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dereksurfs

Reasons to Consider a Less Selective, Less Expensive College

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Hoggirl, the problem is the answer can be relative based on the student's skills, interests and preferences which really transcend national rankings, cost estimators and the like. In addition, I think there will always exceptions to the rule. Some have given examples where costs were actually lower at the more select schools for their particular students. So it doesn't hurt to apply to those schools 'if' they represent a good fit at a reasonable price. The real question is it really worth a major stretch financially and possibly academically just to be at the elite school? Will it really make a difference in the long run over one's professional life? I know I In my area of work in the tech industry, there is very little weight given to these factors. I think at the very least one should weigh the pros/cons in light of a student's career goals before considering elite schools a better choice. 

 

If the student is stretching academically, its worth it, if they are willing to put the time into it.  If it stresses them, its not. 

 

In the long run, I think it does help to go to a top ranked school, as it helps one get one's foot in the door for employment when one is  still  young, especially in poor economic times.   I went to the number 2 school for my major (nonelite state U), and it did help me find opportunities.  I had HR people specifically tell me they asked the hiring managers to sift out the people from respected colleges. I've even been approached after not working for ten years...employers are looking for excellent problem solving and communication skills plus work ethic and they know what schools graduate those types of people.  

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I like that, too, but I'd be concerned about dd relating to the other students.  Right now she's a DE student at our local CC.  We are very happy with the instructors at the CC, but dd says most of the other students aren't motivated at all.  So far, she's always had the highest grades in her classes and her professors are always gushing about what a great student she is and how they wish more students were like her.  She doesn't understand why the other students don't strive to do better than they do and has no interest in socializing with them because they are so different than she is.  This may change once she gets to more upper-level classes, though.  

 

ETA:  With my older kids, we found that some less selective schools offered very little merit aid while some more selective schools offered a lot.  I encouraged them to apply where they were interested and see what was offered.  The safety school my twins applied to offered a surprisingly low amount while other more selective schools offered much more than expected.  

 

One of my dds really needed to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond - she's very competitive and a perfectionist, but if she can't rise to the top, it totally stresses her out.  A competitive, cutthroat school would do her in.  She was in a high school like that for two years and she spent all her energy swimming to stay ahead of the sharks.  Her first school, though, was too small a pond.  She was in a situation much like you describe your dd's.  Her professors were actually great, and they loved her... but discussions in class were pretty much between her and the prof.  She had no peers.  She was very lonely and felt out of place.

 

She's transferred now to the state flagship where she's probably more like in the top 25% instead of the top 1% or something.  She can work hard and feel like she's excelling, but she has peers.  She's much happier.

 

My other dd is also at a state school.  She's in the Honors program and still not finding things super-challenging.  She got in everywhere she applied, but they did not give us enough merit aid.  I know others have had great luck with the selective schools being cheaper, but the opposite happened with us.  She got half tuition/fees at the state school, which $-wise is less than any of the expensive schools gave, her but that made it $25K less than the expensive schools wanted to charge us in actual dollars.  RIT would have ended up doable, but with loans for her.  She decided against loans.  Her current school also has a great coop program, and a Robotics program (which RIT doesn't).  She did feel a bit out of place the first semester, but by the end of the first year had made friends and now she's really happy.  There are a lot of other kids there that got into WPI and couldn't afford it and went there instead.  She got a paid coop in the Robotics lab last summer which has translated into continued paid work this semester that is fabulous for her resume, and is working towards a professional coop next fall.  It's very true that the classes are probably not as challenging as at the more selective schools, but she will graduate not only debt-free but with money in the bank and will have a strong resume, so she still thinks she made the right choice.

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If the student is stretching academically, its worth it, if they are willing to put the time into it.  If it stresses them, its not. 

 

In the long run, I think it does help to go to a top ranked school, as it helps one get one's foot in the door for employment when one is  still  young, especially in poor economic times.   I went to the number 2 school for my major (nonelite state U), and it did help me find opportunities.  I had HR people specifically tell me they asked the hiring managers to sift out the people from respected colleges. I've even been approached after not working for ten years...employers are looking for excellent problem solving and communication skills plus work ethic and they know what schools graduate those types of people.  

 

I think the bolded is the stereotype that leads to these circular discussions.  My ds graduated in 2011 in the midst of the recession.  He had 4 job offers at graduation.  His university is small, less than 9000 students, and is focused on UG, no real grad programs.  In terms of national rankings, his is a public technological university, not an LAC.  That does not bode well for USNWR rankings.  Industry, otoh, highly recruits from the university.  Their chemE dept has won awards for their hands-on, project, problem-solving focus.

 

When he was hired by a top international chemical company, his new hire orientation was full of GA Tech, VA Tech, UMichigan, etc grads.  They were all hired in at the same entry level position and salary. He has worked right alongside them and has been promoted alongside of them. 

 

Public assessment of schools from the outside via a magazine's ranking system does not necessarily equate to employer perception.

 

That may alter by field, but for chemE, anyway, that has been our ds's experience.

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My other dd is also at a state school.  She's in the Honors program and still not finding things super-challenging.  She got in everywhere she applied, but they did not give us enough merit aid.  I know others have had great luck with the selective schools being cheaper, but the opposite happened with us.  She got half tuition/fees at the state school, which $-wise is less than any of the expensive schools gave, her but that made it $25K less than the expensive schools wanted to charge us in actual dollars.  RIT would have ended up doable, but with loans for her.  She decided against loans.  Her current school also has a great coop program, and a Robotics program (which RIT doesn't).  She did feel a bit out of place the first semester, but by the end of the first year had made friends and now she's really happy.  There are a lot of other kids there that got into WPI and couldn't afford it and went there instead.  She got a paid coop in the Robotics lab last summer which has translated into continued paid work this semester that is fabulous for her resume, and is working towards a professional coop next fall.  It's very true that the classes are probably not as challenging as at the more selective schools, but she will graduate not only debt-free but with money in the bank and will have a strong resume, so she still thinks she made the right choice.

 

The bolded is why I caution people IRL to run the numbers for themselves and to make informed decisions. There are just so many variables in financial aid that it is impossible to generalize to either "selective schools are more expensive" or "selective schools are cheaper". I often tell the story of how for my ds, the private selective school was cheaper because so many people I know IRL say that their kid will go to state U since it is cheaper. In some cases state U is cheaper, but not always.

 

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I think the bolded is the stereotype that leads to these circular discussions. 

 

I believe its the lack of literal wording that leads to circular discussions. To reach everyone in the audience I would say:

 

go to a ranked program in the desired field

study with respected experts in the field

ignore the college ranking

ignore the university ranking

 

 

We will have to disagree on the idea that the bolded is a sterotype.  In addition to those attributes, employers are also looking for leadership skills.

