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Pros and Cons of Public Flagship vs Private Colleges


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

  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,892 Senior Member
    Finances is the biggest reason to choose a cheaper public U over a private one.

    The elite tier of public flagships make it hard to look at the many lesser private schools so many on CC need to consider relative to their flagship. So, it depends on your state. Why spend more on a school with fewer available courses, no grad offerings et al. Honors programs can offer many of the so called advantages of private schools. The elite students, ie those with equivalent stats/ability, often end up at their flagship U.

    I guess cons would include sharing a school with many more students and those merely good instead of better. One could list many pros and cons- depending on the individual public and private school being compared.
  • pangolinzpangolinz Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    I agree about UC's being very competitive. You are fortunate if you can be admitted. There are 70,000+ applicants to some of these schools.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
    edited April 7
    Just wondering if these families know something that I’m not thinking of, such as graduating on time, smaller classes, better alumni network, more internships oppos, etc

    From what I know of the UCs, the first two might be concerns - it's worth looking at those closely. The 4 year grad rate of 75%-ish for the top 2 UCs. You can look at course catalogs for class sizes.

    The last two on your list likely vary from school to school, and kid to kid. Is there a formal (electronic directory at least) alumni network at those UCs? A mentoring program? Are summer internships made available to students by the university itself, and/or is there a source for them in the career center's offerings?
  • ccprofandmomof2ccprofandmomof2 Registered User Posts: 480 Member
    When I've looked at the UC admissions by source school data for our high schools, it seems clear that only about 1/3 of the students who apply to Cal/UCLA get in. What surprises me even more is how few actually apply to Cal or UCLA. It's only about 25% of the class. Also, it used to be the UCSB and UCSD were pretty much guaranteed for high stats kids from our school, but that's no longer the case. I think the kids are choosing to ED to privates partly out of the realistic fear they won't get into a UC they desire, so they never even end up applying to UCs. And, yes, of course, the private school offers a different experience. I think since so many California kids go to massively huge high schools (4000 students is not uncommon, right?), so the smaller private colleges can be really appealing and different.
  • LemonleeLemonlee Registered User Posts: 52 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.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,686 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.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 26,675 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.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,686 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%.
  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 5,409 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.
  • foobar1foobar1 Registered User Posts: 186 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.
  • pog2016pog2016 Registered User Posts: 44 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.
  • RiversiderRiversider Registered User Posts: 686 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 .

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