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University abroad: worth it? (and subject choice)

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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am considering studying some form of Engineering at university next year, when I complete my IB Diploma. I am very interested in Physics and Mathematics but I find that I am more interested in an applied form of the two subjects and having just a B.S in Engineering or BEng would make me more employable than say, a B.S or BSc in Physics or Maths. Maybe I have the wrong idea, but my dad a BSc in Physics and he ended up being a teacher at a school where his life was miserable for long years and he's been much happier ever since he retired!

I reckon Engineering, as well as English Lit. and/or writing courses as electives, would be the way to go for me. It's the next best thing, really. (I am very interested in Literature and writing, so...)

Now, for the university choice part. My parents don't earn enough to send me to university abroad, well, not to anywhere other than India or South Africa, and I don't know much about the universities there and it doesn't seem logical to spend that much money and end up in the same position as somebody who did the same degree at the University of Mauritius. (I'm from there)

Would doing SATs and trying my luck to get into Caltech, MIT, UC Berkeley or those other unis be worth it, considering I honestly can't afford to go there? Same goes for England. Is it realistic that I will be able to pay off such huge loans once I graduate? (assuming I do get the loans, get in and then graduate) Worcestor Institute of Technology give out at least $19k scholarships but even with that, I'll still have to pay a hell of a lot of money! Not to mention that I have to achieve an IB score of at least 40/45 for that!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Excuse the double post but would a Mod be kind enough to change the title for me? I would like 'abroad' to be replaced with 'in the UK and the USA' or something similar to that. Abroad is a little too broad and considering this is a US-based board, it gives the impression that I'm speaking about unis outside the US.
 
  • #3
cristo
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First you need to realise how much a university degree will cost. In the UK, tuition fees alone will cost you something in the region of £35,000. Some universities have scholarships, but they're few and far between and, therefore, highly competitive. Then, there's the matter of living costs, as well as finding someone to give you a loan (you won't be eligible for a UK loan).
 
  • #4
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First you need to realise how much a university degree will cost. In the UK, tuition fees alone will cost you something in the region of £35,000. Some universities have scholarships, but they're few and far between and, therefore, highly competitive. Then, there's the matter of living costs, as well as finding someone to give you a loan (you won't be eligible for a UK loan).
Done that already, man. That alone is 25k more than my parents can afford and assuming I do get the grades, going to the likes of Bath/Loughborough/Imperial/Oxbridge (for Engineering) is a no-no for me. Imperial, what with it being in London and all, costs about 10k off of that amount. Per year. Oxbridge about another 5-10k less than that.

Sheffield provide scholarships for IB students but it's only 6k and I'll have to find a way pay the remaining 10k or so. Again, a no-no. I've checked on the website of the British Council and there are practically no scholarships that will pay the most part of the 3-4 year course. I have heard of one company, called Edabroad, which is the local UCAS representative and they told me that for the 2012-2013 scholastic year, they will be offering two (full - if I recall correctly) scholarships for studies in the UK. Slim chance, don't you think! Still, if I do get the grades, I am going to apply for that.

With all of the above in mind, going to the US is the more logical route. Or studying here, in which case, I will have to start a specific engineering course and I would rather try my hand at a more general engineering course and choose a specialisation after the first year, which would be possible with either unis offering general engineering courses or the US of the A.
 
  • #5
cristo
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With all of the above in mind, going to the US is the more logical route.
But doesn't tuition in the US cost (in general) a lot more than in the UK?
 
  • #6
But doesn't tuition in the US cost (in general) a lot more than in the UK?
If the figure posted above for English tuition is accurate, not even close. A moderately expensive school in America will cost that much ... except in dollars, not pounds.

My suggestion is to try a school like UT Austin or Texas A&M or any one of the University of California system. MIT and other private schools are going to be an absolute no-go for you. Get into a state university and be happy. They're far cheaper. For instance, a UT Austin degree will cost $32k per year in tuition for international/out of state students, and if you can set yourself up as a resident beforehand, that lowers the cost fourfold.
 
  • #7
cristo
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If the figure posted above for English tuition is accurate, not even close. A moderately expensive school in America will cost that much ... except in dollars, not pounds.
The figure I quoted was for three years. International fees here vary, but they tend to be around £12,000 per year.
 
  • #8
847
8
If the figure posted above for English tuition is accurate, not even close. A moderately expensive school in America will cost that much ... except in dollars, not pounds.

My suggestion is to try a school like UT Austin or Texas A&M or any one of the University of California system. MIT and other private schools are going to be an absolute no-go for you. Get into a state university and be happy. They're far cheaper. For instance, a UT Austin degree will cost $32k per year in tuition for international/out of state students, and if you can set yourself up as a resident beforehand, that lowers the cost fourfold.
I believe it is accurate, for the "big name" unis at least.

I checked UC Berkeley and they just don't give scholarships. Nada, nothing, zilch! MIT on the other hand, seem to be offering lots of financial aid. Do you (and/or everybody else!) know of any other universities in the US, Canada or even Australia who offer scholarships? (based on academic merit)
 
  • #9
847
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If the figure posted above for English tuition is accurate, not even close. A moderately expensive school in America will cost that much ... except in dollars, not pounds.

My suggestion is to try a school like UT Austin or Texas A&M or any one of the University of California system. MIT and other private schools are going to be an absolute no-go for you. Get into a state university and be happy. They're far cheaper. For instance, a UT Austin degree will cost $32k per year in tuition for international/out of state students, and if you can set yourself up as a resident beforehand, that lowers the cost fourfold.
How should one go about to achieve this? Sounds impossible.

