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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

  • natty1988natty1988 608 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    @SuperSenior19 very true!
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77080 replies671 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    MWolf wrote:
    Elites are just about as meritocratic as they have been since the started with "holistic admissions" in the early 20th century.

    In the 1950s, the elites like HYP were probably much less meritocratic than now for the majority of the students in their classes, which were taken from social elite (then not academically elite) private boarding schools, with some actual academic elite students from everywhere (mainly public schools at the time) and more likely on scholarship (financial aid). The social elite students were content to get "gentleman's C" grades to graduate into their well-connected lives, while the actual academic elite students were striving for A grades and academic achievement.

    Now, of course, even the "preferred" groups are held to much higher minimum academic standards than they were in the 1950s, and the social elite boarding schools have also increased their emphasis on academic achievement, so that the social elite scions can bring in academic merit instead of being too obvious as "preferred" admits of lesser academic merit.
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  • CU123CU123 3419 replies61 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @itsgettingreal17 yes, TOP students at flagships are competitive with elite school graduates.

    @roycroftmom don't know any professors like that, IOW your saying that the very top high school students somehow regress to a lower level once attending an elite college and the state universities bloom to great heights.

    @MWolf In holistic admissions only about half of the admission decision is based on academics, the other half is based on what they think of the person as demonstrated by EC's and essays. Harvard doesn't want and more Ted Kazcynski's. BTW my DD was floored by the talent at UChicago and she wasn't talking about academics.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1279 replies8 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @CU123 I have been around academia for decades, and have seen the talent in a much larger number of colleges than just UChicago. As I wrote at least a half a dozen times earlier, there are more kids who are above the average for UChicago at UIUC than there are students at UChicago.

    "Harvard doesn't want and more Ted Kazcynski's". Wow, you really believe that T-20s are run by super-humans for super-humans. You really seem to think that "holistic admissions" means that every application is run through Precogs who create accurate psychological and intellectual profiles of every one of the 40,000 Harvard applicants, and choose Only The Very Best Of The Best Of The Best, including accurate 30 year predictions of the behaviors of every student who is accepted.
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  • liska21liska21 638 replies10 postsRegistered User Member
    edited June 4
    Responding to comment #183, waaay back up thread. In my kids' mid-tier private HS in Seattle, about 10 out of a class of 70 went to in-state public universities (6 or so to the flagship, 4 or so to other public state schools). The rest went OOS, primarily to privates. I think there were like 2-3 CA OOS publics and 5 international public. Most of the kids going to OOS privates were not going to T20, but rather next tier down. Only one of the top 10% went to our flagship and he got into CS which is very highly ranked. However, very few of the seniors listed engineering as their targeted major (which surprised me). The public/private split at the public HS will be very different---many more will go to the in-state publics.

    As someone else wrote upthread, I think this trend is simply that families of kids in private HSs can afford private college.

    But a few thoughts on why this is:
    * There are many more families at publics that cannot afford privates that don't cover 100% need. And there are many more families who cannot afford their EFC at a school that does cover 100% need. I am not sure about the public school kids from families that fit more the private school profile (2-income, parents with graduate degrees). The kids of parents in my friend group also went OOS private, but that is a small sample size.

    * Culture I. Even if your parents can afford your EFC, at the public HSs there is not the 'culture' of the majority of seniors going to OOS privates so there is nothing odd about going in-state. That's not the case at my kids' private HS.

    * The families at my kids' private HS tend to be 2-income with graduate degrees. This is a highly 'migratory' group. It is very unusual to find someone who grew up in WA, much less Seattle, at any social school gathering. The kids come from a 'culture' of academic migration.

    * Culture II. The decision to go 'private' happened long before college decisions. Most families at my kids' HS made decision in elementary school and they continue on that path. Note, ca 40% of HS students in Seattle are in private or parochial schools; I counted it up one day out of curiosity.

    * Families are willing to pay extra for their kids to go to a school where there is more guidance and advising; they don't want to risk their kid to 'falling through the cracks'. A 4-year grad rate in the 80s versus something in the 60s or 70s (or 50s...).
    edited June 4
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  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 4
    @MWolf I cannot agree with you more. The assumption that every student who goes to an elite private school is automatically branded with an übermensch mark during orientation week is immediately dispelled once one expands their circle of friends and acquaintances. I went to our state flagship, while my business partner of 20 years had degrees from both Harvard and UChicago. UIUC grads can hold their own intellectually and professionally with graduates from elites. And, at the same time, not all grads from elite schools go on to be leaders in their fields. My colleagues, neighbors, and friends have degrees from a wide range of schools (and some have no degrees at all). It really is not apparent who went to Princeton and who went to Illinois State.

    That being said, I think my own child benefited from going to a well-respected, private research university (but not tippy-top so without the "ooooh" factor that more popular schools inspire). I think she might have been intimidated in a larger school and would have played it safer there. It wasn't the in-class learning or the prestige branding that made the difference. Instead, it was being in an environment where she felt the right combination of challenge and encouragement which resulted in a college experience that allowed her to be her best self. For another kid with her "talent" that balance might have been found at a large pubic flagship or a somewhat more elite private. I know "fit" is an elusive concept, but it's real. At least in my experience.
    edited June 4
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77080 replies671 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    liska21 wrote:
    * Families are willing to pay extra for their kids to go to a school where there is more guidance and advising; they don't want to risk their kid to 'falling through the cracks'. A 4-year grad rate in the 80s versus something in the 60s or 70s (or 50s...).

