that's it. It's your choices, your actions that will matter.

    So look at your choices from the point of view of how *you* work, what is interesting to *you*, what *you* want to do with your life canvas! Where do you feel you will thrive? Did you feel equally comfortable at each place?

    I will point out that objectively 1) Yale has wider name recognition than W&L and 2) W&L is strikingly more homogenous (racially and socioeconomically) than any of your other options. It is your call whether those facts are relevant to you and/or your areas of interest.
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  • OneMoreToGo2021OneMoreToGo2021 542 replies4 threads Member
    edited March 28
    Pick Yale for $40K total over four years. I am a fan of W&L and understand how great the Johnson Scholarship opportunity is, but Yale it is. Congrats on the wonderful options!
    edited March 28
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  • tkoparenttkoparent 373 replies7 threads Member
    I would definitely pick Yale. I went to graduate school at Yale and participated in a number of classes with undergraduates. Leaving prestige entirely to one side, it's a wonderful school with a real intellectual bent and an undergraduate group that is diverse, open-minded and, of course, really bright. I don't know W&L, from what I've read on CC that it is a fine school. But for 10K a year, I wouldn't pass up the chance to spend four years in New Have (pizza's also terrific!).
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3757 replies51 threads Senior Member
    What are your long-term career goals?
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  • AirkreuzerAirkreuzer 6 replies3 threads New Member
    @sgopal2 I'm not really sure yet, perhaps working for the government (State Dept, etc.). However, I kind of view college as the time when I will figure out my long-term goals, rather than going into college with those goals.
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  • politepersonpoliteperson 562 replies4 threads Member
    This would be a tougher decision if the difference in cost was 30 or 40k. But with an interest in politics or IR, but hoping to explore other areas, Yale (or Brown or Penn) are going to provide much stronger preparation and more opportunities. I would only go to W&L if you feel it fits you better personally. Having said that, if 10k is not affordable for you or your parents, W&L is a fine school.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 2082 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Is there any likelihood of a change in your family’s financial circumstances in the next two years? For example an inheritance or sale of a family business. If so then remember that the Yale cost of attendance is based on need and therefore could increase substantially whereas the W&L scholarship is pure merit.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3757 replies51 threads Senior Member
    In that case I would pick Yale. If you were interested in med school, then W&L might have been a better choice. But if your interests are not clear yet, then Yale will open more doors for you.
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