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Will FJ help me pick a school?


meep

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Why, hello there!
It's just me, meep.
Awake at 2 am, wired and nervous, the norm around here
😇

I've been doing the community college thing here in the USA and this semester was my time to apply for transfer to a 4-year university. I got accepted to 6 schools (wooo!) but I'm having a hard time deciding where to go. To be honest, I thought 1 or maybe 2 schools would accept me, and I'd be forced into a program/school by sheer limited choice. So while I'm proud that I have these choices, I'm also back to square one with my indecisiveness! Although I've already thrown one school out of consideration as it was my true "backup in case I literally have nowhere else to go" school.

Each school has their pros and cons. I know it’s ultimately up to me (and my fam) to choose what is right, but I’d love some objective points of view. Will you help me FJ?

💕 School 1 💕 is a public (in-)state university with full tuition covered for this year. It’s one of the cheapest options anyways, so if next year I don’t have costs covered, I wouldn’t have a mountain of debt from loans. It’s all online, so I wouldn’t have transportation costs either. However, its online nature means I’ll have limited course options. It is not my top choice major but it’s a very interesting, interdisciplinary program where I will be required & encouraged to take classes from my favorite major (which wasn’t available as an online option and is too far away to attend in-person). Nearly all my credits will transfer, but I might have some issues with completing the foreign language requirement (ie might need to pay out of pocket for community college classes and the credits won’t count towards required residency credits for graduation). 

💕 School 2 💕 is also a public (in-)state university with full tuition covered for this year. It is also one of the cheapest. This program is in-person, so I will have more support but also transportation costs. I’ll also be able to engage in research or at least a work-study if I wanted to. I applied to a program I’m regretting and I plan to switch my intended major if I accept. They do not have my top-choice major and I’d at most only be able to take 1 or 2 classes in my favorite subject. I don’t have access to my transfer evaluation report yet. 

💕 School 3 💕 is a public (out-of-)state university with an online program. It’s my top choice major! No transportation costs! My FAFSA status for this school is currently in progress. It is not as cheap as schools 1 & 2, but it is still a lot cheaper than the private universities. Nearly all of my credits will successfully transfer. I might have some issues with the foreign language requirement (again with the issue of paying out of pocket and the credits not applying for graduation) and course selection will be limited because it’s all online. With it being so far away, there’s really no way I could ever set foot on campus - even for graduation (I know that doesn’t matter for some people, but walking is something I always wanted to do since I didn't get to do it for homeschool). 

💕 School 4 💕 is a private non-profit university with an in-person program that is slightly closer to home. Though this means it’ll still have associated transportation costs. It is expensive and this year’s FAFSA & scholarships will cover about 80% of the costs. It will reject about 10 of my credits for transfer, putting me at sophomore level. The program is my top-choice major with some interesting classes I’d be excited to take. 

💕 School 5 💕 is a private non-profit university that will be in-person. It won’t be my top major, it is not offered there, or any classes even related to it. My transfer evaluation is unknown at this time. The portal and websites are almost non-existent, and even applying was a giant, complicated hassle. FAFSA & scholarships will cover only about 65% of my tuition this year, it is expensive. Okay...this one doesn’t have much going for it so far. But here’s the trap! It is literally 5 minutes away from me (I could even walk to class!). You know how much of positive that is being an older student! It’s so tempting! This also makes opportunities for research and/or work study a ton easier. 

So what do you think?! Any schools I should instantly take off my list? Any clear winners in your eyes? Something I haven’t thought about? Let me know! :)

12 Comments


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bal maiden

Posted

Can you give an indication of what the general subject area of your intended major is, and whether you want to go on to masters level or beyond afterwards? I’m not overly familiar with the US college system, but I am very familiar with going into and dropping out of academia.... I think you should pick the one which you feel most excited about the classes on offer - especially if you pick an online one. Studying solo is much harder than receiving in-person teaching and knowing other people in your classes. Has your community college been in person or online? 
 

My gut says school 4, by the way. It’s the only one you sound excited about. 

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WiseGirl

Posted

This will sound odd, but which one do you want to graduate from? If you take away the dollars and cents, which one makes your heart sing?

