Urgent! Choose between Cornell and LSU for MLA (first professional degree) by March, 1st!

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums EDUCATION Urgent! Choose between Cornell and LSU for MLA (first professional degree) by March, 1st!

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    Onam Bisht

    Dear friends,

    I have been offered admission from Cornell University as well as Lousiana State University for Masters in Landscape Architecture program, first-professional degree, fall 2016. LSU has stated the deadline as March 1st, to inform them about my decision for accepting admission. Therefore, I need your help to decide between Cornell or LSU. Here is the comparison:

    Cornell University:

    • Tuition cost for 1 year: approx. $70,000
    • Financial aid offered: none (not eligible for international graduate applicants)
    • MLA ranking (2015): 3
    • University ranking: 11

    Lousiana State University:

    • Tuition cost for 1 year: $15,000 (I’m eligible for in-state tuition fees)
    • Financial aid offered: $ 5400 as Graduate assistant
    • MLA ranking (2015): 5
    • University ranking: 201-300

    My financial status:

    • Savings: $5000
    • Family income: less than $60,000
    • Family savings: less than $100,000
    • Expected education loan: $30,000

    Does university ranking matter during placements? Should I consider taking education loans for Cornell or go for LSU? I’m inclined towards joining Cornell, but need some advice about how can I manage the huge cost of attendance there? I have already tried contacting the faculty, financial aid office, etc. at Cornell, but didn’t get any positive response. I would really appreciate it if someone could help me take a decision between Cornell or LSU for MLA (1), before March 1st deadline. Thanks for your time and consideration.

    Dave McCorquodale

    With the benefit of hindsight, I’d opt for the less expensive school.  LSU is a really good program from what I know of it.  2 of my colleagues have degrees from LSU and speak very highly of the school.  I’m not sure how the math works on only a 30K loan with 70K in tuition annually, I’m missing something.

    You’d have an enormous student loan burden when entering a market where initial salaries don’t offset your debt.  It’s safe to plan on a relatively low salary for years if you’re looking at working for a large firm.

    At the end of the day, only you can decide what to do based on what your plan is for after graduation.  As an observer, 350K in tuition fees (plus living expenses) is as close to financial suicide as you can get.  


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