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Public vs Private College

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  • Avatar Kamban 
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    So one can argue the teaching quality does suffer at large private schools, but at, say, Williams or Swarthmore, I do think the teaching is probably pretty top notch. Now, does that mean the students will remember it all and are smarter and should all have better life outcomes? no. So why are we paying so much for an education at Williams or Swarthmore?

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    This ties in well with a question about to ask

    Get into Ivy – pay for it if you have the money.

    State school  – use if if you have no college fund or want to not waste money.

    But what about top tier Liberal arts college. They cost as much if not more than the Ivy but how much does it open doors or is valuable in the future education. I ask because my kid gets constant flyers and other items about Swarthmore and it costs 60K, as much as an Ivy. Is it worth spending that much for a liberal arts education, even if it from a top 3 liberal arts college

    #241197 Reply
    Avatar Kamban 
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    Does anyone actually believe that the teaching at Harvard is any better than a state school or even a community college. You’re paying solely for the brand and to be surrounded by other like minded students. College is kind of a overpriced scam.

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    I think that the teaching is at a higher level than a state school and it is more stimulating and challenging, because the quality of the enrolled students is high.

    In a gifted middle school my daughter’s teachers taught the same curriculum that is required by the state as for other middle schools but they taught it at a faster pace, in greater depth and covered much more than the curriculum. They did not have to waste time teaching for the lowest common denominator. They were constantly challenged by the students and loved to teach and did not find it a chore. No wonder that the school was the top ranked middle school in the state.

    You could attribute it to the students and that they could have done equally well in other middle schools but then they might have become bored lumped with other kids who had no interest in learning and teachers with no interest in teaching. Bright students egg each other to do better when they reach a critical mass. That is more likely to happen in Harvard than State Univ (with some exceptions like UNC Chapel Hill and Berkeley).

    #241199 Reply
    Liked by Zaphod
    Zaphod Zaphod 
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    I think people are looking at this wrong. Who cares how many presidents went to harvard vs state u, etc…that’s obviously going to be the exception and basically unobtainable.

    The real question is what happens to the window lickers from each school? That’s the real test.

    #241200 Reply
    Liked by Craigy, Lordosis
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
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    Does anyone actually believe that the teaching at Harvard is any better than a state school or even a community college. You’re paying solely for the brand and to be surrounded by other like minded students. College is kind of a overpriced scam.

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    I think that the teaching is at a higher level than a state school and it is more stimulating and challenging, because the quality of the enrolled students is high.

    In a gifted middle school my daughter’s teachers taught the same curriculum that is required by the state as for other middle schools but they taught it at a faster pace, in greater depth and covered much more than the curriculum. They did not have to waste time teaching for the lowest common denominator. They were constantly challenged by the students and loved to teach and did not find it a chore. No wonder that the school was the top ranked middle school in the state.

    You could attribute it to the students and that they could have done equally well in other middle schools but then they might have become bored lumped with other kids who had no interest in learning and teachers with no interest in teaching. Bright students egg each other to do better when they reach a critical mass. That is more likely to happen in Harvard than State Univ (with some exceptions like UNC Chapel Hill and Berkeley).

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    That’s what I was referring to. You are paying for the brand and to be in a similar cohort of high achieving students. The teaching and facilities are likely not going to be any better.

    #241203 Reply
    Avatar adventure 
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    My 11 yo says he wants to go to MIT or cal tech. If he actually gets in, we’ll make it happen.

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    The interviews are the tough part. (personal experience – didn’t get in!)

    #241231 Reply
    Avatar adventure 
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    So one can argue the teaching quality does suffer at large private schools, but at, say, Williams or Swarthmore, I do think the teaching is probably pretty top notch. Now, does that mean the students will remember it all and are smarter and should all have better life outcomes? no. So why are we paying so much for an education at Williams or Swarthmore?

    Click to expand…

    This ties in well with a question about to ask

    Get into Ivy – pay for it if you have the money.

    State school  – use if if you have no college fund or want to not waste money.

    But what about top tier Liberal arts college. They cost as much if not more than the Ivy but how much does it open doors or is valuable in the future education. I ask because my kid gets constant flyers and other items about Swarthmore and it costs 60K, as much as an Ivy. Is it worth spending that much for a liberal arts education, even if it from a top 3 liberal arts college

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    Why someone would pay a premium for an expensive tiny liberal arts school makes no sense to me. You don’t get the brand that I alluded to earlier and you are paying a ton.

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    You go to those great liberal arts schools because you believe they’ll give you a worldview that’ll help you grow and succedd for years to come.

    #241232 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
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    “That’s what I was referring to. You are paying for the brand and to be in a similar cohort of high achieving students. The teaching and facilities are likely not going to be any better.”

    No and YES!
    The first two years are filled with university and the intro level prerequisite courses. Teaching assignments are a budget decision and go to the low rung on the totem pole. Community college, private, big state school or a Tier 1 “brand name” provide the same. Not much mentoring or inspiration or interaction. Unfortunately some kids get lost. A smaller school is a better fit. The resources of name brand school will target those kids to engage and get them on track.
    The last two years are substantially different. No more TA’s and instructors. Asst and full prof’s that teach one grad and one undergraduate per semester. The quality of the students and the prof lead to much more interaction and educational growth and mentoring.

    Now the big IF. Only if the student takes advantage of that opportunity and it leads to better decisions and fits with a career plan.