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The bolded is why I caution people IRL to run the numbers for themselves and to make informed decisions. There are just so many variables in financial aid that it is impossible to generalize to either "selective schools are more expensive" or "selective schools are cheaper". I often tell the story of how for my ds, the private selective school was cheaper because so many people I know IRL say that their kid will go to state U since it is cheaper. In some cases state U is cheaper, but not always.

 

Of course parents income and where you live are big factors!

Here in AZ we do not have UC equivalent campuses but both UA and ASU (and somewhat NAU) have good STEM programs. So our affordability choices are less than New York state (my childhood home state) where public and private colleges compete for good students.

UA and ASU reward high achieving AZ resident high school students with at least some merit aid.

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We will have to disagree on the idea that the bolded is a sterotype. In addition to those attributes, employers are also looking for leadership skills.

It isn't the qualities that are a stereotype. I agree those are the qualties that employers want.

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I'm not defensive. I completely agree that if a top school is not financially affordable, it shouldn't be considered at all. I have always stated that students need to be aware ahead of time what their budgets are.

 

The linked article was written in October 2008. At that point, there were undoubtedly many families who had not previously faced financial constraints. Suddenly, they did. If I were guessing, that is the intended audience. Those who assumed jr could choose wherever he wanted and suddenly couldn't. It was written to persuade families who had had a drastic shift in circumstances not to make poor choices out of guilt. That is true for everyone at any point in time. People shouldn't be guilted into spending/borrowing out of guilt. However, this was written following a huge financial downturn.

Edited by Hoggirl
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My older ds, currently a college freshman, is the complete opposite. He has been craving peer interactions at his level for years. He audited history classes at a local top liberal arts college, and loved the discussions. So he really, really did not want to go somewhere to be a big fish in a small pond. He wanted the other fish to be like him, if you know what I mean. For some kids the small pond is ideal, for some it isn't.

 

DS wasn't accepted at his top choice school, but he does seem happy where he is now. And we're happy because it is affordable. I just wanted to share to say that the small pond isn't necessarily the best choice for every kid. Now my younger ds is completely different, and we'll need to figure things out all over again.

 

JeanM, you make a good point. And I know other families on here who had the same experience for their DC. I would never suggest that isn't a good decision for them. Rather it was a great fit in those cases. 

 

I think we could honestly have an entire thread on this one topic alone and it would be interesting to discuss the pros/cons. I do like hearing both sides of the story as valuable to consider. Let's face it, *every* child is so different even in the same family. In one case being a big fish in a small pond bring numerous opportunities for the student to shine brightest and really excel. They get more direct instructor and department head interaction along with offers to intern, lead various teams, etc... In another case, like your son's, being a medium fish in a large pond offers many other benefits. For example, maybe that school in particular is doing exciting research in his field of study which encourages him to pursue grad school at the same school perhaps. That's a tangible benefit.

Edited by dereksurfs
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One of my dds really needed to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond - she's very competitive and a perfectionist, but if she can't rise to the top, it totally stresses her out.  A competitive, cutthroat school would do her in.  She was in a high school like that for two years and she spent all her energy swimming to stay ahead of the sharks.  Her first school, though, was too small a pond.  She was in a situation much like you describe your dd's.  Her professors were actually great, and they loved her... but discussions in class were pretty much between her and the prof.  She had no peers.  She was very lonely and felt out of place.

 

She's transferred now to the state flagship where she's probably more like in the top 25% instead of the top 1% or something.  She can work hard and feel like she's excelling, but she has peers.  She's much happier.

 

My other dd is also at a state school.  She's in the Honors program and still not finding things super-challenging.  She got in everywhere she applied, but they did not give us enough merit aid.  I know others have had great luck with the selective schools being cheaper, but the opposite happened with us.  She got half tuition/fees at the state school, which $-wise is less than any of the expensive schools gave, her but that made it $25K less than the expensive schools wanted to charge us in actual dollars.  RIT would have ended up doable, but with loans for her.  She decided against loans.  Her current school also has a great coop program, and a Robotics program (which RIT doesn't).  She did feel a bit out of place the first semester, but by the end of the first year had made friends and now she's really happy.  There are a lot of other kids there that got into WPI and couldn't afford it and went there instead.  She got a paid coop in the Robotics lab last summer which has translated into continued paid work this semester that is fabulous for her resume, and is working towards a professional coop next fall.  It's very true that the classes are probably not as challenging as at the more selective schools, but she will graduate not only debt-free but with money in the bank and will have a strong resume, so she still thinks she made the right choice.

 

Matryoshka,

 

Thank you for sharing your families experiences. You have provided an excellent example of how the answer to this question can vary even within the same household. I really enjoyed hearing about your journey in finding the right size pond for your unique fish.  ;) I can envision this journey being different for each of our DC as well.

Edited by dereksurfs
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I really think for everybody whose kid isn't in the top 1%, this is a moot point. There is no choice really. It would be insane to make an admission to an elite school a goal given their acceptance rates even for an academically strong child. Exceptional kid? Maybe. But for everybody else reality needs to dictate the choices.

 

I also think few people would turn down Princeton for SUNY, given an option.

The top 1% aren't the students insee getting themselves into deep water. I See see it more with top 10-20% students whose self perception and family perception is that they are higher performing than they are. Students who end up at quite expensive schools taking rather general degrees that don't tend to have income returns that match the cost of the degree.

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I've been in IT for several decades and remember when Google was a young company. 

[off topic]

I was a very early user of Google and realized it was a quantum leap forward in search. There was no way for me to invest in the them at the time unless you were a venture capital type.

 

Oh well. 

 

At least now some startups have crowd-sourcing type investments.

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The top 1% aren't the students insee getting themselves into deep water. I See see it more with top 10-20% students whose self perception and family perception is that they are higher performing than they are. Students who end up at quite expensive schools taking rather general degrees that don't tend to have income returns that match the cost of the degree.

 

Yes, for example, Ivy degrees in language arts that lead to relatively lower paying jobs with significant debt upon graduation. Maybe that experience was the most wonderful college experience imaginable. But was it essential for that young person's career and was it the best way to start out? Could they have perhaps done just as well professionally while incurring less debt?  Now, if money is no object or they received a significant scholarship, then why not, as long it they actually enjoy the environment?

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Yes, for example, Ivy degrees in language arts that lead to relatively lower paying jobs with significant debt upon graduation. Maybe that experience was the most wonderful college experience imaginable. But was it essential for that young person's career and was it the best way to start out? Could they have perhaps done just as well professionally while incurring less debt? Now, if money is no object or they received a significant scholarship, then why not, as long it they actually enjoy the environment?

