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dmmetler

Kid accepted to all 8 Ivy league schools chooses Alabama

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Two reasons - not necessarily both for the same family/students:

 

1) The actual money offered is not known until after application.  Net price calculators are not always accurate.

 

2) Some just want to know if they could have gotten in.   They'd never know if they didn't try.  They may even be hoping for extra money to show up from somewhere - hoping - but when it doesn't, they go back to their realistic best option.

This, and there are some schools that if you show them your acceptance from the more prestigious institution will up their merit aid to woo you. I could not afford my first choice school way back in the day - a conservatory - but when discussing this during a faculty interview at my second and third choice schools, both decided to award even more money in the hopes of getting me to attend as both desperately needed at that time another pianist with rad sight reading skills. It worked. I ended up at my second choice school that while not a conservatory gave me an amazing education and the bonus was that I met DH whom I would have never known if I had attended the conservatory.

 

I think this student made an excellent choice for his situation and will not rue entering med school debt free given how much doctors often owe for both undergrad and grad school by the time they complete their residencies.

 

The ivies are not weeping nor learning any kind of "lesson" from this. They know they are overpriced for middle class America, and they have waitlisted many equally promising students who are either wealthy and have parents who will write the check, or low income and will get a lot of aid, possibly even a less discerning middle class student whose parents will think it's such an honor to be accepted that six figure indebtedness is the way to go...hard to say, but they will meet their yield even when other institutions might not.

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:hurray:  :hurray: :hurray:  

I know some families who save for college and feel the schools are worth the cost even though they aren't unlimitedly wealthy.  There ARE many valuable experiences available at top schools (what number "top" ends at can be questionable).  I've seen the differences not only with my guys, but also with some of the students who return home and share stories from various levels.  Middle son has compared more tests than I have due to his connections.  He also sees where (and what) research is being done in various places.  He's involved in it as his school partners with other top schools (worldwide).

 

We are among those who feel the right school for the student is worth paying for.  I'd be happy doing so even if we were full pay.  With three boys and at least 4 years for each, what we pay will be in the 6 digits - even with what we get in aid because our salary is NOT at full pay status.  Toss in med school (with what we can afford toward it) and our share will be even higher.

 

Some feel that money would be best saved and used elsewhere.  We disagree.  I have no regrets even with my travel junkie habit and knowing where a couple hundred thousand grand would take me.

 

I suppose it's not unlike how some would prefer a Ford Focus and others would prefer a Mercedes.  I'm content with our 2002 Ford Focus because vehicles don't mean a lot to me.  I want my kids to have the best affordable education they can get - the right schools for them.  We aren't after "a" degree, but "the" degree that best fits each of my guys.  The specific school is part of that.

 

What we are not agreeable with are high levels of student (or parent) debt, so I researched super carefully and am quite happy with where my guys ended up - though no one school was right for even two of them.

 

Everyone decides for themselves what is worth spending their money on.  For many, esp if they've saved, good schools ARE worth it.  "Good" doesn't even have to be "Top" as one can find full pay students at pretty much any school.  School A is not equal to School B, but pending the student, success in life can come from anywhere.  It's merely the path to get there that differs.

 

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When friends tell me they are disappointed their kids didn't get into a $42K/year high school, I really don't know how to respond. They prep so hard for the entrance exams too.

 

I don't know...what on earth am I missing here?

One thing that parents are paying for in the private schools around here at least is the amazing college counseling.  One of the schools my son looked at has a college counseling office of 6 full time employees for a class of about 75 kids. Contrast that with my middle ds's public school: 3 full time counselors for a school of about 1400 kids.  And 99% of them are college bound.  Now that I shepherded one home schooled high schooler through the process, and coached another who was in school, I get why people are willing to pay big bucks just to be spared that job.   

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This, and there are some schools that if you show them your acceptance from the more prestigious institution will up their merit aid to woo you. I could not afford my first choice school way back in the day - a conservatory - but when discussing this during a faculty interview at my second and third choice schools, both decided to award even more money in the hopes of getting me to attend as both desperately needed at that time another pianist with rad sight reading skills. It worked. I ended up at my second choice school that while not a conservatory gave me an amazing education and the bonus was that I met DH whom I would have never known if I had attended the conservatory.

 

I think this student made an excellent choice for his situation and will not rue entering med school debt free given how much doctors often owe for both undergrad and grad school by the time they complete their residencies.

 

The ivies are not weeping nor learning any kind of "lesson" from this. They know they are overpriced for middle class America, and they have waitlisted many equally promising students who are either wealthy and have parents who will write the check, or low income and will get a lot of aid, possibly even a less discerning middle class student whose parents will think it's such an honor to be accepted that six figure indebtedness is the way to go...hard to say, but they will meet their yield even when other institutions might not.

 

:iagree:  with both the aid options sometimes getting better AND that the Ivies don't give a hoot who chooses them and who doesn't.  They don't need to.  They offer opportunities at a price they believe to be affordable for the income.  If others disagree, that's fine.  There are plenty waiting in the wings.  They have no reason to offer their education for free to top level students whose parents are making reasonable income.

 

Other schools (esp UA, but many others too) want these students and need to make their opportunities attractive financially.

 

It's a win-win for both sides really.  Top students can get a great education, albeit maybe at a school they only learned about due to the fantastic aid.  Top schools get an income from those who can afford them (or feel the loans are worthwhile) to help support themselves (being private, this is a need to some extent).

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Piping in with a quick somewhat related comment -

 

We just returned from our local high school's senior awards night. As each senior was presented, the college or university that student would attend was announced. Two of the top 14 students are attending UA. Both are Presidential Scholars and accepted into the honor's program.

 

I thought that was interesting since I had just read this thread and UA was fresh on my mind.

UA is serious about recruiting and offering great money. We've had one graduate from there who wasn't even looking at them when they called him with an offer on a Saturday morning. We still have no idea how they got his info. We're glad they did, though.

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One thing that parents are paying for in the private schools around here at least is the amazing college counseling. One of the schools my son looked at has a college counseling office of 6 full time employees for a class of about 75 kids. Contrast that with my middle ds's public school: 3 full time counselors for a school of about 1400 kids. And 99% of them are college bound. Now that I shepherded one home schooled high schooler through the process, and coached another who was in school, I get why people are willing to pay big bucks just to be spared that job.

They are also paying for appropriate coursework. Many public school districts just do not offer academics at the instructional level needed by their students, or advanced coursework. When we toured colleges, looking at engineering pgms, we were told to use the summer for math and physics if the district wasnt offering advanced coursework, as so many students have access now that a student without would be at a disadvantage. I know exactly what they mean, since my high school only offered gen ed physics....I worked hard to make up the background that my classmates coming in with AP had. If I had a poor math bkground too, I would have not graduated in 4 years. One pays either way...thru the increased property value to live in a neighborhood with public schools that are serious about college prep, or one pays tuition.
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They are also paying for appropriate coursework. Many public school districts just do not offer academics at the instructional level needed by their students, or advanced coursework. When we toured colleges, looking at engineering pgms, we were told to use the summer for math and physics if the district wasnt offering advanced coursework, as so many students have access now that a student without would be at a disadvantage. I know exactly what they mean, since my high school only offered gen ed physics....I worked hard to make up the background that my classmates coming in with AP had. If I had a poor math bkground too, I would have not graduated in 4 years. One pays either way...thru the increased property value to live in a neighborhood with public schools that are serious about college prep, or one pays tuition.

