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Columbia vs. UNC


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First off, major life decisions suck! However, I'm very grateful to have these choices. Congrats to everyone on their various acceptances! 


So here's my dilemma. I attended Columbia's Admitted Students Day and loved the people, school, city and curriculum. But it didn't change how expensive it is to attend Columbia. With scholarships, tuition alone is still going to cost me around $30,000 a year. When compared to UNC's in-state tuition of around $13,000, it's hard to justify considering that they are equally ranked. The only thing holding me back from UNC is that I went there for undergrad and would like to experience a different educational environment, and I have wanted to live in NYC for as long as I can remember. I am also really drawn to Columbia's advanced generalist track, the most similar concentration at UNC is their self-directed option.


The thought of being $80,000-100,000 in debt as a social worker is terrifying. I've extensively researched the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, but I just don't know what to do. I'm so torn. 


Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated!! 

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Where are you thinking about eventually working? If your expectation is that you will return to North Carolina to practice, then not only is UNC a better option financially, but it will provide a huge leg up in terms of developing a network and securing employment. I agree that paying an extra 75-100k for grad school (and don't forget the extreme difference in cost of living as well) doesn't make much sense -- unless, and even this I suggest with caution, your ultimate plan is to continue to live and work in NYC.


As you've likely read throughout this forum, MSW curriculums are actually quite similar due to the accreditation requirements. UNC is a top school (and you're familiar with the area already). If you want to experience NYC so much, then take $5,000 and just live there for a few months after school -- don't blow that money on tuition. Just a thought...

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Are there any differences in the curriculum for you to consider? Are there any opportunities, such as an additional certification, that would be offered to you at one school, but not at the other school? Also, I agree with MJL34-- it's a great idea to consider where you will be looking for post-MSW employment, and factor that in to your decision-making process.

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