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Is it common for high achieving students mostly go to state flagships?

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Replies to: Is it common for high achieving students mostly go to state flagships?

  • frazzled2thecorefrazzled2thecore 1097 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,098 Senior Member
    Here n our suburban PA district, outstanding students regularly end up attending Penn State or Pitt honors colleges, and some do not even bother applying to elites. (Imagine that - a further influx of applications from students with straight A's, 2300 plus SAT's, and a boatload of AP's.) Some who are admitted to elite universities end up at the honors colleges after careful deliberation. It is not at all unheard of for a student to be admitted to an elite university but turned down at one of the honors colleges if their profile is lopsided or they are hooked, although typically a student who is admitted to an elite will also have an honors college option.

    The biggest complaint I have heard is that some desirable corporate recruiters refuse to accept resumes from honors college grads no matter their credentials. But, if they are screening by SAT scores as well as GPA, they will also turn down candidates from elite universities whose SAT scores do not measure up, even if GPA is high.
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  • LizardlyLizardly 2484 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,495 Senior Member
    Very true in Texas. At our big public, there are years when many kids go out of state, but the last two-three years, the top kids have flocked to UT and A&M, even when they are admitted to Ivy League schools. Some of it is Texas patriotism, some of it is cost. I know that the Ivy admits look at the sticker prices and then choose Texas.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 33159 replies766 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 33,925 Senior Member
    Heck, I didn't even go to the flagship. Worked out just fine, no regrets :)
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28056 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,112 Senior Member
    I lived in a number of state in the Midwest. In what was considered the upscale, but not nationally known high schools, yes, the state flagship was the main venue for the top students with a sprinkling of students going to selective private schools. In those days, the prices for schools like Uof IllinoisUC, Ohio State, PSu, Pitt, IU, UMich, Mich State, were veritable bargains, and the reps were solid. Most of the families I knew did not qualify for fin at at the schools, and if they chose private schools, it was rare they'd get enough aid to bring the cost down so that they were comparable with one student in college. So it was a huge financial decision to have a student go to even schools with great reps like Kenyon, CMU, Case, unless a nice scholarship was in the offering. It didn't seem to even be a big deal decision as many qualified students simply did not even apply to the privates. They made that decision up front if they came to the conclusion they were not likely to get enough merit, and knew they were not going to qualify for financial aid. They waited for that state school accept and that was it.

    My SIL's family was that way these years. They live in PA, so Pitt and PSU were the main goals. Main campus were the key words. Again, they fall into that category of having to stretch to pay for college but do not qualify for aid. Though they were good students, their stats did not put them at a place where they were likely to get merit money of an significant amounts to bring the cost down to the state school levels at those schools they felt were as "good" or better.

    Catholic schools seem to be a major exception. Duquesne does enjoy a following from those who could have gone to Pitt, for instance, and those in the Cleveland area often chose John Carroll over OSU. Rather than going down state to UIll, I saw parents ante up for Loyola and DePaul in Chicago, sometimes sweetened with merit money for the better students. Notre Dame seemed to have little trouble being quite the draw.

    Then I moved here. I live in NY, and feel that the SUNYs are terribly underrated. I live in a suburb of NYC, so things are not typical here, given the socio economics being very high, and then very low. It seems to me that the high school grads in most of the suburban schools either choose to go locally to a private, often Catholic school, or go OOS, or go away to schools, without long lists of kids going to the SUNYs. Binghamton and Geneseo tend to show up on the destination lists each year, but not that many, surprisingly, to me. I've seen the lists for the pricey, exclusive independent schools, catholic schools and public high schools in my area, and they simply do not have a lot of SUNYs. I'm sure that is not the case in most NYC public schools where CUNYs and community colleges will spot the list, but even then NYU, FOrdham and many other privates schools, most not well known at all nationally are common destinations. But it seems to me, that the top students go for the most selective schools.

