How much money would you be willing to take out in student loans?

efeens15's picture
Rank: Monkey | 34

I'm currently a junior in high school, but I have some pretty good stats (I have a 36 on the ACT), so I'm looking ahead and anticipating at least a couple of Ivy League acceptances and acceptances to top privates and publics; basically, target schools. However, my parents aren't in any real place to help me pay for much more than $15,000 or so a year, and because of their income bracket ($150k-175k), I won't qualify for much aid outside of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and I can't rely on getting accepted into any of those schools.

So, my choices at this point are either taking merit aid at a lower public or lower private (non-targets) or taking out a massive amount in loans to go to a top public/private or Ivy League school. Would any of you take out $120k+ in student loans to be able to go to a top-tier target school?

Comments (111)

Apr 24, 2013

Yes take out the loans and go to the best school you can, you will never regret it. Going to a non-target you will regret, I promise you. I have 60k in loans and paid for the other half through work/internships for a liberal arts non-target school because my parents helped 0%. It will be less than $120k if you consider money made during internships which could net you $10k+ each summer plus working during school as I did which could bring in more money. You should look into scholarships through every avenue, religious at all? Ask your church, some have smaller scholarships.

Apr 24, 2013

Okay thanks, and yeah my family is super Catholic and very involved in our parish so I could look there. Thanks.

Any other opinions? And I should've added that I think I'll be a very competitive applicant for a local scholarship that gives a full ride to Notre Dame. What if I got that scholarship? I know Notre Dame is only semi-target (some would argue it's fully a target), but if I could go for free? I don't know. Any more advice is greatly appreciated!

Apr 24, 2013

I will graduate with 8k in loans. I would never take out more loans than that.

Apr 24, 2013

You'd have plenty of opportunity coming out of Notre Dame if you really work for it. I wouldn't be able to turn down a full ride there. Definitely do that instead of taking out $100k in loans.

Do you have any AP credits? My school (target) gives a TON of credits to AP scores of 4 or 5, enough so that I could have fairly easily graduated in 3 years (dragged it out to 3 and one part-time semester for internship purposes). I took out about $70k to attend my school. Fortunately, it's only at a 2.5% rate so I can take my sweet time paying it off.

Apr 24, 2013

With such high scores, are you currently ranked in top 10 at your HS? If there is probably many available local & maybe national scholarships you can probably take. But honestly take an IVY or top 10 school for that matter.

"Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?"

Apr 24, 2013
amufb1:

With such high scores, are you currently ranked in top 10 at your HS? If there is probably many available local & maybe national scholarships you can probably take. But honestly take an IVY or top 10 school for that matter.

I'm ranked first in my class, and I expect I'll end up being valedictorian.

Also, I'll graduate having taken 5 AP tests (the most offered by my school), so I don't think that'd nearly be enough to graduate a year early.

But I'm getting some differing opinions. Anyone with some real experience here that could give me sound advice? I'm basically dead-set on banking, and I'm fairly certain I'll do whatever necessary to break into the industry, even more so if I know I'll have a huge amount of student debt weighing on top of me when I graduate. Any more opinions?

Apr 24, 2013

After you find out where you've been accepted there will be clear tiers. Just take the cheapest option in the top tier.

Apr 24, 2013

It's good you're thinking ahead. But apply first, get into the best schools you can, gather the financial data, and ask again next year.

Apr 24, 2013

Thanks, I appreciate it.

Apr 24, 2013

I came from a non-target and am on the buy side now mainly as a result of networking. I think that you can still get into banking from many schools, but Ivy will make it much easier at some of the top places. I interviewed at several BB out of college and found that I was often the only kid not with a prestigious school on my resume. That said, I think that ND is also a great choice if Ivy doesn't work out especially if you want to end up in Chicago. The alumni network for ND is top notch in Chicago and they love to hire their own. You will always have b-school as well to get an Ivy school on resume. I have seen plenty of kids get into top b-schools from semi-targets and even non-targets. The takeaway is that Ivy just tends to make things easier, but you still have to put in the work and not expect everything to fall in your lap.

Apr 25, 2013

Student loans are the next bubble

Apr 25, 2013
joshuagoodwin0:

Student loans are the next bubble

i get what you mean but its pretty crude, since you cant buy into it, and the loser is the state, who will be bailed out by...... the printers.

Apr 25, 2013

This also depends on what state schools look like. If you're lucky enough to live in Michigan, Texas ect. it might be something to consider.

However, as mentioned above, apply first. College admissions is a crapshoot---even with a 36. You never know what will happen.

Apr 25, 2013
Spuds:

This also depends on what state schools look like. If you're lucky enough to live in Michigan, Texas ect. it might be something to consider.

However, as mentioned above, apply first. College admissions is a crapshoot---even with a 36. You never know what will happen.

Yeah I know. I'm the first to tell anyone I'll probably be rejected by HYP, and I fully understand how wildly competitive admission to those schools is. But I live in Ohio, so I don't really have any public Ivies.

Apr 25, 2013

Go to the best school you can

Apr 25, 2013

It's a no brainer. There are very few people that have probably regretted attenting HYP. I would have happily spent $150K on HYP. You'll come out of school making more money than virtually everyone else on the planet and your income will only rise from there. After a few solid bonuses you should be able to cut that debt load in half.

Harvard has a tuition aid calculator on its site somewere.

Apr 25, 2013

Think about this in terms of your monthly payments after graduating. 120k will be in the neighborhood of 1200-1500/month minimum payment for 10 years. What type of salary (after taxes) do you need to live comfortably and make those payments? If you end up in BB IBD that's not so bad, but you are only junior in high school and taking out that much debt makes you rather inflexible in your future career choice.

If you can get a full ride to a place like Notre Dame that has great placements I would take it over the above scenario.

Also, don't be afraid to ask for more money from the schools you get into. Many will give more aid if you ask.

Apr 25, 2013
bees415:

Think about this in terms of your monthly payments after graduating. 120k will be in the neighborhood of 1200-1500/month minimum payment for 10 years. What type of salary (after taxes) do you need to live comfortably and make those payments? If you end up in BB IBD that's not so bad, but you are only junior in high school and taking out that much debt makes you rather inflexible in your future career choice.

