Hey OLINsiders! Congratulations to those who have just been admitted to the Class of 2023 or 2024! I’m Mads, a first year mechanical engineer from South Florida. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you probably have some choices to make before May 1st - The decision deadline.
I applied to four schools, was accepted into three, and chose one: Olin. For honesty’s sake, Olin was always my first choice; my dream/reach school. Yet as I anticipated Olin releasing decisions, I found myself questioning the financial cost of Olin versus the state school (I’ll call it SS) that was my second choice. My standardized testing scores guaranteed me a full ride to that SS and guaranteed housing in one of the nicer dorms, among other perks. My heart wanted Olin, but my brain wondered if Olin would be worth the student loans.
The biggest influences on my decision to go to Olin were how I felt at Olin, how the current Olin students I had met felt about Olin, and the quality of the education at Olin. I weighed all of these things against how I felt at SS, how SS students felt about their school, and the quality of education there.
Olin felt like the right place for me to be the moment I stepped foot on campus in Summer 2017. There wasn’t a lot going on, as Olin doesn’t have a summer term, but I could see evidence of work that students had done in the library and the Academic Center. Olin’s campus felt full of drive to make, create, and do. The students who led our tour group that July afternoon were very excited about what they were doing and where they were, in a very genuine way. This was further cemented when I came to Candidates’ Weekend 2018 and there was a much larger student presence on campus. I interacted with many current students and they all seemed equally happy and content to be at Olin and with their learning. That still holds true today.
When I visited SS, it didn’t stand out to me like Olin did. State school was a lot more standard. It’s more than 100 times larger than Olin, and that didn’t really feel personable to me. There wasn’t any characteristic between any two SS students that told me that they were SS students, whereas with Oliners, I felt all of them had a large amount of interest and excitement about the world around them and the work they were doing.
I also considered where my education at Olin vs SS would place me in my career. Olin’s Post Graduate Planning office is a huge asset when trying to get an internship, while SS is so large that their post graduate help isn’t able to be as tailored to you specifically. Olin seniors typically know by the end of their senior fall semester what they will be doing after graduation. I am not completely sure about SS’s statistics, but I believe they are simply too massive for the majority of their seniors to have post-graduation plans by December of their graduating year. Going to SS would also require to me to go to graduate school, which isn’t something that I wanted to do. A lot of Oliners work right after graduating. I felt that, in the long run, Olin would definitely be worth the financial cost by giving back to me in a quality engineering education and the experiences Boston has to offer (SS is its own town), and that being able to work immediately after graduating would help to offset some of that cost.
Alia has actually just written a blog about steps you can take to better understand your financial aid at Olin. You can read it here.
These three things were most important to me when I was making my final decisions. I hope this helps you out with your considerations!