And yes, huge bump, but any other suggestions for Physics (undergrad) in the US? Unis who'd want to give some lovin' to little indoafricans with a few notes in their back pocket? : P

Edit:

By that, I do mean scholarships based on good A-Level/IB grades.
 
  • #10
How should one go about to achieve this?
I believe if one lives in-state for one year prior to enrollment, one pays resident tuition. But I'm not sure how it works.
 
  • #11
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I believe if one lives in-state for one year prior to enrollment, one pays resident tuition. But I'm not sure how it works.
From what I understand, Thy Apathy isn't from the US (ie. doesn't have a residence permit for any US state), so this tactic wouldn't really work for him.
 
  • #12
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Yeah, you got that bit right. Not to mention that even if I do manage to get into said state for a year, finding a job relevant to my degree of choice won't be cake.

At any rate, I take it you guys have no other suggestions?
 
  • #13
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Actually, I stand corrected, that tactic actually would work for you. The hard part, however, would be getting to the point where you establish a legal status of a permanent resident of that state :smile: I'm sorry I have no other suggestions, though, but I don't think you'll find a shortcut or a loophole to pay resident fees, you'll have to rely on other aids.
 
  • #14
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Wait, assuming my A-Level grades in February consist of at least three A grades and I don't f-up my SATs...what kind of employment could I be looking at in the US? Is that even realistic? I was planning on working after school until I start uni, anyway. Although I planned on either trying to get an internship at this blood testing lab or to earn some monies as a "trainee" mechanic.
 
  • #15
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Apply to places in the US which are generous in handing out aid to internationals (they are extremely small in number and very hard to get in). I think there's a list on wikipedia or somewhere similar. You'll find it if you look hard enough. If you don't then well, at least you tried.
 
  • #16
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...end up in the same position as somebody who did the same degree at the University of Mauritius. (I'm from there)
I think you would want better feed-back on the quality of education you would get from the University of Mauritius. If it is similar to a decent Engineering degree from an average US, UK or Canadian school, I would think that the extra cost of school abroad would not be worth it. By all means, apply for scholarships, but do your research on your local universities.

Don't go into massive debt if your options at home are reasonably good.
 
  • #17
chiro
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I'm not completely sure on what your financial options are, but my advice is if you want to go to grad school for something just work your *** off in undergrad to get a funded grad spot in grad school.

I might get flamed for this but undergrad is undergrad. Sure somewhere like Stanford or Harvard might offer courses that no other uni does not, but if you go great in any school and can back up that fact via good test scores and recommendation letters and so on, then you stand a good chance of getting somewhere decent.

Personally if you're a good student at big name college, you should be a good student at XYZ college: just use your resources as best you can to get done what you need to get done.

Also don't engineering schools have to be accredited anyway? If that's the case its going to be pretty much the same anyway.
 
  • #18
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I'm not completely sure on what your financial options are, but my advice is if you want to go to grad school for something just work your *** off in undergrad to get a funded grad spot in grad school.

I might get flamed for this but undergrad is undergrad. Sure somewhere like Stanford or Harvard might offer courses that no other uni does not, but if you go great in any school and can back up that fact via good test scores and recommendation letters and so on, then you stand a good chance of getting somewhere decent.

Personally if you're a good student at big name college, you should be a good student at XYZ college: just use your resources as best you can to get done what you need to get done.

Also don't engineering schools have to be accredited anyway? If that's the case its going to be pretty much the same anyway.
That's not necessarily true, especially when dealing with accreditation from engineering associations from different countries. Unless there are set agreements in place, different countries might not immediately accept a foreign education and place additional educational and/or work requirements before recognized an applicant as a professional engineer. This is something the OP should definitely look into if he or she is planning to go into engineering.
 
  • #19
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I've heard that UNC Chapel Hill (in the US) meets ALL demonstrated need.
 
  • #20
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I will check out UNC Chapel Hill. ;)

Yeah, that's something which has been on mind ever since I had done enough "research" with regards to universities and from what I've heard so far, the local uni has a strong undergrad Physics department. Then again, to whose standards is that?
 
  • #21
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Ah, I forgot to add that UNC has a fairly strong physics department, but they don't have an engineering department.
 
  • #22
jtbell
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I've heard that UNC Chapel Hill (in the US) meets ALL demonstrated need.
Even for students outside the USA?

Also, UNC is a state-supported school so I'd be very surprised if they had a policy like this, especially since North Carolina (like most US states) has severe budget problems right now.
 
  • #23
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Even for students outside the USA?

Also, UNC is a state-supported school so I'd be very surprised if they had a policy like this, especially since North Carolina (like most US states) has severe budget problems right now.
I really don't know..I don't go there ^_^
Here is the website- http://studentaid.unc.edu/
 
  • #24
jtbell
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Okay, according to this page, one don't have to be from North Carolina:

http://www.unc.edu/carolinacovenant/frequently-asked-questions.php#eligibility [Broken]

However, one does have to meet "citizenship requirements and other eligibility standards for federal financial aid programs." The citizenship requirements appear to be documented in this PDF:

http://www.ifap.ed.gov/sfahandbooks/attachments/sech2-citizenship.pdf

Non-US citizens must have permanent resident status (a.k.a. a "green card"), or be in certain other special categories such as refugee or political asylum.
 
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  • #25
847
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Looks like a bro's gonna stay loco after all. ;)

Ah well, I'll get over it, work my behind out (figuratively, I hope) and eventually, have enough money to fund post-grad course in the land of em. Taylor Momsen?

(not entirely serious btw...about the figurative part, I mean)
 

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