See , I would argue that it's precisely in liberal arts where those schools are most enriching and useful. For technical degrees public Us are great, but being a graduate of political science or literature, fields where job opportunities are already so few, it helps to have a name on that diploma. I know how hard it was for many people getting hired in DC because they were competing with freshly minted poly sci degrees from Georgetown, Princeton, Harvard... flooding the job market. It doesn't mean that they are still unemployed, but my friends who got into the more prestigious places (IMF for example) were mostly Ivy League grads.

Computer science, engineering, technical degrees I think are a different animal. In fact some of the best engineering schools are big state Us.

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See , I would argue that it's precisely in liberal arts where those schools are most enriching and useful. For technical degrees public Us are great, but being a graduate of political science or literature, fields where job opportunities are already so few, it helps to have a name on that diploma. I know how hard it was for many people getting hired in DC because they were competing with freshly minted poly sci degrees from Georgetown, Princeton, Harvard... flooding the job market. It doesn't mean that they are still unemployed, but my friends who got into the more prestigious places (IMF for example) were mostly Ivy League grads.

Computer science, engineering, technical degrees I think are a different animal. In fact some of the best engineering schools are big state Us.

 

Yes, there will always being certain professions and/or companies who really care about this type of prestige or pedigree. Law, business, public policy, etc... In those cases, if that is the requirement to get in and its inline with the student's professional goals then it makes sense if they can afford to do so. I think it also can be different for graduates schools vs. undergraduate. For example, law schools or business schools for one's MBA. They can also potentially save through attending a public U for undergrad while saving for a more high dollar grad school.

 

That being said, for a much larger group of college grads, those types of special requirements do not apply.  

Edited by dereksurfs
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[quote name="dereksurfs" post="7884756" timestamp="1511294434

 

That being said, for a much larger group of college grads, those types of special requirements do not apply.

 

Exactly. This is precisely what I have been saying. If you know your goals, then it's easier to decided what to chase.

And know your abilities.

And know what type of education you want because bigger the gap between school ranking, bigger the difference in quality, an example being my local CC versus Stanford. No one in a right mind would argue that the quality of education is equal.

Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of the road in our intellectual abilities and would probably do best in the middle of the road school.

And financials matter, but there are times when getting into debt for a "name" might be a right choice. It isn't always, but these threads really tend to make one feel foolish sometimes to pay for certain schools.

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Exactly. This is precisely what I have been saying. If you know your goals, then it's easier to decided what to chase.

And know your abilities.

And know what type of education you want because bigger the gap between school ranking, bigger the difference in quality, an example being my local CC versus Stanford. No one in a right mind would argue that the quality of education is equal.

Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of the road in our intellectual abilities and would probably do best in the middle of the road school.

And financials matter, but there are times when getting into debt for a "name" might be a right choice. It isn't always, but these threads really tend to make one feel foolish sometimes to pay for certain schools.

 

Certainly this would be true in the cases previously discussed, for example, Harvard Law. That debt would be considered more of an investment into something which once realized could potentially pay off much greater than a public U. By the same token, wouldn't you also agree that the student debt crisis is at all time highs in the US? And the vast majority did not go to Harvard for Law.  :D  :p

Edited by dereksurfs
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See , I would argue that it's precisely in liberal arts where those schools are most enriching and useful. For technical degrees public Us are great, but being a graduate of political science or literature, fields where job opportunities are already so few, it helps to have a name on that diploma. I know how hard it was for many people getting hired in DC because they were competing with freshly minted poly sci degrees from Georgetown, Princeton, Harvard... flooding the job market. It doesn't mean that they are still unemployed, but my friends who got into the more prestigious places (IMF for example) were mostly Ivy League grads.

Computer science, engineering, technical degrees I think are a different animal. In fact some of the best engineering schools are big state Us.

And yet there are 8 state uni's that are ranked higher for poli sci than either Cornell or Penn, 16 that are ranked higher than Georgetown, and 20 ranked higher than Brown. So if kids from Georgetown were being hired while those from UNC, UCB, UM, UCLA, OSU, or UTA were passed over merely because they went to a state uni, then that's more about snobbery than the actual quality of education.

 

Plus the number of students who are competing for prestigious jobs in one particular field, in one particular city, and who had a choice between an Ivy and a state school, is truly minuscule. Anyone can come up with very specific examples where students who major in this particular subject, who want a career in that particular sector, and who have been accepted to both elite schools and lower ranked schools, and who can afford an elite school with little debt, may be better off choosing the elite school. But that's not really what this thread is about.

 

The research is pretty clear that for the vast majority of students who have the ability to attend elite schools, choosing a less elite school does not negatively impact their careers or finances in the long run. If a kid can get an English degree from Penn without stressing themselves to the point of breaking and without being crippled by long-term debt when they get out, then good for them. But if it means spending the next 10 years eating ramen and sharing a house with 6 roommates in order to pay off a huge debt, while making little more than the kid who got her English degree from Ohio State, then that may not have been the best choice.

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The top 1% aren't the students insee getting themselves into deep water. I See see it more with top 10-20% students whose self perception and family perception is that they are higher performing than they are. Students who end up at quite expensive schools taking rather general degrees that don't tend to have income returns that match the cost of the degree.

 

I agree. I am helping a young man right now in that range with serious financial limitations, along with some decent, but not top 1% stats. His mother is certain that a free education is his for the taking, wherever he wants to go. It's hard to get him excited about the excellent, realistic, if not glamorous, full ride options that he COULD have when mom dreams of elite schools.

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Certainly this would be true in the cases previously discussed, for example, Harvard Law. That debt would be considered more of an investment into something which once realized could potentially pay off much greater than a public U. By the same token, wouldn't you also agree that the student debt crisis is at all time highs in the US? And the vast majority did not go to Harvard for Law. :D :p

My understanding is the for profit schools have a big role to play in the debt crisis. I am not saying people don't end up in trouble from top schools, but I think the danger is bigger at the for profit outfits.

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I agree. I am helping a young man right now in that range with serious financial limitations, along with some decent, but not top 1% stats. His mother is certain that a free education is his for the taking, wherever he wants to go. It's hard to get him excited about the excellent, realistic, if not glamorous, full ride options that he COULD have when mom dreams of elite schools.

 

I know a kid who is bright but not remotely top 1%, whose mother is convinced he's a genius, and they both believe that he will have no trouble getting into an Ivy. He's enrolled in an online school that is not known for rigor, is doing the absolute minimum to graduate, and his test scores are good but not exceptional. He is a good athlete, but is not at a level where an Ivy coach would use one of his limited recruiting slots on a kid with mediocre academics. I asked if he'd considered Ohio or Penn State (and even there I think his academics and ECs would be on the low end of average), and he literally wrinkled his nose and said "no, my mom and I think I should focus on the Ivies." He said this in front of DS (whose academic stats and athletic rank are much higher than his), as if Ohio State was totally beneath him. His family are very wealthy and he is an only child, but I think he's about to find out the hard way that there are some things money alone can't buy.

