2 years ago
Paying for College

Choosing between Colleges (Based on financial award, major, etc.)

Hello! I'm currently having trouble choosing between a local college, and other colleges I was accepted in. Overall, I've been thinking of choosing between Fresno State, UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced, and University of The Pacific. I've been offered a full scholarship at Fresno State through their honors program, meaning free tuition, rooms, etc.

For the rest of the colleges I'm choosing between, I'd have to take out loans to be able to even afford. I have EFC 0 on my FAFSA, and even after all of the aid, I'd still have to pay COA $11k for a school like the University of the Pacific after loans. Although doable, I'm afraid that costs outside of typical college costs like gas fees, meals, etc. will make attending a UC especially hard. Even further, I'd have to leave so many people behind and I'd be nearly invisible in a bigger school.

I could take the full scholarship at Fresno State, but I'm worried because there isn't as much opportunity in a city like Fresno as there would be near the bay area. I've been super excited over the idea of navigating my way through internships, conventions, and huge comp. sci classes. After getting into the honors program I was lucky enough to sit in on one of the classes at Fresno State under a sophomore studying computer science. I'm just not sure it's the kind of class I've been looking forward to, I've really been looking forward to big and rigorous classes. Despite this, I was thinking that maybe I could find remote opportunities or opportunities over the summer to do everything I've been wanting to do.

I got waitlisted at UC Irvine too but I have to decide whether I'm accepting the honors program offer at Fresno State by April 1st. I'm genuinely lost and I don't know if going to a different school would be worth it if I'd be left living off scraps while I'm there. At the same time, I'm not sure Fresno State is the school I've been looking forward to. Does the school I go to really matter? Should I take a leap and go for a different school for the experience?

So far,

Fresno State: Free

UC Santa Cruz: $2,100 after loans, (Doable because I have some money saved up)

UC Merced: Nearly $10k before loans, $0 after

University of the Pacific: $11k after loans

I'm waiting on decisions from USC, UC Berkeley, and CalPoly which should be out by the end of March.


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Hi, thank you for asking your question. Firstly, congratulations on your acceptances! In regards to your question, we get this asked a lot at CollegeVine because deciding which school to choose can be so tough especially when weighing many factors. The first suggestion we would have is to try negotiating your financial aid offer; this is a super underutilized tool that can immediately save you a lot of money and maybe even put some schools into you financial consideration.

From what it sounds like, cost of attendance (tuition + room and board + transportation) is a significant factor. That being said UCSC and Fresno state are not that far off from each other, however, after considering if you have to pay for housing or not, then one clearly wins.

In terms of gaining experience outside of the classroom, you're right, location does matter a lot. However, you can always travel for internships! This may put a school like Fresno state into your consideration. I would visit Fresno state if its possible during an Open House at the Honors College and see if you like the environment and find it a place where you feel like you can excel. This might just be the place for you!

2 years ago

Hi! If I were you, I will take in consideration the full scholarship. If you take loans you will never pay them back. You need to read all the information about how loans work. For instance, after you graduate they offer a grace period and you don’t pay monthly payments. After that, you need to start making the payments. Getting a free tuition offers to you, no worries after graduation. I know people that after 10-15 years post graduation they have to pay their college loans.

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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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