    Looking at my public high school's college choices, even there the privates rule. My neighbors all had/have kids in private school, with one OOS public in the mix. I know kids going to UMich, GTEch, and other such OOS, and those seem to be more common destination for the high stats kids than our own SUNYs. My one son was truly an outlier at his school applying to SUNYs, and even more so choosing to go to one. Fordham enjoys a rep and draw over and beyond the SUNYs among kids who have the stats, from what I can see. So NY, iMO has a severely underused, under rated college system. THe main SUNYs are lower in rankings, ratings, reputation than most of the public OOS flaghsips. We don't have a true flagship, though Buffalo would be the closest to one with its comprehensive offerings at the graduate as well as ug level, size, sports and other EC offerings. BUt still, it tends to get a local draw rather than statewide. Binghamton, though smaller, probably has the best overall representation of students from all over NY state, along with Geneseo, as they ahvfe the best rep. Given the bargain price, and that it is modeled after the California system, it's always been puzzling to me that it did not get the allure the CA state schools, as well as other state systems such as Virginia's. But then, the good part of that, is that it's a lot easier to get accepted. My brother's DDs, in VA did not get into any of their instate choices, and are at an OOS flagship instead. Puzzling as they were good high school students, and would have been shoo ins at, say PSU, UMD, but not at the VA schools. My BIL's son's did not get into their state flagship picks due to the 10% rule Texas has for UT Austin and A&M. Again, strong students, who had some nice choices, including Baylor instate.

    Our SUNYs tend to get VERY competitive for grad school, prof school. Some programs are highly selective. Easy to get into them as ugs, but thereafter, it's very difficult My son's SO, tried for two years to get into PT, OT programs in NY as a grad student and even with a 3.5 college GPA, and work experience in the fields, did not get slots and is going private because it was that, not doing it.

    One son did go to an OOS main school and one did go to a SUNY. The one who went to the SUNY felt like he'd been dropped into a whole new world where he didn't know a single person. No one from our area, his school went there. My son at the OOS uni, understandably had some of that, but there were large number of OOS kids, so one didn't entirely feel like everyone knew each other except for oneself, which was kind of how my one son was feeling. The vast, vast majority of kids came from the neighboring area. Exceptions were the international students, and that was a larger than expected group. So he felt out of place in his own state school. Looking at the numbers, he indeed would have been hard pressed to have OOS students, but he had expected more from all through NY, but apparently the SUNYs do have a heavy regional draw.

    So it all depends on one state, the schools one state has, where you live in the state, and the school attended. Some public schools, and Scarsdale not far from me, sports a list of college destinations that rival even the most selective private schools. In the same county, there are schools where the local CCs, CUNYs, and local small privates one never sees on this board tend to make up the college lists and destinations. One such school offers free or near free tuition scholarships to good students; my son got one, and actually a number of his peers even from high income families given the same offer took the school up on it It would have been less expensive for him to have gone there than to the nearest community college, as it's in an easy locale transportation wise.
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  • kjcphmomkjcphmom 1066 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,103 Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    In Wisconsin, most of the top students at my kids' high school who went to a public university ended up at UW-Madison. Because of reciprocity, some of them did go to University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Two of mine wanted to go to a place a little warmer so they did head OOS to a public southern university known for their generous merit scholarships. (Some who had more savings etc, did go to some in-state private schools)
    edited November 2014
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  • MarianMarian 13163 replies83 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,246 Senior Member
    It depends on the state, the family, and the student.

    Here in Maryland, some top students do end up at the University of Maryland at College Park -- by choice, for financial reasons, or because they didn't get admitted to their preferred schools. But there are many who prefer to go elsewhere if possible -- either to highly selective private colleges or to state schools of other states that have more to offer academically than UMCP.
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  • partyof5partyof5 2549 replies125 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,674 Senior Member
    I believe as the years go on, more and more top students will go instate, because private elite colleges are just not affordable. Many years ago, one could get into Ohio State, pretty much by just being an Ohio resident. Well, they have really stepped up their game, and depending on your major, its pretty darn competitive. Several kids at our high school, with very high ACT scores did not get in. Many of the kids here went to either Univ of Cinti, Miami Univ or Ohio State, and these were kids with great stats.
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  • EsmeSqualorEsmeSqualor 20 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20 New Member
    cptofthehouse, I'm also in NYS and a fan of the SUNY system and think it's underrated. I think there are a number of reasons for the image problem. The lack of clear, designated flagships is one. The fact that most of the campuses are 1960s concrete construction is another.

