View Full Version : College Choice, Need Some Help
EZ_Hypnotized the Rogue
04-01-04, 09:23 PM
Hey guys, haven't posted in a while. Basically, I've been working hard to keep my senior grades up and getting high school over with.
It's April 1st, and that means I have one month to decide where to go to college. I hope to major in business because I find the market exciting, and if you met me, you'd know that I am pretty competitive. But there lies a problem. I have not had much experience in the field, and what if I decide I do not like the field after a little while?
Cost is not that big of a deal, but some of these schools are way pricier than others. I live in the Boston area, and don't mind being off on my own.
Here's my list.
-Indiana University (Direct Admittance to the business school instead of having to apply, plus honors college and 7k per year scholarship)
-Wake Forest University
-Case Western Reserve University
-New York University (Stern)
-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
-University of Massachusetts (Honors College)
-Pennsylvania State University (Honors College)
-University of Maryland (2k a year scholarship)
I know that in the end, it's a personal decision, but any input and advice on this would be amazing. I know I can ask you guys because some of you guys are some of the coolest people. Personally I think that I may cross off Wake, BU, and Case because if I was going to spend 40,000 per year, I may as well go to NYU. Ever since I got into NYU people have been telling me "Go to NYU!", but I have read that it is VERY competitive there, and some students tend to be snobby to the fifth power. Also I don't know how well I'd perform there in relation to the other students; I'm not sure I am smart enough to handle it. I just don't want to have my parents shelling out 40,000 dollars a year for me to fail; I am not really sure what the course load will be like, and if I can handle it.
This weekend I'm heading up to U-Mass, and also NYU on Sunday for open houses. Mid-April I'm visiting UMaryland, Case Western, Indiana, and Illinois. Hopefully I can figure some of this stuff out by then, until then I'll be deliberating and stalking my guidance counselor
04-01-04, 09:26 PM
My college advice:
Go to a college you like. If you like the campus and the people, go there. Education's secondary - you'll get out what you take. S*** happens when you party naked.
04-01-04, 09:55 PM
I visited Indiana University once (Bloomington right?), and it seemed like a pretty good school with a very nice, safe campus. Only downside was the school is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. But I wouldn't let that turn you off of IU. Don't remember much more, as this was 8 years ago.
I visited University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well, on a few occations. It has two advantages, it's big and it's pretty inexpensive. UI has a program for every major there is, so no matter what you end up wanting to do, at UI you can study it. I didn't end up applying there because I felt it would be too big and I wouldn't be able to fit in. At this point, I think that was pretty stupid of me. Once you settle into a major even a big school becomes pretty easy to fit into and establish yourself in. Urbana is a college town, but it's a pretty good sized one, and I felt safe driving around there, even at night.
I ended up going to Case Western Reserve University for a year. Most of the faculty are pretty good, and they are generally very friendly and accessable to the students. I didn't go near the business school so I can't comment on that.
What I can tell you is that the school is expensive, and tuition has been going up every single year I believe since I left. One reason for this is that the school is infamous for fiscal mismanagement and general administrative ineptitude. Also, the campus is very, very heavily Greek. Most campus events are sponsored by frats. They also have a mandatory and rather expensive meal plan, which frankly you don't get your money's worth for. You can eat as much as you want in a given meal, but the dining halls are poorly stocked, the food is sub-par, and the hours suck.
Another thing is that student housing is constantly getting mixed up and moved around (but you are required to live on campus first year no matter what). When I started, even a freshman could get a shot at a single if they wanted one. Now any undergrad will have trouble getting into a single without a full group of friends to fill out a suite, or even with one. Also the campus is located in a relatively bad part of Cleveland. The campus itself is pretty safe, but I wouldn't go exploring if you know what I mean. Oh, and if you have a car, you might as well leave it at home, because there is no parking. And I don't just mean for students, I mean Cleveland in general.
I had fun and Case, and the people are friendly, but unless you have a full scholarship and the work ethic to hold onto it for all 4 years, I really can't recommend it. If you go to visit Case try to sit in on one of Doc Oc's classes if you can (chemistry). He's the school's biggest celebrity.
Since you mentioned business, I'll bring up one other thing schools don't genrally talk about. If you end up going to business school (or grad school or med school or law school), then it really doesn't matter to employers where you went to study for undergrad (unless they're an alumni). All they'll care about is which business school you went to.
A student at Harvard Business School who first went to NYU will be considered just the same as a student at Harvard Business School who first went to a big public university.
