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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Making a university decision? - December 28th 2013, 05:30 AM

Hi all! As some of you know, I got into both University of Saint Joseph and Southern Connecticut State University. Now I'm trying to decide where to go.

I know that ultimately it's my decision, but some guidance would be so nice. I've made some pros/cons.

Southern:
  • Offer a wider variety of clubs that I want to join
  • Location: New Haven - maybe 20-30 minutes away from home
  • New Haven is a college town.
  • Cheaper overall.
  • Co-ed, which is preferred.
  • There was something about it I loved when I first toured it, and I was more excited to get my acceptance from Southern than the one from Saint Joseph.
  • I am unsure if I am being offered any scholarships.
  • Haven't heard many good reviews about graduates of this school, vs a lot of good reviews for Saint Joseph. I haven't heard any BAD reviews, just not good ones either.
  • It seemed like a community here.
  • I like how the campus looked.
  • They had a gym I could join when I get a job. I do want to get in shape, though I don't know if I'd actually use the feature.
  • Google search said the school "has 47.2 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students."

Saint Joseph:
  • There ARE some clubs I'd join, just not as many as Southern.
  • Location: West Hartford- maybe 15-20 minutes away from home
  • 1.6 miles away from the college there's a deli I like, if I can motivate myself to walk there
  • My dad said it would be easier to pick me up from here on Fridays to go home for the weekend
  • More expensive
  • All girl's Catholic school. I'm not religious, though I know the education won't be religion focused so I'm okay with it. I am part of the LGBT+ community but they have a club about educating people on LGBT+ needs so I guess they're accepting. I do, however, want an opportunity to meet people of every gender identity, not just females.
  • I'm getting a nagging feeling maybe I should go here
  • I didn't have the same instant love of the school when I toured.
  • Offered $13,000 scholarship to live at home and go there. I decided I want to live on campus, though. Will they up the scholarship, because if I lived on campus the admissions counselor said they'd offer $20,000, but I selected that I didn't want to live on campus when I applied.
  • I read online that they have a free psychiatrist who comes in during school hours. I'd only have to pay for any medications they prescribe. That seems useful for me because I need to seek professional help but don't have a job, and even getting the help to start and then getting the medication when I can afford it is a start. It seems convenient to have them right on campus so I won't have to search for one, so on a day where I don't have too many classes I can see them.
  • I have heard a lot of good reviews about the people who graduate from this school, but haven't really heard many about Southern. I haven't heard any BAD reviews, just not good ones either.
  • My mom thinks I'd be better off in this school because of all the good reviews, vs. not hearing much from Southern.
  • Website said average class size is 14 students. That being smaller than most of my high school classes, I think I need a smaller class size.
  • It also says this about its health services:
    Quote:
    The Health Services office is regularly staffed by a nurse practitioner and a registered nurse. A physician and registered dietitian are also available by appointment on a weekly basis. The staff provides care for common illnesses and injuries. An appointment is not necessary for most services. There is no fee or insurance charge for services provided in the office

As I said, I know you can't make the full decision for me, but some guidance would be nice.

Do you think this is something my guidance counselor can help me out with? I know that one time when she met with me she said go with the one that offers me the most money (or I guess probably what's cheaper), but I can explain to her that it's not the money I'm worried about, it's the quality of education I'll get FOR that money. I just... I always have so many doubts that I'm going to make the wrong choice.



Last edited by Spoons; December 28th 2013 at 05:56 AM. Reason: Adding.
   
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Re: Making a university decision? - December 28th 2013, 09:04 AM

Like you said, I obviously can't make the decision for you. But, if I were in your position, I think I would go for Southern. Even though your list was shorter for that school, it seemed like you had a lot more enthusiasm about the possibility of being a student there. While college is meant to give you an education to prepare for your career, it should also be something that you thoroughly enjoy. Some of your best memories should come from school.

I personally made the mistake of choosing a school because I had a nagging feeling that I should go there and because they offered me more scholarship money. It's not a bad school at all, but sometimes I wonder if I would have been happier/more motivated if I had chosen another school. I'm not saying it will be the case for you if you do choose Saint Joseph. Just think about whether or not you're choosing that school for the right reasons.

Your guidance counselor will definitely be able to help you make this decision and he/she might be able to offer more statistics on graduates from Southern. In any sense, they'll probably be able to help you develop a clearer pro/con list, which will eventually make your choice easier.

I'm sure you'll thrive wherever you go! Let me know what you choose, okay?


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Re: Making a university decision? - December 28th 2013, 06:03 PM

There was something about it I loved when I first toured it, and I was more excited to get my acceptance from Southern than the one from Saint Joseph.