I do agree with this.

 

It is even worse in some rural areas where DE cannot be procured for math and science coursework and the AP's are not offered. Locally, English, College Writing, and business courses are all that the students can get from DE as our local community college is pathetic in it's offerings. The only AP's offered are physics, calc, and I believe, English if memory serves and on a rotating basis so physics and calc are never in the same year. The top students are scrambling to find ways to make up for their lackluster academics, many driving into the U of MI extension campus in the evenings for night courses after having been in school all day! It is nuts, and these kids are exhausted trying to make up for what their schools should be doing.

 

For those not making the effort, they pay for it in remedial coursework that doesn't count towards graduation but costs the same, or in that 5th and 6th year of college due to having to take a bunch of pre-requisites they should have been able to get in high school and couldn't, as well as more student and parent loans from lack of merit aid due to the none competitive transcripts.

 

Our children are punished for the folly of our politicians and elected school boards who seem to value just about anything over academic instruction. If I hear one more time, "We don't need to invest in the good students because they will always be able to find a way!", I am going to scream! I've had it with that attitude. States like mine, Michigan the land of political idiocy and long term stability sacrificed to short term gain, whine incessantly about the brain drain, and can't seem to comprehend that if you don't provide anything for those brains, they are going to high tail it out of here at the first opportunity and never look back. DUH!

 

But again, I just have to say that I think the young man made a very wise choice. It is expensive enough to attend medical school without going into debt up to one's eyeballs for the undergraduate degree.

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UA is serious about recruiting and offering great money. We've had one graduate from there who wasn't even looking at them when they called him with an offer on a Saturday morning. We still have no idea how they got his info. We're glad they did, though.

They are excellent about this! A young man we know from a different rocket team in this state is headed to UA in the fall. He comes from a long line of Georgia Tech grads, but UA offered the mega merit aid and Georgia Tech did not. He told us that he called GT personally to let them know he was accepting the UA offer, and the GT rep was a bit snarky about it.

 

He won't regret it. UA has a great rep for his area of engineering, and he will not have a dime of debt if he keeps his GPA up. At GT, he would have gone about $60,000.00 in debt to attend.

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One thing that parents are paying for in the private schools around here at least is the amazing college counseling.  One of the schools my son looked at has a college counseling office of 6 full time employees for a class of about 75 kids. Contrast that with my middle ds's public school: 3 full time counselors for a school of about 1400 kids.  And 99% of them are college bound.  Now that I shepherded one home schooled high schooler through the process, and coached another who was in school, I get why people are willing to pay big bucks just to be spared that job.   

 

My daughter's and son's public high schools both have top-notch college counselors who were able to quickly zero in on colleges, programs and scholarships that we would never have considered. In the end we wound up saving quite a bit because of their advice. My son's high school also has a person just to help with career counseling and internships.

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They are excellent about this! A young man we know from a different rocket team in this state is headed to UA in the fall. He comes from a long line of Georgia Tech grads, but UA offered the mega merit aid and Georgia Tech did not. He told us that he called GT personally to let them know he was accepting the UA offer, and the GT rep was a bit snarky about it.

 

He won't regret it. UA has a great rep for his area of engineering, and he will not have a dime of debt if he keeps his GPA up. At GT, he would have gone about $60,000.00 in debt to attend.

That's great! Another thing that folks often overlook with the UA schools is the potential for internships in the public and private sectors. Many of these opportunities are local to the students and often come with a paycheck.

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A few more thoughts.  High-stress, uber-academics from elementary school on vs. "life is for living" as 8filltheheart calls it,  is a bit of a false dichotomy.  I come from a family and culture where no one goes to college, as does my husband.  We were both raised most definitely with the "life is for living" model. And there is no lack of suicide, mental illness, and just plain unhappiness in that community as well.  

 

What I know is that I wouldn't trade my life (educated to the graduate level, solidly middle class, financially secure) for the one I came from, not in a million years.   Poverty is very stressful.  No, happiness does not come from dollars alone.  But it is a real pleasure and happiness for me that I can choose to go out to a restaurant to eat if I want to.  I can choose a minivan instead of an unreliable jalopy (that you cannot travel with, *because* it is unreliable) and not worry about the added expense.  Maybe I'm shallow, but having money was a revelation for me and my dh that we are still, 25 years later, adjusting to and thoroughly enjoying.  

 

I think it's very facile to decry the pressure on kids who have to do hours of homework and are already thinking about college when they are 11.  One alternative to that is to be thinking about whether you are going to end up in the street or have a meal next week.  I realize that most people on this board are in neither of these situations, but to be honest, you can't have it both ways. You cannot have an idyllic, homework-free childhood and hope to go to a top school.   In the USA we live in right now, if you want to go to an Ivy or other top school, you MUST start thinking about it and planning when you're very young.  And I know it's fashionable to discount the incredible resources and connections these schools supply, but I think that is naive.  You can bet that if I had a kid who was ambitious enough to even consider such a plan (none yet, but it still could happen, I suppose  : )  )  I would be as encouraging and supportive as I could possibly be.  When I read blog posts like the one written by the mom who was a Stanford-educated software engineer, whose firing prompted her to become a SAHM, I think she is really not seeing the big picture.  For one thing, how can someone who has totally benefitted from the perks of going to Stanford then turn around and decide it's too stressful for her own kids?  She says herself that her son seemed fine and happy.  If she was someone who had not already totally benefitted from her own Ivy-equivalent education, I might perceive her essay differently.  

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They are also paying for appropriate coursework. Many public school districts just do not offer academics at the instructional level needed by their students, or advanced coursework. When we toured colleges, looking at engineering pgms, we were told to use the summer for math and physics if the district wasnt offering advanced coursework, as so many students have access now that a student without would be at a disadvantage. I know exactly what they mean, since my high school only offered gen ed physics....I worked hard to make up the background that my classmates coming in with AP had. If I had a poor math bkground too, I would have not graduated in 4 years. One pays either way...thru the increased property value to live in a neighborhood with public schools that are serious about college prep, or one pays tuition.

 

We found homeschooling due to this.  Living more rural, there aren't exactly many private school options.

 

The difference in college readiness between my homeschooled through high school kids and my ps through high school kid is both amazing and depressing.

 

My daughter's and son's public high schools both have top-notch college counselors who were able to quickly zero in on colleges, programs and scholarships that we would never have considered. In the end we wound up saving quite a bit because of their advice. My son's high school also has a person just to help with career counseling and internships.

 

A good ps is worth quite a bit.  I went to one.  I know they are out there.  That knowledge also helped lead me into homeschooling when I saw the difference between the one I had experience with in my youth and the one we are zoned for now.  I also had a year in a fancy private school for my 10th grade year.  The only difference between my top public school and the private school is there were no lower level kids in the private school - no behavior problems either.  Top students can get a terrific education at either place.

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A few more thoughts.  High-stress, uber-academics from elementary school on vs. "life is for living" as 8filltheheart calls it,  is a bit of a false dichotomy.  I come from a family and culture where no one goes to college, as does my husband.  We were both raised most definitely with the "life is for living" model. And there is no lack of suicide, mental illness, and just plain unhappiness in that community as well.  