They won't care about undergrad at that point any more than they will care about high school, unless you picked up a valuable skill as an undergrad like a foreign language. What you do as an undergrad is always more important than where you do it, if you plan to go beyond undergrad. If you don't, then the big name schools carry more weight and you'll have the advantage to have made friends and otherwise networked with generally more influential individuals in your given industry. That, and you'll probably have worked so hard that you'll be ready for anything the real world can dish out. Edited by: Norpin at: 4/1/04 10:52 pm
04-02-04, 03:37 AM
-Wake Forest University
is a very fine school. You wouldn't have any problem getting a job after that.
I'm a wake alum, so I might be biased... :)
It is a great school, but don't be so sure about the job thing. Thats going to be more dependent on your major, regardless of what college you go to.
If you come out of any school with just a BS in Biology (Like me) or Psych (Like many friends) You are going to be screwed. Cause theres a lot more people than there are jobs that need those skills.
You come out with a set of skills and a degree that is in demand, Well... Thats a whole different story. Someone with a BS in Computer Science from East Bumfart College is gonna have a better shot at getting a decent job than someone with a philosophy major from a very well known elite school.
If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't go to Wake, I'd have probably gone to a less expensive state school, and definately taken a different major. The Major you pick is a LOT more important than the college you go to.
It looks like jsut about everything on your list but BU is out of state, and its expensive even for in-state students, so the whole cost thing may not be as much of a difference as staying with an in state public vs. a private school.
Now a bit about the culture at Wake.
1) Winston-Salem is not a "College Town". Yes, there are 3 colleges in town, but it doesn't revolve around them, like some places do. (Like Chapel Hill does for UNC). When you are on campus, you are really cut off from the outside if you don't have a car. You won't be doing much walking to bars or restuarants across the street or anything, you will be driving, or getting a ride with a friend. For me, that wasn't a problem, since a) I had a car and b) i was a local anyway, so I knew all the streets, the good restuarants, places to go, etc. Make friends with someone local with a car your first semester if you can.
2) Its a high achiever group. Most of the people there were very focused on schoolwork through HS, and continue that into college. My Junior year, they did a survey of workload among college students, and Wake Forest came in first among all Liberal Arts schools in the amount of work students had. (Not sure of the methodology in the survey, but compared to friends of mine who went to Duke, Vandy and other similar schools, They agreed my workload seemed a lot heavier.)
3) As Colleges go, its fairly conservative. (Of course that just means its College Republicans has 15 members instead of 5, and its Politics Dept has 2 conservative Professors instead of zero.) It has Baptist Roots, but it has left those far behind years ago. Don't worry though, It doesn't mean that anyone is going to feel out of place there. Theres more Vegan tree huggers there than you can throw a stick at, but theres closer to a balance than at Chapel Hill, or Duke, or Other more politically polarized schools. Political Correctness and junk like that isn't as firmly entrenched as you might see it elsewhere.
4) Greeks are very integrated into the rest of campus. At Most schools, fraternities and Sororities have separate Houses off campus, or on a fraternity row, or soemthing. Well, at Wake, They generally give a block of rooms in each of the quad buildings to a Fraternity, with an associated lounge below. So even in a fraternity, it isn't like you are in an isolation chamber. You walk out your door, and you will see non-greek friends and friends from other fraternities. Being in a fraternity is popular, but not all-controlling like it can be in some places.
5) There are a ton of cultural events to go to that you won't want to pass up. Lots of music, plays, etc., plus some kind of unique items, like the Annual Moravian Lovefeast, which is sort of borrowed from the Moravian Church.
6) Its one of the most wired schools in the country. They were the first to give all students laptops, and their IT/network support just keeps growing. Just about anywhere you go, you will have network connections, and probably need them in most classes.
The main reason I wouldn't go there is the cost compared to other schools. Were it not for that one single factor, I'd pick it every time.
If you have any questions about it, email me at email@example.com Just put WFU in the title. Edited by: Meddik at: 4/2/04 5:14 am
04-02-04, 05:36 AM
Wake, no doubt. If it is possible to get in do so. Wake was my first choice, but I wasn't able to get in, I got on the waiting list, but I still wasn't able to get in. It's a great place, I grew up right outside of Winston-Salem and I'd probably do just about anything to get back.
04-02-04, 05:42 AM
A couple things:
If you're really interested in Wall Street as where you want to go work after graduation with an undergrad degree, NYU is probably your best bet. I'm not entirely positive, but my understanding is that it's not super easy to find an investing job right out of college without an MBA without an internship, and NYU is the one most likely to be able to channel you into the investment field due to its being in NYC.
