'Kay, so it's not often I ask for advice, but I'm in somewhat of a bind over this and thought I may as well get some opinions from you lovely lot. This is gonna be a bit long-winded, but there's a lot of relevant information I've got to explain, so bear with me. As some of you know, I'm currently studying at Imperial College London. QS ranked it the 2nd top uni in the world this year, on par with Cambridge and MIT. You'd think this would be a good thing. Unfortunately, not so much. See, as a Scottish student I could have gone to any Scottish uni for free. Going to university in England (e.g. Imperial) costs £9000 (~$13.5k) a year. Additionally, Imperial is in one of the most expensive residential areas in the world - Kensington, London. Financially, achieving this was going to be a huge fucking issue, but I calculated it would be just about possible if I worked summers and during term time from 2nd year onwards. At the time of deciding which offers to accept, I really wanted to go into research. Going to the best university possible was a logical choice, as it would give me a massive edge when applying for PhD positions. So despite the fact that it would put me £60k (~$90k) in debt to the government and result in a pretty shitty, frugal quality of life, I decided to go to Imperial. It also relied on me succeeding in applying for living in halls every year - if I ever failed to earn a place as a Warden, I'd be screwed because rent is so stupidly high in the area. It also meant moving away from my family and friends, almost all of whom were going to uni together in Glasgow or were staying in Edinburgh, where I live. Now, when you're 18 and have never lived independently, you don't really have an understanding of just how goddamn much £60k is. You've just never dealt with that sort of money before. And you don't really understand how much a lack of money can affect quality of life when you've never had to pay for daily essentials like food, rent, etc. And to be honest, you don't know how much it sucks to be separated from everyone you know and love. Imperial is famously, notoriously crap for social life - to be frank, it's full of antisocial-as-fuck geeks who're too afraid to even chat to you in the corridor. Out of my core group of six friends, I'm the only one who's even been clubbing or to a bar this year. This combination has, quite frankly, led to me being pretty fucking miserable - I'm extremely sociable, and the environment at Imperial is mostly conducive to extreme antisocialness (and even if that weren't the case, I can't afford to do anything anyway.) It's not just me who feels this way - the anonymous confessions page for the uni is chock-full of people who are utterly miserable and hate the environment here. If I still wanted to go into research, I would probably be able to stomach a horrible uni experience for the sake of the later benefit. Thing is, I don't. After a year of my course, I would much rather go into other fields (finance, economics, industry, etc.) Although Imperial still gives me an edge in job prospects in these fields, it's nowhere near as drastic. The entire reason for sacrificing financial stability, my family and friends, everything, is now basically irrelevant. It's a bit soul-crushing, and honestly, I've spent the past 3 months sleeping all the time so I don't think about it and get caught up in self-pitying misery. Of course, I'm now screwed for my exams having not been to lectures or anything, but that's sorta another story. I'm really seriously considering a transfer to Glasgow, if possible. This would likely require dropping out of Imperial and essentially repeating a year at Glasgow. If I do this, my debt will be half of what it would be if I stay at Imperial for the rest of my degree, I'll be much closer to family and friends, in an environment I am significantly better-suited for, and definitely way more financially stable considering how much cheaper it is to live there. In every regard but the purely academic, it's seemingly a sound decision. It was what was recommended to me when I was trying to decide which universities to accept offers from, but being headstrong and proud and whatever, I didn't listen. The edge Imperial gave me was worth it, at the time. But I'm... teetering. I mean, I won't pretend part of it isn't pride - I fucking hate the idea that people would think it's because I can't handle the academic difficulty of Imperial, because I can. Coursework-wise I'm sitting at a 1st. If I weren't about to screw up my exams due to lack of effort/struggling to cope emotionally it'd be fine, but I'm gonna come out with shite grades and people will think I'm transferring because of that. And I'm freaking proud that I even got in in the first place, too - I don't wanna give that up. But even aside from that, it's undeniable that having such a prestigious uni on my CV is damn significant. It's already helping me make connections, and will unquestionably benefit me in the job market. And if I change my mind about research later... I don't know - I do feel I overestimated how much the uni you go to for your undergrad/masters matters, considering Glasgow is also a very good university. But again, Imperial's name is gold both here and in the States. Throwing away an opportunity like this is a major decision. It's a little crazy to even contemplate it. There's so many facets to this, some of which I haven't even touched on here, that I just don't know what to do. There doesn't seem to be any "right" decision - the pros and cons are too evenly balanced. TL;DR: Uh, I guess I can only sum it up thus: Do I choose happiness and a good academic background, or dig myself into a hole financially (and socially) and hope that the excellent academic background will be worth it later?