    The trends you see in your high school don't really seem that reflective of the state as a whole. For the state operated schools (the university centers and the four years, not the community colleges), the overwhelming majority of students are in-state. There are only about 6% out of state and about 9% international students overall.

    We are in an excellent and fairly affluent school district upstate. I grew up here, and am a graduate of the same district my children attend. My high school senior applied ED to Geneseo. She has many friends with excellent grades, test scores, extra-curriculars, etc. and many are applying to at least one or two SUNYs in the mix. What I saw with her friends who graduated last year was that many applied to a mix of public and private, and when they sat down and ran the numbers and realized they would still come out with a boatload of debt despite significant merit awards from the privates, they ended up going to a SUNY.

    The stigma, if you will, for going to a SUNY is much less for her generation than it was for mine. Almost nobody I knew went to SUNY schools back in the 70s if they had another viable alternative. Admission to some of the better SUNY schools and programs is much more competitive than it used to be. What I see from discussion with other parents is that many of these kids figure they will end up going to grad school/professional school after and don't see the point in getting burdened with debt for undergrad if they can avoid it.
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  • VMTVMT 1182 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,198 Senior Member
    I am also in upstate NY, though grew up in PA and attended Penn State. It frustrates me that the SUNY system doesn't have a great reputation, and I don't know why that is. The reasons mentioned above are probably part of it (no true flagship, and 1960's architecture). We just drove through Geneseo and loved it. If my D were interested in a liberal arts community it would be at the top of our list. I wonder what drives a college's reputation. Is it that the research is not cutting edge? Is it a lack of funding? Difficulty getting classes? Students who go to Bing seem to really love it. And the average SAT's of enrolled students is pretty impressive. So why doesn't it have a better reputation?
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  • SlackerMomMDSlackerMomMD 3085 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,094 Senior Member
    Maybe it's me, but there are several NE states whose flagship state universities are underrated or just not highly esteemed: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts. I also don't hear much about New Hampshire, Maine or Rhode Island. Could it be the presence of so many private elite schools in these states: the Ivies and LACs such as Williams?

    Elsewhere, the flagships are draws for top students: UT-Austin, UNC-CH, Ga Tech, Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan, Minnesota, all the UCs, Penn State, Maryland, Washington and so on.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28056 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,112 Senior Member
    The SUNYs don't get the very tip top students of NYC, is probably one of the reasons. Though, I know a lot of kids who transferred out of schools like Lehigh and the such after a year due to cost reasons to Bing , Stoneybrook, Albany. No one I know to Buffalo. These are good students who did well that first year at college as well. Friends enjoying SUNYs, money too tight for family, so they transferred. Over the last 5 years, I know a dozen offhand who did this.

    But though there may be more kids going to the SUNYs now, more of the high stats kids, I'm not seeing it here, and it's not bringing up the test scores like it did for say, Wm&Mary in Va. which I consider Bing and Genseo to resemble. And frankly, Bing and Geneseo simply do not have the size to make that much of an impact on the system as a whole.

    I was very impressed with Buffalo's curriculums, books, classes and offering as well as amenities. Really, it's all there, but it is in Buffalo, but at about 1/3 the price of nearby Syracuse, I don't get it that it isn't a major player. More OOS draw is needed, IMO.