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My understanding is the for profit schools have a big role to play in the debt crisis. I am not saying people don't end up in trouble from top schools, but I think the danger is bigger at the for profit outfits.

 

It would be interesting to see the breakdown in a graph. I think there are some from every type of school though I don't know the percentage split. I could speculate that the more expensive schools contribute to a larger percentage of that overall debt which isn't much of a leap.

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It would be interesting to see the breakdown in a graph. I think there are some from every type of school though I don't know the percentage split. I could speculate that the more expensive schools contribute to a larger percentage of that overall debt which isn't much of a leap.

I would love that too. There are some surface stats, but not detailed enough to say much.

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/09/the-failure-of-for-profit-colleges/405301/

 

 

This looks promising, but I am running out of the door. Will play with it when I have time.

http://oedb.org/rankings/default-rate/

Edited by Roadrunner

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It would be interesting to see the breakdown in a graph. I think there are some from every type of school though I don't know the percentage split. I could speculate that the more expensive schools contribute to a larger percentage of that overall debt which isn't much of a leap.

something like this

https://www.thesimpledollar.com/ranking-the-best-and-worst-schools-for-student-loan-debt/

 

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2017-07-04/10-colleges-where-grads-have-high-debt

 

https://lendedu.com/blog/student-loan-debt-rankings-school-level-2017/

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. I asked if he'd considered Ohio or Penn State (and even there I think his academics and ECs would be on the low end of average), and he literally wrinkled his nose and said "no, my mom and I think I should focus on the Ivies." He said this in front of DS (whose academic stats and athletic rank are much higher than his), as if Ohio State was totally beneath him. His family are very wealthy and he is an only child, but I think he's about to find out the hard way that there are some things money alone can't buy.

 Don't count him out. Money does count if he is marginally qualified.   Kennedy clan--Harvard; Bush group--Yale; Trumps--U Penn.  Nobody in this group considered a particularly bright student. Yes, not even JFK.

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 Don't count him out. Money does count if he is marginally qualified.   Kennedy clan--Harvard; Bush group--Yale; Trumps--U Penn.  Nobody in this group considered a particularly bright student. Yes, not even JFK.

 

My understanding is that under the current state of Ivy admissions, money only counts in true development cases, like 7-figure donations.

 

On the other hand, if his stats put him decently inside the middle 50 percentiles, then acceptance becomes possible.  (Ivies are need-blind for admission, so other than prior development of interesting-ness and stats, coming from a very wealthy family does not affect admission directly.)

Edited by wapiti
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My understanding is the for profit schools have a big role to play in the debt crisis. I am not saying people don't end up in trouble from top schools, but I think the danger is bigger at the for profit outfits.

It would be interesting to see the breakdown in a graph. I think there are some from every type of school though I don't know the percentage split. I could speculate that the more expensive schools contribute to a larger percentage of that overall debt which isn't much of a leap.

 

 

The most recent year I can find comparable stats for is 2014. Total student loan debt was $1.3 trillion, of which $229 million was owed by students who attended for-profit colleges. The average amount of debt per capita is higher at for-profits, followed by private nonprofits, public uni's, and CCs, in that order. But the number of students who attend for-profits is much smaller than the number attending nonprofit schools, so the for-profit debt only represents about 17% of the total debt.

 

These stats are from 2012:

66% of graduates from public colleges have loans, averaging $25,550

75% of students from private nonprofits have loans, averaging $32,300 

88% of students from for-profits have loans, averaging $39,950

 

Some other interesting stats:

 

Student loan debt is the second highest form of debt in the U.S., second only to mortgages

63% of millennials have more than $10K in student loan debt, and 25% owe more than $30K

In 2013, 30% of those aged 55-64 still had student loan debt

 

Over 73% of borrowers have delayed saving for retirement because of their debt

$30K in student loans can reduce retirement savings by as much as $325K

 

Around 63% of borrowers have delayed buying a home because of their debt

Almost 30% of borrowers move back in with their parents after graduation

 

Almost 28% borrowers have delayed getting married because of their debt

Over 34% of borrowers have delayed starting a family because of their debt

Over 47% of borrowers have delayed buying a car because of their debt

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In my little sphere of the world, personality, drive, and desire seem to have far more influence on outcomes than the actual school attended. My niece is VP of top data analysis company in NYC. She is over 500 employees. Her degree is an art history degree from one of the lesser directional u's in NC. Then there is a young lady with a degree in medieval studies and Italian from Norte Dame who works as a receptionist in a church office. Those scenarios reflect who they are as people, not where they went to school.

 

The entire conversation is pretty much unanswerable. Who knows what would happen if person A had gone to school C instead of B. Are a small handful to celebrity level outcomes reflective of an entire school? Are lesser outcomes? How much are long term outcomes influenced by the family behind the student before they even step on campus? (My dad was an astute, savvy businessman who knew how to sell himself as the man for the job, and my niece definitely walks in his footsteps.) Is someone who decides they want to work their hometown at a lower prestige job, but higher personal satisfaction life, less accomplished? (How about all of us well-educated, stay-at-home homeschooling moms not using our degrees in the workforce?)

 

The focus on strictly on high-power outcomes with compelling-type careers does not match degree or school. Those types of careers really require high-energy, career-focused people. A degree alone is not going to make up for a low energy, less career driven individual. Sometimes doors open that are just a matter of simple timing and circumstances and have nothing to do with any school at all. Sometimes a compelling personality can find a path forward that others never could.

 

Tldr--I think it can a be a whole of lot much ado about nothing. Most people just want a good life.

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Don't count him out. Money does count if he is marginally qualified.   Kennedy clan--Harvard; Bush group--Yale; Trumps--U Penn.  Nobody in this group considered a particularly bright student. Yes, not even JFK.

In 1960 U Penn admitted 70% of applicants, and even as recently as 1980 the admission rate was 40% with average SAT scores of 1230. In 2017 the admission rate is 9% and the average SAT score is just under 1500.

 

This kid's test scores are at about the 25th percentile for Ivies and his transcript is even worse (online diploma meeting bare minimum requirements, with no honors or AP classes — and neither he nor his mom have any clue that this is an issue). No ECs except his sport, and he's not very highly ranked in his sport. I know for sure that he's not being recruited as an athlete by any Ivy, and since he's not a legacy or development admit either, I think he has zero chance of admission. And yet they will not even look at other schools — kiddo says he will just "take a second gap year" if he doesn't get in this year. (Apparently he had no idea that this would affect his NCAA eligibility). His mom has no clue about college admissions and a completely unrealistic idea of how her son stacks up to other Ivy applicants. It's just an attitude of "Ivies are the best, and we deserve the best, so nothing less will do."

