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This is how you and your child select the right college


Replies to: This is how you and your child select the right college

  • MiddleburyDad2MiddleburyDad2 Registered User Posts: 718 Member
    "On-time graduation is often much more related to the students than anything else."

    @ucbalumnus , totally agree.

    but to the extent the topic in this thread is comparing and contrasting the LAC vs. the large state public, it is worth noting the one or two variables about the LAC structure itself that encourages 4 and out. This is one of the handful of things I can say I have experienced. It is a noticeable thing that the LACs want you to get on with your business and figure out how to graduate on time.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,552 Senior Member
    but to the extent the topic in this thread is comparing and contrasting the LAC vs. the large state public, it is worth noting the one or two variables about the LAC structure itself that encourages 4 and out. This is one of the handful of things I can say I have experienced. It is a noticeable thing that the LACs want you to get on with your business and figure out how to graduate on time.

    But that is for two specific LACs that are more selective than large state publics in general. It is not necessarily true that all LACs are similar in this respect.

    For a more relevant comparison, http://www.collegeresults.org/search1ba.aspx?institutionid=174066,174251,174233,174075 is a comparison of University of Minnesota campuses. Note that Morris is a LAC of about 2,000 students. But it does not have graduation rate that is higher (relative to the other campuses) than the trend suggested by incoming student stats (GPA and SAT/ACT).

    Another comparison in Missouri: http://www.collegeresults.org/search1ba.aspx?institutionid=176965,179557,178624,178387,178411,179566,178341,177940,177551,178420,178402,178396,178615 . Truman State is the LAC (although a relatively large one at about 6,000 students) and has the highest graduation rates. But it also has the highest incoming student stats, so being a LAC does not seem to be the relevant factor. Indeed, the graduation rate overperformer relative to incoming student stats in this group is University of Central Missouri (which has about 10,000 students).
  • blossomblossom Registered User Posts: 8,146 Senior Member
    For a kid who gets into any of the audition-only programs at NYU it would be very hard to find an LAC (except for Julliard if you consider that an LAC ) which can compare with the rigor and difficulty of the program. For some kids- CMU (but a research U, not an LAC). Michigan has some top performance programs- but again- a huge research U. Yes- for filmmaking there are a couple of the California LAC's and maybe Emerson. But otherwise- NYU all the way (or UCLA, USC).

    For a kid who wants an undergrad ed program (not for everyone, but there are kids like that) NYU's programs are superb. Ditto nursing.

    Middlebury, hate to say it, but your categorical statements make you sound a bit tone deaf. Nobody is going to Amherst to study nursing. We all get that. But to proclaim across the board that NYU stinks and Williams rocks- well, depends on what the kid is looking for.

    If you posted with a bit more nuance you'd have more credibility here.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,375 Senior Member
    @blossom except for Julliard if you consider that an LAC

    I don't ;)


    Your point on NYU is well-taken. I can think of many reasons for a kid to go - as you say, performing arts, perhaps finance, or maybe the kid wants access to year round internships or just loves Greenwich Village and NYC. Different strokes :)
  • MiddleburyDad2MiddleburyDad2 Registered User Posts: 718 Member
    @ucbalumnus , I don't disagree. I'm aware of some local LACs/small universities that are not nearly as selective as Pomona or Midd or your typical NESCAC, and that is the feedback I get from those who have experience with them.

    I'm talking about UPS, Willamette, L&C, etc. But I'm not surprised that it's not uniform.
  • blevineblevine Registered User Posts: 664 Member
    edited February 11
    Eldest went to honors program in large public. The honors college made him take particular classes each semester to have that small college feel and camaraderie among honors students. Those classes were sometimes fun but never mainstream. He ended up transferring and those classes were a waste of time in terms of transfer credits since they were odd classes unique to that honors program. No equivalent at other major colleges. And the honors classes were one of the 4-5 each semester, so the rest of the time one is lumped in with everybody. Nice thought but not so useful in this particular honors program. Problem is, you can't have an honors section of every class with few honors students, so it's going to be a small selection at any school. So no, honors is not a cure to make big=small LAC. I do think it is a great compromise, but it did take away credits from more relevant electives for my kids interests. Maybe 1 of the honors classes was really fun and interesting to him, the rest much less so.

    My youngest has had far more interaction with profs in his mid size school that his brother who attended 2 large unis. Partly personality possibly, but partly the size of the classes and attitude of profs with large classrooms.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,375 Senior Member
    @lookingforward Odd that we'e talking education and the quality of it, for various sorts of kids, then reducing it to big vs small.

