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The right balance between cost and a good school?

  1. Dec 19, 2007 #1
    As some of you may know from my previous post, I'm trying to transfer from a bottom-tier school to something more challenging next fall. After some time with my advisor, I've been left with a somewhat difficult decision.

    My dream program is EE at UIUC. However, out of state tuition runs close to $30K. Alternatively, I could go somewhere like University of Missouri-Rolla (in-state) and pay about $9K. Heck, I could go just about anywhere else out of state and pay less than UIUC. Of course, I'm making a temporary assumption that financial aid amounts would be similar...although UIUC would probably give me less due to the competitive nature of the program...which makes the decision even more interesting.

    So what's a good balance? UIUC is obviously one of the top EE schools out there, but is the extra cost worth it in the end? Would I enjoy it as much being (likely) an average student there compared to a top student elsewhere? Does it all really matter when I get out of school and look for a job, assuming the alternative to UIUC is at least reputable? My advisor is pushing me to go for the cheaper option, saying that as long as it's a good program, I can still get into an excellent graduate school later on. What's the general consensus here?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2007 #2
    I seem to remember Rolla having strong programs in at least some engineering fields.

    At Rolla, can you: do undergraduate research? find internships? participate in a senior capstone project? find electives related to your areas of interest? find faculty specializing in your areas of interest that would help you pursue independent study?

    Unless there is a strong reason to go with UIUC, I would go with the option that avoids incurring a large debt. Being able to start your career without major financial burdens would be a big plus.
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