 

What I know is that I wouldn't trade my life (educated to the graduate level, solidly middle class, financially secure) for the one I came from, not in a million years.   Poverty is very stressful.  No, happiness does not come from dollars alone.  But it is a real pleasure and happiness for me that I can choose to go out to a restaurant to eat if I want to.  I can choose a minivan instead of an unreliable jalopy (that you cannot travel with, *because* it is unreliable) and not worry about the added expense.  Maybe I'm shallow, but having money was a revelation for me and my dh that we are still, 25 years later, adjusting to and thoroughly enjoying.  

 

I think it's very facile to decry the pressure on kids who have to do hours of homework and are already thinking about college when they are 11.  One alternative to that is to be thinking about whether you are going to end up in the street or have a meal next week.    

 

I never considered any part of my "start them in top level classes in 3rd or 4th grade" to be stressful.  I much preferred it to mainstreaming.  I'm also about as much of a "life is for living" person as one can be - the picture in the dictionary for it (as we're about to set off on another trip).

 

Even in the average ps where I work, when I get to be with ALL top kids for a class, not only can one do so much more with them, I honestly don't see where it's leading to stress.

 

I firmly believe stress comes from forcing a student (or adult) into a niche where they don't belong - trying to either force that "don't wanna be a top level kid" into top level studies OR holding back that naturally top level student from reaching their potential.

 

I disagree that one needs to start planning for Ivies or similar tippy top schools uber early.  It's not usually good to start junior year either, but there is easily a happy medium AFTER you see if the student pulls you in that direction rather than one having to push them there.

 

FWIW, the families I see with the most stress are those with financial (or drug/alcohol) issues - regardless of their educational level.  It correlates more often with less education, but that doesn't mean one needs tippy top schools.  It means one ought to look for a sustaining path alongside of the level where they fit.  This also tends to be easier with some sort of post high school education (including trade school options).

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What I actually think is the the false dichotomy is that only schools like Stanford lead to successful careers with financially stable outcomes. Kids can have a stress-free childhood which provides solid academic outcomes with the necessary qualifications for 100s of universities (Including top schools). People can and do attend Podunk U and still have great careers. Careers that have them living a life like the people in the articles? Not as likely (but not impossible, either.)

 

But the trade off is not poverty vs cut-throat high powered job. The trade off is more likely your avg suburban middle class life style.

 

And, yes, I would rather my kids actually have a childhood and attend Podunk U then be stressed to the point of committing suicide over some idolized outcome.

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While the author may have her child placed incorrectly, it may just be the transition from full inclusion elementary to honors middle....he may simply have to up his inclass student skills in order to decrease his study time. Not uncommon for a child who was on easy street all of elementary.

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What I actually think is the the false dichotomy is that only schools like Stanford lead to successful careers with financially stable outcomes. Kids can have a stress-free childhood which provides solid academic outcomes with the necessary qualifications for 100s of universities (Including top schools). People can and do attend Podunk U and still have great careers. Careers that have them living a life like the people in the articles? Probably not. But the trade off is not poverty vs cut-throat high level stress. The trade off is your avg suburban middle class life style.

 

And, yes, I would rather my kids actually have a childhood and attend Podunk U then be stressed to the point of committing suicide over some idolized outcome.

 

Of course one does not need Stanford (or equivalent).  Virginia Tech works just fine.   :coolgleamA:

 

And honestly, kids who want to do the academic work still have the childhood they want/desire/crave.  It stresses them to be held back.  I've seen it happen more often than I can count with some of our gifted kids who want to be doing so much more.  For many of these, they come back from college with reports of feeling happy for the first time since they've finally found their tribe.

 

Some of these who choose schools too low for them (UA, with it's options, is not likely to be in this category) remain bored and wonder if that's all there is to life.  When they hear about "what could have been" they often get wistful.  One of the saddest days here in my current high school is when the students thanked the janitor one year (at an end of the year event) and he teared up saying he envied these kids and always wished he had been able to go to college. 

 

A good guidance counselor is worth gold.  So is saving for college IMO.  Money saved for college can always be repurposed if not needed, but the student who can literally choose their absolute best fit from their acceptances without worries about finances has hit the jackpot educationally.

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Yes, and not only is Virginia Tech perfectly lovely, one can do okay in life even as a Spartan in a Wolverine world! LOL :D

 

 

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Yes, and not only is Virginia Tech perfectly lovely, one can do okay in life even as a Spartan in a Wolverine world! LOL :D

 

As long as it's not UVA... I'm open to other possibilities.   :lol:

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When friends tell me they are disappointed their kids didn't get into a $42K/year high school, I really don't know how to respond. They prep so hard for the entrance exams too.

 

I don't know...what on earth am I missing here?

I did attend the open house for one of these schools and to me it seemed that the attraction of these schools to the parents here goes far beyond the academics. They have college counselors who previously worked in the admissions department at Yale and Stanford, they do not limit how many APs a child can take, they have "post AP" level work available etc. etc. If a child wanted to participate in the Math Olympiads, Intel or Siemens Science Fair or get an internship at SpaceX/Virgin Galactic or at one of silicon valley's top tech companies or even wanted venture funding to spin off a startup, being in these schools helps - both for the preparation help as well as the networking and connections that this school provides. I personally know of a kid who was in that school, went to Harvey Mudd and then got into a local top internet company on the day he graduated (six figure starting salary) - because the parent who mentored his robotics group in that school for 4 years was the VP of that tech company. These are the things that the $42K/year price tag buys. I am very sure that similar things are possible for a child who does not have that background, but having that background makes it all easy in the minds of the parents flocking to the admissions events there.

I have met a couple of double income families that are willing to forego one parent's salary for this kind of opportunity for their child. 

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I think it's very facile to decry the pressure on kids who have to do hours of homework and are already thinking about college when they are 11.  One alternative to that is to be thinking about whether you are going to end up in the street or have a meal next week.  I realize that most people on this board are in neither of these situations, but to be honest, you can't have it both ways. You cannot have an idyllic, homework-free childhood and hope to go to a top school.   In the USA we live in right now, if you want to go to an Ivy or other top school, you MUST start thinking about it and planning when you're very young.  And I know it's fashionable to discount the incredible resources and connections these schools supply, but I think that is naive.  You can bet that if I had a kid who was ambitious enough to even consider such a plan (none yet, but it still could happen, I suppose  : )  )  I would be as encouraging and supportive as I could possibly be. 

 

I completely disagree - the bolded is simply not true.

My DD attends a top school. We did neither plan for it when she was very young, nor did she suffer through a high pressure stressful childhood with tons of homework.

 

And the alternative to an Ivy is not a life in poverty where you worry where your next meal comes from. There are plenty of solid colleges in between, whose graduates go on to comfortable productive careers, and whose students do not need to suffer through intensely competetive  high schools. The graduates of the uni where I teach have an average starting salary of 59k. They come from normal high schools and had normal lives and did not fight for a spot with a less than 10% admission rate.

 

 

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I never considered any part of my "start them in top level classes in 3rd or 4th grade" to be stressful. I much preferred it to mainstreaming. I'm also about as much of a "life is for living" person as one can be - the picture in the dictionary for it (as we're about to set off on another trip).