If you can get a full ride to a place like Notre Dame that has great placements I would take it over the above scenario.

Also, don't be afraid to ask for more money from the schools you get into. Many will give more aid if you ask.

Yeah I get what you're saying. However, I am highly intrigued by IBD and I know I want to work in finance. But could any of you give me any idea of just how hard it is to break into banking in NYC from a school like HYP? Is it still really difficult, but just a bit less so? I've never gotten a clear impression of just how difficult it is to actually get a full time analyst position.

Apr 27, 2013
efeens15:
bees415:

Think about this in terms of your monthly payments after graduating. 120k will be in the neighborhood of 1200-1500/month minimum payment for 10 years. What type of salary (after taxes) do you need to live comfortably and make those payments? If you end up in BB IBD that's not so bad, but you are only junior in high school and taking out that much debt makes you rather inflexible in your future career choice.

If you can get a full ride to a place like Notre Dame that has great placements I would take it over the above scenario.

Also, don't be afraid to ask for more money from the schools you get into. Many will give more aid if you ask.

Yeah I get what you're saying. However, I am highly intrigued by IBD and I know I want to work in finance. But could any of you give me any idea of just how hard it is to break into banking in NYC from a school like HYP? Is it still really difficult, but just a bit less so? I've never gotten a clear impression of just how difficult it is to actually get a full time analyst position.

OP, I graduated from one of HYP colleges 3 years ago. From my HYP, to get into IBD, you had to have at least 3.6+ GPA and competitive finance internships on your resume, just to get to the OCR interview stage. Even if you make it to the interview, nobody can tell you if you will get an offer or not.

The point is, getting a banking job is no where certain and it is highly risky to attend college, incurring 200k in debt, in the hopes of scoring a high paying job to pay off your debt.

I know some of my colleagues who didn't get any jobs and now are freelancing as SAT tutors in their hometown, living out of their parents' basement. Granted, most of these kids were liberal arts majors with mediocre GPA's.

I think the best option for someone in your shoes is to take a full ride offer (or something similar to that) from a strong private or public school, such as U of Michigan, U of Virginia, Georgetown, etc, if these kinds of opportunities exist, as opposed to going to a top Ivy at full cost.

Best of luck.

Apr 25, 2013

As a kid at a non-target, I would not think twice about taking out $100,000+ to attend HYP. I am not sure Harvard or Yale offer this (they probably do), but Princeton offers financial aid to everyone, even kids with very rich parents (do some Googling, they have a page for this).

Apr 25, 2013
KKS:

As a kid at a non-target, I would not think twice about taking out $100,000+ to attend HYP. I am not sure Harvard or Yale offer this (they probably do), but Princeton offers financial aid to everyone, even kids with very rich parents (do some Googling, they have a page for this).

I know. Princeton offers an average of 75% of tuition in aid to kids with income brackets in mine. Harvard and Yale are just as good. My only problem is getting into these schools haha.

Apr 25, 2013
efeens15:
KKS:

As a kid at a non-target, I would not think twice about taking out $100,000+ to attend HYP. I am not sure Harvard or Yale offer this (they probably do), but Princeton offers financial aid to everyone, even kids with very rich parents (do some Googling, they have a page for this).

I know. Princeton offers an average of 75% of tuition in aid to kids with income brackets in mine. Harvard and Yale are just as good. My only problem is getting into these schools haha.

I think you're underestimating yourself. First in class from Ohio isn't exactly the worst place to be coming from. Try first in class in CA or NY --> That's way more competitive. HYP loves to smooth their "diversity" by pulling in from those states. Plus if you're catholic and have some community service under your belt it's not a stretch so don't count yourself out just yet. Then again like everyone else has said - wait for acceptances and go from there - a full ride is what it is and it's hard to turn down. I went full ride to a non-target and it worked out great. That being said I still look back and regret not going to a better school just for the intellectual stimulation I could've gotten.

efeens15:

Does it really help THAT much to go to a target over a semi-target or non-target? I just don't know...$100k+ in student debt just seems like it could be so easy to completely and utterly destroy my entire life.

I think there's a line in the sand that you have to draw for yourself. Everyone has a "number" so to speak that becomes the tipping point but it varies. Like I'd take out $30k but not $60k to go to HYP over ND or whatever. As others have said - going to a non-target doesn't disqualify you it just makes it that much more difficult. I'm starting FT at a top tier BB in June and I know I'm the only person in my graduating class doing so; then again it was never really a concern to me because I knew I make it happen. If you do the same then target vs non-target starts to become irrelevant.

Again though - if that's your mindset you'd probably be yearning for more challenges at school should you choose one that's not top-tier as well.

Decisions....decisions....

Apr 25, 2013
efeens15:

I'm currently a junior in high school, but I have some pretty good stats (I have a 36 on the ACT), so I'm looking ahead and anticipating at least a couple of Ivy League acceptances and acceptances to top privates and publics; basically, target schools. However, my parents aren't in any real place to help me pay for much more than $15,000 or so a year, and because of their income bracket ($150k-175k), I won't qualify for much aid outside of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and I can't rely on getting accepted into any of those schools.

So, my choices at this point are either taking merit aid at a lower public or lower private (non-targets) or taking out a massive amount in loans to go to a top public/private or Ivy League school. Would any of you take out $120k+ in student loans to be able to go to a top-tier target school?

ntbw but 150k-175k is a hell of a lot better than where my parents were. They contributed $0 to my education, and I got no need-based aid. You just take out loans and deal with it... Get a good job and it isn't that hard to payy off!

xoxo

Dirk Dirkenson:

Shut up already. Your mindless, reflexive responses to any critical thought on this are tedious. You're also probably a woman, given the name and "xoxo" signoff, so maybe the lack of judgment is to be expected.

Apr 25, 2013

Go to the best school you can. I regret going to the shitty state school for less money.

Apr 25, 2013

Does it really help THAT much to go to a target over a semi-target or non-target? I just don't know...$100k+ in student debt just seems like it could be so easy to completely and utterly destroy my entire life.

Apr 25, 2013
efeens15:

Does it really help THAT much to go to a target over a semi-target or non-target? I just don't know...$100k+ in student debt just seems like it could be so easy to completely and utterly destroy my entire life.