 

I feel really bad for the kid, because he is either going to end up at a school that is more in line with his abilities (and be terribly disappointed at having to "settle" for that) or he will end up not going to college at all and just get into real estate development like his parents. Not that there's anything wrong with that if it's what he wants to do, but I think the whole idea that "anything less than an Ivy education is just not worth it" is totally nuts!

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It would be interesting to see the breakdown in a graph. I think there are some from every type of school though I don't know the percentage split. I could speculate that the more expensive schools contribute to a larger percentage of that overall debt which isn't much of a leap.

A lot of the profiles of students with significant debt struck me as being rather predictable.

 

Students who were well ranked at struggling schools, accepted to highly ranked and expensive colleges and then struggling to pay. When they start having trouble adapting to the academic demands they don't have the experience or network to know how to seek help and end up leaving with low grades, no degree and debt.

 

Student who took out $100+ loans for a private college degree in communications and is shocked to find no local jobs for that degree.

 

Student who felt a selective school was their right and a state school was a let down. Paying for the bumper sticker.

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I feel really bad for the kid, because he is either going to end up at a school that is more in line with his abilities (and be terribly disappointed at having to "settle" for that) or he will end up not going to college at all and just get into real estate development like his parents. Not that there's anything wrong with that if it's what he wants to do, but I think the whole idea that "anything less than an Ivy education is just not worth it" is totally nuts!

 

You might encourage him to start visiting schools early.  Info sessions at such schools, in my experience, are quite clear about the test scores, grades, and courses they expect their applicants to have.

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I feel really bad for the kid, because he is either going to end up at a school that is more in line with his abilities (and be terribly disappointed at having to "settle" for that) or he will end up not going to college at all and just get into real estate development like his parents. Not that there's anything wrong with that if it's what he wants to do, but I think the whole idea that "anything less than an Ivy education is just not worth it" is totally nuts!

 

In addition to the suggestion below to encourage visits, you might be able to share info how to find the profiles on accepted students.

 

When I do info nights for my alma mater, I don't necessarily ask students what there scores are.  I do show them the test stats, average gpa, and percentage involved in various activities.  I point out that it is usually best to be in the top 25% rather than in the middle.  I also point out that the bottom 25% is usually students who have some EXCEPTIONAL reason for accepting them, like being a highly recruited athlete or some other highly sought after student.  

 

I also have to accept that it isn't my role to correct the inaccurate perceptions of all students.  I point people to the information they need to draw conclusions.  I show them what is required to apply to my alma mater and will discuss what is most important and what the application timeline is.  If they think they can ignore requirements, have low stats, and throw an application together the night before it is due, then they will generally not be accepted.  

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I have two college students.  One is at a highly selective (single digit acceptance) school.  The other is at a state school with 75% acceptance.  Both are in great schools for what they want to do.

 

The state school student is doing computer science, and seems to be learning a ton.  But he is also heavily involved in the school's Corps of Cadets and the Navy ROTC. The school also has a passionate alumni network.

 

Their stats were similar and they both hope to be naval officers.  But I can't picture either of them happy at the other brother's school.

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I really think for everybody whose kid isn't in the top 1%, this is a moot point. There is no choice really. It would be insane to make an admission to an elite school a goal given their acceptance rates even for an academically strong child. Exceptional kid? Maybe. But for everybody else reality needs to dictate the choices.

 

I also think few people would turn down Princeton for SUNY, given an option.

 

 

It's not a matter of turning down Princeton for SUNY, though, it's a matter of turning down Princeton at a cost of $240,000 for SUNY at a cost of $0.

 

Is Princeton with $240,000 to every student who is accepted there?  Probably not.

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It's not a matter of turning down Princeton for SUNY, though, it's a matter of turning down Princeton at a cost of $240,000 for SUNY at a cost of $0.

 

Is Princeton with $240,000 to every student who is accepted there? Probably not.

Those schools tend to be very generous with a need based aid, so it's highly unlikely one would end up with $250,000 in loans. So the comparison isn't that drastic.

And as far as spending that type of money on education if you have it? We all spend the money the way we value. Some people buy big houses, others fancy cars, and some spend it on education.

People aren't going to value the same things. I think it's just fine for some people to spend that sort of money on education. And it's Ok for others to chose the free option.

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but I think the whole idea that "anything less than an Ivy education is just not worth it" is totally nuts!

I have never encountered such extreme opinion. There are all kinds in this world, but I would think people who think it's Ivy or nothing are a rare breed.

I am more likely to encounter the opinion that the education you get at a 4 year Uni that admits kids with less than average scores is the same as education one gets at selective schools. I maintain that a math class at U of Chicago is very different than the one at our community college.

I think people need to make the right decision for themselves and there is no one right choice for everyone. Remedial classes have their place and so do pressure cookers.

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Thanks for another interesting discussion! My senior DD's list runs the gamut of selectivity from state U's to "reach for everyone" status. It will be interesting to see what happens.

 

Honestly, I think we'd all be fine with her at her safety school, Arizona. They may not be at the top of the "rankings," but they are great for her major. She saw no reason to add any more safety schools.

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I have two college students.  One is at a highly selective (single digit acceptance) school.  The other is at a state school with 75% acceptance.  Both are in great schools for what they want to do.

 

The state school student is doing computer science, and seems to be learning a ton.  But he is also heavily involved in the school's Corps of Cadets and the Navy ROTC. The school also has a passionate alumni network.

 

Their stats were similar and they both hope to be naval officers.  But I can't picture either of them happy at the other brother's school.

 

Thanks for sharing this, Sebastian. I find these types of stories the most telling of our diverse group of kids and the variety of best fits. Its funny how two brothers can have such similar goals in becoming naval officers yet also have stark differences in school choices. Speaking of the Navy and schools, I live right next door to the Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) where we've made so many great friends from those who attend. They are truly a fantastic group of young men and women. And what a great deal for them if selected to attend with a full ride plus officer salary while attending! 

 

Just curious on the one at the selective school. Is he also majoring in a STEM area?

Edited by dereksurfs
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Those schools tend to be very generous with a need based aid, so it's highly unlikely one would end up with $250,000 in loans. So the comparison isn't that drastic.

And as far as spending that type of money on education if you have it? We all spend the money the way we value. Some people buy big houses, others fancy cars, and some spend it on education.

People aren't going to value the same things. I think it's just fine for some people to spend that sort of money on education. And it's Ok for others to chose the free option.

 

 

Sure, it's fine to spend as you like it when you have it :)  

 

Our bill at Princeton would be $250,000.  We would get no need based aid.  While technically we could not save for retirement and not educate the rest of our children (we have 6 so far, one on the way, and I am in my early 30s, so we're looking at a lot of kids to educate), I don't necessarily think it would be a wise monetary investment, although of course it depends on the student and the area of study and etc.  

