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Keep in mind that "great academics" also means lots of work. Georgia Tech, for instance, is notorious for being nearly impossible to graduate from in less than five years. I applied and was accepted to GT, but I'm glad I didn't go because I honestly don't think I could have handled it. That's just who I am.
The thing about choosing a college is that you have to do it at what is arguably the least opportune time in your life. Right now, you don't know where you're going to be in ten years and you're probably not even sure what you want. For instance, the acting dream. If you're dead serious about it, then you should pursue it at some point. Keep in mind that the entertainment industry is centered around LA, not the state of California. But also keep in mind that being in the proximity doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be able to do anything about it. College is a fairly substantial time commitment, and you'll probably have to work to help pay for your school. In the grand scheme of things, you may be better served finding work in the area once you graduate. This is just an illustration, not a recommendation that you do one thing or another.
It's worth noting that your goals may change. I completely changed majors and career paths part way through my sophomore year and that's extremely common. A friend of mine dropped out of the College of Nursing and became a history major (he wants to go to law school). At some point, you may find the road you're on isn't making you happy for whatever reason.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of things to consider. Nobody has ever been able to successfully convince me that there's that big a difference between an Ivy League graduate and a state school graduate other than the name on the diploma. As Vegas said, they'll be making the same amount of money in the long run. Hell, I worked with a guy who got a Bachelors from Virginia Tech and a Masters from Florida Tech - he was doing the same job as the guy across from him that never went to college, spent some time in the Air Force, and taught himself to program while installing cable. Try to figure out what's important to you and make your decision based on that. I nearly went to UF for very juvenile reasons but ultimately I knew in my heart I belonged in Tuscaloosa. I don't regret it one bit.
One final thought: Money is something you should consider, but don't let it be the main factor. If you're absolutely positive you want to go to Stanford, take out some student loans and go for it. You only get to go to college as a kid once. You can't put a price on going to the right one.
This post was edited by macamatic on 1/22/2013 at 2:22 AM
You'll never achieve great things until you believe that's what's supposed to happen
Folks asking about pics so 1. Near Skagway AK 2. Ketchikan AK 3. Space Needle in Seattle. This summer was a great trip.
Couple of thoughts: In regards to school choices, I would keep doing research. In regards to Major, I think it's great to have a plan but I would now advise to specialize. For undergraduate I would advise in a supplemental in demand degree such as accounting and then go for the MBA. Your payscale will be much higher and you will be able to find a decent job just about anywhere in America. MBA's are starting to be a dime a dozen. Not to say it's a bad degree but it's become a degree where you really need to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. Also, I think computers is another area to look at---mainly because it may be more flexible with your time and pretty good career to make six figures relatively quickly if you enjoy that sort of thing. Regardless, make sure you talk to as many people as possible and pick something you can tolerate.
Also, if you love acting, all these Universities will still have avenues to refine your craft. I'd either get a degree that I could get a decent job and then move out to CA or think about just moving out there, waiting tables, and see how you like it for a year and going for it. School will always be there. Had two buddies go out to LA to act. Both didn't really like it. 15 years later, one of them is now a lawyer in Houston and started acting in the local theater...then bit parts in larger city productions, and now getting bit parts offers in movies, TV. Funny how it works out sometimes.
I think it's hard to be both dedicated to your craft and trying to go to school. I guess my point is know yourself. If you spend the money to go to USC/Stanford, then I would rather excel in school than trying to do both and doing both kinda half-ass. I got into USC Film School (which was my dream) but it was a 250K....in the late 90's. Didn't go because of money but have no regrets---next life maybe.
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