It's really really hard to say with just a vague situation. Maybe if it was $100k at a specific target vs. full ride at a specific semi, you could make a good arguement to go to the semi. Thing is, without specific school names it's hard to make that call, a lot of "making it" from the semi depends on the person involved, and chances of paying sticker at HYP is minimal.

$100k in debt won't destroy your life.

Apr 25, 2013

Get accepted, I have a good friend 36 act perfect grades. Dinged from every ivy got into northwestern only. He also had the money to go to any of those schools.

If your worried about loans look into schools that are top tier but also have good aid or auto Scholarships like - UVA, IU,Wustl, even NYU sometimes give scholarships to top kids and such- So when you apply keep some tier below iveys and try to get Aid there. Because when it comes down to it schools like USC have presidential scholarships for a full ride on academics, and most kids just shoot for iveys and didnt even apply to USC and things can spiral into going to a state school once aid that comes back isnt what they expected.

EDIT: Notre Dame has a big Fit factor on religion and stuff if you into that- and I know Notre Dame has weak aid besides need from what I've heard.

Apr 25, 2013

Yeah I know, 36 doesn't really mean anything anymore. I'm not getting cocky over it.

But CRE, what if it was H Y or P vs. full ride to Notre Dame?

Apr 25, 2013
efeens15:

Yeah I know, 36 doesn't really mean anything anymore. I'm not getting cocky over it.

But CRE, what if it was H Y or P vs. full ride to Notre Dame?

Depends on how much aid you get from HYP. Without actual numbers and acceptances it's hard to give a concrete opinion on what you should do.

Apr 25, 2013
Zzari:
efeens15:

Yeah I know, 36 doesn't really mean anything anymore. I'm not getting cocky over it.

But CRE, what if it was H Y or P vs. full ride to Notre Dame?

Depends on how much aid you get from HYP. Without actual numbers and acceptances it's hard to give a concrete opinion on what you should do.

Ya this

Apr 25, 2013

I think most former non-target students here have made it very clear: go to the best school you can.

Seriously.

Apr 25, 2013
idragmazda:

I think most former non-target students here have made it very clear: go to the best school you can.

Seriously.

Again; This.

Apr 25, 2013
LevFun:
idragmazda:

I think most former non-target students here have made it very clear: go to the best school you can.

Seriously.

Again; This.

Yep. I still "made it" at a top firm, but I "made it" in real estate, not banking, and in a smaller regional office, not NYC

Apr 25, 2013

Should I apply to more Ivies then? Like include Dartmouth and Columbia in my list? And more top schools, like Duke, NYU, etc.?

Apr 25, 2013
efeens15:

Should I apply to more Ivies then? Like include Dartmouth and Columbia in my list? And more top schools, like Duke, NYU, etc.?

Columbia has a solid network - also pretty aggressive with consulting as well from what I know. Def worth a look. I just bring this up because things change during college; more opportunities are better than less.

Apr 25, 2013
efeens15:

Should I apply to more Ivies then? Like include Dartmouth and Columbia in my list? And more top schools, like Duke, NYU, etc.?

Yes, always apply to as many as you can.
Have you considered that you might be to smart for banking? What about trading or the quant route?

Because when you're in a room full of smart people, smart suddenly doesn't matter--interesting is what matters.

Apr 25, 2013
ricky212:
efeens15:

Should I apply to more Ivies then? Like include Dartmouth and Columbia in my list? And more top schools, like Duke, NYU, etc.?

Yes, always apply to as many as you can.
Have you considered that you might be to smart for banking? What about trading or the quant route?

Too smart for it? Haha I don't know what you mean...how does one get into trading? And I'll be honest, I know next to nothing about finance at the moment, so I don't even know what "quant" is.

Could you guys recommend any reading I could do, whether technical or entertainment (Liar's Poker?), that could educate me a little bit on finance in general?

Apr 25, 2013

There's a lot to be said for going to the best college possible. That said I went to a semi-target undergrad where I did really well and only paid tuition one year because of scholarships. You can always network your way into a good job from a semi-target state school (I'm thinking places like UIUC, UCLA, UVa, etc) or if you do well in undergrad leverage that into a grad position at a target school afterward. I went for the latter option.

Apr 25, 2013

I went to an expensive non-target school. The reasons I went were personal, and that I liked the school. Go to the school that gives you the best value in your opinion. Value factors for school are types of classes, alumni network, other measurable data and HOW YOU CONNECT at the school. Make sure you have a good time and you connected well at the school before deciding. This means visit your top choices and go from there.

I think you know that the school is only one factor and an important one, but how you network and pursue employers while at school will decide whether or not you get the job. Good luck to you and take your time. There is no reason to be in a rush. You're in a good class timing wise.

There is life and death. I'm going to bust my ass to make an impact 'til the latter comes.

Apr 25, 2013

If you go to a target, it does make it easier than going to a non-target, obviously.

But wherever you go, you will still have to network, although at a non-target you may to network your ass off. I know a friend of a friend who went to Arizona State University, networked his ass off, and landed in MS M&A in NYC, and he came from a blue-collar family.

If you network like crazy, anything is possible, and target vs non-target becomes irrelevant.

I go to a non-target, I'm currently a freshman, but I have already started networking, cold-emailing, cold calling. If you a determined to make it happen, it will.

I personally would not take anything above 30K in loans. Hell, even 30K is too much. If you get a full-ride somewhere, take it, then network like a motherfucker.

Apr 25, 2013

the fees add up if you just apply to a lot of schools blindly. it's also pretty dangerous to say, "i will be making x" or that you will definitely go into banking. i think any amount of debt is worth it if you really like the school, just don't focus on your 8 year career track. also, since you talk about banking, consider that you might end up going for an mba after 2 years which means more debt.

Apr 25, 2013

If it's a top-tier school that you get into, I would take out as much in student loans as is necessary to go. The only mitigating situation would be if you live in Virginia, Michigan, NC or Texas, in which case you might give some consideration to the superb state schools.

Apr 25, 2013
NorthSider:

If it's a top-tier school that you get into, I would take out as much in student loans as is necessary to go. The only mitigating situation would be if you live in Virginia, Michigan, NC or Texas, in which case you might give some consideration to the superb state schools.