 

We rent; we don't have a big house.  Our (only) car is a 2014 Focus.

 

ETA: we own a small business, and while income is good, assets are minimal at the moment as we pay back student loans, taxes, etc.  Even once we are saving serious amounts of money, because there is no guarantee in a small business (especially ours, based online and pretty niche), we can't rely on things like unemployment compensation or employer-matched 401Ks or worker's comp or anything like that.  Savings in our case is crucial; if the business went under for some reason or we were both injured or unable to work for several months (even a few months), we'd be in real trouble.  It took years to build, and I don't know that I could build another one.  We're not unemployable otherwise but we'd make about 20% of our current income.  So I do prioritize savings pretty heavily over frivolous spending.

 

 

I'm all for spending money on education when it seems like a sound monetary investment, or when it's something you can't get somewhere else and has value for its own sake, but there are indeed people (us among them) who will have kids who can get into Princeton but will not be willing to pay for it when there are sufficient free or close-to-free options.

 

 

Also, while $250k vs $0 seems pretty drastic, for people who have rather a passel of kids, it's not $250k or $0, it's more like $1 million or $0, or even $2 million (if they all got into Ivies and we wanted to treat them equally).  We have a limited amount of $ we're willing or able to spend on education; even if the total were $250k, and it is not, I can't see sending that all off with one kid out of 6 or 8 or 10, barring really extraordinary circumstances.

Edited by eternalsummer
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We've taken debt into consideration as far as DS's major is concerned -- but the schools were selected based upon:

 

-strength of major program (placing students into paid internship positions, average salary, grad school acceptance)

-swimming program

-cost/merit aid

 

LEGOManiac wouldn't be happy at most of the elite schools (other than USNA/King's Point/USCGA -- but those he would have to apply for entrance in 2019).  Most of the schools (prior to Merit Aid/Scholarships) in-state, out of state and private, all come out about equal on the financial end -- as there is no choice that would be a reasonable commute (moreover, we don't know where we'll be living in 2 years).  DS should be accepted into every school he's applied.  The most difficult one to get into, he's already been accepted.  He is being recruited by two other schools, and should be accepted there as well.  It will all come down to finances for us.

 

PonyGirl will be applying to a few elite schools -- USNA, Harvard and MIT.  Her intended major is math.  Swimming is her "hook" for MIT.  Her top choice schools are mostly small to medium, only one "large" school.  She will be swayed by the math department's willingness to allow her to place out of some upper level math courses, earning credit by examination (these are exams beyond AP or CLEP -- three department heads have already met with her and indicated they could make those accommodations, and the swimming coach.  Even if she's accepted into Harvard, I don't think she'd go.  She might be persuaded to attend MIT, but very much wants to attend USNA (I was sure the week in Bancroft would have changed her mind, but she liked it...).  While USNA is her top choice, Liberty University is her second choice.  Gardner Webb, Messiah, MIT, and William and Mary are all in her 2nd tier.  The brand of the school is more or less meaningless to her.  These are schools she felt comfortable with.  If we wind up living closer to one of these schools -- I could see that playing a bigger part in her decision (other than Navy).  The only thing that might sway her to not attend Navy is if she can't swim there.  

 

No idea what the other three will do yet.

 

 

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Those schools tend to be very generous with a need based aid, so it's highly unlikely one would end up with $250,000 in loans. So the comparison isn't that drastic... I think it's just fine for some people to spend that sort of money on education. And it's Ok for others to chose the free option.

 

Institutional grant money can bring the cost of top schools down below $250,000, yes. But, the idea that they are so generous that it really makes them affordable for all students is pure fallacy. It is a mantra that is repeated over and over, but that does not make it true. For our family, it wouldn't be $250,000, but it would be be more than 1/2 x however many kids.

 

Aid is based on their assessment of what someone can afford based on a single yr's financial assessment. It is not based on what families know they can afford.

 

Fwiw, I don't think anyone is suggesting that people who want or have the means to shouldn't spend their money on education. Hoggirl is the perfect example of a family who has absolutely chosen the best path for their child. It was not detrimental financial decision for them to send their ds to Stanford, and it was an educational opportunity that matched their family's educational values. Kuddos to them for being able to offer their ds that opportunity. That is huge and this conversation should not detract from the educational gift they have provided their him.

 

That same yr our ds applied to college. He is the student that walked away from much higher ranked programs for the $0. Finances are what drove his decision. Our Dd turned down full-tuition at Fordham for USCarolina even though Fordham has internships at the UN and that would have been a dream come true. Why? Fordham would still have cost us $20,000/ yr. That is still more than we can realistically afford bc we are now in our 50s and still have 3 younger kids plus our Aspie who is going to be dependent on us forever.

 

I have never encountered such extreme opinion. There are all kinds in this world, but I would think people who think it's Ivy or nothing are a rare breed.

I am more likely to encounter the opinion that the education you get at a 4 year Uni that admits kids with less than average scores is the same as education one gets at selective schools. I maintain that a math class at U of Chicago is very different than the one at our community college.

I think people need to make the right decision for themselves and there is no one right choice for everyone. Remedial classes have their place and so do pressure cookers.

Yes, math at UChicago is undoubtedly a very different class than one at a CC. But, that is not the question being discussed, nor does the scenario need to be that drastic bc kids competitive for UChicago are competitive for scholarships at other schools. Real life scenarios.....would Georgia Tech, Case, etc at $120,000 to $140,000 in debt (no we don't have $30,000+/yr available for college, our avg expected contribution) have lead to dramatically different outcomes than Alabama at $0? Or Fordham at $80,000 vs USCarolina at around $12,000? (That $68,000 is a huge amt of $$ for our real world, bill paying, raising 3 more kids, saving for retirement family and is the difference between paying the bill vs taking on loans to pay the bill.)

 

Those are the questions many families are actually facing. Not hypotheticals. For some families, the decision is easy and they will sacrifice everything for their kids to attend the better school. That is their choice. That isn't our position. We won't. We want our kids to receive a solid college education, but we are not willing to sacrifice our financial future security or our home for our college students.

 

Are their career goals compromised by our refusal to pay more? I don't believe so. Different outcomes in general? Yes, bc they are being shaped by different experiences. That is true no matter what decision is made between any 2 schools. But actual career goals meaning employment in their areas of interest? No, I don't think so. Our being smothered in debt (which we would have been. It would have severely impacted our daily life) for ds's physics and math degrees would not have put him in that much of a different position than he currently is. Ditto to if his older brother had gone to a higher ranked school for his chemE degree.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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It's really not just a name. I have friends who majored in math at U of Chicago. Their classes are simply not in the same league as ones at tier 3 schools. I disagree with your premise.

 

Definitely.  Those making choices need to know, in most cases, the journey is different.  Bio 101 is not the same class no matter where one goes to school.

