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Alma Mater or Elsewhere (for engineering Master's)


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At the last minute my application process resulted in my ditching all but one of my apps. I began worrying about the myriad of costs involved and started weighing other options (i.e. holding off until later, finding a job that may help with school, etc.). I also didn't do as well as I should have on the GRE and was concerned about not getting enough funding even if I did get in. I ended up only applying to the school I originally desired and still need to apply to my undergraduate instition (i.e. our application deadline is a bit later than most schools). Among the list of schools I was going to apply to are University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern, Washington University, University of Michigan, and University of Minnesota (I'm from the midwest if you haven't noticed by now).

I graduated from the University of Iowa with my bachelor of science in engineering (Biomedical Engineering). I imagine I will get into Iowa, but there are always chances I won't as well. After ditching my apps and deciding I still sorta wanted to go right on to grad school I settled with the fact I probably would just end up back at my alma mater in the fall.

The school I originally desired was the University of Minnesota, which is why it was the app I actually did go through with completing. I applied to their Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering programs (mechanical first, then biomedical about a month later). I received the Mechanical Engineering program's decision last week and they've accepted me. I imagine I will find out in a few weeks about the Biomedical program. I am not stuck trying to decide what I should do. I sort of know what to consider in making my decision, but don't know what factors should carry sufficiently more weight than others.

I know this is getting lengthy but please read on.

I was born and raised in Iowa so naturally I chose to go to the University of Iowa. For those that don't already know, Iowa is a fairly cheap University to attend in comparison to its counterparts. I am not really sure how to go about making my decision and would like advice on how to go about this. Is it safe to assume that my undergraduate advisor would help me make this decision or would he try to convince me to stay at Iowa?

I already know that Minnesota will be more expensive. The estimated cost of attendance is approximately $10K more per year. I have never even been to Minneapolis but I am drawn to the area for several reasons. The Twin Cities host around 300 medical device companies (which is what I would like to go into). It's still in the midwest. It's closer to the Boundary Waters and other great outdoor activities I've been longing for. It's a good school overall (but so is Iowa although not ranked up there in engineering but is a good public research inst.). It is 6 hours from home vs. only 2 hours. Is it better to attend a different school for graduate work?

I don't know how to go about weighing the pros and cons and would love any advice. I want to make the decision I'll still be happy with after a year.

Thank You

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