+1

Finally, some sense. If you want IB, cost should not be a consideration, unless you are debating between two similar schools.

Apr 25, 2013

I wish I had some of your parents. "I only have $6k, 10k, etc. in loans."

Reality is not all people have that resource. Base it off of employment opportunities. If you want IB, and get into a target, go for it. But if you want IB, don't go for it with loans on a non-target, because you aren't going to have the earnings potential to dig yourself out of the hole you will be in.

Apr 25, 2013

Out of curiosity, what part of Ohio are you from? I ask because there was a similar competitive scholarship that offered a full ride to Notre Dame in my Ohio town.

Apr 25, 2013

You should come back in a year when you have your acceptances in hand before we discuss this. I've found that it's not best to be too confident going into college admissions. I have stats similar to yours but didn't get into any Ivy even though I was certain I would -- turns out stats aren't everything (gasp). But I am still at a top target so things are good ^_^

Now, assuming you are set on finance, I don't see 100k as being a deterrent to NOT go to HYPSM, Columbia, Chicago, et al. ND is a good choice too. Hey, are you a National Merit Finalist? University of Southern California (USC) offers half-tuition to all NMFs who get accepted, and they also have tons of merit scholarships, including many full-tuition ones. You just have to send in your application early -- sometime before early December. USC is pretty liberal with scholarships and being from Ohio, you have a good shot.

Of course, make sure you are set on finance and are willing to stick with it. And apply for the same major at all your schools, crafting your application to fit that major. I wavered between econ and pre-med and that really hurt my college applications.

Apr 25, 2013
Goldman Stanley:

You should come back in a year when you have your acceptances in hand before we discuss this. I've found that it's not best to be too confident going into college admissions. I have stats similar to yours but didn't get into any Ivy even though I was certain I would -- turns out stats aren't everything (gasp). But I am still at a top target so things are good ^_^

Now, assuming you are set on finance, I don't see 100k as being a deterrent to NOT go to HYPSM, Columbia, Chicago, et al. ND is a good choice too. Hey, are you a National Merit Finalist? University of Southern California (USC) offers half-tuition to all NMFs who get accepted, and they also have tons of merit scholarships, including many full-tuition ones. You just have to send in your application early -- sometime before early December. USC is pretty liberal with scholarships and being from Ohio, you have a good shot.

Of course, make sure you are set on finance and are willing to stick with it. And apply for the same major at all your schools, crafting your application to fit that major. I wavered between econ and pre-med and that really hurt my college applications.

+1 on USC. Plus the girls and beach are not the worst combo in the world.

Plus their network on the west coast is unparalleled. Buddy of mine still has a pic of him and Buffet standing back to back posed up like bosses. Not a bad way to live.

Apr 25, 2013

I didn't start in banking but am doing it now. I got lateral hire interviews exclusively based on the fact that I went to a target. Everyone you graduate with will be at a top firm and you will have connections in every part of the country and in any industry.
To put the cost into perspective, you should mentally amortize the loans over your lifetime, then it doesn't seem as bad...

But this is all a moot point until you get in. Good luck with the crap shoot that is the college admission process!

Apr 25, 2013

Seriously, thank you, all of you. You're helping me sort this all out in a really stressful time, both for myself academically and my family financially.

To answer some questions: yes, I will more than likely be a NMF (I don't find out if I'm even a semi-finalist until September; however, my PSAT score is well within the range and my SAT score is more than enough to ensure II'll be a finalist). I've also looked at USC but in my (limited) experience on this board, USC doesn't seem to get mmuch respect. And I'd kind of rather live in NYC, but that could easily change, as I've never even been to LA.

@hak, I live in central Ohio. We're probably thinking of the same scholarship haha.

@ricky, recommend any books? I'm also interested in reading more on the lifestyles of those in finance on the street and whatnot, whether or not they're glamorous accounts.

And @northsider, I'm basically coming to the conclusion that even if I don't get IBD from a top target and I graduate with a lot of debt, I'd be okay because I'd have an economics degree from a school like HYPS? Is that correct? My parents are skeptical about letting me take on a lot of debt and I've tried to use that point as an argument in my favor.

And I completely understand I will know more in a year or so when I have my acceptances. I just kind of wanted to get an idea because it might shape what schools to apply to (I might apply to less schools I know I can afford apply instead to top targets).

Lastly, thanks again. The advice I've gotten here has solidified in my mind that this board and you guys fucking rock haha.

Apr 25, 2013
efeens15:

And @northsider, I'm basically coming to the conclusion that even if I don't get IBD from a top target and I graduate with a lot of debt, I'd be okay because I'd have an economics degree from a school like HYPS? Is that correct? My parents are skeptical about letting me take on a lot of debt and I've tried to use that point as an argument in my favor.

If you're looking for an objective argument, how about the fact that there is no correlation between school tuition rates and loan default rates? How about the fact that there is an inverse correlation between amount of student debt borrowed and default rates (that is, the people who borrow the most for college default the least frequently)?

You're correct. Going to a school like HYPS virtually guarantees you an interview at a large swath of companies for the rest of your life. You can't buy that anywhere else. Whether or not you are successful after getting the interview is up to you, but you really can't go wrong. Anyone who tells you that going to HYPS isn't worth it from a value perspective is either smoking something or is so biased in favor of their college experience that their opinion isn't valuable.

Will you have a great college experience either way? Yes. Will you likely still end up with a great job from a top state school? Yes. But that doesn't matter; trust me, you'll never regret going to HYPS, but you will think back to your state school experience and wonder how things would have gone if you went to HYPS.

Apr 27, 2013

You're correct. Going to a school like HYPS virtually guarantees you an interview at a large swath of companies for the rest of your life. You can't buy that anywhere else. Whether or not you are successful after getting the interview is up to you, but you really can't go wrong. Anyone who tells you that going to HYPS isn't worth it from a value perspective is either smoking something or is so biased in favor of their college experience that their opinion isn't valuable.

Will you have a great college experience either way? Yes. Will you likely still end up with a great job from a top state school? Yes. But that doesn't matter; trust me, you'll never regret going to HYPS, but you will think back to your state school experience and wonder how things would have gone if you went to HYPS.