    The international students certainly have discovered the sciences at Buffalo. I was surprised how many are there. But it still isn't getting the top students in NY the way the schools should.
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  • megpmommegpmom 3093 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,114 Senior Member
    I also think geography has something to do with it. In the Western states, such as Texas, even the state flagship could be 6-8 hours away from home. Going out of state (to publics or private) is a major endeavour involving lots of travel, etc.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76129 replies663 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,792 Senior Member
    Maybe it's me, but there are several NE states whose flagship state universities are underrated or just not highly esteemed: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts. I also don't hear much about New Hampshire, Maine or Rhode Island. Could it be the presence of so many private elite schools in these states: the Ivies and LACs such as Williams?

    Possibly, but the elite schools around there does not explain why even good-but-not-elite students often want to go anywhere other than their in-state public schools (e.g. NJ residents wanting to go anywhere but Rutgers, where "anywhere" includes other large publics like Penn State, Delaware, Maryland, etc., so it is not like they are looking for the small school experience).
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  • cobratcobrat 12207 replies78 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,285 Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    It frustrates me that the SUNY system doesn't have a great reputation, and I don't know why that is. The reasons mentioned above are probably part of it (no true flagship, and 1960's architecture). We just drove through Geneseo and loved it. If my D were interested in a liberal arts community it would be at the top of our list. I wonder what drives a college's reputation. Is it that the research is not cutting edge? Is it a lack of funding? Difficulty getting classes? Students who go to Bing seem to really love it.

    Lack of funding over the decades is definitely a part of the issue, SUNY system/schools being founded only several decades ago, and administrative neglect/bungling due to Albany politics.

    Also, as someone who is a born and bred NYker who grew up in the '80s and '90s, Geneseo's topflight rep is only around a decade plus old.

    Back when I was in HS/college, Geneseo didn't have a great academic rep as it does now. In fact, from what I recalled, it was easier to get into than Stonybrook and Bing by stats and seemed to draw classmates at/near the bottom of our graduating class. Back then, the top SUNYs were Bing and Stonybrook followed by Buffalo and Albany being known as the party campus of the 4 SUNY university centers.

    The party aspect of Albany was one key reason a lot of HS classmates ended up transferring out after a year or two.

    As for students' perceptions of Bing, nearly everyone I knew who attended Bing hated the campus/college town and regarded the college experience as one to be endured, not enjoyed due to those two factors along with the cliquishness of student groups(Long Island HSs, NYC high schools, upstate HS, etc).

    In fact, they are concerned about another friend who is considering doing his PhD there due to the school's town/campus environment, lack of funding, and relatively low rankings for his field(#50). Bad combination if one's goal is to land a tenure-track job in a highly competitive academic job market where degree pedigree based on strength of department* and expectations one received full funding from the department** are standard prereqs.

    * Not necessarily elite universities overall. For instance, in many areas of Philosophy at the PhD level, Rutgers and UPitt are top 3 schools alongside NYU and far outrank their Ivy/elite U counterparts.

    ** Failure to receive full funding from department or equivalent scholarships at the PhD level is often regarded by hiring committees as a sign the PhD student and soon-to-be-graduate was regarded by his/her department's admission committee as an academic dilettante and thus, not worth a fully-funded scholarship.
    edited November 2014
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  • turtletimeturtletime 1232 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,244 Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    In general? Probably. What will feel like "normal" will depend on your circle. In our circle, very few kids go to the public universities... largely because most of our friends are in the arts and they opt for private schools or OOS publics with stronger arts programs. Our affluent friends hardly even consider the UC's or CSU's.. maybe throw in one as a safety. Our more middle class and poorer friends tend to get better deals through private with good financial aid or the CSU system which has some excellent schools but usually seen as lesser than the UC's.

    The term "flagship" is a little complicated in some states too. In California, I think Berkeley and UCLA are considered the "flagships" but Davis, UCSD, UCSB... they are high ranking with top programs that lots of high achievers flock to. Would San Diego State and Cal Poly be considered flagships of the CSU system? Does it work that way with two public systems? Not sure.
    edited November 2014
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