Trying to Decide on a University... WWYD? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 01-22-2010, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to decide on one of 3 university choices. I will be done with my community college after this Spring. All 3 have pros and cons, here they are:

Utah State University:
Pros:
  • I qualify for full 2-year tuition scholarship
  • Student Family housing paid for through grant money
  • Close to family
  • Small town: safe for family/kids
  • Great programs for both DH and I in our field of study
Cons:
  • USU has a strict no-alcohol policy in all student housing, even for people who are of drinking age, living in an apartment. (We are very much beer/wine with dinner kind of people)
  • Conservative community (we're pretty progressive hippy-dippy types)
  • Cold/Snowy Climate
  • Not so many Childcare options
  • I know I wouldn't be happy living there

Oregon State University
Pros:
  • Great programs for both DH and I in our field of study
  • Progressive Community
  • Family Student Housing
  • Excellent Childcare options
  • It's Oregon! We LOVE Oregon
  • Safe/Small city
Cons:
  • Out-of-state tuition/COL higher
  • Employment is scarce
  • Far from family
  • We will both have to WOH while working on our degrees

Eastern Michigan University
Pros:
  • I believe I would qualify for/receive enough scholarships to balance out costs
  • Out of Utah!
  • Student Family Housing Options
  • Easier program for DH to get accepted into
  • More progressive Community

Cons:
  • School doesn't have the best reputation
  • Far from Family
  • Michigan Economy/Employment
  • Safety Concerns

Also, if any of you have any personal experience with any of these choices, feel free to share.

THANKS!

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#2 of 26 Old 01-22-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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As someone who graduated college over 10 years ago and hasn't even put a 25% dent in her student loans. I personally, would let the finances rule out and would go with the school with the scholarship and housing grant. Money would be the deciding factor for me. I assume this is only for 2-4 years. I can live anywhere for that long if it means having no debt at the end.

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#3 of 26 Old 01-22-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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In your situation, I would choose Utah State. The major factors for me would be safety, finances and a great/well respected program. Being near family would also be a huge pro. It sounds like you won't love living there, but it will only be for a few years.

On the other hand... I don't know what you and your DH's fields of study, expected income and expected cost of going to school in Oregon are. It sounds like you would much prefer living there. If the amount you would need to take out in loans is small enough and/or the amount you can expect to make after you graduate is large enough that you can repay the loans within a few years of graduating, it may very well be worth it. What is living in Oregon for the next few years worth to your family - how many years of student loan debt?
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#4 of 26 Old 01-22-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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Great program + full financial aid? No contest. I'm afraid it's Utah. If you can avoid being saddled with debt, it's worth a couple of years of living somewhere that's more conservative than you'd like to be.

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#5 of 26 Old 01-22-2010, 07:41 PM
 
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I mostly agree with the previous comments. But... how long would you be there?

For us, 2 1/2 years was doable in a place we didn't like (weather, too big a city, far from family, trouble getting the help our son needed), but then we really had to look at other options. Luckily I'm able to finish the last couple years of my program distantly, so I didn't have to bail on the program completely.

Your situation has the advantage of having family nearby, which was a driving factor in where we've settled now. And the financial aspect is pretty huge. If you can get a sense of where you want to head after finishing your program, you might be able to set some goals (making employment connections, checking out schools, etc) that would help you keep your eyes on that.
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#6 of 26 Old 01-22-2010, 08:15 PM
 
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Utah.

I can't imagine they'd check your wine levels in your home, but if you did not want to break the rules you could have wine on your date nights at a restaurant.

I'm often surprised at how much I like places I think are going to be too conservative or no fun for my wild liberal self. I promise, with the right attitude you can find joy in many places you might not expect. One of my crunchiest most liberal friends is a Mormon woman living in Lehigh

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#7 of 26 Old 01-22-2010, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Maluhia View Post
Utah.

I can't imagine they'd check your wine levels in your home, but if you did not want to break the rules you could have wine on your date nights at a restaurant.

