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Schools Hard Decission

  1. Jul 4, 2016 #1
    So I am transferring to a university in the Fall semester. My major is mathematics. Due to my economic situation I have to choose between Cal State Long Beach or Cal State La.

    So I am having trouble finding housing around the Long Beach area. I do not drive. I found a place with other students and my friend is going to live there. The rent is $800 a month, which is something I can afford. The problem is that it has been very hard for me to find places to rent, including a room in a persons home. I can maybe attribute this to my physical appearance.

    Anyways, I am receiving $20,000 in aid. I would only be in debt a maximum of $8,000 for a bachelors, worse case scenario. I will be at the mercy of renters, however. If I go this semester, what is to say I can find housing next semester?

    I only need 1.5 years for a bachelors, taking 4 classes a semester.

    The other option I have is to go to Cal State La. I won't be able to attend this year, because I accepted Long Beach's offer. I will have to do a Fall transfer for next year. I would be out of school for a year.

    If I do go to Cal State La, I will not have to worry about housing. I live in LA, so the bus commute is no more than 40 min with traffic, 20 minutes without. I can live at home, and continue contributing for food, cellphone, and phone bill. I currently spend $300 a month. I live with my mother in a house and she owns it. I enjoy living here. No problems with me and my mother.

    From those $20,000 a year I will be receiving from aid. I would have at least $25,000 in my pocket, compared to going to Long Beach and graduating with $8,000 student debt. I can than use this money to fund graduate school. I will also be able to get my job back, if I go to LA. It pays me $18 an hour. I do math tutoring and I think it is perfect practice for upcoming GRE I need to take in a few years. I will have to get a different job, because it requires a person to be a full time student, and I will be out of school for 1 year. My boss really likes me, and she implemented my idea for a program. Which I currently help organize with the Math Department. She was really sad, I will not be returning to work in the Fall semester and offered to increase my pay if I stayed lol. I do not have a problem working at any place. I have experience in stock, cashiering, management (was a supervisor), and private math tutoring.

    I am not sure about the level of the programs between Cal State La and Cal State Long Beach for mathematics. They are both state schools. Long Beach is considered to be a better institution by people. But I do not think their should be a problem, since I want to go to graduate school. I know teachers, who went to either LA or Long Beach and were able to go to Ivies, UCLA, and Berkeley for graduate work. But I am having many problems trying to go to Long beach as it is. Maybe this is a sign of things to come in the future.

    I did get into better schools, but I could not afford them. I also have time to apply for more scholarships.

    Based on what I wrote. Should I take a year off from school? I always self-study. Even tho I am not taking any classes currently, I am self-learning Spivak Calculus, PDE, and Set Theory. I study for about 8 hours a day, after work. I have aways been a self-learner. I will be able to save up more money, which I could potententially help fund my future graduate work. I can also go over the classes I need to take this semester on my own, and just double up on units when I finally start school next year.

    Or should I go to Cal State Long Beach? Worry about housing every semester, and not have any savings after I graduate. This can put my plans for graduate school on hold. But I get my degree one year sooner and not miss any school.

    I am financially on my own. My mother is disabled and father past away. It is up to me to fund my education.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2016 #2
    1) Graduate school in mathematics is often paid for by the graduate school - this includes tuition and living expenses quite frequently.
    2) Finding somewhere to rent is hard, yes. But once you live there, you will find that it is easier - you will meet people who are putting their houses up for rent, or find places that aren't on the market yet, and once you live somewhere you will likely have priority to live there the following semester instead of it going back on the market. For this reason, I think it's not a good idea not to attend somewhere because you don't think you'll be able to find housing in the future.
  4. Jul 4, 2016 #3


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    Not to sound rude, but isn't this something you should have been thinking about and settled on before accepting one of the offers. I mean, you had months.

    Anyway, I'm confused as to how you'd have 25000 if you went to one school vice the other. I understand the room and board cost of one vice the other, but it still seems odd to me if you still need to pay tuition, and whether the aid is pocket-able like that.

    I'm also slightly confused again, it sounds like you already found a place to live for the one school, but it sounds like you're having trouble finding a place to rent? I have a room in a house two hours away you could rent for 500, but the commute would be ill advisable. Also ill advisable is working while going to university, while taking a full course load, when you more or less don't have too. You could put that time to much better use.

