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Old 06-09-2010, 01:14 PM
 
Location: S. FL
7,146 posts, read 11,244,077 times
Reputation: 10226

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I'm not sure what I should do. I'm getting out of HS in one year and I have to make a decision on where I want to go for college. It's been a big dilemna this year with so much moving. I only have next year until I get off and I'm not sure what I want to do with myself. I have narrowed down my choices to a few different colleges. UCF in Orlando and UIC in Chicago are my top choices. For a few weeks now, the FL heat has been getting to me and I've been thinking seriously about UIC. I love Chicago. I lived there for awhile back in the day. I remember Chicago VIVIDLY as if it were yesterday. I remember the streets, the metro, the buildings. I used to live in South Chicago when I first came but then I moved to the UIC area where my mom was finishing her bachelors degree. I loved the school even back then and the stores and the amenities and everything. They have some really good programs and courses I am interested in and diversity within the school is attractive as well. I love the weather. Chicago is the only city in the U.S. I could tolerate the four seasons. It was great. I used to live in Montreal and it was crazy cold. I almost got frost bite. But when I came to Chicago it was a milder type of cold. I could definitely integrate into the weather with no problems.

But it's all about cost. I would be an out-of-state student so I would have to pay OOS tuition. I believe my mom did too but idk how she did it and managed to stay. If I go to UCF (which is a great school as well), I would be paying significantly lower costs and it would save me a whole lot of money. But the thing is, I am sick of FL. I am sick of the weather, the people, the commercial-ness. I am sick of it all. I've been living here for the majority of my life and I think it's high time I moved on. Any opinions?
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Chicago
65 posts, read 274,879 times
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If you liked uic when your mother attended it, you would definitely love the area now. The neighborhood around UIC has transformed with new restaurants and residential complexes. UIC has also transformed from a commuter school to a regular campus with new dorms being built left and right.

However being OOS, you will be paying about 25k per year including tution+mandatory fees. THats 100,000 for 4 years. Depending on your major, I honestly don't know if UIC is worth 100k.

I attempted to looked at UCF Orlando's tution fee and it seemed like it was $151 /credit hour. multiple that by 120 credit hours and you get about 18k for all four years! That is quite a deal.

Thats a difference of about 80k not including living expenses which is much more in Chicago.

Tough choice. Chicago is a great city. Try looking at other Chicago schools like depaul and see if their financial aid is better.
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:33 PM
 
Location: roaming gnome
12,390 posts, read 26,459,056 times
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i moved from fl to chicago after college, if i had to do it over again, i would have moved to chicago first...

i'd say go there, live, get in state...

both schools about the same though.
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Kingfield
54 posts, read 148,588 times
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My .02:

Unless you're going into a specialized field (Engineering, etc) or applying to top-ranked programs, there's no reason to go into massive debt for your undergrad degree. Having a degree from prestigious schools will help regardless of your major, but since neither of your top picks are Ivy...it's somewhat moot. School costs a lot of money and you'll likely need to take out a good chunk of loans if you come to Chicago and start in the fall.

My advice would be to come to Chicago, it sounds like you really want to be there more than FL. However, take the first year off - do Americorps for a year...or a similar program that will pay you enough for a roommate situation, provide med insurance, and afford you the opportunity to attain state residency. Once you have residency, go to UIC and pay the in-state tuition. Or, consider any possible universities that FL has tuition reciprocity with (not sure if they even have this...maybe it's just a Midwest thing). If you moved to Chicago and had that first year to work/get adjusted, you'd have more college choices due to the reciprocity in IL.

If you go to Chicago as an out-of-state student, you'll never qualify for in-state tuition during your undergrad career. You can apply for state residency after a year, but academically...UIC will count you as out-of-state the whole time you're with them (I know, I'm dealing with the same situation as a UIC grad student). If you already have your acceptance letters, you could always defer for a year in order to get your residency situated first. I also second the suggestion that private universities might have better aid packages than UIC for tuition.

If you're getting a full-ride...than simple, go to UIC. If you don't have mom & pop's wallet to fall back on or some big trust fund, then seriously...take a year off, move to Chicago, and get your in-state residency established - the year will go by fast, you'll make a ton of friends, have fun, and you'll have something for your resume. If you depended on loans and came to UIC as an out-of-state student, you're looking at 60K in debt when you're done...possibly more. That's a crazy amount of debt to start your adult life with.
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Logan Square
1,912 posts, read 5,086,120 times
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Both schools are equally mediocre. May as well stay in Florida for $12,000 a year and transfer to UIC later on or just move to Chicago after college. If you live in Orlando housing will also be much cheaper.

