Accumulating Debt in Undergrad?

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by Nantes, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Nantes

    Nantes These go to eleven
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    Senior in high school here, and I'm just wondering about the significance of accumulating debt in undergraduate school.

    Here's the problem; my parents, for whatever reasons, will only pay $15k a year for my college education. They're also not going to get much need-based aid; FAFSA predicted about $3k/year.

    I've already been accepted to the University of Albany (SUNY) with a $4k/year scholarship. If I'm able to work as an RA, they would have to pay virtually nothing, and I may end up getting a little stipend from them, possibly a car a few years down the road, and med. school apps won't be a gigantic problem. Additionally, I will also likely be accepted to other SUNY schools at Binghamton and Geneseo, whose tuitions my parents would pay in full even if I don't get a scholarship or work as an RA.

    On the other hand, these schools are not terribly great, and I haven't heard good things from my friends who go to Albany and Bing., and I'm not sure I'm all for the heavy liberal arts education at Geneseo. So, I applied to UPitt, UDel, Marquette, and Loyola Chicago. I'm not likely to get a ton of scholarship money from any of these schools, but I have read up about them and visited a few, and I really do like them (Loyola Chicago not so much, but a few of my friends who go there really enjoy it and recommended).

    The second set of schools, the non-state schools, are obviously much more than the first. I'd like leave undergrad. with over $40k in debt at any one of them. The first group would leave me debt free, but I'm not as excited to be at any of them.

    I guess my question is, what is debt worth? Should I be trading a little bit of prestige, overall enjoyment, or quality of education for the possibility of going into med. school (hopefully) debt free? I know I'll be deep in the $$$ drain after med school, but in college and immediately after it for a while it would be nice to afford those small luxuries. Can the question even be this simple, or are there dimensions to it I'm missing? Any comments would be appreciated!

    PS: The "similar threads" function that pops up when typing in a title is very cool, and I haven't found that on many other forums. I looked at those, and they're all about numbers, not necessarily impact
     
  2. broken tibula

    broken tibula mostly sleeping
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    This makes me laugh. At least they're giving you money at all.

    As far as debt goes, that's not really anything that we can tell you how to do. There's no "right" or "wrong" answer. If you're 100% certain that you're going to become a doctor, and you really want to go to the nicer school, then take the hit. If you're not sure that medicine is the right field, I'd go to the scholarship school, simply because if you change your mind and decide that teaching is your calling, then you're going to be stuck with a mountain of debt and a not-so-great job for paying off that debt.
     
  3. tennisball80

    tennisball80 Membership Revoked
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    Hello Nantes and welcome to SDN, :)

    This is Tennisball80 and I'm a high school senior too.

    I found some schools in the country side are significantly cheaper than the school in city side.

    Why don't go to a public state school in the country side ?

    P.S You can become a H.SDN member. Read this.
     
  4. GZA

    GZA Marcel who?
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    Undergraduate college prestige may have some impact on medical school application yet regardless it will not be great. In order of importance:

    1 where you will have the most success
    2 least expensive
    3 prestige

    There are other factors but I won't bother.

    UPitt, UDel, Marquette, and Loyola Chicago: you listed these schools as being your expensive alternatives to a SUNY school. Ostensibly, it appears as though you find these a better fit (via your research and what not). That is fine; but I would not go into debt simply due to their having (in your perception) a better name than a state school in New York.
     
  5. rnnpmaybe

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    This makes me laugh. At least they're giving you money at all.

    Well, I didn't laugh, but yeah, it really helps to have your parents willing to pay ANYTHING. My parents were unable to help with anything other than co-signing a loan, which, after freshman year, they couldn't even do that any longer because their credit was so bad (dad got laid off). So, you're very fortunate in that respect. I went to a state school for a number of reasons, but I still ended up $50K in the hole (made some bad choices along the way, but still). It is my two cents that you should go where you want, as long as you can somehow get loans (private loans CAN be your friends) and not have to work >40 hours per week just to pay tuition. Sure, you'll have debt, but a-who doesn't, and b-it's for your education, so it's good debt. Just don't take out student loans to pay for your wedding!
     
  6. Nantes

    Nantes These go to eleven
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    Yeah, I go to a school where most of the students are very rich, so I don't really have the perspective of people who are having much more trouble than I.

    Also, the name isn't really a big dealbreaker. Geneseo and Binghamton are fairly well respected in my area, but just aren't really known elsewhere.

    tennis; thanks, I've already joined the network, just waiting on someone to accept me.

    Thanks for the responses everyone.
     
  7. Algophiliac

    Algophiliac Someday...
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    In my opinion, you should go for the middle ground. If you are absolutely certain you cannot be happy in one of the cheaper state schools, then opt for the cheapest out-of-state school that you won't regret attending!