 

Even in the average ps where I work, when I get to be with ALL top kids for a class, not only can one do so much more with them, I honestly don't see where it's leading to stress.

 

I firmly believe stress comes from forcing a student (or adult) into a niche where they don't belong - trying to either force that "don't wanna be a top level kid" into top level studies OR holding back that naturally top level student from reaching their potential.

 

I disagree that one needs to start planning for Ivies or similar tippy top schools uber early. It's not usually good to start junior year either, but there is easily a happy medium AFTER you see if the student pulls you in that direction rather than one having to push them there.

 

I'm not sure how "uber early" is defined. I certainly don't think 7th grade is too early. Arguably, because ds was so accelerated in math, we started earlier than 7th grade. He was able to accelerate because of homeschooling - we worked at his pace, not some instiutionally imposed one. I don't think it was stressful for him. He liked it and was good at it. I think ds was helped in college admissions by his music supplement. He started lessons at age 4. Thus, I am not sure how one determines when "planning" for a top school actually started.

 

I cannot overemphasize the benefit for *my* ds of going into a B&M school for high school. It was NOT a fancy private school, but rather a free, small, charter school, but it did function a bit like a private school. Expectations are extremely high, and the guidance counselor does a wonderful job. I truly admire those of you who homeschool all the way through high school, but that would not have been in ds's best interests. Honestly, many of you on here are "scary smart" to me! Neither my husband nor I had the math/science background to do ds justice, and his STEM charter school took care of that. However, I know he has many classmates who attended Friends, Harvard-Westlake, and various NE boarding schools as well. I feel very fortunate he got the high school education he did for FREE.

 

Ds did not need any pushing to want to pursue admission at tippy-top schools. Once he set foot on Stanford's campus for a summer program after his sophomore year, there was no looking back. I am glad it worked out for him. The opportunities provided because of Stanford's physical location, endowment, atmosphere, faculty, networking, and his peer group are unparalleled in my opinion. He has wisely availed himself of many opportunities.

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I am not trying to diss a family's choice. I am not trying to discount the connections one earns from being in a super pricey high school and/or Ivy. But I also cannot accept an argument about being naive that preparing has to start in elementary, or that alcoholism and poverty are alternatives...this is due to the life I myself have led (if poverty and alcoholism go hand in hand then one can argue that so do wealth and designer drugs) and watched my DH climb out of to lead. I know from his experience what a motivated person can achieve.

 

Gosh my guy is still young and who knows where he will go? Perhaps I will have to eat my words. What is important to me is that I am teaching him the value of working hard and saving money, and it feels odd to me when others (in my local, highly competitive area, I mean) claim the same but turn around and pay out several tens of thousands for private school or for this college counseling they receive as one of the benefits. Maybe because I had never even heard of college counseling prior to living in the US. We basically did all our apps ourselves where I come from.

 

It just makes me wonder where the lesson begins kwim?  That's perhaps why I am so happy for this boy (in the OP). He seems to have taken the financial lessons to heart.

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I did attend the open house for one of these schools and to me it seemed that the attraction of these schools to the parents here goes far beyond the academics. They have college counselors who previously worked in the admissions department at Yale and Stanford, they do not limit how many APs a child can take, they have "post AP" level work available etc. etc. If a child wanted to participate in the Math Olympiads, Intel or Siemens Science Fair or get an internship at SpaceX/Virgin Galactic or at one of silicon valley's top tech companies or even wanted venture funding to spin off a startup, being in these schools helps - both for the preparation help as well as the networking and connections that this school provides. I personally know of a kid who was in that school, went to Harvey Mudd and then got into a local top internet company on the day he graduated (six figure starting salary) - because the parent who mentored his robotics group in that school for 4 years was the VP of that tech company. These are the things that the $42K/year price tag buys. I am very sure that similar things are possible for a child who does not have that background, but having that background makes it all easy in the minds of the parents flocking to the admissions events there.

I have met a couple of double income families that are willing to forego one parent's salary for this kind of opportunity for their child. 

 

Not disagreeing with you. While I live in a highly competitive area, I'm also kinda spoiled by the homeschooling community here that has shown me what else is possible: two homeschooled Intel science fair winners, one homeschooled Mudder who used DE in CC for high school.

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Not disagreeing with you. While I live in a highly competitive area, I'm also kinda spoiled by the homeschooling community here that has shown me what else is possible: two homeschooled Intel science fair winners, one homeschooled Mudder who used DE in CC for high school.

 

 

I actually agree with you. I am a spectator who constantly asks these kind of parents what the attraction of the $42K/year high school and a $36K/year middle school is.

 

I was just trying to point out that to some parents who cannot homeschool to such a high level of achievement and who desire such outcomes, the price tag is acceptable even if it means forking out one parent's salary towards it. 

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After reading through this and one other thread I have to say that I am tired of so many people (not necessarily anyone here, just people in general) saying that a top tier school and a STEM/Engineering degree is the only road to happiness and if a talented student chooses to do something else they are doomed to a life of desperation and despair.  If that's the case than not one of the 281 graduates in DS's class is going to be a success.  There isn't one top 10 school represented among the graduates.  Most are going to smaller LACs or OOS unis which offered better merit aid than our state schools; this includes the one NM Recipient and the NMF.  Some are gong to the local CC and planning on transferring later.  Most are happy with their choices and are optimistic about their futures.

 

Every discipline, whether it's medicine, law, education, dance, or culinary arts, can and will be bettered by having well-educated, intelligent people practicing(practical or applied) and furthering those disciplines.

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ETA:

30k annual tuition for 9-12th

 

My own brother is sending his kids to a private school that costs $19k for kindergarten, and $30k/yr for high school. His wife is from a country whose citizens come to this country for educational opportunities for their children, buying houses in areas with good public schools. My brother & SIL considered moving, but housing prices were even more insane than the tuition prices (e.g., $2++ million for a tiny fixer-upper).

 

Exactly. This is the main reason that we homeschool. We *might* have been able to afford it for one child, but when number two came around, we were priced out of the private schools in our area. 

 

My cousin started homeschooling because tuition for her twins at their local SF Bay Area Waldorf school would have been 2 x $22k -- per year -- for kindergarten. She and her husband are both MDs ... but still ...

 

 

 

And we have many friends here in SD who will pay these amounts from preschool - 12th. So, it's really not a huge difference when the kids go off to college. 

 

My son has a friend whose parents paid $30-40k+/yr through high school (& perhaps earlier). When their son decided to attend UC Berkeley (tuition $12.5/yr) instead of a private university, the first thing his parents did was go out and buy a car!  :auto:

A homeschooling friend of mine, whose son just chose a small LAC back East where he got a big scholarship, over a school that gave him no aid at all (my friend and her husband have $$$; he's been Employee No. 2 at various Silicon Valley startups, & she's a PhD engineer), had hinted to her son that the difference in price between the two options (over four years) was the price of a Tesla. (Teslas are thick on the ground out here; one of the articles linked above mentions them. :) )

 

I guess a lot of people in this area have a lot of $$$, or are willing to forgo one income for education. My son tutors a boy who attends a high school costing $34k/yr; in addition, this family spends $500+ per week on outside tutoring, including my son, who tutors through an Oakland-based nonprofit that also offers free tutoring to needy students (subsidized in part by those rich parents paying big bucks for the same tutors). My son says the kid he tutors doesn't seem especially stressed, but his parents apparently are!