This speculation is so off the base from reality that it is not even funny. Trust me, I went to HYP and would love to get "lifetime privilege of interview access to large swath of companies for the rest of my life". After your first job out of college, your school name matters very little. It becomes all about your work experience, skills, connections, and reputation.

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Apr 27, 2013
NorthSider:

there is an inverse correlation between amount of student debt borrowed and default rates

I've never looked into this, so I don't know, but isn't the most likely reason for this because of people who did not graduate? They take on less debt, earn less, and default more often (on average).

Apr 27, 2013
efeens15:

Seriously, thank you, all of you. You're helping me sort this all out in a really stressful time, both for myself academically and my family financially.

To answer some questions: yes, I will more than likely be a NMF (I don't find out if I'm even a semi-finalist until September; however, my PSAT score is well within the range and my SAT score is more than enough to ensure II'll be a finalist). I've also looked at USC but in my (limited) experience on this board, USC doesn't seem to get mmuch respect. And I'd kind of rather live in NYC, but that could easily change, as I've never even been to LA.

@hak, I live in central Ohio. We're probably thinking of the same scholarship haha.

@ricky, recommend any books? I'm also interested in reading more on the lifestyles of those in finance on the street and whatnot, whether or not they're glamorous accounts.

And @northsider, I'm basically coming to the conclusion that even if I don't get IBD from a top target and I graduate with a lot of debt, I'd be okay because I'd have an economics degree from a school like HYPS? Is that correct? My parents are skeptical about letting me take on a lot of debt and I've tried to use that point as an argument in my favor.

And I completely understand I will know more in a year or so when I have my acceptances. I just kind of wanted to get an idea because it might shape what schools to apply to (I might apply to less schools I know I can afford apply instead to top targets).

Lastly, thanks again. The advice I've gotten here has solidified in my mind that this board and you guys fucking rock haha.

Don't waste your time thinking about it now. I was a two time state champion in track (major running events), NMF by a loooong shot, high grades, multiple mission trips, hundreds of hours volunteering, ran my own business (5 years in the black as a HS senior), 1st gen college student, white, male.

Which part do you think mattered to ivies? 250 kids ace the ACT every year and they're mostly from the Midwest.

At Harvard & Princeton and company, 45-50ish% of spots are reserved for minorities. Of the remaining 55%, half have to be women. That means that there are roughly 27% of spots open to you. But wait, you have to count legacies which is about 14% of a given class. We'll say 80% of those 14% are white and 50% are male. So that's another 5-6% of total spots open to you that have been removed (unless you are a legacy yourself of course). You now are competing for 21ish% of the spots at HP. Also only 8.1% of Harvard's class comes from the Midwest so you can probably adjust that 21% downward even more for yourself. And some of those white males will be athletes, so that's even fewer spots for you. And you're a catholic so you can't lie in your application like many other students will.

Long story short, under Affirmative Action if what you've got going for your HYP seeking middle-class, white, male self is a high test score and being numero uno in your class, then here's some advice for you:

You NEVER scream when Notre Dame has the ball.

But I'll be watching for the upcoming Supreme Court decision and keeping my fingers and toes crossed for you man. I mean, they most likely wouldn't have taken up the case if they were going to uphold AA. Right? RIGHT?!?!

All we need to do is show a little class, a little sophistication, and we're in like a dirty shirt.

Apr 27, 2013
Grouse:

Don't waste your time thinking about it now. I was a two time state champion in track (major running events), NMF by a loooong shot, high grades, multiple mission trips, hundreds of hours volunteering, ran my own business (5 years in the black as a HS senior), 1st gen college student, white, male.

If this was the case, why didn't you just try to run track in college? There must have been plenty of very good schools (yes, including HYP) who needed reasonably good runners with solid academic stats.

Being a smart guy who's recruited to play a sport is far and away the easiest way to get into a place like Harvard.

Apr 26, 2013

Prudent companies take on debt all the time in order to amplify their returns. I don't see why your life should be any different - especially when you'll have more than enough time to recover financially.

College is really a time in which you figure out a lot about what matters most to you. Many of the academic, social, and cultural experiences you'll have aren't really quantifiable or easy to forecast at this stage. For example, meeting your future spouse, a particularly inspiring professor that influences how you look at the world, lifelong friends, or a future business partner during college are all worth $120K in debt. Influential people are quite rare and going to a top school ensures that you'll get the most exposure to them.

That said, if you're looking at six figures of debt, think very carefully about what you want to do after college. The decision to take on debt is a no-brainer if you're going into IBD or top-tier consulting. The decision is more difficult if you want to straight to med/law/grad school or join a non-profit like Teach for America, or be an entrepreneur for 2 reasons. First, you don't need a great undergrad in order to get into a top grad program and TFA. Academic performance matters more. (I will say this though, liberal arts majors at Ivies benefit a ton from a grade inflation.) Second, you won't make enough money to pay down the debt load while being able to enjoy life the way you want.

Apr 27, 2013

This discussion has been debated so many times.

1st of all, unless you are a complete tool you will not rack up loans of more than $20k at many if not all targets. 2nd, there's really no debate because even if you had $100k in loans, a couple of bonuses and frugality will erase that debt in less than 3 years.
Last but not least, you want to work in high finance. At the core of high finance is probability, the probability that you will get into high finance from a target school is exponentially higher than a semi or non target. Just do the math and you'll easily wonder why you even pondered the question because the answer will smack you right in the face.

Apr 27, 2013
BreakingInDamnIt:

This discussion has been debated so many times.

1st of all, unless you are a complete tool you will not rack up loans of more than $20k at many if not all targets. 2nd, there's really no debate because even if you had $100k in loans, a couple of bonuses and frugality will erase that debt in less than 3 years.
Last but not least, you want to work in high finance. At the core of high finance is probability, the probability that you will get into high finance from a target school is exponentially higher than a semi or non target. Just do the math and you'll easily wonder why you even pondered the question because the answer will smack you right in the face.

So you're basically saying, do whatever it takes to go to a target school?

Apr 27, 2013
BreakingInDamnIt:

At the core of high finance is probability, the probability that you will get into high finance from a target school is exponentially higher than a semi or non target. Just do the math and you'll easily wonder why you even pondered the question because the answer will smack you right in the face.