If you're interested in getting an MBA out of college, that's less of an issue, but college prestige will help you in your MBA application. Some of the better BSchools prefer students to have work experience for their MBA programs, so if you go to a school for undergrad where you'd want to go for MBA that could help you get in if you make friends with the profs and apply directly. Also, you have to realize that a school can have a kick ass MBA program but be completely useless to you if you want to work on Wall Street. For instance here at IU, we've got a really good program, but the focus isn't on investment management, it's on manufacturing management and the like, so most of our grads go work for Ford rather than Citicorp.
Now, if I were to rank those schools simply based on Prestige, this is where I'd put them. It's a rough estimate, but the best I can do (and is based on Accounting, not the whole Bschool, so could be completely wrong ):
And I honestly don't know where Wake would be in there. I'd say it's probably on the lower end of the spectrum, but could be completely wrong. I'd say it's definitely in the third or fourth tier.
What I would sugget you do, if you haven't already, is find out where their graduates get placed after their senior year. You're definitely looking at Accounting and Finance as major/minor (or minor/major) if you want to go into the investing world, so find out where their finance and accounting majors go to work. If all their accountants go to work for Big 4 firms, and all their finance majors go work for banks, then that's not your place. However, it's also worth seeing where their other majors' graduates go, so that if you decide part way in that you're not interested in the investing world, you have options. I'm pretty sure that your contact at those schools would have that info available.
A couple other points: At CW and NYU you're likely to have smaller class sizes than many of the other schools, particularly for the intro classes. At IU our intro classes are done in 200 person lecture halls. I'd bet that at CW and NYU you're looking at 30-50 student classes taught by a real professor.
The professors at NYU have tremendous flexibility and support. One of the professors there was telling a group of us once, "I got to thinking about XXX, and thought it was an interesting idea that I wanted to know more about, so I decided to design a course about it and teach it." So here's a guy who is facinated by some small aspect of the business world, thinks it's interesting enough to talk about for a semester, so reads a bunch of books, learns about it, and teaches a brand new class in the fall about it. That's pretty damn cool. You're not likely to find that kind of thing at other schools.
Ultimately, however, you're going to have to figure out where your best fit is. Smart students can get an awsome education at any of those schools. Mediocre students can get better educations at private schools than public schools because there's a bigger net to catch them. Sucky students are gonna suck no matter where they go. If the output of two schools is the same, in terms of where their graduates go to work (or to school), pick the school you feel more comfortable with.
04-02-04, 05:59 AM
Penn State grad here. You won't find a much more complete college life than at Penn State. I'm not going to go into a long shpiel about PSU and how great it is (although it is). All I'm gonna say is: Visit the campus. Walk into the stadium and picture 100,000+ screaming fans. If you're a music fan, check out the Bryce Jordan Center (basketball arena next to Beaver Stadium). Lots of major concerts come to that stadium and it's right on campus (close enough for me and a friend to get drunk, then stumble up to the arena to catch Clapton a few years back).
After you've been to the campus, my guess is you'd be sold. It's beautiful, with a lot of quiet spots. Oh, and don't go to Indiana. There's a lot of dicks there (think: Bobby KNight disciples).
Wake is good, even though their football stadium sucks.
04-02-04, 06:02 AM
I went to and now currently work for Penn State University and I love it here. I went to the school of engineering, but the friends I know who went to the business school have all gone on to get good jobs (not having taken many business schools besides the basic econ course, I don't have a lot of input on it other than that).
I'd suggest giving each place you are seriously interested in a good solid visit. Walk around, talk to some people, check out places like the student union building, any stadiums (not just football, stadiums for concerts and shows, ballparks, or whatever else you think is cool). If you are interested in anything in particular, check it out. Like to swim? Visit the pools. Work out all the time? Check out the gym and excercise facilities. Want to try out for a theatre group? Check out the theatres and the school of arts. Heck, just grabbing a bunch of brochures can give you a good idea of what a university has to offer.
In my (admittedly biased) opinion, Penn State is an excellent place to live and go to school. We get major concerts and events (for example, I heard recently that Prince just scheduled a show here), lots of great sports (football team will get better, have faith in JoePa!), and a huge assortment of clubs and activities (like spelunking? gaming? fly fishing? there are clubs (and even classes in some cases!) for most everything).
Well anyway, if you have any questions let me know. I've been around here long enough to know a lot about the area and university. Good luck with whatever you choose!
04-02-04, 06:33 AM
go to sdsu =/
04-02-04, 06:45 AM
Quote:(think: Bobby Knight disciples).
But you don't actually have the man, the legend, now do you?