 

Agreeing with the PPs that many of these pricey schools DO offer a lot -- post-AP classes, college counseling (<drool> ...), Intel and Siemens programs & past winners, USAMO qualifiers every year, etc. I cobbled many of these opportunities together for my kids & other homeschoolers in the area, but it would have been lovely to have them already available ... The thing is, there are public high schools in the same districts that have many of these same resources -- and are free -- but the house prices are insane. (I know I keep using that word, but I can't help it!)

 

 

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Agreeing with the PPs that many of these pricey schools DO offer a lot -- post-AP classes, college counseling (<drool> ...), Intel and Siemens programs & past winners, USAMO qualifiers every year, etc. I cobbled many of these opportunities together for my kids & other homeschoolers in the area, but it would have been lovely to have them already available ... The thing is, there are public high schools in the same districts that have many of these same resources -- and are free -- but the house prices are insane. (I know I keep using that word, but I can't help it!)

Insane is a good word. Don't shy away! It would have cost us a mentally unhealthy sum of money to move to West Bloomfield Hills so dd could attend the International Academy. Our property tax liability to live even in the Frankenmuth district would have been nearly $8000.00 a year for a 1000 sq ft. ranch in the "low" price range of $250,000.00. Too pricey for our blood at that time. (I do think that after the housing bubble burst prices did come down some. We never checked into it because we had already invested elsewhere and were homeschooling dd for high school.)

 

Believe me, if we could have afforded it, we'd have moved to 'Muth way back when she was in 8th grade. DD was very musically talented and since I was teaching at a Lutheran K-8 whose students often matriculated to Frankenmuth High, we would have taken advantage of the opportunity. But, there was no affording it on my parochial school and dh's salaries. I don't blame parents for making sacrifices to afford to live in the district - even the worst off old farm house has a horrid price tag - but the trade off is that one does not worry about educational opportunity for the next generation and frankly, the property tax is way cheaper than tuition at Cranbrook, International Academy, and the like.

 

Part of the equation is that in our county and the surrounding counties "normal" is just so unbelievably crappy and without opportunity for college prep that it is depressing.

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I'm not sure how "uber early" is defined. I certainly don't think 7th grade is too early. Arguably, because ds was so accelerated in math, we started earlier than 7th grade. He was able to accelerate because of homeschooling - we worked at his pace, not some instiutionally imposed one. I don't think it was stressful for him. He liked it and was good at it. I think ds was helped in college admissions by his music supplement. He started lessons at age 4. Thus, I am not sure how one determines when "planning" for a top school actually started.

 

 

To me the difference is totally in the reasoning for your choices.  Did you start music lessons at age 4 because you wanted your guy to go to a tippy top school or because you wanted him exposed to music?  Did you accelerate him because you wanted him to go to a tippy top school or because that was merely the level he was at and it was NOT stressful?

 

Kids I know who thrive at tippy top schools pull their parents along, not the other way around.

 

Whether hs, ps or private school is best at any age of schooling totally depends upon the parents and the students.  Ideally for mine, I'd have pulled them all out at 7th grade as "I'm" better at teaching teens.  I do not have the patience for the early years.  My kids pretty much always got treated more like adults (or teens) than children - for better or worse.  It worked great for our day to day life.  I'm not so sure my starting homeschooling youngest at 5th grade was the best for him - or what started to turn him off from homeschooling as I was over his head.

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I cobbled many of these opportunities together for my kids & other homeschoolers in the area, but it would have been lovely to have them already available ... 

Yes. This is exactly what I mean - most parents in my social circle (most of them with graduate degrees or phds in STEM fields) are not resourceful enough or don't have the patience to cobble together a package that rivals the ones offered by the elite private schools. The phrase "Singapore Math" elicits blank looks and I live in the Silicon Valley :( These parents are not the ones who will spend their time to create outstanding opportunities for their kids, drive around to tutoring classes for their child, become coaches for their child's olympiad team etc. For them, the easy choice is for both parents to go to work and send the child to the $42K/yr school and to not buy that Tesla that your post talked about! The school is expected to deliver on the lofty goals that they set.

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The phrase "Singapore Math" elicits blank looks and I live in the Silicon Valley :(

PILA (English/Chinese bilingual) uses Singapore Primary Math Standards. My oldest enjoyed the Saturday preschool Chinese class.

Most people here would be familiar with RSM and/or MOEMS instead. Nixon elementary gives MOEMS worksheet for homework. One of my kids attended math circle there but was unfortunately bored.

 

When I ask my neighborhood if anyone is interested in a neighborhood math club, most parents who responded wanted me to do free tutoring for MathCount instead :lol: I don't mind helping but I am not volunteering to be free babysitter and tutor.

 

ETA:

My kids enjoyed the free art classes at Cantor Art Center and we have nothing against Stanford. Being a foreigner, I have no idea which schools are Ivy League schools.

Not impressed with the Tesla showroom at Palo Alto. Good that they took over the vacant Toyota/GM factory at Fremont.

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A few more thoughts.  High-stress, uber-academics from elementary school on vs. "life is for living" as 8filltheheart calls it,  is a bit of a false dichotomy.  I come from a family and culture where no one goes to college, as does my husband.  We were both raised most definitely with the "life is for living" model. And there is no lack of suicide, mental illness, and just plain unhappiness in that community as well.  

 

What I know is that I wouldn't trade my life (educated to the graduate level, solidly middle class, financially secure) for the one I came from, not in a million years.   Poverty is very stressful.  No, happiness does not come from dollars alone.  But it is a real pleasure and happiness for me that I can choose to go out to a restaurant to eat if I want to.  I can choose a minivan instead of an unreliable jalopy (that you cannot travel with, *because* it is unreliable) and not worry about the added expense.  Maybe I'm shallow, but having money was a revelation for me and my dh that we are still, 25 years later, adjusting to and thoroughly enjoying.  

 

I think it's very facile to decry the pressure on kids who have to do hours of homework and are already thinking about college when they are 11.  One alternative to that is to be thinking about whether you are going to end up in the street or have a meal next week.  I realize that most people on this board are in neither of these situations, but to be honest, you can't have it both ways. You cannot have an idyllic, homework-free childhood and hope to go to a top school.   In the USA we live in right now, if you want to go to an Ivy or other top school, you MUST start thinking about it and planning when you're very young.  And I know it's fashionable to discount the incredible resources and connections these schools supply, but I think that is naive.  You can bet that if I had a kid who was ambitious enough to even consider such a plan (none yet, but it still could happen, I suppose  : )  )  I would be as encouraging and supportive as I could possibly be.  When I read blog posts like the one written by the mom who was a Stanford-educated software engineer, whose firing prompted her to become a SAHM, I think she is really not seeing the big picture.  For one thing, how can someone who has totally benefitted from the perks of going to Stanford then turn around and decide it's too stressful for her own kids?  She says herself that her son seemed fine and happy.  If she was someone who had not already totally benefitted from her own Ivy-equivalent education, I might perceive her essay differently.  