I'm often surprised at how much I like places I think are going to be too conservative or no fun for my wild liberal self. I promise, with the right attitude you can find joy in many places you might not expect. One of my crunchiest most liberal friends is a Mormon woman living in Lehigh
I read in the student housing regulations that they didn't allow any alcohol whatsoever, and it is groundss for getting kicked out! I mean.. I'm not an 18 yr old kid living in the dorms, ya know! Then I read in the reviews that people purposefully "told" on people who did break the alcohol rules!

I don't assume that all mormons are ubber conservative.. I have lots of crunchy LDS friends. But SLC is soooo much more liberal than Logan!

OK, so I am majoring in Anthropology, and DH a Masters in Natural Resource Management. I might just go with Utah, even though I REALLY want to move away from here! Hopefully after we get our degrees I can start a graduate program in Oregon, and DH can find a good job there!

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#8 of 26 Old 01-22-2010, 09:18 PM
 
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yup - graduate assistantships will typically pay tuition plus living stipend, so saving oregon for grad school is a great idea. If you are done at your CC, It doesn't sound like you have that much more time. Plus, it IS close to family, and I think its really nice for you kids to be able to see them especially when they are young.

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#9 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 04:55 AM
 
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I think Utah is the best, Oregon would probably be my first recommendation if you wouldn't both have to work, working and going to University is stressful and you wouldn't get to enjoy the local flavor that much.

Are there bars near the University in UTAH, they are probably a few that may have like-minded students in them if alcohol is not allowed on campus LOL
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#10 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 05:19 AM
 
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Probably Utah.

I'm down in Provo...I get most of my stuff paid for (Pells), which is a big deciding factor for me. Having no debt (or little) at the end will be a huge relief to me, personally.

There is the extremely conservative, no-alcohol, small town thing.. but I deal with it. DH and I find ways to have fun...and seriously, would they really check your room for alcohol? You can just say you use wine or beer to cook. We say that, or would if they ever checked. USU is in Logan, correct? I really get your "out of Utah" thing...I've been here 3 years, and yes, I miss where I'm from, but there are lots of things to love about Utah if you just look. (It snowed a quite a few inches earlier today, so I'm having to look really hard...lol).

Best of luck!
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#11 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 08:44 AM
 
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I would go with Utah also. If it's just for a few years and a means to set up the rest of your life, it seems worth it to me. If dh and I were both students, and had to work as well, that would be harder on our kids than if we didn't have to work and had family support nearby. I would place that above me not living in exactly where I wanted to temporarily.

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#12 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are there bars near the University in UTAH, they are probably a few that may have like-minded students in them if alcohol is not allowed on campus LOL
There might be ONE bar, if at all. Honestly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fresh_veggie View Post
Probably Utah.

I'm down in Provo...I get most of my stuff paid for (Pells), which is a big deciding factor for me. Having no debt (or little) at the end will be a huge relief to me, personally.

There is the extremely conservative, no-alcohol, small town thing.. but I deal with it. DH and I find ways to have fun...and seriously, would they really check your room for alcohol? You can just say you use wine or beer to cook. We say that, or would if they ever checked. USU is in Logan, correct? I really get your "out of Utah" thing...I've been here 3 years, and yes, I miss where I'm from, but there are lots of things to love about Utah if you just look. (It snowed a quite a few inches earlier today, so I'm having to look really hard...lol).

Best of luck!
Oh, the cooking excuse is a great one. I have no idea if they will actually check, but from what I read on the reviews of the school- a lot of people like to be "tattle tales".. Hopefully it would be different in Family Housing though.

You are all right.. I think I just needed to hear it, because my heart is torn- and my head says, "Just go to USU for a couple years."

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#13 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 04:03 PM
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Yea, I am also one with HUGE school loan debt. Avoid that if you can.. even if it means living in Utah.

Eastern Mich has safety problems? Hmmm, not sure about that. I think it is very safe.

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#14 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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My student loans are UNBEARABLE. Please save yourself the debt.

