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Pros and Cons of Public Flagship vs Private Colleges

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Replies to: Pros and Cons of Public Flagship vs Private Colleges

  • LemonleeLemonlee 78 replies7 threads Junior Member
    edited April 7
    We were in your exact position - I graduated from UCB and initially couldn’t imagine why we would want to pay more for a private college when we were fortunate enough to live in CA with access to the excellent public schools. But after our college tours, I could definitely see the appeal of a private school with smaller class sizes where you could expect to have more one-on-one interactions with your professors. My D felt the UCs were all too big for her (not to mention how crazy difficult it is for even a high-stat kid to get into the UCs nowadays, as previous posters have stated - even kids with 4.0+ gpas are being shut out of all except maybe Merced and Riverside). My daughter opted not to even apply to any of the UCs and is very happy at the small LAC she ended up at. She is at one of the Claremont colleges and although there are times I think of all the $ we could have saved, I feel as if she is getting a better experience than I had. It really does depend on the kid, and for some, the smaller school might be stifling, but she has really thrived in that environment which is why we opted for private.
    edited April 7
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78986 replies701 threads Senior Member
    Lemonlee wrote:
    At her private school, students don’t declare a major until the end of their sophomore year, so that was one less thing for her to have to worry about.

    Many private schools have restrictions on changing major or division. CMU is an example where changing into SCS is very difficult. Even Harvard has a restricted major, VES.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26933 replies175 threads Senior Member
    This might be shocking to many on CC who revere private colleges but UC's are very hard to get into--almost all of them except maybe Riverside and Merced. Many many high stats kids get denied, certainly by UCB and UCLA but also by Davis and Santa Barbara, San Diego even Sant Cruz this last cycle.

    That's correct. UC has made no secret about giving admission tips to first gen students. Maybe good public policy, but closes out much of the class to college educated parents. (Approx. 40% of the matriculating Frosh to UCLA and Cal and other UCs are first gen.)

    We all have local stories about kids getting into an Ivy but rejected by Cal, or into Stanford and rejected by UCLA.

    Then of course, there is ED -- as others have noted, finaid at the Ancient Eight is excellent. For those fortunate to be accepted, it can be cheaper to send a kid back east than to a UC at instate rates.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78986 replies701 threads Senior Member
    bluebayou wrote:
    Approx. 40% of the matriculating Frosh to UCLA and Cal and other UCs are first gen.

    UCB web sites say 23% of frosh are first generation to college. First generation to college students are more heavily represented among transfer students at 44%.
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  • lostaccountlostaccount 5331 replies90 threads Senior Member
    Colleges and universities use different pedagogical models and often differ in terms of their values-with small LACs valuing the teaching model far more than universities; universities valuing the goal of contributing new knowledge much more than do LACs.
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  • foobar1foobar1 225 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Some elite privates are feeders to lucrative internships and job opportunities at employers that are concerned about prestige such as investment banks or consulting companies.
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  • pog2016pog2016 42 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @bluebayou It will only be cheaper to send your child to "those" privates back east if you are eligible to receive Fin Aid. In CA coastal areas, at least, many middle class families are shut out of any financial aid so no matter how great their fabled aid is, it's a moot point. A lot middle and upper middle class families would prefer to send their kids to UC's--especially if they have multiple kids--but cannot because they will be denied, even though they are excellent students. Those who can afford $70,000 per year have that choice, but most do not.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 886 replies105 threads Member
    edited April 8
    There are many reasons to go private but smaller classes and intimate communities attract most. You get deeper interaction with your professors and peers. Even best state school (even with 10% auto-admit rate) overall accept 50% applicants which brings average IQ level down. State schools often have more focus on degrees for jobs while good private try to provide a broader education with strong focus on major .

    edited April 8
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26933 replies175 threads Senior Member
    It will only be cheaper to send your child to "those" privates back east if you are eligible to receive Fin Aid.

    Of course, I thought I made that clear. But I apologize if I did not.
    In CA coastal areas, at least, many middle class families are shut out of any financial aid ...

    It really depends on how you define middle class. Financial aid at HYP includes incomes up to ~$200k. (To me that's a little better than 'middle' class.) But more importantly, HYPS (and several others) cap the home equity portion in their calculation of financial need. That is a massive boon to the 'coastal' class.

    Of course, down the food chain are plenty of colleges that offer merit money that helps reduce teh net price of a private.
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  • pog2016pog2016 42 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Yes, that's true but HYPS is only four schools--maybe there are a few others that give such good aid, but not too many more. And even if they cap financial aid at $200,000, those families that are at or near that number will receive very little--a mere token and not nearly enough to make it a wash with tuition at any UC. I'm not complaining or whining about the bad deal California families have, just reporting what I've found to be my experience and that of those around me. It can be very hard to gain acceptance to a UC, and many families go to privates reluctantly because their kids haven't been accepted.
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  • wis75wis75 14156 replies64 threads Senior Member
    Remember that financial aid includes loans- not ideal. It does matter which state you live in- the CA situation is different than others with equally good public U's. Honors programs also make a huge difference- they vary from school to school, and among state flagships.

    So- this thread is more specific- pros and cons for California kids.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1795 replies11 threads Senior Member
    @foobar1 Overall, when it comes to engineering programs, public schools tend to have better setups for corporate internships. Half the internship pages of "elite" colleges are blind links, and their list of internships makes it clear that they think that their graduates should all be going to grad school. I would guess that it's not that different in other STEM fields.
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  • blueskies2dayblueskies2day 1097 replies6 threads Senior Member
    edited April 8
    ^^I would state the exact opposite about internships in private v. public. Only a student at a particularly school (elite or other) is able to access the internship pages of a college (particularly a private college) so not sure how anyone would know "half of them" are blind links. Connections at privates are second to none with the strong alumni network backing of a private univ, internships are more numerous statistically, making the best ones more easily attainable. Most public students don't have/feel a loyalty to hire other grads from their school compared to the privates - I see this a lot, private alum networks are amazingly strong.

    A few of the biggest pros to private we found are the connections/relationships made with other students and faculty - their mentoring and the benefits have been huge for my students during and after they graduate. Avoiding the masses/crowds in college - it's not a number of students thing, it's how well the school is managed and resources are funded - privates do that well. The ability to change majors and double major easily was critical to our decisions. Easy class registration with access to the cool classes. College is for exploring, not having to be locked into a set path. Access to unique opportunities throughout the four years - studies/research/participation and not fighting/struggling to get in them - we have found this to be one of the best parts of the private school experience.
    edited April 8
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  • Fisherman99Fisherman99 259 replies1 threads Junior Member
    ucbalumnus wrote:
    . and because they refuse to consider UCSC, UCR, and UCM. Or they overestimated their chances based on comparing their HS weighted GPA to UC recalculated weighted capped GPA.

    As a UCR alumnus from way back in the day when it was a very small campus of around 5,000 students (now almost 25,000 students), it prided itself on its "Personal Touch"...small classes, easy access to professors, double dorm rooms only, superior financial aid for those in need, diversity, and the easy ability to graduate in only 4 years...received a great education/college experience and would highly recommend UCR or ANY UC (not just Berkeley/UCLA)...the University of California System is the best PUBLIC system in the world where you will receive a top notch education at any of them!
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  • katliamomkatliamom 12851 replies169 threads Senior Member
    @scubadive -- I would say the same of the public I went to. Then, and now.
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