Experience with a second-tier kid in third-tier schools

<p>This thread</p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/1322764-experiences-smart-kids-second-tier-schools.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/1322764-experiences-smart-kids-second-tier-schools.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>made me thinking of a similar question. My DD seems to be a match, academically, to schools like BU and Northeastern (SAT 2100, GPA 3.5 non-weighted, 3.9 weighted). For financial reasons, she might have to attend a 'weaker' school like UMass Amherst or Stony Brook. Did any CC parent had a similar situation? What was your kid's experience?</p>

<p>She is planning to major in Bio/Health sciences, not sure about her career path yet. I am concerned that large public schools may not provide her enough challenge or career direction. We know some very determined kids who went to public schools and turned out to be just fine, but what about the nice kids who haven't quite found their path yet?</p>

<p>Parent- we were full pay parents (not to brag, but to give you context) and I would not have paid for either BU or Northeastern. For a kid from New England, there are many public U’s which in my opinion offer a kid with a scientific bent as good or better (and in some cases significantly better) education for far less money. One of my kids was applying to engineering programs-- guidance counselor had BU on the list and we took it off. </p>

<p>Stonybrook has a fantastic physics program-- it gets dinged for some quality of life issues. Rutgers has fantastic programs in several disciplines in the sciences. Look at Binghamton if you are NY residents; U Conn and U Mass for health sciences. Are you Mass residents???</p>

<p>Yes, we are Mass residents. We liked Northeastern for their coop program, but I have the feeling that aid money won’t be there for us. DD has some prejudice about Stony Brook, having read that a lot of kids are commuters (not that it’s an issue from my point of view). She seems fine with UMass Amherst but I have concerns that it may lead her no-where career wise.</p>

<p>So let me get this straight…</p>

<p>BU and NEU are ranked 53 and 62 in USNWR are 2nd tier.</p>

<p>UMass is all the way ‘down’ to 94 and 3rd tier and not good enough because it is public? I guess neither of my state flagships would be good enough either…Iowa and Iowa State… since they are ranked lower and easier to get into than BU and NEU.</p>

<p>Public schools are not challenging enough especially in the sciences??? Are you serious?</p>

<p>I agree with Blossom, we are near full pay, there is no way that I would pay for BU or NEU over a good public.</p>

<p>Majoring in biology does not lead to great career prospects at the bachelor’s degree level. Medical schools are more concerned about MCAT score and GPA as the first cut in admissions (more selective colleges have more grade inflation, but also more competitive students sharing the curve).</p>

<p>At many schools (probably including UM Amherst, but check to be sure), students do co-op programs, but they are not as fully integrated into the curriculum as at Northeastern.</p>

<p>I am not that much concerned with rankings, and not at all concerned with school being public. It’s more that UMass admits a lot of kids with…let’s say not great stats and work ethics. Even in honors college, plenty of kids are more concerned with parties and social life then anything else (know first-hand from a relative who is a freshman and lives in honors dorm). And then, of course, there is advising/career center. I would think it should be better at private school simply because they have more resources available?</p>

<p>“there is no way that I would pay for BU or NEU over a good public.”</p>

<p>If I were a multimillionaire and money were truly no object, then sure, I’d pay. But I agree with you that for a typical CC family – the kind that is full pay, but full pay hurts – I don’t think these schools offer good value compared to a good public flagship.</p>

<p>“Even in honors college, plenty of kids are more concerned with parties and social life then anything else”</p>

<p>Trust me, these kids are at BU, too.</p>

<p>Yes, I agree, a public flagship is a great value for a kid who knows exactly what s/he wants to do. Like the above-mentioned relative who was interested in a particular branch of CS since he was in 9th grade. But what about kids like DD, who thinks she wants to be in a health care field (research jobs in bio being unavailable), but does not have a firm plan, like medical school, PA etc.? Our chief concern is, the public school may not help her in finding an employable profession she will like. Any thought or experience?</p>

<p>Any decent school, including UMass, will have an office like this…</p>

<p>[Pomerantz</a> Career Center :: Students, The University of Iowa](<a href=“http://www.careers.uiowa.edu/students/]Pomerantz”>Make it Happen Checklist | Pomerantz Career Center - The University of Iowa)</p>

<p>and will probably have a class like this…</p>

<p><a href=“https://isis2.uiowa.edu/isis2/courses/details.page?id=655326&ci=158593[/url]”>https://isis2.uiowa.edu/isis2/courses/details.page?id=655326&ci=158593</a></p>

<p>“Weaker Schools”, don’t be so fast to judge. </p>

<p>SUNY SB as well as Buffalo have great science programs and lots of majors. In fact, they have better science/math programs than the higher rated Binghamton. It has to do with major and not school rank. Kids do very well from these highly regarded programs. </p>

<p>As your daughter is only a Jr and has six months or more to decide on a major, it may be in her best interest to check out some programs… OT? PT? Nursing? Speech or Audiology? Many other programs as well. It is easier to get in as a Freshman, and then if she decides to change her major, so be it. Spend some time exploring options and don’t be so negative or caught up on the numbers game. </p>

<p>(We gave both sons the option of applying anywhere. Both had variety of schools to chose from… we’d pay/debt free for them. Older son took full tuition at private over $55K/yr at Berkeley (OOS) and younger son decided on a Buffalo’s impressive engineering program (and he was accepted at 15 of 15 applied to). Both are doing well. Older son is now in grad school and younger son is thriving at UB, doing research on campus and has a paid summer internship again this summer (gotten through the on campus job fair held each Fall.)</p>

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<p>There are plenty of kids at NEU and BU who are interested in parties and social life. Speaking from the parent of a BU grad!</p>