    To be fair, that's a major point of discussion in the OP, we didn't pull it out of thin air :)
    Here’s an especially important factor they may want to add to the mix: how much “experiential learning” truly takes place in class and on campus. When I was making the college decision 30 years ago, I thought that size was my most important criterion. I didn’t want to “be just a number,” which I thought I would be at a big school. But I realize now that the issue wasn’t only about numbers — I wanted close and frequent access to the faculty, and to work with them to learn. I didn’t want to be lectured at; I wanted to have conversations and collaborate with my professors and peers — to learn by doing, not just by listening.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,955 Senior Member
    Size alone isn't it. Some here are reducing it to that, assuming one is absolutely "just a number," while all LACs offer a more personalized experience, better classes, better peers. On CC, we've got to know there are many shades. The only way to have conversations and collaborate isn't to go small.

    Many get that in their large unis, depending on the depts, the classes, and the kid's willingness to speak up or show up. You can't ignore posters here who did get the attention, at large unis.

    I cringe when generalizations are made about LACs, too. Lots of them barely get by, have disinterested or overworked faculty, or are suitcase schools.
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,907 Senior Member
    edited February 11
    My daughter is at a large university often mentioned on CC ( 16,000 undergrads). She has had plenty of personal attention. I thought she would do better at a small school ( and pushed for one) but she thought otherwise.@lookingforward is right.
  • momofsmartdancermomofsmartdancer Registered User Posts: 260 Junior Member
    edited February 11
    Honors programs vary greatly. The link someone posted earlier in this discussion explains that as they tried to rank honors programs and it is very difficult because they are so different from one another.

    I can tell you that at the university that my daughter attends they don't really have the unusual classes that blevine describes. All the honors classes are sections of regular classes. For example, my daughter is currently taking a research-intensive introductory biology class; it covers the same material as is standard for introductory college biology and adds some intensive material aimed at helping a student evaluate the quality of a research study and perform their own research. The lecture has about 30 students and the lab sections have about 14 students. The student also has the option of taking a required course that does not offer an honors section and make the regular section an "Honors Option" by completing additional study or research pertinent to the class. The third option is to take a graduate level course to fulfill Honors College requirements. The unusual courses described by Blevins are not specific to honors program and are typically offered only during the summer and open to all students. Also of note is that honors courses are open to non-honors students, with permission of the instructor.

    On a side note, I will offer that it really should not just be a discussion about LAC vs. large university. I attended a large university that had an emphasis on research and was not focused on undergraduate teaching. Conversely, the large university my daughter attends is more focused on undergraduate teaching than the one I attended. Not all large universities have the same focus... Just another facet to consider when choosing a college.

  • kac425kac425 Registered User Posts: 222 Junior Member
    As Romani kept pointing out (and some others,) quality is found where it is, for *that* kid, his or her interests, how likely the kid is to take advantage of certain aspects.

    @lookingforward i couldnt like this anymore if i tried.

    i started out originally believing the "bloom where you are planted" mantra. Then CC got me to believe that prestige and perceived opportunities are the most important criteria for an eventual "good life". Now i firmly believe quality is found everywhere if you look hard enough.

    and as we head toward May 1, i'm grappling with *that* kid and having to weigh what exactly that elusive quality will mean for her and at what cost--and by cost i dont just mean monetary.

    are the perceived opportunities truly much better at one place vs the other or do you have actually have more opportunities when you are a big fish in a little pond instead of average? once you are down from the very, very top tier of U's, does it truly matter if somewhere is ranked 150 vs 200...outside of maybe regionally, what difference does it make to the average person? what if professor X at lowest ranked just happened to be a rockstar in the industry with tons of connections? and what if that guy knows and likes *that* kid and goes the extra mile for them instead of *that* kid just being a number in another scenario. No one has a crystal ball to predict the variables of the what ifs. the complexities of either side are astounding. we can make some educated assumptions, but for the most part the answer is that "it depends".

    my biggest takeaway now is that the answer is different for each and every kid here.

    it can be discussed to death, but its virtually impossible to quantify. particularly for *that* kid. it means something different for each one of them. there is no one size fits all.

    and they are all *that* kid.
  • toowonderfultoowonderful Registered User Posts: 3,510 Senior Member
    My kid is in one of the audition programs at NYU Tisch. There are 60 kids in her studio - 300 kids in her major, and that core stays together for 4 years. She knows everyone in her major - it is NOT an isolating experience
  • VgKingVgKing Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    True. You should only choose a college that allows you to freely and regularly interact with tutors and other support staff. Some college lecture halls are too crowded that some students graduate without ever having a handshake with their lecturers. Bad idea!
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