    While I probably would not choose the more expensive schools, the decision is yours to make. Trading a bit of prestige, overall enjoyment, and quality of education is fine...but trading too much of it is never a good idea. So again, find a monetary/education balance you can live with!
     
  8. Local

    Local Stop the Shananigans!i!i!
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    I'm kind of in a similar situation. I'm choosing between expensive liberal arts schools, which i love, and other schools where i would have a full ride, but i dont like as much. The only difference is my parents arent paying 15k for me lol. I think im going to go with one of the schools i like, regardless of the debt. It all comes down to if you think its worth it.
     
  9. Narmerguy

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    I would definitely take the debt-free path. If you consider that you're going to accumulate intense debt in medical school as well and that you won't really be able to start putting a dent in that until after another 4+ years of residency, the interest you're going to start to pick up is going to be pretty hefty.

    Undergraduate prestige is only a small factor in acceptance to medical school and no one will care where you went to school as soon as you've made it to medical school. On top of that, college is mostly what you make of it so provided you approach whatever college you choose optimistically you have a good chance of not only doing well but also enjoying yourself.

    Either way, be happy your parents are contributing $15k :)
     
  10. EyEnStein 07

    EyEnStein 07 Senior ΙΈ Member
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    SUNY is not bad, i wish i didnt withdraw from bing. I think you should go to BIng they have good med school acceptance rates and good preparation. Its one of the "public" ivy's. I think you will be best off over there.

    Edit: i dont understand why you would go to those other state schools? None of them statistically i believe are better than Binghamton, with the exception of Possibly Upitt, which is not even that far off.
     
  11. Sttebbs

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    (First post on SDN!)

    A couple of months ago when I was deciding where to apply, I was very interested in many of the top 25, 50k/yr schools. I come from an upperish middle class family where I wouldn't receive much if any need based aid and my parents would not even be able to afford half of the cost. I figured I would apply, get in some places, and work out the money situation later on.

    As of now though I've applied to zero of those schools, and don't plan on applying to any whose deadlines haven't already passed. I just came to the conclusion that none of those schools would be worth the amount of money I would have to invest in it.

    I have applied to the two biggest state schools, UT and Texas A&M. I am waiting to see if I get in an honors program for the former, but will probably attend the latter anyway, because of the scholarships they offer to national merit finalists. I can get at least 54k from them, plus another 12k from a corporation-based national merit scholarship. That's 66k for an education that the school estimates is less than 20,000 a year (besides personal expenses but I would have those anywhere). That knocks the cost of my undergraduate education down to somewhere in the order of $3500/yr. Is an education at a place like Cornell or Chicago worth 14 times the education I will get at Texas A&M? Of course not.

    Yeah, I'll lose the almighty "prestige factor" but I will still gain in many areas besides just my financial security. I figure that, even though I will be part of a huge state school, being part of the honors program and one of the kids going on a nearly full ride will score me a lot of opportunities inside the university. I will probably be able to get involved in research fairly easily. I will probably still get to know my profs pretty well in honors classes, as long as I put in the effort to get to know them (office hours etc). I know for sure that my peers will not be as competitive as those I would run into at any top-ranked private, so in that sense I will be able to excel/rise to the top more easily. In all probability the classes won't be as tough, so it won't be as difficult to get a sexy GPA. These are some of the pros of going to a state college, in my opinion. Maybe the "quality" (whatever that means) of my education won't be as strong, but I've always been an independent learner anyway, and I won't let something as silly as my school choice get in the way of learning the material I will need for the MCAT and beyond. ;)

    And if I do end up applying to some prestigious med schools (H, JHU, etc.) I'll just make my school choice a positive rather than a negative. As long as I have my academic record (aforementioned sexy GPA) on my side, I don't think they will care.

    Then again perhaps I don't mind going to a public because there was never one private that I absolutely loved and had to get into. :<

    Good luck on making your choices, and Nantes I like your avatar. :thumbup:
     
  12. DrJonesss

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    srsly.
     
  13. Vita

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    I had a similar situation when I started undergrad; I had a full scholarship plus a living stipend from a State School, and just a partial scholarship from a private liberal arts school in a bigger city. I chose the private liberal arts school simply because I liked the curriculum.

    Don't get me wrong - I loved my undergrad education and made great connections while there, but I did not think I was going to medical school when I started. Therefore, I didn't care about debt. Had I known that I was going to end up taking out over $100,000 for medical school loans, I wouldn't have bothered taking out loans for undergrad.

    My advice is to pick the cheapest option, so long as you feel comfortable at the school. Going to a really well-known school will only help you in the application process if you have mediocre grades (for example, getting a C in Organic Chemistry at a competitive school may be overlooked, as opposed to getting the same grade at a community college). Going to a specific undergrad will not help as much as getting good grades at any other university.
     
  14. DrReo

    DrReo "Thread Necromancer"
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