<p>We know a number of vals and sals who CHOSE UMass over other schools because they liked it better, and the costs were modest for them…and they got great merit aid. And they did mighty well there…and landed great jobs.</p>

<p>“the public school may not help her in finding an employable profession she will like”</p>

<p>Are you worried about the academics, or the advising?</p>

<p>Both :-(. Advising more I guess…</p>

<p>I graduated many moons ago from SBU and live close by. SBU is a fantastic school for sciences and I can honestly say your D will defintely be challenged there. I know a young man who graduated recently. He was a biochem and chem major. He took his MCAT and was accepted to 3 out 4 of the medical schools he applied to. He is going for his MD/PhD (A much tougher route for med school then just the regular MD program, because the schooling is all for free. Thus the colleges are extremely selective.) He chose Duke and is doing extremely well. SBU will do a fine job of educating your child. Keep in mind too, that she may very well be the big fish in the little pond. That will give her opportunities to be more visible. She will probably have more access to research as a result. Some of the problems with SBU is the fact that it is a large commuter school, there is a definite lack of school spirit and there aren’t many functions for kids to participate in. The school lacks traditions. The bottomline is that its not a ‘fun’ place to be. The college town of Stony Brook and Setauket don’t do much to invite the college kids into the community either. If those things aren’t important to your D then the education she will receive is fantastic. However, if you were hoping that she would get a true ‘college’ experience, then SBU isn’t the place. Did you ever think about Penn State? There science program is fantastic and they have Scheyers Honor’s College which is very exclusive. The college town environment is amazing as is their school pride. Everyone is crazy about the Nittany Lions.</p>

<p>As for advising, I think its okay but certainly nothing special. SBU was always a school where teachers taught and it was up to the students to learn. They don’t coddle you, nor do they really care if you pass or fail. The grades you get are the grades you earn. No such thing as grade inflation. As for the career center, once again its what you (your D) wants to make of it. I’m not trying to make it sound like a terrible place because its not. It all depends on what your D is expecting to get in the four years she is there. If you are all about the academics and not concerned about anything else, then its a great place!!! If you want her to experience a frat party or exciting football /basketball games, or dorm ski trips in addition to her course work well I would think again.</p>

<p>At UMass Amherst, your D can also take courses at Amherst College, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, and Hampshire. Not at all schleppy schools. She would have the best of all worlds, tons of opportunities for research, the UMass Medical center out toward Boston may be available to her at some point (I don’t know how all that works) and she will be in a college area full of some of the brightest minds and best cultural activities available!</p>

<p>My son is in the engineering college at UMass Amherst, not in the honors college, not living in the “engineering” dorm, but still working hard and doing well. I had some concerns about his ability to avoid distractions, but after a couple of bumps first semester (not academic), he has hit his stride. He also finds the time to have a social life and play club and intramural sports. He turned down Syracuse, Delaware and UConn for UMass (and probably could have gotten into BU and Northeastern but didn’t want to go to college in a city) in part because we (he and his parents) didn’t feel there was value-added for the extra cost, and partly because he simply liked UMass better. He is very challenged by his courses and in looking at what he’s taking next year, will continue to be.</p>

<p>I don’t have any experience with the guidance and career services yet (the engineering program is pretty much set except for a few electives) but I have been very impressed with UMass so far for their orientation program (for students and parents) and their efforts to break up the big university into smaller parts through living/learning programs and themed housing. If this is an indication, I expect the guidance and career services will also be good. Many of the individual colleges (like engineering) also have their own advisors and career counselors.</p>

<p>I don’t know if you heard about the recent fraternity hazing incident at BU. As a BU (Law) grad it saddens me that this kind of behavior still goes on. The point is that you can find kids who want to party and kids who want to study at any college or university, state or private. Every year the GPA of admitted students at UMass Amherst goes up. I know the 3.0 students from my son’s big suburban high school did not get into UMass and are at the state colleges instead. I think you should visit UMass, talk to the bio/health sciences prople, and get a feel for what they offer. You may be pleasantly surprised. It’s definitely not “third-tier”.</p>

<p>It is worth noting that some schools that have rather lowly reputations have much higher reputations in some subjects, such as:</p>

<p>UM Amherst for computer science
Stony Brook for math and physics
Rutgers for philosophy, math, and computer science
Arizona for philosophy and astronomy
Hawaii for astronomy
Delaware for chemical engineering</p>

<p>To me, there is very little reason to prefer a 2-3 tier private if a strong state flagship is available, with or without considering the cost differentials.</p>

<p>Thanks for starting this thread. Similar situation here, and I share your concerns about UMASS, though it’s growing on me. </p>

<p>My sense is that UMASS, BU and Northeastern Arts and Science basically draw from the same student pool. I think Northeastern engineering is a bit more competitive. </p>

<p>I wouldn’t worry about enough challenge in the bio area because all of these schools have to weed out premeds. I’ve heard that BU has bad grade deflation. I don’t know about the others. </p>

<p>I know some Mass folks whose kids are going to SUNY Binghamton, which draws higher caliber students from NY but for some reason is easier to get into from Mass. I’m not sure I understand why that’s the case since they’re not collecting a huge OOS surcharge, but your D shouldn’t have a problem. It’s also far enough from NYC that students don’t go home on weekends. They also seem to send a pretty high portion of their students to medical school. I found that statistic somewhere deep on the USNews Best Colleges pay site </p>

<p>For low cost and really good students, there is always McGill, though I don’t know how that would work for premed. </p>

<p>At public schools, I’m more concerned with the caliber of teaching, advising, whether there are enough resources for undergraduates to do research, etc, and the fact that it seems pretty easy to get lost in the shuffle.</p>

<p>Are you in a situation where you won’t get enough need based aid from needs blind schools who meet full need?</p>