 

You had me right up until this part. I can absolutely discourage my kids from working in Biglaw or Bigbank precisely because I know how utterly miserable that life is. And I wouldn't have had that life without experiencing the perks of Ivy League-style recruiting to get my foot in the door.

 

While I agree with 8 that most people can have perfectly fine careers coming from Podunk U, there are some industries where those doors will be closed. I'm reminded of an almost unbelievable example from a legal recruiter friend of mine. My friend worked to place partners in tippy top firms. He had a client who was a retired U.S. Senator, and a Biglaw firm in D.C. actually asked to see the guy's law school transcript before looking at him. His grades and alma mater still mattered years later. 

 

ETA: Re public high school college counselors, when I told mine that I wanted to attend Cornell, she asked me why I would want to go to school in "Eye-thack-uh." Suffice to say, she was of little assistance.

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 I'm reminded of an almost unbelievable example from a legal recruiter friend of mine. My friend worked to place partners in tippy top firms. He had a client who was a retired U.S. Senator, and a Biglaw firm in D.C. actually asked to see the guy's law school transcript before looking at him. His grades and alma mater still mattered years later. 

 

I really have to wonder why anyone would want to work there if they were that petty.  If they are with being hired, you know they will be about all sorts of other things too.

 

I can fully see the name/grades on the diploma assisting with getting that first job - maybe two if one is stretching it - but after that, what one does on the job is so much more meaningful - regardless of major.  This is why internships are so popular.  

 

Hubby is a civil engineer who graduated from Va Tech (often in the Top 15 for Civil Engineering, but I haven't looked recently).  However, now that he's been employed in the field for over 2 decades and has been self-employed for most of that - doing jobs in various states and some worldwide - any firm or client caring about where he went to school for job purposes has their priorities all messed up.  Some ask out of curiosity, but that's totally different.

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I really have to wonder why anyone would want to work there if they were that petty.  If they are with being hired, you know they will be about all sorts of other things too.

 

I can fully see the name/grades on the diploma assisting with getting that first job - maybe two if one is stretching it - but after that, what one does on the job is so much more meaningful - regardless of major.  This is why internships are so popular.  

 

 

The bolded is not always true, unfortunately.  Sometimes, where you received the degree matters, even decades later. 

 

My husband experienced a similar situation to what Seaconquest described.  My husband has been very successful in his career.  However, despite all of his proven successes since college, the name on his diploma was the determining factor just last year in a business venture.

 

Even in the world of medicine, my son was told that it does matter where you go to undergrad.  I know that is not consistent with conventional wisdom, but the doctors who told him this are all top in their fields and said the name on their diploma opened doors early in their careers that would not have been opened otherwise and they continue to benefit from the name on their diplomas even today. 

 

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The bolded is not always true, unfortunately.  Sometimes, where you received the degree matters, even decades later. 

 

My husband experienced a similar situation to what Seaconquest described.  My husband has been very successful in his career.  However, despite all of his proven successes since college, the name on his diploma was the determining factor just last year in a business venture.

 

Even in the world of medicine, my son was told that it does matter where you go to undergrad.  I know that is not consistent with conventional wisdom, but the doctors who told him this are all top in their fields and said the name on their diploma opened doors early in their careers that would not have been opened otherwise and they continue to benefit from the name on their diplomas even today. 

 

Again, all I can say is that the world where name on the diploma matters AFTER one has been successful in their field is not a world that would be a good fit for most people I know.

 

I can envision a world where it matters (and what types of clothes one wears matter and what type of car one drives matters and what country club one joins matters, etc, etc, etc.).  It's just a world I disdain and would want nothing to do with.

 

Names on diplomas can very easily matter getting that first job or into various grad/prof schools.  This is why I always suggest folks ask where recent grads in _____ major have gone.  College A is not equal to College B.  Around here Penn St or Va Tech grads would easily get bonus points for new hire engineers.  Other schools?  Not so much.  Some schools wouldn't even get a look.  Shift locations and the preferred schools of choice would also change.

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I have also found that the college choice matters. I was told at my last job that my resume was put in the interview pile because of school, not my experience. Many things i learned in lab were useful in the job, and gave me a large edge on colleagues who went to lower ranking schools. For my major, my college was the no. 2 school at the time...school as a whole was something like 105. I am already getting feelers on returning to work after younger child heads to college....school quality matters more than previous xp. Call it proxy for iq with well equipped toolbox.

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I have to second the law school stories. Dh is firmly convinced and I am, too, (and it makes the loans slightly less painful) that his school gets him an interview. Once he interviews, it is all up to him. But you have to get the interview.

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I don't mean to be obtuse, but I guess I am totally befuddled by how money isn't a very ordinary determining factor. Unless you are in the income bracket where grants are going to cover the costs,  the costs have to be paid. 

 

I read threads on CC with people slinging around $25,000-$60,000 a year as if those amts are chump change.   It absolutely boggles my mind.  $100,000-$240,000 for 4 yrs of school??  I just can't fathom it.  Yeah, we want our kids employable and we want them to be able to achieve their goals, but you are talking in terms of annual+ salaries.  Maybe for some families that is no biggie.  But, I find it hard to believe that the avg middle class family can't help but balk at those numbers especially when it is doubtful that the expenditure really makes that much difference in their employability, salary, or other life outcomes.

 

So when a student decides that schools are not financially feasible, heck, I can't begin to question the kid applying to the school, but I sure as heck do question why on earth any one thinks that any UG education is worth that much $$.  I think many universities are off the deep end, not the kid deciding not to pay to attend.

 

I know how the part in bold happens. If you read enough threads in various locations on college selection and you talk to other parents, you can really start to feel the pressure to provide for the "right" college experience. I can't tell you how many times this board has sent me in to the tailspin. Words like "undermatched" can send shivers down your spine. Who wants to be "that" parent that limits their child by perhaps having them live at home and attend an average university to save on costs especially if they have graduate school down the road? Please know I am saying this tongue in cheek - giving voice to some of the anxiety these conversations cause me.

 

8FilltheHeart, I often go off in search of your college posts to remind myself to "keep it real."  I also remind myself that while everyone talks of their child as the rare genius that needs the "perfect" college, the reality is far too many families will take on significant debt for their child to have a four-year extension of high school where the kid parties too much, studies too little and walks away with the coveted piece of paper and too little actual knowledge.

 

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Creekland's personal short points to "keep it real" would probably include:

 

1)  Check to see where recent grads from the school in the desired field or major have gone.

 

2)  Check with hiring personnel in the desired field to see what they think of the school.

 

3)  Students can only borrow so much.  Personally, I don't find that amount oppressive, but YMMV.  Borrowing more than that amount from another source should raise red flags of concern.

 

4)  Parents should always be wary if they need to borrow money - esp anything significant.

 

5)  In spite of their high sticker prices, sometimes private schools can be the least costly option.  Some can be worth a try if their NPC looks promising.

 

6)  Many state schools are good options for in state students.  They are worth a look.

 

7)  Sometimes community colleges are a good place to start.  Other times they can hinder progress.  They can be worth considering, esp if not necessarily interested in the 4 year experience.

 

8)  Having a good, solid foundation going in is never a waste.

 

9)  While some kids party too much and study too little, many others, esp mature others, enjoy their time while getting both a terrific education and some wonderful experiences they are unlikely to ever get again in their lives due to work/life needs.

