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NYU Steinhardt vs. SUNY


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Hello all,

I was recently accepted into NYU Steinhardt's Master of English Education program, which I'm pleased about. My hope is to go into secondary English education. I am also currently applying to SUNY - Empire State, which has an Alternative Certification program very similar to the Teaching Fellows.

Here's the thing: NYU is expensive and my financial aid package only included loans. The other thing? SUNY is inexpensive, I'd have a Trans B certification in one year, and be teaching after my 2nd year.

My questions are:

1) Is NYU worth it? I hope to work in a public school, maybe even a charter or private school. It seems foolhardy to pay $70,000 to do this. The thought of repaying loans for years to come makes me heartsick. Additionally, I've heard mixed reviews about the education at NYU - some say it's great, others I've talked to have found it to be disappointing. Can anyone comment on this?

2) Are SUNY programs okay? While not in the same league as NYU, what is the education like? Will it adequately prepare me for the classroom?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

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I was also accepted into Steinhardt but for MA Science Education. I looked up the English Ed program there as well as the program at SUNY (since I'm not familiar with it at all) so that I would have a better idea of your options.

Okay, if I'm getting this correctly from the website, SUNY will require one year of part-time, mostly online coursework followed by two years of the same plus full-time teaching. I noticed mention of "field experiences" during the first year, but they weren't really specified, and as far as I could tell there was no real student teaching involved. I'm the type of person who freaks out and likes to know exactly what I'm doing before I go and do it, so I would be a little unnerved about starting a full-time teaching position not only before I finished my degree but also without any substantial student teaching experience. Of course, that is just me, and I don't know how you would feel about that, but one of the reasons I chose NYU is because of the substantial amount of student teaching I would be able to do before being expected to completely run my own classroom.

Another reason I chose NYU is because the program is so focused on science education rather than just education in general. As far as could tell from the English ed page, you would have several options for content-specific courses. SUNY seemed to only include one content-area course throughout the three years. I think a content-specific program would be more desirable and would make me feel better prepared, but that's just my opinion.

And of course, cost is a factor (though it isn't so much for me since I neglected to provide myself with a more affordable state option haha). SUNY will be cheaper, and you will be working full-time as a teacher during two of the three years of study. NYU, however, will require substantial loans. You could apply for a fellowship through the Expository Writing Program for your second year, which would help, I'm sure, and would be another source of teaching experience. And there is a good possibility that your Stafford and PLUS loans would qualify for Income Based Repayment, lowering the amount you would be expected to pay per month to no more than about 10-15% of your paycheck. Also, if you worked in public schools, you could qualify for loan forgiveness after 10 years of payments (25 most likely if you chose to work in private schools). I know 10 years is still a long time, but it's definitely something to consider, and IBR does make the loans slightly less daunting.

I have also heard mixed reviews about the education at NYU, but those kind of personal reviews are so subjective. For instance, I greatly dislike my undergrad institution whereas I know several people who love it. There will always be people on both sides of the fence. I think I would only put stock into opinions like that if they seemed to be consistently leaning in one direction. And of course, I can't speak on the education quality at SUNY because I'm not at all familiar with it.

Sorry for being so verbose haha. I hope that was at least somewhat helpful.


Can I ask when you received your financial aid award letter from NYU? I'm getting paranoid about not having received mine yet lol.

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Thank you for the thorough answer.

Yes, I like the content-specific education at NYU, as well. I'm concerned about the generality of SUNY's program in addition to the lack of student teaching. However, SUNY's program actually requires 50 hours of fieldwork (10 hours per class) in the first year, which I find to be a lot. Then, in the last two years, you "mentor teach." The way I understand it is that SUNY's program is like a NYC Teaching Fellows/traditional Master's program hybrid.

I wasn't aware of Income Based Repayment, so I'll look into that. I'm also planning on teaching in the NYC public schools for a few years so that may qualify me for some loan forgiveness.

Speaking of the quality of NYU's program, I kind of have a sense of why there might be mixed reviews, as I went to NYU for undergrad. Given the nature of NYU's campus (or lack of it), the huge student body, and the nature of NYC itself, you have to be really proactive to get the most out of your education. I found the quality of the class depended more on the professor than anything else (I think that this is probably true of most places.) I spoke to a student at Steinhardt who said the classes were not as rigorous as she would have liked. This made me start wondering, do I really want to pay that much money for what seemed like an average education? (On the other hand, I spoke to a student who raved about the whole experience at NYU, classes and professors included.)

Can I ask when you received your financial aid award letter from NYU? I'm getting paranoid about not having received mine yet lol.

I haven't actually received anything yet. I called Financial Aid. Since we have to turn in acceptances next week, I started getting antsy. I heard that letters went out this week, so you should be receiving something soon.

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I haven't actually received anything yet. I called Financial Aid. Since we have to turn in acceptances next week, I started getting antsy. I heard that letters went out this week, so you should be receiving something soon.

Ah, I see. Well that makes me a bit less paranoid haha. Hopefully it'll come Monday.

Well it sounds like SUNY could very well be a viable option for you. It would certainly be much cheaper, and the 50 hours of fieldwork in the first year is quite a lot. Even if that's mostly shadowing and observing, it could still be a valuable experience.

I guess it will just come down to which concern outweighs the other: the loans it would take to attend NYU or the generality of SUNY's program.

Good luck with your decision process!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I studied at Steinhardt as an undergraduate. The campus is fantastic. WSP is right across the street, SOHO is around the corner, and Union square is up the block. There are bars everywhere, so happy hour is definitely a major plus, and enhances the NYU experience. If you're interested, the Fat Black Pussycat is a great watering hole located across the street from "The Cage" basketball courts.

The quality of education at NYU is great. It is as rigorous as you want it to be.

To the original poster: I majored in English Education (7-12). I know many of your professors, and would be willing to answer any questions you may have about the program.

Here are two gems: Take a course with Rebecca Packer and hope Victoria Carr is your advisor.

Edited by PIB
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  • 10 months later...

Hello Blue sky,

I also got accepted to Steinhart for Science Education. I got accepted to Fordham University Graduate program

associated with Life Sciences and the Bronx Zoo. Very inovative program.

Now that I got accepted to NYU Steinhard, I need to move into gear to see if this is a better place

to learn how to teach science in urban schools. I only attended a session where Catherine Milne was not

able to attend. I was very impressed with the Fast Track master teacher but that was the only real connection that I made there.

Do you have any thoughts

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