*goes to Texas Tech*
04-02-04, 06:52 AM
Quote:A couple other points: At CW and NYU you're likely to have smaller class sizes than many of the other schools, particularly for the intro classes. At IU our intro classes are done in 200 person lecture halls. I'd bet that at CW and NYU you're looking at 30-50 student classes taught by a real professor. I can't speak to NYU, but CWRU has some big intro classes as well. I'll bet that all schools have a set of very popular intro classes where you'll be stuck with 200+ classmates. Intro to Chem at CWRU was like that. On the other hand, I've also attended a big state school (OSU), and a number of intro classes were less than 100 people, sometimes less than 50. Which intro class it is makes a big difference. Math is going to have a lot more people than philosophy. Spanish more than Latin. And so on.
As for the "real professor" part, I caught the prof for Intro to Programming, a major intro course at CWRU for the engineering school and comp sci majors, teaching straight from a set of powerpoint slides he got from the textbook. There was zero original material in his lectures. So he was being paid Lord knows how much to read slides he didn't compose, which I was able to find and download for free off the internet. Also, if you asked a question, he would always answer by re-reading the slide, even if the slide was unrelated to the question. It was an almost criminal waste of my tuition and my time.
And the other thing is, you're only going to take so many intro classes. I spent almost 4 years at OSU, the nation's second most populous University IIRC, and after the 100 level courses, I never had a class of more than 50 people. Usually there were less than 30. Now granted these weren't the most popular majors (psychology and Japanese), but we are still talking about a huge school. Despite this, the ratio of students to faculty at OSU is only 14 to 1, which is not bad at all.
For comparison IU is 20 to 1 and NYU is 12 to 1, but UofI:U-C is only 13 to 1. Not bad for a gigantic school.
I poked around a bit on the net, and US News and World Report ranks NYU as the best business school on your list (14), but, interestingly enough, the second best are Indiana and Illinois, tied at 23. CWRU didn't even make the top 50.
For undergrad, Wake Forest comes out on top at number 28, beating NYU next at 35. CWRU is 37, Illinois is 40, and Penn State is 48. Edited by: Norpin at: 4/2/04 7:49 am
04-02-04, 10:22 AM
I'll pitch NYU, more because of the area than the school itself (I've heard it's an excellent education). You can learn a LOT about life in general while in New York, and pretty much have a virtual tour of the world while staying in one city.
Museums, concerts, cuisine (try out Mahmoud's or Ali Baba's on MacDougal right near NYU... best Middle Eastern food I've ever had!), entertainment of all sorts.
As was also said, you're in a good place for intern- and externships in Manhattan if you go to NYU. (Back In Black)
Delissandra Splitshadow - Marauder of Clan X
Grandmaster Poisoner (250), Master Potter (195), Grandmaster Lush (200)
Why is it that the last piece I've needed from EVERY armor set, from Ravenscale on up to Stanos' Wicked is the PANTS?
I honestly am beginning to think it's a conspiracy founded by Glip!
Oh, as far as class size goes... Wake is very good in that regard, assuming you aren't a Biology/Chemistry major. According to their site, the undergrad ratio is 10 to 1.
Other than My entry level Bio and Chem Classes, I never had anything that was bigger than 35 people, and almost everything above the entry level of my major was 10 or lower.
(Entry level Bio and Chem were so bad, because almost 50% of the students went in my freshman year intending to be pre-med.)
Also, Except for labs and health classes, All classes are taught by faculty, not by graduate students.
04-02-04, 02:31 PM
UIUC Of course I'm biased since I'm an alumni there.
Engineering programs are ranked high. Not sure about business tho.
04-02-04, 02:52 PM
Quote:I visited University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well, on a few occations. It has two advantages, it's big and it's pretty inexpensive.
The state is freezing public tuition as of next year (incoming freshmen). That means, all the public schools in Illinois will raise tuition substantially so that they can offset the expense. For next year, it rose by $3,000!! But you're right about it being big, it has approx. 40,000 students. I myself am going to UIUC next year for engineering. I live pretty close and it's an awesome college town.
04-02-04, 02:59 PM
The classes are good, the girls are easy and the beer is great in Happy Valley.
We are Penn State!
Hahn Pirate -- Arrr Matey!
04-02-04, 03:06 PM
Quote: Urbana is a college town, but it's a pretty good sized one, and I felt safe driving around there, even at night.
I've lived in Urbana for the past five years after I finished my degree. Although there isn't much outside of the CU area, you are only 2 1/2 hours from Chicago and St Louis. Indy is just over an hour. It's not nearly as isolated as it seems.
There is a supprising amount of culture if you take the time to look for it. Campus town will of course have all the beer you would ever expect, but if that's all the sightseeing you do around here you'll be missing out on a lot.
