Friday, March 31, 2006

College - A Financial Decision That Changed My Life.

In my senior year of high school, I was faced with one of the single, most important decisions of my life, where to go to college--a local state university plus full scholarship or ivy league university with no financial aid. No matter how much I tried to contemplate what would have happened if I made the other decision, I'll never know for sure. The ivy league university offered me no financial assistance, but it did give me the chance to gain an education that would be on par with the top universities in the nation, it would have given me a chance to network with many individuals and alumni that would become or are top executives, and it would have given me a chance to live in an exciting city that never sleeps, but on the other hand it would have put a huge financial strain on myself and my family. My other choice was my local state university that offered me a scholarship and gave me cash, $18k + tuition, and I wouldn't have to pay for room and board since I could live at home and commute. I believe it may have been in the top 250 universities of this country at the time, but it was no ivy. I made the decision to attend my local state university. However, I did take advantage of my universities exchange program that allowed me to go to another public university paying my current tuition, which is a huge discount. I also landed an excellent job after graduating, which I still have today. Even with all that, I still wonder, what would have been if I chose differently. What would be my net worth today had I gone the ivy path? Some of my friends that I talk to today, still tell me I should have gone to the ivy. Did I make the better choice? I guess I'll never know. I do know that I can't complain about the position I'm in today, so I'll just leave it at that for now...maybe one day I can attend grad school at the ivy and bring closure to one of those "what if" questions...ahhh...Do you have any of those? What would you have done in my situation? I guess life isn't worth thinking about things I can't change anyway...it's Friday...what to do this weekend :).

3 comments:

Gay Yuppies said...

I also attended an in-state university (not a bad one) and spent less than $25,000 during my 4.5 years. Thanks to a deceased miserly grandfather, tution room and board cost my family nothing (his estate also sent 12 other grandchildren to 4 year public schools). I even had money left over to purchase my first new car with cash (I would have played this card differently today). I landed a job at an, at the time, Big 6 accounting firm, surrounded by many peers who had private educations. My education and experiences got me the same job at 25% or less of the price they paid.

While I am sure the ivy league experience is one of a kind, I wouldn't trade my experience or career.

freedumb said...

That's cool! I'm a believer that the individual, not the institution, really determines the outcome. Sure the institution might provide some options not available, but is it worth the difference in price? I'm not convinced, but I still ask myself that question, so...go figure...

Apex said...

Unless the ivy school landed you a job with a much higher salary that you could not get from the state school the ROI is quite simple and the ivy school doesn't pay.

In general I think most are over-rated. I know there are some fields where certain large employers only recruit at top 25 schools but that still doesn't make the ivy school better just that the ivy school only lets in the best students and the firms know it so they focus their recruiting efforts there.

In general, I would say ivy schools are usually a huge waste of money, just like a mercedes, looks nice, sounds nice, costs a lot of money, and in most cases (except for the rare cases mentioned above) gets you there just like every other car (school) on the road.