    Regardless, 8000 in student loans is peanuts. Why waste another year reapplying to the same schools?
  5. Jul 4, 2016 #4
    That is good to know about the opportunities to fund graduate school. But the housing issue I faced was really scary. I do not physically look like a college student if you know what I mean. I do not dress with baggy clothing or anything of that nature. I dress like a normal adult. Redwings and clarks with slim fit jeans and shirts that fit properly. I do have a tapered haircut, but it is not bald by any means.

    I do not want to bring up the issue of race, but I feel that my situation in finding housing was attributed to me being Mexican-American. When I looked for places outside of Signal Hills, Downtown Long Beach, and Bixby Knolls I had great success. Although these places were too far from school, I just needed to experiment so to speak. I got places in the bad places of Torrance, Hawaiian Gardens, and bad part of Carson. I have a FICO score of 720, but no one would rent. Not even if I payed 6 months to a year in advance.
  6. Jul 4, 2016 #5
    I did not think the housing would be such an issue. I believed that if I kept calling numbers, looking around, and being optimistic that things would work out. I am now aware that this not how to world works.

    Also, it was do to personal issues. I was at the community college, completed my transfer requirements, and got my AS in mathematics. In these classes, a lot of was wasted in class, by the lecture going over trivial things students should have known at that point. For example, students still asking how to factor polynomials, using synthetic division, integration, and among other things taught in an algebra course. These same students would go to Cal State LA. I am not smart by any means, I just study hard, ask questions in class, go to office hours, reference other books, and read/work out problems of a section that will be covered the next day in lecture. I mitigate this factor by doing a lot of self study. I wanted to get the best education possible given my economic handicap. That is why I chose Cal State Long Beach over Cal State LA. Even tho, in retrospect their really is not much of a difference I believe.

    I have faced many economic hardships during my lifetime. I had to drop out of high school to support two sick parents. I returned to school when I was 20. No one in my family went to college, or even my neighbors. I had no one to really seek for guidance. Not that anyone has to guide you, but it does help.

    So that is the reason, why my judgement was clouded when I chose Long Beach over LA.

    Thanks for the offer regarding the house you have. It is the same distance from my house to Long Beach.

    I found a place, but it is on a month to month bases. It is a room in a home. My major concern is trying to find housing again and again for every semester.

    I did get into both Cal Poly's, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, USC, and UCLA. However, the cost was something that I could not afford. So I am forced to go to Cal State LA or Cal State Long Beach.

    The tuition for both schools is the same. It is 3,300 a semester. I can pocket the money, because I can live at home, if I go to Cal State LA. The financial aid is first deducted from the school. What ever is left over is yours for expenses. My mother owns the house and it is payed for. I would just need to continue to buy food, pay phone bill, etc. I do not spend more than 3-400 dollars monthly.

    If i went to Long Beach, everything would go to living expenses. I would be struggling financially.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  7. Jul 5, 2016 #6


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    My wife and I have been in Long Beach for 13+ years. Here's our take on it.

    At least within a mile or so of the Coast, people are quite friendly and say Hello when passing on the street. I've heard this is not true in some other parts of town.

    Yes, the housing availability in Long Beach keeps getting worse, especially in the last four years or so. The vacancy rate is low and the rents are going up roughly 10% per year. I don't recall the exact number, but I seem to recall that 40% of the housing here is rental. The powers-that-be in the city are largely landlords so if there is a problem, unless you can find an applicable State or Federal law and an organization that will back you, you are stuck with it. The Bus lines are fairly decent here, making a commute possible if you choose a good location. The rents on the West side, near the 710 Freeway, are lower than many other areas, you just need to be able to tolerate the neighborhood and the pollution from the Freeway and the Port. And it's the other side of town.

    Many students share an apartment with one or two others. There are even a few apartments buildings in that neighborhood that specialize in student housing. See if you can get housing information from the University: http://web.csulb.edu/maps/ and enter 'housing' in the search box in the upper right.

    Overall, it seems a toss-up for your situation, probably doable one way or another.
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