    Just like the student loan availability, I think it’s an evaluation of my kid, their choice of vocation and the ultimate result they are targeting. It’s not “free money”.
    If you want to be an art teacher, no “brand” will make sense financially.

    Kamban needs to be cautious, recruiting lists come from PSAT and SAT testing results. His mailbox will overflow because the daughter “fits the profiles”. The London School of Economics is worth looking at.

    The “Brand” only serves as an “intro” for the next step, whether it be grad school or employment.

    Of course you all know that. You went through that with med school applications and don’t give a hoot where someone went to undergrad.

    #241255 Reply
    Liked by Roentgen
    Avatar loeffy 
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    Another thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet…for better or worse, a lot of people meet their future spouse in college, and that undoubtedly can have an affect on how someone does financially.  I’m definitely not advocating going to college for an MRS degree, and I’m not saying it’s right, but where you go to college does have a large bearing on who you meet, who your future friends will be, what types of circles you might run in…

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    Good point and it definitely can go both ways.  My good friend from HS went to a prestigious college and hung out with a certain crowd, dated a bunch of jerks and overall had a negative social experience, imo. A family member works closely with admissions at a Ivy school and legacy admits (and the personalities one can imagine goes with it) is common.

    #241256 Reply
    Liked by Anne, Tim
    Avatar mapplebum 
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    I tried to make this distinction and it seems others are as well so I’ll rephrase. Let’s compare some numbers

     

    Williams $53k.
    Population 2k.
    Average SAT 1468.
    Acceptance rate 17%

    Scripps College $50k
    Population 1k.
    Average SAT 1384
    Acceptance rate 30%

    Regional College, $45k.
    Population 3k.
    Average SAT 1140
    Acceptance rate 70%.

    Gordon College $36k
    Population 2k
    Average SAT 1168
    Acceptance Rate 92%

    *Regional college is where I taught. It has similar numbers to my current institution just more expensive

    When debating if the instruction is superior at a small liberal arts college I daresay it matters which school you’re discussing. Schools that accept broadly simply cannot have rigorous curriculum and we all know once a student is enrolled it takes a lot to get kicked out. Departments are rewarded for graduating students. This little exercise is fun so now I’ll look at larger schools.

     

    Harvard $47k.
    Population 22k.
    Average SAT, 1520.
    Acceptance rate 5%

    MIT 48K
    Population 11k
    Average SAT, 1528
    Acceptance rate 8%

    UCLA $13k, $40k
    Population 45k
    Average SAT, 1365
    Acceptance rate, 18%

    University of Michigan $15k, $45k
    Population 45k
    Average SAT, 1415
    Acceptance rate 28%

    University of North Carolina Greensboro 7k, 22k
    Population 19k
    Average SAT 1105
    Acceptance rate 73%

    University of Toledo $9k, $19k
    Population 20k
    Average SAT 1130
    Acceptance rate 96%

    No real point to including larger schools but v. interesting.

    #241301 Reply
    Liked by Kamban, Tim
    Lordosis Lordosis 
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    Small expensive liberal arts schools are for people who cannot get in anywhere. Since they are expensive the kids and parents feel they are good. Harvard and Yale are probably worth the premium. Anything that costs as much and is not too tier is probably not.

    Even then it depends what you do with it. We had a kid from Harvard undergrad in my state u med school class. I doubt the premium was worth it for him.

    “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”

    #241318 Reply
    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
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    Harvard and Yale are probably worth the premium.

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    I agree with your assessment that it depends what you want to do with it but I also think it depends on where you’re planning on doing it.

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #241329 Reply
    Liked by Zaphod
    Lordosis Lordosis 
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    True some schools have regional prestige and connections.
    Cornell is somewhat of a big deal here but I can’t imagine anyone cares too much elsewhere. A la Andy from the office. And Scranton is only a few hours from Big Red.

    “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”

    #241332 Reply
    Liked by Craigy
    Avatar Panscan 
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    Top ranked middle school?

    How exactly do you know the middle school teachers love to teach and all that bs, did you watch them? Are they good bc your kid says they’re good? Or because the school advertises them as such?

    #241343 Reply
    Avatar Panscan 
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    End of day all most of this ranking crap is so mom can have the bumper sticker that says my kid goes to Harvard or dad can brag to his golf buddies that his kid goes to x school.

    #241344 Reply
    Liked by Roentgen
    Hank Hank 
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    True some schools have regional prestige and connections.
    Cornell is somewhat of a big deal here but I can’t imagine anyone cares too much elsewhere. A la Andy from the office. And Scranton is only a few hours from Big Red.

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    Cornell is an Ivy.  Like Brown, it might not have the same name recognition with the middle class in the west or the south as Yale or Harvard.  Nonetheless, it’s a solid school.  I would pay the premium if my kid got into Cornell (or Brown, or Dartmouth).

    One good thing about Cornell is that it is both an Ivy and a land grant university. That means that some majors at Cornell are on the land grant side (and far cheaper for in-state students) while other majors are not on the land grant side.  The split between land grant and non-land grant can be hard to fathom at times.  I think finance was on one side of the fence and econ was on the other side.

    Scopemonkey previously offered a list of smaller private schools (Swarthmore, Williams, Bowdoin, Harvey Mudd, Haverford, and Amherst).  From that list, I’d encourage my kid to go to Harvey Mudd prior to any other school on his list.  After that, I’d heartily encourage my kid to go to Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, or any other Ivy before I’d recommend the other private liberal arts schools on his list.  Cornell is hardly a “regional” school; it’s well worth moving across the country to attend.

    #241348 Reply

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