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Significant Financial Aid vs. Research/Professional Opportunities?


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I'm very conflicted on which school to choose to attend. 

I have applied and been accepted to NYU and Case Western for the fall. My specialization at Case would be Direct Practice with Children, Youth, and Families. My specialization at NYU would be Clinical with Children and Families. 

Case Western has recently offered me more scholarship money, in addition to what they initially offered, however I am also very attracted to NYU. I have tried asking if they'd consider matching Case Western's offer, but they said no. Any thoughts on how to negotiate more with nyu?

I'm just typing out my thoughts, but opinions would be appreciated. Is it worth it to turn down such a substantial scholarship (it would cover 25% of total expenses over the two-year program) for a school that offered a lot less money in a much more expensive city, but has research opportunities and more professional opportunities overall that I'm more interested in? 

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This is something I'm struggling with as well.  Sorry in advance for my rambling, this is all sort of just my thoughts as they come, things that I've heard from social workers I know, things I've read.


I don't know specifics on these exact schools or concentrations, but I understand the financial factor vs current research/networking/opportunities. It's hard because with any degree it's really more about what you put into it and many people believe you can have success regardless of program for that reason. I believe this is true, you get what you give in any situation. But no matter what people say, you also can't deny that certain names do help, especially if a school holds up to it's rep and has great opportunities. Names and networking won't get you a job, but they'll get you an interview in a lot of cases, and if you utilize that, it can absolutely be worth it. For me, wanting to work in areas with supervisors who aren't usually social workers and whose eyes might be more apt to catch certain schools or certain references, this is a factor I'm considering.


It sounds like you've done your homework on research opportunities and faculty, look into curriculum as well, if you haven't. Go to a school that is going to give you the most opportunities for your effort and whose program you are excited about. It's really not worth it to go somewhere if you find yourself apathetic about the program, in my opinion. You might not thrive in that sort of environment. That said, consider your future practice goals with regard to salary, too. If you want to work solely nonprofit there are loan forgiveness programs, but there's also the factor that you might not be in a position to pay back loans. Also, location. If you don't want to live in an area long term think hard about going to school in that area, because if you move after graduating networking can be harder. It's really a lot about where you see yourself in a few years and which school you think is going to give you the tools to help you reach those goals.


I'm not one of the people who automatically dismisses more prestigious schools as "not worth it" because in my opinion, they are prestigious for a reason. For every story you hear about someone who knows someone who regrets going to a certain school because of money, there are also numerous stories of people who have found immeasurable success out of the exact same program. If you work hard and utilize the experience fully and don't expect the status of the school to hand you everything, the experience can absolutely be irreplaceable.


Good luck!!

Edited by ssllove
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