    Of course, to find higher graduation rates, just go to the most academically selective college with the students from the richest families (and where you can easily afford). The more academically selective college will have fewer weak students who have higher risk of dropping out for academic reasons, and students from rich families are less likely to drop out because they run out of money. Your personal risk of the latter is reduced by choosing a comfortably affordable college.
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  • liska21liska21 638 replies10 postsRegistered User Member
    @ucbalumnus I should have written 'where parents perceive...'. Parents at my kids' HS are aware of these studies that say outcome is independent of UG school and yet across the board their kids choose OOS privates and the parents choose to foot the bill.
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  • natty1988natty1988 608 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    @liska21 The high school that I work at and both my kids have attended is similar to your kid's HS. It's located in South Orange County which is an affluent area. There are a few differences though..many, but not all of the parents and families are originally from Southern California or Northern California. Lots of parents who attended schools like USC (uni of southern california), UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, Pepperdine, etc. And we have a good chunk of kids who apply to attend and schools like UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC Davis each year. That said, private schools are very popular and a LOT of kids from our school go to out of state privates. And going far away to college is definitely part of the culture at our school. That said, a good amount do stay in state and go to California publics and privates...
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77080 replies671 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Here are the college matriculation lists for two schools near each other, one public, one private:
    http://www.mabears.org/documents/Where Our Grads Go/Graduate Destinations 15-18.pdf
    https://www.menloschool.org/about/college-acceptances.php
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6587 replies39 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ha on the dorms! One of the nicest dorm I've ever seen was at U. of Cincinnati. There was even news coverage about it because it's so posh!

    My D's dorm at her state flagship was also super, as is the one she's moving to next year. The worst dorms we saw on our tour of 15 schools were both at very expensive privates.
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  • Leigh22Leigh22 635 replies9 postsRegistered User Member
    Our HS is suburban, in PA, ranked outside of the top 100 for PA HS. A lot of kids go to PSU, followed by Temple, followed by community college. After that it really opens up, with a lot of kids going to private schools. However, the majority of kids stay in state.
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  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 3866 replies25 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @moooop That and confirmation bias.
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  • ccprofandmomof2ccprofandmomof2 486 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    edited June 5
    @moooop As I said somewhere up thread, it's not that people from CA don't want to send their kids to in-state publics. Most people I know would prefer it. But the publics are notoriously difficult to get into, especially the ones that have a residential college experience. If your student wants a popular major (like CS or engineering) then it's really difficult to find a place, even for a very high stats kid. The state has not expanded its university system quickly enough for the growth in population of college students. Presumably they are just waiting out the population bubble, who knows. Silicon Valley hasn't done its share to fund computer science programs, that's for sure. The community college system is just good enough to keep people from complaining, but when you look at the facts, very, very few people finish CC in the two years that they are supposed to. So people turn to out of state schools. Many turn to out of state publics (Arizona especially), but often the math works out for high stats kids with financial need that out of state privates are cheaper. For people with a lot of money, the "bird in the hand" of an out of state private acceptance is a powerful draw, since the UCs are the very last to announce their acceptances. The ED system makes it even more likely that people who can afford to will just be "one and done" and not deal with the lottery that is UC admissions.

    Also, nowhere has better dorms than UC Santa Barbara. Ocean at your feet! It's not about the dorms, really.
    edited June 5
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  • moooopmoooop 2205 replies17 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 5
    @momofsenior1 Any minute now somebody will try to say your experiences were just isolated cases. So I'll add to it...kid one's frosh dorm at top-15 private: a dump (dark, dirty, smelly, cramped). Kid two's frosh dorm at prairie state flagship: a palace ( bright & clean, sparkling laundry room on each floor, multiple study rooms on each floor, etc.).
    edited June 5
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  • natty1988natty1988 608 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    Some of the oldest, smallest dorms we saw were at private schools. Most of the really nice on campus housing we saw was for upper classmen and this was true at public and private schools.

    @moooop dorms really vary by school. I'm sure plenty of midwest flagship schools have drab dorms too. It has nothing to do with which region of the country the school is in..

    Also, I would say most people in coastal areas send their kids to public Universities, they just aren't on college confidential. Also, some parents and students want to stay close to home..maybe that's why a California kid is going to USC instead of University of Michigan.
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  • natty1988natty1988 608 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    @moooop Most Californians are well aware of the midwest. Maybe the kid who applied to several schools on the coast looked at places in the Midwest and just wasn't interested? Also, at my school we do have a good amount of kids who choose schools in the Midwest. Yes, we have kids who choose USC (university of southern california) over Michigan, but they wanted to stay closer to home. Also, the Midwest has dirty dorms too and their Public schools have flaws too, just like the schools on the coast. People can only apply to so many schools, not everyone is overlooking the midwest. The midwest publics are no better or worse then the publics on the coast. A kid can do just as well at UC Davis or Occidental as they can at Indiana U or Butler...
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