Stick out Utah and move to Corvallis after. This, coming from one of Corvallis' hugest fans - the town is not only wonderful, but has the highest cost of living in Oregon. If you want to live there on a more permanent basis, better to not have the extra tens of thousands in debt!
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#15 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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Utah. I have tons of student loans and they suck. It's only 2 years.

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#16 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yea, I am also one with HUGE school loan debt. Avoid that if you can.. even if it means living in Utah.

Eastern Mich has safety problems? Hmmm, not sure about that. I think it is very safe.
I am just going off what I read in the school reviews, and that it is a much bigger city than Logan and Corvallis. I have heard great things about Michigan (besides the Detroit area), esp Ann Arbor, so I am sure I would love it.

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#17 of 26 Old 01-25-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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if you can get tution covered in Michigan I would absolutely leave the small town. But it really depends on what is more important to you: if you both had to work in Oregon, you'd have money but not much time to spend it on the activities you'd like to do. But with tuition covered you'd have time to actually do something progressive in the place you're in!

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#18 of 26 Old 01-25-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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Consider how much you'll make after school as well. It's one thing to be saddled with student loans when you're going to be a doctor or an attorney. It's quite a different thing when you're going into anthropology!

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#19 of 26 Old 01-25-2010, 09:54 PM
 
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It would be a financial decision for me....Utah. I would continue to look at Michigan too, just to see if there are more options regarding tuition, etc. I'd also look at dh's educational costs (IE: If he got a free ride to Michigan, or lots of scholarships it might be a better $$ situation).

I have about 9000 in student loans right now, that I really wish I didn't have.

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#20 of 26 Old 01-25-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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I would try to find other options. I don't agree with the folks who say you should go to Utah if it is so counter to your values. It's very possible that that culture will permeate everything on campus.

Maybe it would be possible to find a _city_ that had several places that both you and your DH could apply. You don't have to go to the same school if there are several in close proximity.

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#21 of 26 Old 01-25-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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I vote you stay here..but that is just because I like you!

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#22 of 26 Old 01-26-2010, 01:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I vote you stay here..but that is just because I like you!
I know With our busy schedules we'll probably see each other just the same though!

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#23 of 26 Old 01-26-2010, 10:12 AM
 
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I'm another that has enormous student loan debt. It's only a couple of years---I would let finances rule completely.

In fact, I often (as in, at least once a week) have dreams where I am telling my grad school self to rethink the loan/money issue. It weighs on me A LOT. A whole lot.
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#24 of 26 Old 01-27-2010, 01:37 AM
 
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utah for all the previously stated reasons.
You can move to oregon after couple years.
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#25 of 26 Old 01-27-2010, 02:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah.. I've decided to just stick it out in Utah.. if I truly hate it I can always transfer to another university (I think).

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#26 of 26 Old 01-29-2010, 01:36 AM
 
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Sorry to stir the pot if you've decided. I have to put in a plug for Eastern Michigan. My mom's alma mater. In terms of safety, I wouldn't be worried. Ypsilanti had a bad reputation when I was growing up, eh-hem, 20 years ago, but it's improved a lot. Ann Arbor is amazing. Many people go there for school and can't bear to ever leave. It is true that the state is an economic disaster zone at the moment and it's worth checking out how that is affecting the universities. For awhile Eastern was a school that took really excellent care of its students and that's worth quite a bit. I don't know if that is still true and I"m not sure how you'd find out.

If I were you, I'd probably try to fill in some more details on your list. Like, being near family - is this overall good or bad? With kids and both parents in school, it might be downright critical to have family around to help, more important than cost factors. But, what exactly will you do about childcare?

Also, how does the quality of the school fit with your future plans? It sounds like you are interested in grad school. I would go ahead and call the departments of the graduate school programs you are interested in and ask them what they think of those three colleges.

What career path are you thinking about and how much debt can you tolerate? I would be very willing to spend more for a higher quality undergrad education if I was either headed toward a better-paying career or going to grad school in a field where it was likely to be paid for. My DH and I both have some debt from college and grad school, but it has been manageable to pay it off. My brother, the business dude, paid his student loans off early.
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