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kpmom

Posted

I wish school #2 had your top choice major, I'd say go there.

You do have to be happy (and excited) about what you're studying, so probably #3 or #4.  What i don't like about #4 is they won't accept all of your credits and that kind of negates a lot your time at the community college.

Me?  I'd go for #3.  Could you walk across the stage for your community college graduation and let that be enough?

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Smash!

Posted

First, i’m not familiar with the US college system. But: If your top choice major allows you to find an interesting job with decent pay (whatever that is for you) afterwards, pick #3 or #4. It‘s so so important to choose something you‘re really interested in. 

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J'Lurker

Posted

My thoughts: I would take the free tuition at school number 1. The program sounds like it covers a variety of subject areas, and based on your applying to different majors at different schools, it seems like you aren't 100% committed to a future career path. The interdisciplinary program will let you figure out what aspects you are passionate about. Maybe you'll love something so much your dream school will pay you to get your post-grad there.

There is no wrong answer though because you can always change your mind later. The worst that happens is you end up taking a loan to learn that ypu're not where you want to be. 

 

Tl;dr: pick what makes you happy now, and keep picking what makes you happy in the future, even if the two aren't the same.

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Jigsaw3

Posted

It sounds like each one has advantages and disadvantages, with the exception of #5. Go ahead and decline that one right now, and then consider the other four.

Two thought exercises to help you decide:

What do you want to do after you graduate? Will this degree help you? Do you want the degree as a stepping stone for a personal goal, or merely for your own satisfaction (no shade here, I have a PhD mostly for my own satisfaction!)

Pretend you've accepted each, one day at a time. Sit with that acceptance for a day. How does it make you feel? Are you excited, or are you vaguely disappointed/upset? Listen to that.

 

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meep

Posted

@Jigsaw3 @J'Lurker @Smash! @kpmom @WiseGirl @bal maiden

Thank you guys! I appreciate all the insight!

I guess part of the "issue" with my top choice major (geography) is that it's interdisciplinary by nature anyways. I'm not opposed to going to grad school. I thought I'd like to enter the workforce for a few years, then go to grad school. But if I go someplace where tuition is paid, I don't feel such a rush to get into the workforce right away (especially if grad school could be paid for). I'll also say it doesn't seem to be a very popular major. Most schools I looked at in my initial search before deciding where to apply to, didn't seem to have geography majors/departments at all. Schools like #2 have 1 or 2 geography classes that I would have to go out of my way to register for, if they'll even be available during my time there at all. 

Maybe it's worth mentioning that #1 would be a BS degree that is more like Environmental Science, a bit heavier on the maths and hard sciences, with some tech and social sciences classes sprinkled in. The other degrees would be BAs that are social science heavy. I do have experience with online classes (especially this year!), nearly half my Associate's classes have been online. And unfortunately I can't walk for my Associate's degree. Out of an abundance of caution, my school has decided once again for virtual commencement this year. For some of these reasons, I do think I'm starting to lean towards #1. As pointed out, they all have their pros and cons, but I think I'd have a happier/easier time dealing with the cons from #1 than any of the other schools. 

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Okie_Bokie

Posted

Two of my kids have had to do all their university classes online this entire school year.  Don't do it!  In-person is worth the cost.

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bal maiden

Posted

The BS will get you better job prospects, if that’s what you care about (I say that as a social scientist!). But if you love the social science side of geography, don’t try to fit your square peg into a round hole! 

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meep

Posted

4 hours ago, bal maiden said:

The BS will get you better job prospects, if that’s what you care about (I say that as a social scientist!). But if you love the social science side of geography, don’t try to fit your square peg into a round hole! 

I love all the sides of geography 😅

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indianabones

Posted

I'm also transferring from a community college to a four year school this fall! To me, number 2 seems like the best choice- you get in-person instruction and you'll have research opportunities, which means potential networking and connections for your future career. Plus, you'll graduate without any debt thanks to your tuition being covered.

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crawfishgirl

Posted

Are all of the schools accredited?  Is your major highly rated at any of the schools?  Are any of the schools considered particularly better than the others?

Congrats on your acceptances!  It's great that you have many choices!

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