I'm in need of some advice in regards to choosing a school to attend for next year.
I've been accepted to pursue a BM in performance at 3 schools for the next school year: Oberlin Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, and St. Olaf College, and I'm trying to choose between the three of them. If I had my way, I'd go to Oberlin, with my second choice being Eastman. But their yearly cost of attendance is extremely expensive (~$75k a year), and I haven't received enough scholarship yet from either institution to lower the cost to the point that my parents are able to pay for. I've appealed for more financial aid from both schools, but it seems like there's not a particularly high chance for me to get much more aid, and I'm trying to avoid taking out student loans if possible. That's why St. Olaf is still in the running because I can actually afford to go there with the aid I've received.
Granted, I think St. Olaf has a very strong program, and I really enjoy working with their faculty about as much as I enjoy working with the faculty at Oberlin and Eastman. But in a discussion I had with my private teacher recently, she said that while teachers are very important, it's also crucial that I make connections with my musical peers because it could be what helps find me work in the future, and the students that I meet at Oberlin and Eastman would certainly be much stronger musicians than the ones at St. Olaf. She suggested that I wait until the very last opportunity to commit, in the event that Oberlin or Eastman might offer me more money at the last second. I know it's possible because it's worked out that way for a few of my friends, but I don't think I can really count on that actually happening.
I'll continue to try and push for more scholarship, but for now, my question is this: is it smarter to go to a less-known music program and make sure I go to summer festivals and a solid grad school to make connections and avoid student debt until I do my graduate studies, or is it worth it to go into debt now so I can go to the more well-renowned schools and make more connections?
Thanks for your help!Tweet
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