 

How much quantifiable difference does that really make when compared to peers over the course of their careers? That's the question being considered along with the other factors such as added stress in those environments along with financial strain. Even if money wasn't an issue, would it still be worth it? Maybe for some where its a good fit while for others its not even if accepted.

 

I realize you are 100% concerned about money, but for many folks, even if debt is involved, it's not all about money or success in the future.  It's about the journey involved.  My middle son has an academic peer - similar scores, same desire to become a doctor.  My guy chose a more selective research U that cost us money and he has basic student loans.  His peer chose a non-selective university for free.  Both got into med school.  My guy had so many more research opportunities, deeper level classes, and intellectual peers along the way that the difference was worth it for us (and him).  His peer ended up being jealous of him, not thankful that he had no debt.

 

Both will be successful, so by your argument, his peer chose the "better" route.  Both lads would firmly disagree with you.  You only get to have the college experience once.  For some, the journey is worth the money, even if basic debt is included.

 

FWIW, neither of my other two lads would have done well at middle son's school. They are simply not as driven academically.  Trying to go to such a school would be stressful for them.  It was a gift from heaven for my middle son.  Personality of the student needs to be considered as much as money IMO.

 

The one I get all the time IRL is that the kiddos with 33+ ACTs just will not find other students like them unless they go to a top school. Just absolutely not true. Our local Christian U that is basically open admission has many kids on campus with 33+ACTs. As does the regional state U my second dc is attending next year and the tiny LAC my oldest attends.

 

I really need to know the names of these schools!  When I look at stats online, it seems many of these open admission campuses have less than 5% with high stats, so yes, there are some there, but certainly not tons.  Kids who go to them don't show me high depth tests.

 

I know Liberty gets students with high stats due to their Conservative Christian nature and many students/parents want that (not really caring about other factors), so if that's the open admission Christian school you're talking about, I understand that one.  There still isn't the percentage of high stat students there are at the more selective places, but their higher numbers of on campus students mean there are peers out there to find.  

 

State schools also attract high stat students due to their cost (and for many majors, they have good programs right in line with private schools).

 

I have not seen high percentages of top score students at the other type schools you mention.  Driven kids who attend those are usually among those who come back wondering what the big deal about college is IME.

 

My older ds, currently a college freshman, is the complete opposite. He has been craving peer interactions at his level for years. He audited history classes at a local top liberal arts college, and loved the discussions. So he really, really did not want to go somewhere to be a big fish in a small pond. He wanted the other fish to be like him, if you know what I mean. For some kids the small pond is ideal, for some it isn't.

 

DS wasn't accepted at his top choice school, but he does seem happy where he is now. And we're happy because it is affordable. I just wanted to share to say that the small pond isn't necessarily the best choice for every kid. Now my younger ds is completely different, and we'll need to figure things out all over again.

 

I can't count the number of the driven academic kids who go on college visits at these more selective schools (not necessarily Ivy) and return feeling like they've found their tribe.  It gives them such a sense of relief to finally be in a place with oodles of peers!

 

I think the bolded is the stereotype that leads to these circular discussions.  My ds graduated in 2011 in the midst of the recession.  He had 4 job offers at graduation.  His university is small, less than 9000 students, and is focused on UG, no real grad programs.  In terms of national rankings, his is a public technological university, not an LAC.  That does not bode well for USNWR rankings.  Industry, otoh, highly recruits from the university.  Their chemE dept has won awards for their hands-on, project, problem-solving focus.

 

When he was hired by a top international chemical company, his new hire orientation was full of GA Tech, VA Tech, UMichigan, etc grads.  They were all hired in at the same entry level position and salary. He has worked right alongside them and has been promoted alongside of them. 

 

Public assessment of schools from the outside via a magazine's ranking system does not necessarily equate to employer perception.

 

That may alter by field, but for chemE, anyway, that has been our ds's experience.

 

But... it's not that one magazine's rankings that count to so many employers.  This is why I suggest checking with those who hire to see what schools are suggested, not a magazine.  Top 10 or 20 lists are best made individually, and as often stated (and true) for many majors, it simply doesn't matter.  If one wants to teach at my school, it honestly doesn't matter where one does their undergrad and if a student asks the HR person at our school, she'll tell them that.

 

The journey can still differ, but unknown schools can produce a terrific journey if in the correct major - like Eckerd with Marine Science.  So few (in common society) have heard the name, yet so top rated by those who know within the field.

Edited by creekland
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I realize you are 100% concerned about money, but for many folks, even if debt is involved, it's not all about money or success in the future. It's about the journey involved. My middle son has an academic peer - similar scores, same desire to become a doctor. My guy chose a more selective research U that cost us money and he has basic student loans. His peer chose a non-selective university for free. Both got into med school. My guy had so many more research opportunities, deeper level classes, and intellectual peers along the way that the difference was worth it for us (and him). His peer ended up being jealous of him, not thankful that he had no debt.

 

Both will be successful, so by your argument, his peer chose the "better" route. Both lads would firmly disagree with you. You only get to have the college experience once. For some, the journey is worth the money, even if basic debt is included.

.

I think this is a good example of when it might be better to ask students in 15 or so years whether it really mattered that they went where they did for college. I would bet the second student who will presumably be paying back medical school loan will care less about the undergrad experience then and will be very thankful that he isn’t also paying back undergraduate loans. Or maybe he wants a high paid specialty and wouldn’t care about the extra debt, but what if about a student who wants law school or will be getting a master’s and Ph.D.? What about a man or woman who may want to take some time off or work fewer hours while children are young, but cannot because they are stuck with debt? Will the cost/benefit of the college experience be seen in the same way then?

 

In the end, the undergraduate experience does matter, but will be such a blip in the big picture. It is true that some schools offer more and better opportunities than others, or at least that the opportunities are more readily available and easier to plug into. But I don’t believe that rankings necessarily indicate which schools those are. As is always shared on these boards, parents and students need to research carefully and ask questions, not depend on the prestige of a name or judge by how selective admissions are overall.

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In the end, the undergraduate experience does matter, but will be such a blip in the big picture. It is true that some schools offer more and better opportunities than others, or at least that the opportunities are more readily available and easier to plug into. But I don’t believe that rankings necessarily indicate which schools those are. As is always shared on these boards, parents and students need to research carefully and ask questions, not depend on the prestige of a name or judge by how selective admissions are overall.

Yes I agree but Derek created a interesting thread with some nice discussion.

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I am a small liberal arts college girl. I believe small classes, no TAs, real profs in the classroom (at least that's how it was for me) are key. While I won't dictate my children's choices, I will try my best to persuade them to consider such schools( and we will do everything in our power to pay for them. Otherwise there are always state schools for us. My children won't be competitive for elite schools, so it's a moot point for my family.

