I got accepted to Reed, Brandeis, and Vassar. I was offered enough scholarship that the choice is fit not money. I plan on majoring in math and minoring in music and going on for a PHD. I got into UCSD and my parents are encouraging that because it is in-state tuition and they are worried with the coronavirus economy there won't be scholarships for my sophomore year. I want someplace much smaller and where I can get to know the professors. Confused.
Any ideas on how to make the best decision?
Brandeis is a big college so I would opt for Vassar or Reed.
Reed is really really small like a High school campus so that might be too small. Plus one downside in my opinion is there are no grades. So you have to appeal to each professor to reveal your grade if you want to make up some sort of transcript for yourself. There are lots of smart people at Reed but it's very quirky. Vassar is a great place that has an amazing campus and has been around for 150 years. It has a great academic reputation and is by far the best of the 3 you mentioned. Plus they have the biggest endowment of the three so I don't think money is going to run out for scholarships. Good Luck.
Honestly, I understand your parents worry. Everything is super uncertain right now, and it sucks for everyone. What I would tell you, and its the same advice I'd tell you during a normal time, is go with the choice that's the best fit for you. Do a little research. Look online and try to find blogs or videos that talk about student life at each of your schools. Figure out which one fits your needs the most. Honestly, the best advice I can give is, go with what's best for you.
(Sorry, I don't know if that's the answer you were looking for. Just my advice.)
First off, congrats on getting accepted to 4 schools! That's amazing and you should be proud of your accomplishments!
For how to make the best decision, I agree with @Kat22 that you'll want to pick the school that fits the best with what you're looking for academically and culture (e.g., size, campus, etc...). That being said, finances are a huge factor for many people and it's great to hear that you're having transparent conversations with your parents about the financial aspect, especially in these uncertain and stressful times with coronavirus. That's so important.
For fit, definitely check out the school websites, social media accounts, blogs, and department websites to see which ones you like best. Do they all have the major(s) you potentially want to study? How do the class sizes compare? How do their graduation rates compare (because you'll want to be at a school that does a good job getting their students to graduate)? If you haven't visited each campus, check their websites for a virtual tour or you can even try Google Maps Street View 🙂
Since you have an idea of what you might want to do after you graduate college, I'd recommend looking at each school's career services website (example: https://www.reed.edu/beyond-reed). You could even call the career service office, tell them you're an accepted student trying to learn more about the school, and ask them questions relevant to what your interests are. For example, how many of their students get accepted into PHD programs? What are common first jobs and salaries for math majors?
For finances, you can call the financial aid office and ask if the scholarships you received are guaranteed after freshman year or not. If they are, then you don't have to worry about them disappearing due to coronavirus. Also, schools are generally very open to answering questions you have about your offer. They want you to enroll in their class, so it is in their best interest to help you out! Additionally, since you have 4 schools, you could potentially negotiate for more scholarship or financial aid from your top choices (after you figure out which one is your favorite). Take a look at the Advocate section of CollegeVine (https://www.collegevine.com/advocate) where there are a ton of great resources that teach you how to ask for additional money from colleges.
In the end, you'll want to do your research on fit and keep talking with your parents about finances. Good luck and congrats again!
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