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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

  • momprof9904momprof9904 327 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 329 Member
    @MWolf wrote:
    Most internships are not with expensive law firms, politicians, or banking companies. Most are with corporations, especially large tech companies. The people who are in charge there generally are not graduates of small private colleges, but of large public engineering powerhouses.

    Absolutely agreed. DS1 attending a public tech university and received internship to a top company which regularly recruits there and has many alumni at the company. I do realize that private universities provide a lot of resources not available at public universities, but if my kid can't get in, it has no value for us.

    DS2 will most likely have stats/ GPA and course rigor to apply to the top private universities. But we realize he is in the worst demographic (unhooked,upper middle class, Asian descent, male, from NJ), and is "average excellent" with no big time accomplishments in his EC's. We will be cheerleading many of the state flagship honors colleges instead, the most likely scenario for possible acceptances.
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  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 982 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 984 Member
    Access to internships at tech companies is, for the most part, fairly straight forward (apply, code test, etc) so students from any school can engage (even without on-campus recruiting events). Campus recruiting events do, however, make it easier as some hold first round reviews and even code tests on-campus (advantage schools with many of these). These events are typically listed on department websites.

    There are, however, many ways that networks can assist. For instance, at many tech companies you can skip the code test and go directly to f2f interviews if an existing employee will vouch for you. So, at schools whose graduate programs funnel into specific companies the coattails of the grad students assist the undergrads (same when profs also work/consult at certain companies). Another way networks help is in startups where current students (grad and undergrad) as well as profs either hire interns or help them engage with startups (the startup culture is heavily word of mouth).
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  • natty1988natty1988 595 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 603 Member
    "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."
    @blueskies2day I would beg to differ. I know plenty of die hard UCLA and UC Berkeley alums who are very active in the alumni network. I have a friend who started a UC Berkeley alumni meetup in the DC area. And she posts job opening at her company on the Berkeley alumni page...so
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  • natty1988natty1988 595 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 603 Member
    edited April 9
    Yes, public schools are big and crowded and not for everyone, but that doesn't necessarily make them inferior...
    Also, private universities are not the be all and the end all..
    edited April 9
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22113 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 22,127 Senior Member
    Another reason a California kid may not want to go to a UC is the quarter system. If the student wants a semester system, a private school in California may offer that

    I personally didn't like quarters, but I'm sure I would have put up with that system to go to a UC. Another person (who had more money than me) may have opted for another school.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76555 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,220 Senior Member
    Another reason a California kid may not want to go to a UC is the quarter system. If the student wants a semester system, a private school in California may offer that

    UCB and UCM are on the semester system. While UCB is relatively difficult to get into, UCM is not as difficult to get into.

    Most CSUs and California community colleges are on the semester system.
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  • MazeArtCrewMazeArtCrew 179 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    1) It cost us less to send our two kids to private schools than it did to our flagship public. The financial aid was much better, especially for our first child.
    2) There were much better facilities and services at the private schools that our kids went to/are going to;
    3) The "lecture hall" at the state flagship sat over 600 students. The lecture hall at the private school held fewer than 200. Those halls were for a few first year classes. Most other class sizes were smaller as well.
    4) Looking more deeply into costs after the first year, housing was less expensive at the private schools; the one state school my daughter looked at would have required renting an apartment for a year at high prices ($1,000 a month per person for a shared apartment + utilities = $12,000, versus $6,000 at the private school for the school year.)
    5) Health services, costs you don't think about such as printing; signing out a room at the library so our daughter could Skype for interviews (free at her school; $$$ at the state school); fees were much higher at the state schools - diving deeper into the costs, there were additional fees for almost everything at the state schools.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28334 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,390 Senior Member
    I’ve told this story before on CC. A dear friend who was a great public school advocate; she and her husband went to state universities. They did well , were happy, and their first two kids did just fine in public schools. Both went to their large, well regarded flag ship state university.

    But Kid3 was not like them it was rather clear that the chances of him getting through 4 years of Big State U with a degree were slim. A smaller Private was a better fit. A conclusion even the pro Public school parents made. For some kids, a private school simply is a better choice. Some people prefer them.

    Of course, there are wide variances in private schools and public ones. There are huge private schools and smaller public ones. There are advantages that some schools have over others in academic offerings, access to classes, name recognition, culture, facilities , etc etc.

    I have a cousin whose daughter finally came to the decision to go to he state flagship over a private school because the cost came down to the major difference. Just could not justify 3X the cost to go private. Had the money been no issue at all, it’s possible that the decision would have gone the other way. I agree the difference is not much and that with cost to them was not worth the advantages of the pricier school. In fact I see other advantages of the state school choice as well.

    As a general rule, i prefer LACS which tend to be private because I like the more personal attention that students can get there. However , two of my kids who did go to relatively large state schools, the small departments of their majors really gave them a lot of nurturing and assistance.
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  • natty1988natty1988 595 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 603 Member
    The personal attention is attractive...but some students don't really want/need that. I got personal attention at my large state U, but then again I took advantage of office hours, etc...
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  • HImomHImom 33971 replies387 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 34,358 Senior Member
    I went to three large public Us. I got the attention I wanted by being in an honors program and taking the small honors classes at the 1st U.
    At the 2nd U, I got a work-study job in the little library of my major and chatted with the profs who came into the library.
    At the 3rd (in law school), I actively participated in class discussions, even when there were 100 or more other students in the room. I ended up working for one of the profs—an easy, cushy job that gave me some spending money.
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 174 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    My oldest son wanted zero personal attention. He sought complete anonymity. His senior year he took as many online classes as he could and went to class 0% of the time (just got the notes and studied the books). No college could be big enough for him.
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  • HImomHImom 33971 replies387 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 34,358 Senior Member
    Our older child took all APs & marching band his SR year. He missed at least 1/2 his SR year due to chronic medical health conditions so the size of his U was not important to him. He ended up at a fairly large private U, but the college of engineering within the U was much smaller (his freshman engineering group was about the size of his HS). He was perfectly comfortable and liked the advantages of both big U and smaller college.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76555 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,220 Senior Member
    All of these outliers don’t answer why such a vast majority of the top half of the class choose private.

    https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cha.asp (figure 4) suggests that most (78%) college students choose public. About 70% of high school graduates go to college (not necessarily 4 year college), so even if all of those choosing private were in the upper half (unlikely), only 44% of them would be choosing private.
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