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I also think few people would turn down Princeton for SUNY, given an option.

Definitely.  Those making choices need to know, in most cases, the journey is different.  Bio 101 is not the same class no matter where one goes to school....

The journey can still differ, but unknown schools can produce a terrific journey if in the correct major - like Eckerd with Marine Science.  So few (in common society) have heard the name, yet so top rated by those who know within the field.

Exactly.  For one of mine, only one Ivy offered their desired major, and the focus of that school's program was not at all the angle my dc wanted to take with the subject, so dc didn't apply.  Dc also turned down acceptance at a state flagship school and a small-but-decent local school, in favor of, surprise surprise, SUNY.  The SUNY program is regarded by the industry as one of the top 2-3 schools nationally (the Ivy is pretty far down on the lists), and their program is a much better fit for the dc than those at the state flagship, the local school, and the Ivy.  And it has been fabulous for dc to be in classes and on campus with peers who are as just as passionate about the subject.  And - bonus! - SUNY is significantly cheaper than any of the other schools we considered, even out of state.  

 

Another of my dc turned down a couple of schools that were more highly regarded overall, in favor of a school with a program that better matched their interests and a student body that felt like the best fit.  In that case, the department leadership was much more industry-savvy, and the students seemed much more, for lack of a better description, employable.  Scholarships brought the sticker price down to the level of the flagship uni dc applied to as a backup.  That dc has managed to get a good job in the highly competitive field, and is beyond happy about it.  

 

Another family member turned down admittance at Princeton for U of Rochester.  They are now very happily employed in their field of interest, and moving quickly up the corporate ladder.

Edited by justasque
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I think this is a good example of when it might be better to ask students in 15 or so years whether it really mattered that they went where they did for college. I would bet the second student who will presumably be paying back medical school loan will care less about the undergrad experience then and will be very thankful that he isn’t also paying back undergraduate loans. Or maybe he wants a high paid specialty and wouldn’t care about the extra debt, but what if about a student who wants law school or will be getting a master’s and Ph.D.? What about a man or woman who may want to take some time off or work fewer hours while children are young, but cannot because they are stuck with debt? Will the cost/benefit of the college experience be seen in the same way then?

 

In the end, the undergraduate experience does matter, but will be such a blip in the big picture. It is true that some schools offer more and better opportunities than others, or at least that the opportunities are more readily available and easier to plug into. But I don’t believe that rankings necessarily indicate which schools those are. As is always shared on these boards, parents and students need to research carefully and ask questions, not depend on the prestige of a name or judge by how selective admissions are overall.

 

We have plenty of experience in the "15 year later" stages.  I've been teaching at school now for 18 years and get a fair bit of contact plus word of mouth.  The only ones who have regrets are those with super high loans - the types that make news stories.  Those who have basic student loans roughly equating to a car loan only have accolades for their choices if they chose a "good fit" school.

 

YMMV

 

Whether a family can pay their share for some of these schools is a completely different issue than basic student loans.  We could.  My son's peer's family could have (probably easier than us TBH).  Not all can and when that happens, finances need to come into play more.  We weren't full pay - not even close - and we chose the least expensive option middle son was offered from schools at a caliber to give him what he wanted, but we didn't even have him apply to places like his peer did knowing they weren't a good match for his academic enthusiasm - even if he could still get his career goals from those schools.  Definitely no regrets!

 

There are two types of students who graduate from college and end up complaining IME - those who end up with super high loans (> mid 5 digits) and those who are underchallenged where they go (and were bored).  There is a third that isn't money dependent and that's those who chose a bad fit for them and didn't transfer once they figured that out (too urban, rural, large, small, Greek, etc), though as I type I suppose the underchallenged fit into this broader group.  It's just broader than money.

 

Hubby graduated with 5 digit loans.  We paid them off in 5 years after he graduated and have been reaping the benefits ever since.  We're not at all loan averse in our family.  We just want to spend money (ours or ours via loans) for something worth the money.  For many, an education and the opportunities from it are worth the money.  (That said, I never suggest high loans like one can see in newspaper articles - most kids don't do that much though.)

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Thanks for sharing this, Sebastian. I find these types of stories the most telling of our diverse group of kids and the variety of best fits. Its funny how two brothers can have such similar goals in becoming naval officers yet also have stark differences in school choices. Speaking of the Navy and schools, I live right next door to the Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) where we've made so many great friends from those who attend. They are truly a fantastic group of young men and women. And what a great deal for them if selected to attend with a full ride plus officer salary while attending!

 

Just curious on the one at the selective school. Is he also majoring in a STEM area?

The selective school is well known for its stem departments, but that son is majoring in a humanities degree with 4 years of a language. However he will still take both calculus and physics as a ROTC student.

 

ETA:  Both schools would be good for an engineer and for some sciences.  The more selective school is better known and has an exceptional student body.  The state school is a polytechnic with a historic emphasis on practical application and hands on projects.  

Computer Science at the selective school is a far  stronger department, given it's association with Silicone Valley companies.  But while DS1 might have enjoyed CS at his brother's school, it would have come at the cost of the immersive military environment that he has within the Corps.  DS2 would not have found the academic offerings he is looking for at the polytechnic.  They offer a couple years worth of his language, but just are not very strong in the international studies and language offerings.  DS2 is also in Navy ROTC, but has a once a week several hour session at another school which is the host school for the unit.  There are as many Navy ROTC students at DS2's college as DS1 is leading in the fire team in his Corps Company (one of several fire teams in one of a dozen companies).  Very different environments.  Both good matches for the student.

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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I just ran a net price calculator for fun and apparently Stanford would only cost us $28k a year. That would be cheaper than A UC for us, but of course my kids couldn't get into Stanford. 😳

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I just ran a net price calculator for fun and apparently Stanford would only cost us $28k a year. That would be cheaper than A UC for us, but of course my kids couldn't get into Stanford. 😳

 

Details, details... so many people get hung up in the details.   :lol:

 

On a more realistic note, those who don't have the typical stats/grades to get in (any place) often don't do well at a school.  They are overwhelmed by "how easy it comes to everyone else," so it isn't a good mix.  I've seen a bit of that with some sports students who make it in only to find they are loved for their sport, but feel lost in classes - so end up hanging out with "their crowd" and feeling out of place elsewhere.  This is a big part of why schools are super choosy when they pick those lower 25% students (esp when it's so much different than the upper 50% - not so hard when the numbers are relatively close).  They are looking for reasons to see the student can succeed in spite of their lower scores/grades.  They don't want failures or drop outs either.

 

BIG NOTE:  This is NOT the same as someone having the typical stats/grades (whether sports are involved or not) and not getting accepted.  Most of the highly selective schools could fill their class 3 or 4 times over with well qualified students who would do just fine at the school.  They just don't have room for all who want to go there.

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