It’s Monday and I’m excited, because tonight the Phoenix Suns get started on their upset series victory over the heavily favored and extremely boring L.A. Lakers. Wishful thinking on my part anyway, but it’s a perfect segue into today’s topic.
Brittany loves L.A. and is considering ditching UNLV to transfer to UCLA — even though she’s a senior at UNLV. She writes:
Hey there! I’m Brittany. I get all your articles and advice so I thought I’d let you help out with my complicated situation.
I am pretty much a senior at UNLV majoring in Communications Studies.
I’m guessing that means a junior with 80-something credits, so OK, got it.
Having been born and raised in Las Vegas, NV, I am ready to move out my mother’s house and get out of Vegas. So I applied and was accepted to UCLA as a Women’s Studies major. I have taken a couple of Women’s Studies classes at UNLV and have decided the major is not for me.
Hey, we keep breaking new ground on the blog here. I think this is a first time I’ve had a senior (or near-senior) apply to transfer to another school for another major. I’m confused as to why you’d apply as a women’s studies major if you don’t want to be one, so I’m guessing you were just trying to get your foot in the door at UCLA and then switch to another field once you were in.
I want to go to UCLA (everyone loves their experience there and people are so impressed when I tell them I got accepted) BUT I may not be able to switch to a Comm major and I’m nervous about the debt I’ll accrue.
OK, devil’s advocate here: NOT everyone loves their experience at UCLA. At every behemoth public-university, and especially those in the middle of a huge city, you’ll find tons of people who loved their experience, and also tons who hated it.
And pay as little attention as you possibly can to the people who are impressed that you got into UCLA. It’s definitely great that you got in, but impressing other people is a criteria that you want to throw as far out the window as humanly possible when you’re making a giant decision like this. The value to you of those people being impressed is VERY short-lived. Plus, you’ve already impressed them by getting in, and that’s not going to change whether you decide to actually go there or not.
I have a year left at UNLV, I can study Comm, and I’ll come out with virtually no debt. And on the other hand, I can transfer to UCLA, possibly not study Comm, remain in school for up to two more years, go into debt, and live in beautiful Los Angeles!
If you read this site regularly, you know I’m a very, very, very big fan of that whole “graduating with no debt” concept. In fact, if you ever want me to vote AGAINST graduating with little/no debt, there has to be some very SERIOUS upside on the competing half of the equation. But so far, on the other side of the equation, I’m only seeing: out-of-state tuition at California university, a newly uncertain course of study, new and considerable student loan debt, a very high cost of living, and living L.A. instead of Vegas.
I’m starting to dig my heels in against this transfer, Brittany. 🙂 More on that in a bit.
I will say that I am thinking about Grad school… considering it. Ultimately, I want to work in the entertainment industry. I figure that going to school in LA will help me network and start in that direction. I already have an internship in LA at a major production company in the works.
That’s great about the internship! I can’t tell by your email whether it’s a certainty yet or not, but making that happen should be a top priority for you now. I agree that *BEING* in Los Angeles will help you network in the entertainment industry and get off to a good start. I don’t agree that you need to be *going to school* there to make that happen. More on that also in a bit.
Should I just hurry up and graduate at UNLV then move to Los Angeles or transfer to UCLA, finish up school while working towards my career goals? Any suggestions?!
YES — FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, DON’T TRANSFER. 🙂 Just graduate and then move.
I know where you’re coming from with wanting to live in L.A. — I’d love to live there. It’s an international city on a scale matched by only a couple dozen other cities in the world.
And I can also understand why you want to get the hell out of Vegas. I love Vegas, but like everyone else, I love it as a pure recreation spot. I’ve never met anyone born and raised there who likes it very much anymore.
But school is school, and life is life — they need not be married to each other. You’ve got three years down and only one to go, and in terms of student loan debt, you’ve got (virtually) none! Here’s the one thing you have to remember: **If you stick it out for one more year in Vegas, then the *quality* of your experience in L.A. should be much better when you get there.**
Why? Well, being debt free is a big, big deal. Especially when you’re living in an expensive metro like L.A. You know, NOT having to make a $400-$500 student loan payment can make the difference between living where you want to live in L.A., and living in the hood. Or, worse, between being able to afford L.A. at all, and having to move back to Vegas and your mom’s house with your tail between your legs.
And you can definitely stick it out one more year — you’ve come this far, you can go one more year in order to realize the massive benefit.
I’ll say it again that the biggest asset you’ve got going for you right now is your internship; be sure and work your ass off to meet and impress all the people you possibly can during that gig. The group of people you work with will become your base of operations when you move to L.A. next year. Use Facebook and LinkedIn to keep up relationships with them after you go back to Vegas. Don’t let ’em forget you.
Another word to the wise — even though you hate the town, you are sitting in the entertainment capital of the world right now. There are TONS of connections to be made right there in Vegas. Check out what types of entertainment-oriented internships you may be able to hook up with through UNLV.
But yeah, if you wanna head off to L.A. the moment you graduate, then go for it. Plenty of opportunity there, of course. Just don’t assume that going to L.A. necessitates an education at UCLA, especially when you’d incur so much additional cost at UCLA without, in any way that I can see, receiving anywhere near that much value in return.
Hope that helps. And I hope your Lakers (I assume you’re a Lakers fan?) go down in flames tonight and in the entire series. Go Suns!