Actually, conditional probability lies at the heart of finance, and you just misunderstood it. :D

P[OP gets into high finance] =P[OP gets into high finance| OP goes to School X & OP got into Schools X,Y, and Z]

You're mistaking that conditional probability for:

P[OP gets into high finance] =P[OP gets into high finance| OP goes to School X]

The fact that OP got into Princeton probably gives him better odds of IBD from Notre Dame than the average student at Notre Dame. It may not give him the same odds coming out of Princeton, but landing an IBD job instead of a Big Four Accounting job is only worth ~$7 million over a career that tops out at $500K (vs $150K in Accy), perhaps only $2-3 million in NPV. Now we are getting into territory where $150K, $200K of tuition starts to really matter, even if you're risk neutral.

If you can't get where you want with your career, don't blame your school, blame yourself. Trust me, this is said out of empathy and been there done that, not condemnation. I have had a lot of experience with running up against brick walls and also a lot of experience with being from a Midwestern state school. Your school has nothing to do with your success in this industry.

Apr 27, 2013

A lot of different opinions here...once you see where you got in you'll be able to better asses your position. I think HYP are the only schools that MAY be worth a large loan commitment, but that is also contested if you get into other top schools with minimum loans.

As others have voiced, you can always make it into banking through networking and persistence, though it does get exceedingly more difficult as you move down to non-target territory. A lot of "semi" targets have very strong presences in middle market and regional boutiques though. I'd recommended considering where the schools usually place people and what path you are most interested in.

On another note, I'll be trying to help my younger brother prep for his SAT/ACTs this summer. Any advice on what worked for you?

Apr 27, 2013

Hi, I'm the resident contrarian on the boards, so I have to make some points for Notre Dame.

Two questions:

1.) OP what do you want to major in? A liberal art? Engineering? Chemistry?
2.) What kind of person do you want to be in four years? Do you want to be the well-grounded, scrappy kid from the Catholic school or do you want to be the guy from some Northeastern Ivy League school?

Three thoughts:

1.) There's a big cultural gap between the East Coast and Illinois, and I'm guessing that gap is just as big between the East Coast and Ohio.
2.) There is a lot of peer pressure (especially from WSO and your classmates) to take the most prestigious school you get into. You need to resist that and try and figure out what will make you happy. A lot of folks out there are very focused on what they wish they could have rather than focused on enjoying what they do have. If we all learned to be content with what we have, we'd all be a lot happier and a lot less worried about schools.
3.) There ARE people out there who regret going to Princeton. Studying art history, graduating $150K in debt, and having a $15/hour job sucks.

A devout Catholic from a Catholic family in Ohio going to Notre Dame just comes off as really genuine. People will like this story to the extent that it will make up for much of the prestige gap between ND and the Ivies, at least in my experience from the Quant world and Sales and Trading (this may be less true for IBD, where prestige is more important and people crank out 100 hour workweeks). There also isn't that big of a prestige gap between Notre Dame and the Ivies, BTW. You'll find Domers as MDs at most NYC banks and most Chicago prop shops will have at least one partner from ND. The network isn't quite as ubiquitous as Cornell or UPenn in NYC due to numbers and geography, but it's still a legitimate top tier school.

Beyond that, you'll have to figure out what the student debt and the grounding a Midwestern Catholic education provides are worth to you.

I will say that if you can pull off a 3.8 GPA at Notre Dame, the question is no longer "Who is better in terms of resumes?" but rather is "Who do I want to work with?" This is where the genuine factor, along with being a good interviewer, can really help.

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Apr 27, 2013
IlliniProgrammer:

2.) What kind of person do you want to be in four years? Do you want to be the well-grounded, scrappy kid from the Catholic school or do you want to be the guy from some Northeastern Ivy League school?

In what world is Notre Dame not considered to be a great school? Scrappy? Huh?

Apr 28, 2013
holla_back:
IlliniProgrammer:

2.) What kind of person do you want to be in four years? Do you want to be the well-grounded, scrappy kid from the Catholic school or do you want to be the guy from some Northeastern Ivy League school?

In what world is Notre Dame not considered to be a great school? Scrappy? Huh?

A school that turns out scrappy individuals is a great school in my book.

Notre Dame does get less love from the banks than it deserves. In a perfectly fair world, ND would get recruited as heavily as NYU, Cornell, or UPenn. The world isn't fair, and that's why Domers are scrappy. (I would argue that Illini are even scrappier, but you don't want to get into an argument with a Domer.)

Apr 27, 2013
efeens15:

I'm currently a junior in high school, but I have some pretty good stats (I have a 36 on the ACT), so I'm looking ahead and anticipating at least a couple of Ivy League acceptances and acceptances to top privates and publics; basically, target schools. However, my parents aren't in any real place to help me pay for much more than $15,000 or so a year, and because of their income bracket ($150k-175k), I won't qualify for much aid outside of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and I can't rely on getting accepted into any of those schools.

So, my choices at this point are either taking merit aid at a lower public or lower private (non-targets) or taking out a massive amount in loans to go to a top public/private or Ivy League school. Would any of you take out $120k+ in student loans to be able to go to a top-tier target school?

HYP will give you need base aid. Take out loans to make up the difference. It's worth it. Paying the loans off isn't difficult if you get a job out of school.

Apr 27, 2013

For those who say take HYP, everything has a price. What, in dollar terms, is the HYP premium worth over Notre Dame? If HYP charged $10 million in tuition for four years, would it still be worth it?

Apr 28, 2013
IlliniProgrammer:

For those who say take HYP, everything has a price. What, in dollar terms, is the HYP premium worth over Notre Dame? If HYP charged $10 million in tuition for four years, would it still be worth it?

lol

Apr 27, 2013

Does your school traditionally place its top students into Ivy Leagues? Honestly, if your school has as few as 5 APs, I wouldn't be surprised if no one gets into an Ivy League.

By the way, as someone who's just been through the college process, SAT and ACT mean nothing. As long as you have at least a 2100/32 or higher, it doesn't really matter. It's just to make sure that they don't have to immediately throw your app in the trash.