This bit - seems important to me. I'm assuming that you'll be able to do whatever course you want at either place? Basically, if you can do the same course at either place, with the same freedom that you want/need... go with the one that you feel good about. You'll be spending a heck of a lot of time there, you need to feel comfortable. That will lead to better results.



Your GO should be able to provide some guidance (it's in the job title :P).



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Re: Making a university decision? - December 28th 2013, 06:08 PM

I'd recommend reading over each of these bullet points again, and eliminating any that aren't terribly important. For example, you mentioned that the first university has a gym. Here's the thing: you can start working out whenever you want! It's called jogging. =P On the other hand, the second university offers a free psychiatrist. Of course, you need to find out how accessible that psychiatrist is (there could be a 3 month wait, if they're in high demand), but you can't treat yourself for mental health issues (unlike exercise, where you can and HAVE to do it for yourself).





   
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Re: Making a university decision? - December 28th 2013, 08:28 PM

For clarification as far as that nagging feeling, it isn't due to the scholarships (ultimately Southern is cheaper so far even with the scholarships xD ), it's just... I don't even know, there's something about it...

The fact that I have heard better reviews about Saint Joseph is something significant to me, though, and the smaller class sizes. I know that college is a whole different ballgame but sometimes larger class sizes tend to distract me.

Ugh.


   
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Re: Making a university decision? - January 7th 2014, 03:44 PM

I would go for the first one overall. While a free psychiatrist may be nice, what would you do if you do not like them? Also, what if they are so overbooked it takes 3 months to see them? Is the gym on campus? If it is a college gym, most college gyms are free to students.
   
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Re: Making a university decision? - January 7th 2014, 06:35 PM

As someone who has chosen the wrong school more than once, I jumped on the fact that one felt different than the other. When we find the right school, we just know based on how it feels (or doesn't feel). Don't ignore that "instant love" feeling. Most schools have accessible mental health and medical services as well as a gym (which is usually free or very reasonably priced). If they aren't free, they will be willing to work something out. I don't put a lot of stock into reviews or facts on Google. Just because there aren't a lot of positive reviews doesn't mean that the school isn't right for you, someone else's experience may not be your experience.


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Re: Making a university decision? - January 13th 2014, 12:51 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate* View Post
As someone who has chosen the wrong school more than once, I jumped on the fact that one felt different than the other. When we find the right school, we just know based on how it feels (or doesn't feel). Don't ignore that "instant love" feeling.
This. Ten million times this!!

Seriously though, feeling comfortable will do a great deal more for your prospects than anything else.


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Re: Making a university decision? - January 14th 2014, 11:23 PM

You know that feeling you got at Southern? That's how I felt about my university. The university I went to was not the "smarter" option of the two I was stuck on, didn't have better reviews (actually had a very bad reputation at my high school as being a "party school" and being "too big, a sea of undergraduates with no one-on-one attention) but I went anyway, and I LOVE it. I consider going to this university one of the best decisions I ever made. The only complaint I have is having TOO many opportunities...and some political stuff, but that's only because I'm very involved in administrative stuff. Go with your gut. Take other options into account. But there's something to that feeling.


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Re: Making a university decision? - January 15th 2014, 11:52 AM

It could help if you rank the things you like or dislike about each by order of importance and be honest with yourself. Like Robin said, unless you love going to the gym, it may not be as important because you can replace it with jogging. As to the deli, do you really love that deli so much? Are you really going to be motivated to walk there? If not, then it might not be an actual pro, as there are probably great places to eat near the other university as well and you just need to find out about them. Unless you're passionate about clubs, most people join a lot of clubs at first because they have great names and then drop most of them. An all-women university may still allow you to meet guys if its social life overlaps with that of universities in the area that have students of other genders.

I think you should also do more research about these universities. Look at academics. Which program teaches classes you would find more stimulating? If you're interested in extracurricular classes look into that as well. Does either of them have any scholars in the field whose work you really like? Which one offers the best networking and scholarly opportunities?

You should also look at the non-academic side of things in more depth. A lot of your doubts might be solved if you can get in touch with any current or recent students from both. They'll be able to tell you what each one is really like beyond the prospectus.

You sound very concerned about class sizes. In my experience, those numbers indicate enrolled students but some students don't show up at all or drop the class. A class of 20 may have only 14 students in attendance but a class of 14 might have all the students there every day. I've never felt like there was much of a difference between 20 or 14 students, those are both small-sized classes, and the difference is in the way the class works. A class of 14 can feel large and impersonal if that's the way the professor runs it and vice-versa.

You're also concerned about health services, both general ones and also mental health support. Are you absolutely sure that Southern doesn't offer that? If you can't find information about it get in touch with them and ask. It seems very likely that they do.

Ultimately, you should go with whichever one you can imagine yourself spending the next few years in. Not only the good moments that are fun and enjoyable, but the stressful and exhausting ones as well.
   
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