For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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May 13 2016
by Alyssa Lam

Why I Chose to Go to An Expensive University

By Alyssa Lam - May 13 2016

There’s nothing like receiving that long-awaited acceptance letter from your dream school, accompanied with that highly-anticipated financial aid package – until you realize that there is literally nothing to it.

Just a few short weeks ago, I was at a major crossroad in my life as many high school seniors were. Where should I go to school? For goodness sake, this was going to be where I go to college, where I will establish the groundwork for the rest of my life. 

We have all been there. And I am so relieved to finally say that the ridiculously time-consuming, arduous process has come to an end. But it was not always this easy.

In the tough economic times, the price for higher education has risen drastically and will continue to do so in the coming years. Unfortunately, for many students, even those who are told that they can go anywhere they want to for school all thanks to their hard work and dedication to their education, are discouraged and crushed when the financial aid package comes back from their top choice school with little money awarded. This has been probably the most difficult aspects for parents as well. They want the best for their kids, but that also means that they do not want to see them drowning in student loans post-graduation. It is not a new aspect; finances has always been a huge contributing factor that I have always been aware of.

But soon enough, reality hit and I found myself caught between the cheaper school where I will be able to graduate almost debt-free even though I began to lose interest by the day, and the dream private university I have had my eyes on since day one despite the daunting price tag that came with it.

For a while, I was ridden with guilt for being so in love with this one school and so negative to the state school I was accepted to. During my decision-making process many people discouraged going anywhere but the cheaper option merely based on numbers. As a child of an upper middle-class family, it is even more difficult being caught in the middle – not wealthy enough to actually pay for the crazy costs of attending a college, not poor enough to receive need-based aid. I was extremely distraught.

But I sat down to think about it, as I suggest every high school senior should. After making dozens of pros and cons lists and revisiting both schools, I could not find myself anywhere but at the dream school. I knew in my heart that it was where I belonged, and nothing sparked that same excitement in me at the other university. I felt safe there, and at home. It was an achievement that I worked so hard for – how could I pass it up?

Today, I am so incredibly grateful and fortunate that I had the option to decide and commit to Northeastern University, despite the fact I was not awarded very much. I could not have had this opportunity if it was not for my parents’ open-mindedness and support. I am forever indebted to them for everything.

At Northeastern University, I’ll be able to explore the world through their unique co-op program, challenge myself among the array of intelligent and passionate students, and be surrounded by encouraging classmates who I already have a feeling I will get along with very well. I have promised myself and others to work hard there. While I may accumulate some debt, I believe my choice will be worth it, given the experiences awaiting me in the next four years. I went against what the majority told me to do. I had to follow my heart. My desire to be a Northeastern Husky could not go amiss, and therefore, I believe my decision was justified, and life is too short for regrets.

This is my personal experience that I share to all of you to hopefully provide further insight. Maybe you chose the inexpensive option and that is fine too! To me, in the end, it’s what you make of it. So whether or not you’re in the same boat I was, remember that you cannot change the ocean or the weather, no matter how hard you try. So it’s best to learn how to sail in all conditions. 

Best of luck to the incoming Class of 2020, and to future high school seniors!

Lead Image Credit: Alyssa Lam

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Alyssa Lam - Northeastern University

Alyssa Lam is a freshman at Northeastern University and one of Fresh U Northeastern's Junior Editor-in-Chiefs. She is undeclared; however she has interests in following a pre-medical track. In her free time, Alyssa likes to cook, work out, draw, write, hang out with friends, explore, and try new things. She prides herself on the fact she is short yet fierce. Find her on Instagram @lyssalam6.

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