 

I should probably have started with my usual advice to run an EFC forecaster to see what cost one is looking at without significant merit aid and see if that is affordable, but I know I've mentioned that many times elsewhere.

 

Must move on now - my current job is beckoning!  ;)

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To me the difference is totally in the reasoning for your choices. Did you start music lessons at age 4 because you wanted your guy to go to a tippy top school or because you wanted him exposed to music? Did you accelerate him because you wanted him to go to a tippy top school or because that was merely the level he was at and it was NOT stressful?

 

Kids I know who thrive at tippy top schools pull their parents along, not the other way around.

 

Well, that's true. While I firmly believe that early musical training boosts academic achievement, that wasn't the primary motivation for putting ds in lessons early. I was someone who started musical training early (though not as early as ds), and I am still a hobbyist musician, and it brings much joy to my life. And, yes, we did just work at *his* pace for math.

 

I absolutely agree with that last sentence of yours that I quoted.

 

As to the job/career accessibility...I definitely think where one's degree comes from matters, but it isn't always about prestige. Sometimes it's about *location.* Top schools get a foot in the door, but so does coming out of a local university - at least for the hiring around here that I see. Does that make sense? There is definitely a regional hiring preference for "our" local university that I don't think would exist for any and all universities.

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Richard Wiseman discusses in his book 59 Seconds that the person who is ultimately hired is the one the interviewers like. Initially they might weed out people looking at their resumes but after that it comes down to who is most likeable. 

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I don't want you all to think that I think and Ivy is the only path to happiness.  That is completely untrue.  But I do think that anyone who is fortunate enough to attend a top school will find all kinds of opportunities and connections that might not otherwise have been available to them.  

 

 

I'll give an example.  My dh attended an Ivy.  He was a rather unfocused, B\C student, history major, with no long term plan.  His lifelong, long term plan up until that point had been...to get into an Ivy.  Watching the kids I know who've been that route, it's a pretty familiar situation.  When he decided, 3 years after graduating, to apply to medical school, he applied widely, and did not get a single interview.  The following year, he got one single interview, and was waitlisted.  He eventually got in to that school and the rest is history.  I have often thought that if one single thing about his application had been weaker, like NOT going to a school with a very excellent academic reputation, he would simply not have gotten in.  So I DO think that having been to a top school  helped him, perhaps in a critical way.  OTOH, I don't honestly consider places like regional unis honors programs to be all that different form Ivies, in terms of reputation and
quality of academics, and probably most employers and graduate programs think the same.   

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I don't want you all to think that I think and Ivy is the only path to happiness.  That is completely untrue.  But I do think that anyone who is fortunate enough to attend a top school will find all kinds of opportunities and connections that might not otherwise have been available to them.  

 

 

I'll give an example.  My dh attended an Ivy.  He was a rather unfocused, B\C student, history major, with no long term plan.  His lifelong, long term plan up until that point had been...to get into an Ivy.  Watching the kids I know who've been that route, it's a pretty familiar situation.  When he decided, 3 years after graduating, to apply to medical school, he applied widely, and did not get a single interview.  The following year, he got one single interview, and was waitlisted.  He eventually got in to that school and the rest is history.  I have often thought that if one single thing about his application had been weaker, like NOT going to a school with a very excellent academic reputation, he would simply not have gotten in.  So I DO think that having been to a top school  helped him, perhaps in a critical way.  OTOH, I don't honestly consider places like regional unis honors programs to be all that different form Ivies, in terms of reputation and
quality of academics, and probably most employers and graduate programs think the same.   

 

 

I feel I should stipulate that I have no skin in this game: While I freely acknowledge that either or both of my kids could be Ivy material, neither went that route. And given their areas of interest, neither graduate schools nor high-powered law firms will ever need to be impressed by the names on their degrees. My younger and last student is happily enrolled at the college of his choice, so I won't ever have to supervise the high school preparation or college selection process again. And given that both of mine are thriving, I don't feel the need to defend their choices to anyone.

 

I have to say, though, that I look at a lot of these stories and see a certain amount of confirmation bias.

 

For example, while reading the story above, I can totally see a story from the other side about a student who attended a good-enough school and got excellent grades and got into the same medical school, thus "proving" that it doesn't matter where you go to college.

 

Similarly, people who attend prestigious colleges probably do get jobs in which the names of the colleges they attended are noticed and considered a plus. Consequently, they assume it's important to have attended such a college to get such a job. But the many others who get similar jobs at other firms/companies at which name brand colleges don't matter as much will happily tell you that attending an Ivy doesn't matter.

 

The only reputable studies I've seen done of this issue suggest that students who were admitted to highly selective schools and chose to go elsewhere do about as well by every identifiable measure as their peers who attended the more prestigious option. So, while I'm willing to stipulate that for some small number of fields, attending an Ivy or "Ivy-equivalent" might open some doors, my gut tells me that, for the vast majority of students, the number and type of door opened may be less significant than many of us think.

 

Edit: I went searching for a good link to any of the studies I remembered reading about. I haven't found a link yet to any of the original material, but here's a quick summary of the findings of one of those studies:

 

http://www.quora.com/Does-attending-an-Ivy-League-school-really-matter

 

(Formatting is from the original article, so the italics and bold are not mine.)

 

Krueger and Dale examined sets of students who had started college in 1976 and in 1989; that way, they could get a sense of incomes both earlier and later careers. And they determined that the graduates of more selective colleges could expect earnings 7 percent greater than graduates of less selective colleges, even if the graduates in that latter group had SAT scores and high school GPAs identical to those of their peers at more exclusive institutions. 

 

But then Krueger and Dale made their adjustment. They looked specifically at graduates of less selective colleges who had applied to more exclusive ones even though they hadn’t gone there. And they discovered that the difference in earnings pretty much disappeared. Someone with a given SAT score who had gone to Penn State but had also applied to the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school with a much lower acceptance rate, generally made the same amount of money later on as someone with an equivalent SAT score who was an alumnus of UPenn. It was a fascinating conclusion, suggesting that at a certain level of intelligence and competence, what drives earnings isn’t the luster of the diploma but the type of person in possession of it. If he or she came from a background and a mindset that made an elite institution seem desirable and within reach, then he or she was more likely to have the tools and temperament for a high income down the road, whether an elite institution ultimately came into play or not. This was powerfully reflected in a related determination that Krueger and Dale made in their 2011 study: “The average SAT score of schools that rejected a student is more than twice as strong a predictor of the student’s subsequent earnings as the average SAT score of the school the student attended.â€

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Before we devolve back into the "why you really need to send your child to a name brand school" conversation, perhaps we can continue to address the incredible cost of college tuition?

 

This has probably been posted before, but this New York Times article proposes that the rapid rise in tuition has nothing to do with state funding cuts. From what I can gather from a quick reading of the article, we are appropriating more spending, not less, on higher education, in part due the significant increase in the number of students enrolled.

 

The writer also throws out the following possible reasons:

 

"Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

 

The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments. Even the explosion in administrative personnel is, at least in theory, defensible. On the other hand, there are no valid arguments to support the recent trend toward seven-figure salaries for high-ranking university administrators, unless one considers evidence-free assertions about “the market†to be intellectually rigorous."

