This is my first post so: hello everyone!
I am an undergraduate student in Southern California. I have been accepted as a junior-level transfer student into Cal State Universtiy Northridge (CSUN) and the University of Southern California (USC) as a Chemistry major. My interest lies with chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Once I obtain a B.S. degree I plan to study chemistry further at a graduate school, and hopefully eventually earn a Ph.D. and go into research.
I am a first-generation college student and I am not so sure who to ask this question to. When I talked to my Organic Chemistry instructor at a junior college about USC she simply said that USC was a good school but then mentioned that USC actually stands for the "University for Spoiled Children" since the tuition is so high.
It looks like CSUN is only about $2,100 per semester while USC runs at about $15,000 per semester. I do not come from a wealthy family and I am a full-time student so the only way for me to pay for USC would be through grants and loans whereas one (already obtained) grant would fully cover the cost of tuition at CSUN. For now I am leaning more toward CSUN because although it may not be considered to be as good of a school as USC, I wouldn't be under so much pressure since the tuition is so much lower and I would avoid being thousands of dollars in debt before even beginning grad school.
Considering I am a chemistry major and USC seems to be more geared toward business/medicine, would it be a waste of money to go to USC?
Will the quality of my education vary greatly depending on the school?
Would I be looked at differently by graduate schools depending on which undergraduate school I went to?
Will I be more likely to be paid better if I went to USC vs CSUN or will I only find myself deep into debt?
The following is a little more about my background and goal's if it should help:
I initially started my college education without any direction as I had no idea what I wanted to study; all I knew is that I didn't want to be an idiot and I wanted to accomplish something. To make it worse, I got out of high school early without taking any serious classes by passing a high school proficiency exam.
My first chemistry course at a junior college truly amazed me. Not only did I find it very interesting but the difficulty and the flexibility from the fact that chemistry is a central science sparked my interest and demanded my respect. With a little more experience I hoped to be able to choose between a more biological route or physics route. I wanted to try to get a better understanding of this amazing universe and although I am not the brightest I hope to study the most difficult of ideas in the process.
I am still gaining experience, have just recently completed organic chemistry, and hope to move on to biochemistry and physical chemistry next semester at one of the above 4-year universities. I am fairly certain however that my interest skews toward the physics side of chemistry and I will likely try to earn a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. Hopefully, if I succeed I can one day be useful as a research chemist.
Thank you for reading and for your responses.