Should I Go To Go To My Dream School, Or Stay In-State & Pay Less?

Okay, so I don’t know what to do. I want to go down the “pre-med” track in college, and I have always thought that I would go to a big, showy, pricey university with lots of bells and whistles. I was always content with the amount of college debt I would have after school as long as I got to say that I went to that school (the school I’m shooting for is the University of North Carolina.) However, in reading one of your recent blog posts, I got to wondering and doubting myself. My mom wants me to go to an in-state school (University of Iowa) to get a cheap undergrad degree, and then save the big schools for grad school time. I really want to know if settling for a cheaper undergrad college will jeopardize my chances of getting into a really good grad school. Please help! -Sara

As they say, Sara, “Mother knows best.”

Going to a “cheaper” undergrad school will not hurt your chances of getting into a good grad school.  That is, of course, if you do really well at that school.  And the same would be said if you went to the more expensive “dream school.”

I won’t say that no grad school cares where you got your undergrad from – some more prestigious schools might turn their nose up at a degree from Intercontinental University of The Americas In America.  But we’re talking about the University of Iowa here, a well-respected, Big 10 university that, like UNC, is in the top 100 colleges & universities according to US News & World Report.    If you do well there, I doubt anyone will scoff at where your degree came from.

Also, you say you are content with the amount of debt you will have after college, but trust me – no one is ever content with the amount of student loan debt they have.  From the looks of it, you’ll be saving about $22,000 per year by staying in state and going to the University of Iowa.  That’s nearly ninety thousand dollars over four years.

Listen to your mother, Sara.


2 thoughts on “Should I Go To Go To My Dream School, Or Stay In-State & Pay Less?”

  1. Most employers don’t care where your degree comes from. The only care that you LEARNED something while in college. And going to a local state school will help to prevent crushing student loan debt that can rob your life energy…

  2. I absolutely agree – go to University of Iowa, especially when you’re headed to grad school afterward. Pre-med isn’t contingent on the school you go to. I’m in art school, and the school I chose has connections. The instructors are still working in their field, and a lot of times (especially in art) it’s who you know. My cousin got a graduate degree in composing at a great program at a state school, but I had advised her to go to mine. She wanted to work at Pixar and some of the instructors at my school work there! But to get into med school, you could go to community college for two years, then University of Iowa for two years, then med school. That’s the nice thing about practical careers. 🙂

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