Anyways, you should definitely be applying to a huge range of schools, including what you consider "second-tier" schools. I applied to 21 schools and even though I'm not going to be needing a lot of the acceptance letters I got, I don't regret it at all. This is the next 4 years of your life and your future career, so keep your options as available as possible.

As for the main question of money, apply to every scholarship you can find, especially merit-based ones because of your parents' income. I have a number of friends who got a lot of money by just spreading the net with scholarships.

Apr 27, 2013

As IlliniProgrammer said, it depends on:

A) What is your major going to be
B) What career path you want to choose

Don't go to an Ivy and get a major in arts. You might end up like so many people that have $100k+ in student loans, and a job paying +40k/year. My personal experience is on the engineering field. I went to a state school. I got a job in a nice engineering company, working alongside people who graduated from Ivies, MIT, Cornell, you name it. From my experience, it is all the same. We read the same books. The only difference is that their professors wrote those books, and had higher salaries than my professors. We have similar salaries, but I get to keep more than them since I don't have to pay anything to student loans. To the contrary, I actually made money while being on college. And I only did 1 internship, when I could have made four! (I liked having my summers off too much).

The funny thing is that I learned that it does not matter what university you go way before joining the workforce. I have a friend whose significant other went to MIT, while he was at my state college. He was smarter than her to the point that he tutored her. She graduated with top honors from MIT, and so did he from his state school. Today, they both work as engineers and he is doing better than her. As someone said before, your school only matters for that first interview. After that, it is your work experience and achievements in the workforce that matter the most.

If you think a $100k is worth that interview, go for it. I don't think it is worth it to have a debt load this high coming out of college. As someone said, if you want that Ivy mark on your resume, you can always put it later in your career with an MBA. You will have a better idea at that point that you really want to be in banking. It would be bad to go to an Ivy, get out with $100k in debt, only to find out that you hate banking and that the job you really want does not pays enough to pay the monthly payments comfortably.

Now, if the Ivy gives you some scholarship (in writing) that pays for most of it, such that your debt is below 30-40k, then by all means go for the Ivy. Under no circumstance get a debt larger than $100k+. As I said before, if you find out you really like banking (only can find this answer when actually working in banking), you can go for an Ivy MBA, at which point I hope you saved your first 2 bonuses to help pay that tuition. Nowadays, you have to do a Masters in almost all fields. Reserve the higher sticker price to graduate school. Get into a good enough undergraduate school and get amazing grades would be my advice.

Apr 27, 2013
andres17:

As IlliniProgrammer said, it depends on:

A) What is your major going to be
B) What career path you want to choose

Don't go to an Ivy and get a major in arts. You might end up like so many people that have $100k+ in student loans, and a job paying +40k/year. My personal experience is on the engineering field. I went to a state school. I got a job in a nice engineering company, working alongside people who graduated from Ivies, MIT, Cornell, you name it. From my experience, it is all the same. We read the same books. The only difference is that their professors wrote those books, and had higher salaries than my professors. We have similar salaries, but I get to keep more than them since I don't have to pay anything to student loans. To the contrary, I actually made money while being on college. And I only did 1 internship, when I could have made four! (I liked having my summers off too much).

The funny thing is that I learned that it does not matter what university you go way before joining the workforce. I have a friend whose significant other went to MIT, while he was at my state college. He was smarter than her to the point that he tutored her. She graduated with top honors from MIT, and so did he from his state school. Today, they both work as engineers and he is doing better than her. As someone said before, your school only matters for that first interview. After that, it is your work experience and achievements in the workforce that matter the most.

If you think a $100k is worth that interview, go for it. I don't think it is worth it to have a debt load this high coming out of college. As someone said, if you want that Ivy mark on your resume, you can always put it later in your career with an MBA. You will have a better idea at that point that you really want to be in banking. It would be bad to go to an Ivy, get out with $100k in debt, only to find out that you hate banking and that the job you really want does not pays enough to pay the monthly payments comfortably.

Now, if the Ivy gives you some scholarship (in writing) that pays for most of it, such that your debt is below 30-40k, then by all means go for the Ivy. Under no circumstance get a debt larger than $100k+. As I said before, if you find out you really like banking (only can find this answer when actually working in banking), you can go for an Ivy MBA, at which point I hope you saved your first 2 bonuses to help pay that tuition. Nowadays, you have to do a Masters in almost all fields. Reserve the higher sticker price to graduate school. Get into a good enough undergraduate school and get amazing grades would be my advice.

The first section is incorrect. There are a number of people on the Street who have liberal arts degrees in philosophy, poli sci, history, psychology, art history, etc from Ivies. As this post suggests, picking a major that you're interested in and excelling in it is the best way to get interviews. The higher the GPA, the better the chance of interviews.

Apr 28, 2013
computerblue:

The first section is incorrect. There are a number of people on the Street who have liberal arts degrees in philosophy, poli sci, history, psychology, art history, etc from Ivies. As this post suggests, picking a major that you're interested in and excelling in it is the best way to get interviews. The higher the GPA, the better the chance of interviews.

True, but you only see the people who made it, rather than the people who didn't make it. Better to do Engineering at Princeton than Art History at Princeton; cheaper (and not necessarily worse) to Engineering at a cheaper school than to do Engineering at Princeton.

Apr 28, 2013
computerblue:
andres17:

As IlliniProgrammer said, it depends on:

A) What is your major going to be
B) What career path you want to choose

Don't go to an Ivy and get a major in arts. You might end up like so many people that have $100k+ in student loans, and a job paying +40k/year. My personal experience is on the engineering field. I went to a state school. I got a job in a nice engineering company, working alongside people who graduated from Ivies, MIT, Cornell, you name it. From my experience, it is all the same. We read the same books. The only difference is that their professors wrote those books, and had higher salaries than my professors. We have similar salaries, but I get to keep more than them since I don't have to pay anything to student loans. To the contrary, I actually made money while being on college. And I only did 1 internship, when I could have made four! (I liked having my summers off too much).

The funny thing is that I learned that it does not matter what university you go way before joining the workforce. I have a friend whose significant other went to MIT, while he was at my state college. He was smarter than her to the point that he tutored her. She graduated with top honors from MIT, and so did he from his state school. Today, they both work as engineers and he is doing better than her. As someone said before, your school only matters for that first interview. After that, it is your work experience and achievements in the workforce that matter the most.