 

The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much

 

So  in part, we are talking about mid-level management bloat?  It's a fairly simplistic editorial and certainly not the whole picture.

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The writer also throws out the following possible reasons:

 

"Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.

 

The rapid increase in college enrollment can be defended by intellectually respectable arguments. Even the explosion in administrative personnel is, at least in theory, defensible. On the other hand, there are no valid arguments to support the recent trend toward seven-figure salaries for high-ranking university administrators, unless one considers evidence-free assertions about “the market†to be intellectually rigorous."

 

The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much

 

So  in part, we are talking about mid-level management bloat?  It's a fairly simplistic editorial and certainly not the whole picture.

 

Yes, management bloat does most definitely contributes to the rising cost.

The growth of administrator positions far outpaces the growth of faculty positions without being helpful in coping with increased enrollment. New administrator positions are created that did not exist before, while faculty hires, at best, replace retirements.

 

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I feel I should stipulate that I have no skin in this game: While I freely acknowledge that either or both of my kids could be Ivy material, neither went that route. And given their areas of interest, neither graduate schools nor high-powered law firms will ever need to be impressed by the names on their degrees. My younger and last student is happily enrolled at the college of his choice, so I won't ever have to supervise the high school preparation or college selection process again. And given that both of mine are thriving, I don't feel the need to defend their choices to anyone.

 

I have to say, though, that I look at a lot of these stories and see a certain amount of confirmation bias.

 

For example, while reading the story above, I can totally see a story from the other side about a student who attended a good-enough school and got excellent grades and got into the same medical school, thus "proving" that it doesn't matter where you go to college.

 

Similarly, people who attend prestigious colleges probably do get jobs in which the names of the colleges they attended are noticed and considered a plus. Consequently, they assume it's important to have attended such a college to get such a job. But the many others who get similar jobs at other firms/companies at which name brand colleges don't matter as much will happily tell you that attending an Ivy doesn't matter.

 

The only reputable studies I've seen done of this issue suggest that students who were admitted to highly selective schools and chose to go elsewhere do about as well by every identifiable measure as their peers who attended the more prestigious option. So, while I'm willing to stipulate that for some small number of fields, attending an Ivy or "Ivy-equivalent" might open some doors, my gut tells me that, for the vast majority of students, the number and type of door opened may be less significant than many of us think.

 

Edit: I went searching for a good link to any of the studies I remembered reading about. I haven't found a link yet to any of the original material, but here's a quick summary of the findings of one of those studies:

 

http://www.quora.com/Does-attending-an-Ivy-League-school-really-matter

 

(Formatting is from the original article, so the italics and bold are not mine.)

 

Krueger and Dale examined sets of students who had started college in 1976 and in 1989; that way, they could get a sense of incomes both earlier and later careers. And they determined that the graduates of more selective colleges could expect earnings 7 percent greater than graduates of less selective colleges, even if the graduates in that latter group had SAT scores and high school GPAs identical to those of their peers at more exclusive institutions. 

 

But then Krueger and Dale made their adjustment. They looked specifically at graduates of less selective colleges who had applied to more exclusive ones even though they hadn’t gone there. And they discovered that the difference in earnings pretty much disappeared. Someone with a given SAT score who had gone to Penn State but had also applied to the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school with a much lower acceptance rate, generally made the same amount of money later on as someone with an equivalent SAT score who was an alumnus of UPenn. It was a fascinating conclusion, suggesting that at a certain level of intelligence and competence, what drives earnings isn’t the luster of the diploma but the type of person in possession of it. If he or she came from a background and a mindset that made an elite institution seem desirable and within reach, then he or she was more likely to have the tools and temperament for a high income down the road, whether an elite institution ultimately came into play or not. This was powerfully reflected in a related determination that Krueger and Dale made in their 2011 study: “The average SAT score of schools that rejected a student is more than twice as strong a predictor of the student’s subsequent earnings as the average SAT score of the school the student attended.â€

 

Jenny, thank you so much for posting this. There are definitely times I get the feeling that the "right" path advocated is the one your or yourself have taken, even though your situation can be vastly different from someone else's.

 

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Yes, management bloat does most definitely contributes to the rising cost.

The growth of administrator positions far outpaces the growth of faculty positions without being helpful in coping with increased enrollment. New administrator positions are created that did not exist before, while faculty hires, at best, replace retirements.

 

 

In that same article was this about the salaries of the professors:

 

"Interestingly, increased spending has not been going into the pockets of the typical professor. Salaries of full-time faculty members are, on average, barely higher than they were in 1970. Moreover, while 45 years ago 78 percent of college and university professors were full time, today half of postsecondary faculty members are lower-paid part-time employees, meaning that the average salaries of the people who do the teaching in American higher education are actually quite a bit lower than they were in 1970."

 

This disturbs me to no end. How in the world do we expect to stay internationally competitive if the people truly responsible for higher education are not paid accordingly?

 

On a lower level it reminds me of our school district that is waiting for an AP Bio teacher to retire because he is perceived as "too expensive," never mind that he has exceptionally high pass rates for the AP exams.

 

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Jenny, thank you so much for posting this. There are definitely times I get the feeling that the "right" path advocated is the one your or yourself have taken, even though your situation can be vastly different from someone else's.

 

 

I know I've appreciated my years working in our average public high school.  With hundreds of kids graduating each year and a reasonable percentage of those going on into some sort of post high school education, I've been able to see a multitude of right paths - and some wrong ones.

 

It definitely helped when it came to starting my own search efforts.

 

The advice I suggest to kids varies according to their needs/wants.  It SHOULD work that way.  There is no ONE right path for all IME, but almost all tend to do quite well on the right path for them.  That right path seldom includes just "one" option for college (or other post high school education).

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Sorry, one more possible cause to add to why college tuition is so high. This is from the comments section on the NYT piece:

 

 

J. Scott Lewis Pennsylvania 5 April 2015

"As a professor, I know a little bit about this issue. There are three main reasons why college costs are increasing so much. The article touched on two of them: too many administrators; and too many kids in college. The first is just a growth of bureaucracy to manage the second. When you expand the college rosters, you inevitably have to taken lower quality students, which then necessitates more support services to make sure these students have a reasonable chance of graduating. That costs money both in the service itself, and in the management of the service. Finally, the number one thing that students and parents look at when choosing a college is NOT academic programs or rigor. It's amenities! Does the college have nice dorms? A gym? A pool? Things to do? So colleges invest huge sums in providing these amenities to students. That costs money."

 

The part in bold never occurred to me. The last part goes back to an earlier part of our discussion.

 

 

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And for an opposing opinion:

 

The New York Times Offers One of the Worst Explanations You’ll Read of Why College Is So Expensive

 

On that note, I'll go do something constructive as I just realized I've confused the two threads I've been following and mulling over. :tongue_smilie:

 

I think many of us more or less consider them the same thread.  ;)

 

And regarding your previous post, yes to the part after the bolded too.  MANY students AND parents pick the "better" school based upon amenities...  :glare:   It's hard to fault schools for feeling they have to keep up, because they do, or so it really seems anyway.  Not many want to buy the fixer upper even if it costs less.  If there's not enough demand, it's tough to keep going, not to mention, getting rated decently.

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