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Hi Guys,

I got admits from both USC and NCSU for Computer Networking in Electrical Engineering for fall 18. I am very confused right now as the course in both universities are very good.

Now here comes the tough part. The tuition and living expenses at USC would be sky high, whereas in NCSU it would be quite less compared to the former. Also USC being in LA there are more opportunities to get interview calls as compared to NCSU. Now NCSU is one of the best for networking whereas USC isn't very far behind. 

If anyone could give me a comparison of which one to join, it would be really helpful. Making this decision is literally tearing me apart. Please note that I do not have any financial aid from either of the universities.

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Hey there... just thought I could add my two cents to the many great answers above.

Assuming your hypothetical schools where ivy = much higher rank (because this isn't ALWAYS the case), it comes down to a simple question: would you regret it? 

For me, the answer is absolutely yes... I'd end up regretting it. In your scenario, if I went to UI-UC or Temple over Princeton, or some similar situation, I'd forever think to myself "what if".. and wonder if I wrongfully doubted my abilities and gave up the opportunity of a lifetime. I'd always wonder if I had it in me, and I'd never have another chance to really find out. If you think that you could end up regretting it, I say f***ing go for it. Someone admitted you to the program because they BELIEVE you can do it, so maybe you should as well.

Congrats on your admits and best of luck!



i think this guy has a point from the other thread

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NCSU definitely has a good program and carries weight on the east coast. 

Looking at earnings of grads can be deceiving too. I'm sure many USC grads stay on the West Coast where cost of living is MUCH higher and pay reflects that. Cost of living in the Carolinas and SE is generally fairly low. 

The research triangle has many good STEM jobs with very competitive salaries for the area and many of those salaries can go further for the area than a higher salary on the west coast.

Edited by Shnoztastic
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geographic wise, you really can't beat the Cali weather... especially considering OP is international... Cali is imo, one of the best places to come to US for...  I believe the reason that most Hollywood celebrities choose to have a dwelling here is that it is really awesome!  you get to enjoy the beach + mountain in one day... we don't have snow that can trouble the commute but if u want, there's snow on the mountains.  all kinds of flexibility/options here :)

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SoCal is so overrated. Yeah the weather is nice but imo, it doesn't make up for the ridiculous cost of living. If you want to live in a semi decent area get ready to pay out the ears for it. USC itself is located in a suspect area. You can't get anywhere without a car because the public transportation is mind numbingly awful. Also get ready to spend 45 minutes to move 8 miles because LA traffic is as bad as advertised. Gas prices are insane. Living here is very expensive.

Edited by Mopar18
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  • 4 weeks later...

I am assuming that you are from India. If not, my answer doesn't matter much. 

Grad engineering school at USC is flooded with students from India and China, with seemingly very less other nationalities. So, when you sit in a typical common classroom in Viterbi, you will feel that you are still in an Indian classroom with a bunch of Chinese students in it. You can guess the many disadvantages that you have faced owing to being in a classroom with many many many Indian students in it. If you are coming to US for an international experience, go to NCSU where the proportion is a bit more normalized. And, the location is not that bad for jobs. Anyways, let me summarize a few other pros and cons so that you can decide on your own. 

1. USC offers wide variety of courses. So, you will have so many choices. This is mainly due to the 1000+ grad students in each department. So, they have to offer that many courses. So, if you have a specific specialization in mind, USC might have it. Small univs have limited courses. So, go through the course lists for each semester in the past and see if you find a compelling interest. 

2. Profs at USC are very much high profile. If you see a prof very much inline with your interest and possibly see that you can work with him, that's good. But, don't count too much on getting any assistantships (very very rare for master's students). You have higher chance of getting at NCSU. Moreover, you are just one among thousands in USC. But, may be one among few hundreds at NCSU. 

3. USC very expensive place, but pleasant climate. But, you wanna come to US to experience something different. Experience the east, then come back to West for employment. 

My final word - go to NCSU. period. 

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Unless money is not a factor and you want to have a no-fuss, coursework-based masters experience surrounded by mostly internationals.

If you want more research opportunities, decent-if-not-comparable job options and a more diverse environment, go to NCSU.

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IMO USC is pretty overrated, and the fact that you are competing with a TON of international students is not necessarily a good thing. Yes, the job opportunities could be better, but you have so many more people competing for the same position. Also, a lot of 'factory' companies recruit from schools like USC, UIUC, UCLA where there is a large international student base. They hire in bulk for more menial jobs and a lower comparative salary. Now don't get me wrong, USC is a great school, there is a reason it is ranked high, but there is a side to schools like these that people don't acknowledge.


NCSU has a great reputation in the mid-atlantic with a great average salary and lower cost of living. Job opportunities are also very good in the area and I know this from experience. The amount of jobs is less than in California but that doesn't necessarily lower your chances of getting a job. The competition is also less, the coursework and professor quality will be comparable to USC and I really believe you have a better chance of standing out in a school like NCSU than in USC. 

So, basically, if you are looking for only brand value then USC is the no-brainer, but if you are looking for a more holistic, varied and fulfilling experience then I believe NCSU is the better choice.

Edited by VA2001
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