If you think a $100k is worth that interview, go for it. I don't think it is worth it to have a debt load this high coming out of college. As someone said, if you want that Ivy mark on your resume, you can always put it later in your career with an MBA. You will have a better idea at that point that you really want to be in banking. It would be bad to go to an Ivy, get out with $100k in debt, only to find out that you hate banking and that the job you really want does not pays enough to pay the monthly payments comfortably.

Now, if the Ivy gives you some scholarship (in writing) that pays for most of it, such that your debt is below 30-40k, then by all means go for the Ivy. Under no circumstance get a debt larger than $100k+. As I said before, if you find out you really like banking (only can find this answer when actually working in banking), you can go for an Ivy MBA, at which point I hope you saved your first 2 bonuses to help pay that tuition. Nowadays, you have to do a Masters in almost all fields. Reserve the higher sticker price to graduate school. Get into a good enough undergraduate school and get amazing grades would be my advice.

The first section is incorrect. There are a number of people on the Street who have liberal arts degrees in philosophy, poli sci, history, psychology, art history, etc from Ivies. As this post suggests, picking a major that you're interested in and excelling in it is the best way to get interviews. The higher the GPA, the better the chance of interviews.

I'm sure there are lots of Ivy arts majors in Wall Street. But I would counter that most of them got the job either because they are well connected, or because the person who hired them went to the same school and thought they had something in common. Some people don't have the luxury of the first option. Some people can take advantage of the second option. But still, there's a lot of people out there that could not find that high paying job and now are stuck with a bunch of debt that they can't erase through bankruptcy. I think it is smarter to play it safe, go to an undergraduate school that is highly regarded, get the best grades, network like crazy, get the same job as someone from an Ivy, and enjoy your money comes bonus time. Again, if you can find a good scholarship so that you get a free ride and graduate debt free, go to an Ivy and major in whatever you like. Under no circumstance get out of college with $100k in debt. It is just plain stupid. It is not the only way to your dream job in high finance. There are way more economical ways to get there.

Apr 27, 2013

If you get into Wharton, borrow whatever you have to. I'm finishing with $100K+ but its been worth it. Landed the exact IBD job and group I wanted and don't have any concerns about being able to pay back the debt. Think of it as an investment. Plus the alumni network is unsurpassed on the street.

Apr 27, 2013

Perspective is such a funny thing. I'm a fly-over territory guy through and through. On WSO, Notre Dame is considered an underdog school. In Indiana, particularly South Bend, kids that go to Notre Dame are the "haves" and the kids that go to IU are the "have nots"

Apr 28, 2013

To clear up some questions/debate about what I'd major in, it'd be either Economics or a hard science, possibly CS or Software Engineering, but most likely Economics. I would choose my major based on salary potential and my enjoyment of it.

Apr 28, 2013

It's funny to me that this post has received the number of responses it has because at its core it's the same question as "MS M&A GS TMT Lazard M&A -- I'm a freshman, which gives best exit opportunities?". Every time someone asks the above question -- and it's rather frequent -- everyone gets their panties in a bunch, people throw MS, accuse of trolling, etc.

Kid, get into college, and only then can you seriously consider the college's "exit opportunities" vis-a-vis its cost. More importantly, you're probably not even 18 yet, and there's absolutely no way that you can know now that you want to do investment banking in the future. Attitudes change in college -- believe me -- and everything you thought you were right about in high school will change. There's as good a chance that you get to college and a year later decide to pursue the path of a Philosophy professor as getting there and being a hardcore finance kid.

In any case, I am incredibly risk-averse, and taking out a line of credit that greatly affects the decisions I could make over the next 8 (in reality, probably 10-12) years of my life sounds absolutely absurd to me. I went to a target and come from a lower-class family and graduated with $10K in debt, which obviously affects my outlook, but borrowing $100K on the hope that you'll get an investment banking job is ludicrous.

Also let me point out the obvious -- none of the people giving you advice know YOU, how YOU interview or whether YOU are even a fit culturally-speaking for investment banking. Not saying this is the case, but if you're particularly obtuse with respect to interviews, HYP on your resume isn't a golden ticket by any stretch of the imagination.

Bottom line: you'll end up at a great school and if you want to do investment banking, contrary to what the majority of the extremely experienced WSO user-base will tell you, it's very doable from a non-HYP school (and even, gasp, a non-target). But I think telling you to take out $100K+ in loans because it's "worth it" and "no one has ever regretted going to Princeton" is a disservice...especially if you have the potential to go to a fantastic school like ND for free.

    • 1
Apr 28, 2013

What DonVon said above is true wisdom that mirrors the reality of your decision - heed his words.

Apr 28, 2013

I think you made the right approach by coming onto this forum to ask for advice. But you should realize that the feedback you obtain from people here will most likely be biased towards target schools as the top-tier banking and consulting firms hire most of their analysts/associates from these institutions.

I used to carry a similar mindset as yourself. Aim for the finance industry, make it big, go work crazy hours and make mega bucks. Then at one point in my career something suddenly struck me - I felt that my work was hollow. I felt dirty trying to justify the extra bluff in our reports, the blatant lies, the ego stroking verbiage, and borderline dishonest/inflated numbers just for the sake of winning a pitch or billing the client extra fees. I simply did not feel rewarded and I questioned the value I was adding to society.

I also believed back then, as I've witnessed, that if everyone is "cheating", you should play the same game else you'd be at a disadvantage. The work culture seemed to even promote that. Then a few years back I met some amazing entrepreneurs and VCs during a trip to Asia. These pioneers showed me what it really meant to strive for something meaningful and profound, something that actually elevates mankind and society a step forward. All these gentlemen started off at a non-target school that offered them a full-ride because they could not afford an ivy level education.

TL:DR - So the takeaway is basically: a top tier program can do nothing but help expand the scope of your career opportunities, but at the end of the day, your desire and volition to achieve something of magnitude and value matters much, much more.

Apr 28, 2013
Comment

I'm not concerned with the very poor
-Mitt Romney

Apr 29, 2013