Veteran Lemac Dushae
Deceiver for <Gorilla Warfare>
University of Maryland has a great campus (i live 20 minutes from there). The business school there has improved dramatically in the past years, or so i've heard from friends who are going there, so don't take that as gospel, visit the school, but the school has improved dramatically in general in the past 5 or 10 years. The campus is 25 minutes from Washington DC for all your sight seeing needs. The town of College Park is quiet has a lot of old time restaurants and the like (cruise down the main road to the campus from the highway nearby and its nothing but "go terps", its a great place ). They compete every year in basketball (won it all 2 years ago), football, and especially both mens and womens lacrosse and swimming, if you care about that kind of stuff, they have a great band and performing arts programs. Definately consider UMD, its quiet but not too quiet, and close to a big city.
For networking, contacts and internships for Wallstreet NYU, if you want to get away from home and spread your wings, Indiana sounds like a good deal for you, specially if you are getting the funding. Less student debt now means more freedom when you go career. Case Western is a good school, but more famous for engineering and medical.
EZ_Hypnotized the Rogue
04-02-04, 05:41 PM
Wow, thanks for all the replies
Pretty much my mindset right now is that I can pretty much not make a bad decision in choosing my school. I think I am just going to visit all schools and ask myself "Can I picture myself here for four years?" Right now NYU seems like an amazing experience, and hopefully I can rise the academic challenge. My guidance counselor believes that I can meet the standards by putting forth the effort, and they wouldn't have accepted me if they didn't think I was up to it. Of course being a die hard Yankees fan is somewhat in that decision. Yet, I am also deliberating between ALL the other schools and what they have to offer.
I have heard the Maryland campus is also very beautiful, and that could be a factor in my decision. Ahh there are just so many choices, seems like I applied to too many, its ashame you can only attend one!
04-02-04, 07:18 PM
Scrap them all and go some place warm. I won't tell you to go to South Carolina because as I know nothing about our business school, just that International business is one of the best.
Just go to the South, Wake Forest isn't far enough, still too cold in winter.
I have one piece of real advice. Don't go to a school in a college town, unless there is a big city nearby. The city is a good thing.
Don't go to Penn State, they hire hypocritical baseball coaches who talk out of their ass about things they know nothing about just to make themselves look good to the public.
Now for some funQuote:(PSU)Walk into the stadium and picture 100,000+ screaming fansI assume they are screaming at how bad the football team is doing.
Quote:(Maryland)especially both mens and womens lacrosse and swimmingYou're supposed to be selling your school
Its funny reading people talking about the great concerts they get. Almost every school/city has those same concerts.
04-02-04, 08:05 PM
Quote: Ahh there are just so many choices, seems like I applied to too many, its ashame you can only attend one!
Eh, I applied to a lot of schools too. I'm from the midwest, and I just wanted to dangle my feet in the water in the schools around here; it was fun to see what universities i could and couldn't get into (turns out the only one I got the big boot from was Northwestern, selective bastards :p).
04-02-04, 08:39 PM
Bleh, I only applied to one, the one I knew I was going to
04-02-04, 08:54 PM
I chose USC since they gave me the most money. Go for the cash!
04-02-04, 09:19 PM
Quote:Go for the cash!
Yup, $UC is right!
04-02-04, 11:03 PM
Don't go to Penn State, they hire hypocritical baseball coaches who talk out of their ass about things they know nothing about just to make themselves look good to the public.
Ooo, now THERE is an important thing to consider! I mean, if I had known that I never would have gone to school here!
And you are wrong about the shows. Friend of mine is mad because Prince won't be doing a show in Philly but is doing one in State College. Edited by: Peebs at: 4/2/04 11:04 pm
04-02-04, 11:26 PM
Go to Bean Town and join the Hockey Team!
Quote:I have one piece of real advice. Don't go to a school in a college town, unless there is a big city nearby. The city is a good thing.College towns do have one thing going for them, a very low cost of living. I lived on six grand a year while going to the University of Florida, that covered everything except tuition and books. Somehow I don't think that would fly at NYU...
04-04-04, 03:02 PM
If you even consider Maryland, don't just visit the campus. Check out the area immediately surrounding campus. It's a huge @#%$ hole. Unless you want to live in the dorms for 4 years you'll be spending a lot of time off-campus- keep that in mind when looking at schools. It's just as important.
04-04-04, 09:20 PM
Quote:College towns do have one thing going for them, a very low cost of living. I lived on six grand a year while going to the University of Florida, that covered everything except tuition and books. Somehow I don't think that would fly at NYU...
Take it from me since I am a New Yorker...you better hope your parents can afford to dish out quite a bit more than just the $40K a year if you wanna live in NYC. Hell a pack of cigarettes are $7+ here.