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UMD or Teachers College


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Hi all,

 

I got an extension for the deadline at Columbia TC because I'm so torn between that and UMD - I'd already committed to Maryland, but couldn't bring myself to decline TC just yet. UMD is closer to my home, I have instate tuition, seems to be a bit of a better program all around, but Columbia is Columbia and has their bilingual program and is extremely competitive. I also applied out of field so I don't have a ton of professors to ask about this. Does anyone have any insight?

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Did you get any funding at TC? If you're doing the 3 year program it's over $100,000, not including NYC living expenses. UMD is only $34,000 in state. Unless you're in a position where you got funding or otherwise don't need to worry about money, I think the choice is obvious! That much debt would drive me insane!

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Edit: sorry I forgot to add in however much the 3rd year at UMD is... I think that adds another 15K. Either way though, "Columbia is Columbia" and is super competitive doesn't seem like the most compelling reason. I'm almost certain UMD is more competitive lol (accepting 20-25 of over 250 apps). The bilingual thing seems like a good reason. So if someone is paying for your school or you have enough savings then I would say go for it! But that's a LOT of loans.

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I don't have any advice on which to choose, but maybe how to go about it. Aside from the programs, of course there are factors like what's the cost of living, have I always wanted to live in NYC? But when it simple comes down to quality and reputation which is seems like you are struggling over in your post, my professors told me that when choosing a program, it's really best to compare the actually reputation of the program with each other not the reputation of the school. I'm sure to outside people, Columbia sounds far more impressive and fancy than the University of Maryland, but to people within the field, I think you will not find that is always the case, especially if you are considering pursuing a PhD, but even if you are not too. I'm not at all saying Columbia is bad or the wrong choice, it's probably a great program. I just wanted to address the fact that you should weigh the reputation of the program itself within the field more than just reputation of the school, if it is reputation you are looking at. If you feel like the draw of Columbia's name outweighs other factors and it is a good program for you then go for it (but let's be honest we're all a little vain about school ranking and reputation and you should be honest with yourself about what really draws you to a school) but you should know that within the field UMD is highly highly regarded. The top schools in our field are not "Ivy League" still considered the top in our field. If you haven't visited, consider taking a visit or calling so you can get a feel for how the program is organized and its general atmosphere. Hope that helps.

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It's not crazy, TC is an awesome school and NY is fun. If you know you wanna work in the schools you could try for the NYC DOE scholarship.... But you might be in a prett sketchy neighborhood for a few years there. There's also public service loan forgiveness if you feel comfortable enough counting on that to be around/you to be working in certain areas through 10 years. Either way you have two awesome choices!!! Good luck!!

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I know it's hard to turn down big names!! It was tough to give up on Vanderbilt but UMD is an awesome school too, and it's cheaper and has better funding opportunities! Plus if you have any desire to stay in DC after graduating, the prestigious clinical placements will be a huge benefit. Take this with a grain of salt, though, I'm obviously extremely biased toward UMD and also cost conscious. My bf went to law school and has over 100K in debt and it will be a huge, crushing burden for a very long time.

Edited by dc2bslp
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I think you should go to the one you think will give you the best clinical training. If there are specific things you like about the TC program, like research that's being done there, their multicultural focus, bilingual program...etc. then it's not just about the name, it's about an investment in yourself. You can always earn money to pay off the loans but you can't get back the two years master's education experience. Good luck with your decision!

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