Please help a HS student with a college decision

Hey WSO,

I am a HS student trying to figure out what undergrad schools are worth the price compared to the price of my state school, UMD.

I hope to break into either consulting or IB in NYC/Chicago. I know, basic, but I am not sure which one yet. I plan on majoring in econ or business, where applicable. 

Can you help figure out which schools are worth the full price over in-state tuition at UMD (30k/year)?

Middlebury: 75k/year; UVA/Umich - McIntire/Ross: 75k/year; UVA/Umich - A&S/LSA: 75k/year; ND Mendoza: 75k/year.

I am asking to figure out whether it is even worth it for me to apply to these schools assuming I receive no aid. If it's not worth it, I won't apply

Family is Upper-Middle.

Thank you, please don't be mean. I'm rather new to WSO.

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Comments (11)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 8, 2021 - 9:43pm

I would say none of them tbh. I go to a state school and have personally seen kids go everywhere in IB and consulting. It'll take more work to get in from umd but I've seen some alum from there on the street. I'm pretty sure 75k/year is comparable to ivy tuition.

I think if you're choosing between an ivy, Stanford, or another elite school than it's a somewhat different story. The general prestige and alumni network you get makes the prove somewhat worth it and leaves no door unopened.

Also, if you know you want to do banking or consulting freshman year at a state school and you're willing to put the time in, you'll be fine.

I might be biased but I just can't imagine going into ~200-300k of debt for any school especially when they aren't the creme of the crop and you'll probably get a lot of money from a state school if you're qualified enough to get into those schools anyway, which makes the choice that much easier.

Jun 8, 2021 - 9:49pm

Thank you very much for the reply!

I will take this advice into account. I am just trying to find a perfect group of schools that are better than umd but also have the potential to not be terribly more expensive, either through naturally lower tuition or through merit scholarships.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 9, 2021 - 12:22am

I think because I've done it from a state school I'm skewed that way. But, at the end of the day it's your values. I personally would say umich has the strongest banking presence out of the ones you listed. But they're all great options if you don't mind the cost/could get financial aid. Would consider some of the top liberal arts colleges as well (LACS) and USC if either of those are your vibe.

At the end of the day, the schools you mentioned don't have a giant discrepancy between perceived prestige. They just have different on campus recruiting presences and you can find those through browsing their clubs online.

  • Intern in RE - Comm
Jun 9, 2021 - 1:26am

I'd probably go with UMD. It's slightly below the other schools, but the competition for IB or consulting isn't as tough. Go kill it at UMD and network early and you should do reasonably well. 

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  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Jun 9, 2021 - 2:24pm

UVA and Michigan are a fair bit better than UMD, whether it is worth it is up to you. 

You'll have people say no, because if you work hard you can get in from most places (true). 

And then you'll have others saying that UVA, etc offer better opportunities, so they'll open more doors and give you more of a "screw up" buffer (also true). 

The first thing I'd say is that I would definitely apply, there isn't a definitive answer and having these options will be good (and low cost to apply). I would also go to campus if possible, as school is a lot more than just the opportunities they open up. If you aren't happy at a school, you'll struggle (personally and probably academics too).

Then, I would say these schools will give you more opportunities, make it easier for you to land a job in IB/consulting, and give you more of a buffer so you don't have to be 100% focused on getting a 4.0. To me, that is worth the cost (although I only graduated with ~$75k in debt so hard to imagine that much) but others don't want the debt burden and can work their way to a role. It really comes down to how you value those things and making sure you understand what it'll take to land a top job out of UMD (a lot of work). 

Jun 9, 2021 - 4:14pm

Thank you very much for the reply. I think I understand. I just want to justify the cost difference because I am almost certain I will be happier at the more expensive school just because of the more academic environment.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jun 9, 2021 - 4:07pm

UVA Can get you 95% of the jobs ivy leaguers can land (sans a few buyside ones). I would say UVA or Middlebury, but UVA is the safest bet. 

Jun 9, 2021 - 4:11pm

Ok, thank you very much. Do you know this because you went to UVA? I am asking because if you did, could you explain how difficult/easy and predictable/unpredictable the McIntire transfer process is once you're at UVA?


  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jun 9, 2021 - 7:45pm

i did not, but i know many UVA seniors who landed MBB, BB IB tbis year. Mich is actually on a similar level as UVA (look up yale vs. umich discussions on this forum) and i would choose between those and Middlebury. 

Jun 10, 2021 - 3:28pm

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