Do you qualify for Bright Futures to pay a portion of in-state tuition?
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:07 PM
 
Location: roaming gnome
12,390 posts, read 26,459,056 times
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also...not sure you are concerned with, but Chicago is a very 21+ city... and if you have night life considerations...pretty sure a lot of the orlando places are 18+...
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:44 PM
 
615 posts, read 937,416 times
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You only go to college once, and it has a huge effect on your life. Not just your education, but the people you meet and the live you life there. I think academically they are both around the same level. But culturally they are different planets. If you are confident in your ability to pay off the student debts, I'd go to UIC, since you seem to click with the vibe there. UCF is like the generic suburban university with the generic suburban population. The buildings look like they were prefabricated for the Truman Show. I was there once in the first week of April and it was already 85 and humid. No thanks
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:45 PM
 
Location: roaming gnome
12,390 posts, read 26,459,056 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genghis View Post
You only go to college once, and it has a huge effect on your life. Not just your education, but the people you meet and the live you life there. I think academically they are both around the same level. But culturally they are different planets. If you are confident in your ability to pay off the student debts, I'd go to UIC, since you seem to click with the vibe there. UCF is like the generic suburban university with the generic suburban population. The buildings look like they were prefabricated for the Truman Show. I was there once in the first week of April and it was already 85 and humid. No thanks
Yeah if one were to go to university in Florida I would recommend UF, FSU, Miami
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:02 AM
 
9 posts, read 37,490 times
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Default Think about more than the weather... this is college!

I am kind of surprised that the central theme seems to be the weather. I can understand a strong financial discussion since we're not all made of money, but hey... what about the learning experience?

First, what major do you plan to pursue? I know nothing about UIC, so I can only speak a bit to UCF in that area (and don't have in-depth knowledge for all majors). UCF's overall rankings are very impressive and their programs in particular areas of study such as Business, Engineering and Computer Science, and Hospitality Management, to name a few, are nationally/world-known and very highly regarded by those in the related industries. You'll often find UCF Engineering and Computer Science students as finalists or winners of national and international competitions. Obviously UCF doesn't have every major, so there may be a major that UIC has that UCF doesn't that you want to pursue. Also, some of UCF's colleges don't have as strong a program as those at other universities (for example, UCF's Fine Arts program is not as good as those at many other universities, IMO). You can get a lot of facts and figures on UCF at University of Central Florida - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Investigate what co-op programs and major corporate tie-ins each of the schools have in your major as this can be a great learning experience and stepping stone to your future career. There may also be special add-on certificate options that improve your career marketability. For example, if you get a Masters in Counseling at UCF you can take a few extra classes and get a specialty certificate in "Career Counseling." In some school districts that can give you an advantage in getting the job or add some extra to your paycheck.

Of course, you'll also want to take a look at the housing, extracurricular offerings, campus amenities and nearby activities/entertainment since you won't spend ALL your time studying.

Now, regarding the weather... I'm originally from southern NJ, but have been in Florida for over 30 years. Folks I know who are still up there ask me how I can stand Florida in the summer. I laugh and tell them that it's only gone over 100 where I've lived in central Florida once since I've been here. The summer before I left NJ it hit 102, 104 and 106 that summer. Really, the summers aren't much different here during the day than anywhere up north (except for those north of us at higher elevations)... it just doesn't cool down as much at night down here as it does up north. Winters on the other hand... have I mentioned how much I HATE being cold and how much I HATE driving in snow??? I love being able to do things outside all year long, which I definitely couldn't do up north. I was speaking to someone once who was from the central Florida area and graduated from Syracuse who told me, "Oh my God, if I had visited that place in the winter I would have NEVER gone there. I was stupid enough to visit in the spring and it was gorgeous at that time of the year, but every winter I was up there was pure frozen hell." But, different strokes for different folks, eh?

Best of luck with your decision!
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:32 AM
 
615 posts, read 937,416 times
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About the weather issue.. the summers in Florida are hotter and more humid than Chicago on average, hands down. The only reason it never hits 100+ there is the fact that florida is surrounded by oceans. Last summer it was downright cool in Chicago. In Florida it's like 90-95 every single day for months on end. A couple of statistics: July is the hottest month in Chicago: average high 84 average low 66, for a daily average of 75. In Orlando, it's that hot or hotter every month from May thru October.
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