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Decisions, decisions.....HELP


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Hey everyone.

So I am new on here but I am looking for some advice and a direction for graduate school

A little about me. Graduating from Michigan Tech this April with BS in Civil Engineering with intent on getting my Masters in Science for Structural Engineering starting fall 2012. Plan to go in industry and get professional experience and possibly pursuing PhD later in my career.

So I applied to a few programs for MS and this is the rundown for them.

Univ. California, San Diego - accepted; all professors I've talked to said they are filled for research opportunities; out of state tuition=REALLY expensive for no funding; possibility for RA or TA position still; haven't visited yet but hope too; great structural engineering lab

Univ. Colorado, Boulder - accepted; during preview day, they pretty much said no funding for masters; out of state tuition once again really expensive; loved the campus and is my #1 location because I LOVE the snow

Univ. of Nevada, Reno - still waiting to hear back; professors have no research positions; performed undergrad research in the summer here; have connections for housing and the such; as everyone probably knows, Nevada's economy is worst in the nation, so that kind of worries me

Michigan Technological Univ. - receiving undergrad here; trying to get funding from professors (Univ. doesn't do much research here so it is hard); heard through the loop that a company is opening up an office in Denver and I would like to work for this company as well as live in Denver. This company has large ties with Mich. Tech so I would have a good in with the company. Although, I have a summer internship with this company this summer so I might be able to get in with them overall even with attending a different university.

So I just need some direction. I have talked to a number of professors and friends and they have all said that I should probably go to UCSD as that is the best education. I am just really caught up on the fact that I will be going in with having to pay so much. There is still possibility of RA/TA for first semester and talking with professors to try and get on a research project for the spring semester and hopefully get funded. I love Boulder, as a city and being so close to the mountains. I love snow sports, snowmobiling and snowboarding, and Boulder is ideal for this. I am having a hard time deciding if I should give that up for a better education or have the mindset of "I'm young, I want to be able to enjoy being young while I can."

Sorry for being long winded. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Being from the west coast I know that after completely one year of school in California you can apply for in-state residency and get the in-state tuition rate. I believe you have to show "intent" to live there (i.e. registering to vote or getting a California drivers license.) Depending on how long you plan to be in school, that might seriously help you out financially.

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Yeah I have heard that from a few people that getting residency in a short amount of time is pretty doable. Anyone else have any suggestions? Right now I am leaning towards UCSD for the fact that it is such a good structural engineering school.

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