What's wrong with state universities?

<p>I see a lot of posts on CC disparaging state universities,
Maybe I'm biased because I'm GOING to one, but still, I don't see why.</p>

<p>Consider the bias in the USNEWS, for instance. One criteria happens to be median SAT scores- and state Univs always come of worse... indicating what exactly?
Well, I would say not a lot at all. After all, state univs generally have 2-3 times the students privates do, so this is very much expected. Take the top 1000 or so of the students and it would even out.</p>

<p>Next problem: class sizes. State univs apparently have horrendously huge class sizes.
Without going into the merits and demerits of different class sizes, this is simply not true... after a few intro classes (which I'm fairly certain APs can be used to skip), the class sizes at my university come down to less than 25 students. Add to this the smaller classes available to honors students, and I'm guessing I'd be taking a mere 5-6 classes max that are large (and that too cause I dnt have APs)</p>

<p>So why look down on state universities?</p>

<p>Why such a rude post? Why not ask those who disparage state universities why they feel that way? I haven't noticed such people posting on Parents Forum.</p>

<p>It wasn't meant to be rude, I'm sorry.
I'm just sort of annoyed I guess. <em>sigh</em>
And yes, you're right. It's mostly students. Why though, I wonder?</p>

<p>I think State Universities are great. With that said, I am aware of many non-freshman classes offered at the University of Florida, a big highly rated state university and my alma mater. With that said, I think State Universities can not be as select with their incoming freshman classes as they have a responsibility to educate many of the state's residents. Not that State Universities don't have standards, they very much do, but they have to take care of more people. </p>

<p>Personally, I think State Universities can offer a lot more opportunities for undergrad students because of their size, but I am sure there are plenty of people who will argue that point.</p>

<p>For those who feel that a quality education can only be obtained from a private school I think they need to look closely at every private school out there. Many private schools, and I would venture, most can't offer the same quality of education as a larger public school who is able to attract very well respected professors because they can pay more and offer better facilities for research.</p>

<p>Now the Ivy League schools are whole different ball game. They have huge endowments and International reputations that allows really great opportunities for the few that are able to attend their schools. But, even in this economy they are struggling.</p>

<p>State schools are going to have a more diverse range of students when it comes to ability than an Ivy school, but honestly, I think many of the poorly prepared students, who wouldn't have even been considered to an elite private, will, unless they receive a ton of help, flunk out. I think most graduates of your state schools will be on par with your elite privates.</p>

<p>Okay, I have made my comments and I am ready to be drawn and quartered.</p>

<p>I don't find your post rude at all. If you ask me, there is a general bias against state schools and it is unfair.
After touring several top tier universities then the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa I can say that Bama compared more than favorably on facilities, technology and atmosphere. I'm sure the situation varies from state school to state school, but at UA the honors college is top notch and I would encourage anyone looking to broaden their college search to check it out. They actively pursue great students and have VERY generous scholarship packages based on test scores alone. I know the University of Oklahoma offers a full ride for NMF, as well.
Sadly, I never would have looked twice at BAMA if not for an "intervention" by another CC Mom. We included our state flagship on the college list just as a matter of routine, but there are some great options out there. Don't write them off until you check them out.</p>

<p>Not all public state colleges are equal and not all private colleges are equal so it doesn't really make sense to speak of one or the other as if they are. I can guarantee that some publics are considered better than some privates and some privates are considered better than some publics generally speaking.</p>

<p>I mentioned that people looked down on ALL state universities in general.
So, let's assume, say, state flagships for the purposes of my question.</p>

<p>Yes, I think there is an overall tone of condescension in the "Oh, really?" comments I get when I tell people D is going to UA. I do believe that UNTIL EXPOSED to one, most people consider state schools sub par.
This may change with the sluggish economy and rising freakishly competitive admissions waitlists at the top tier level.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I mentioned that people looked down on ALL state universities in general.
So, let's assume, say, state flagships for the purposes of my question.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>No, "people" don't. In the midwest, for example, the vast majority of people look quite favorably upon the Big 10 state flagship universities and it's pretty acknowledged you can get to be quite successful coming out of any of them. In CA, the UC's are well regarded. Perhaps "people" in certain classes / circles do, but that's not "people" in general.</p>

<p>I live in VA. With schools such as UVA, William & Mary and VATech (as well as many other good, but not as well known state schools), no one I know has any reason to look down on state universities.</p>

<p>Why? Because of the stats for INCOMING students are naturally lower than that of highly selective schools. </p>

<p>And because of the all the drinking, drugging and tom foolery that naturally ensues at State U's. </p>

<p>I went to FL State in Tally. I got a BS and an MS and then passed the same uniform CPA exam that any other accounting student took. So, a cheap, state U worked for me no doubt. </p>

<p>Not only that I went to a CommCollege first. So I was double cheap and still got into my career. So you can get a professional level education at a big state school. Some of these elite schools live off of biased rankings. </p>

<p>Still, part of it is deserved. I do not want my sons surrounded by low achievers when they get to college so even though I am a state U success story I am leaning towards going private the next time around. </p>

<p>I value the smaller classes and all that. But not too small. If it is under 2,000 students I know my kids would be bored out of their minds. If there are 30,000 students or more, and most of drunk 24/7, that isn't for them either. </p>

<p>So we are looking for something in the middle. </p>

<p>If you go to a state school and you budget your time and prioritize you can get a good enough education. Some folks with $50K per year educations can't find work. You find out what you learned in college once the classes stop.</p>

<p>There is nothing wrong with state universities, and as the middle class is increasingly priced out of private education, seats at the state flagships are becoming precious commodities. You'll see more and more high-achieving middle--income kids there. A few months ago the front page article of the Chronicle of Higher Education was all about how it's getting tough for the B-student to get into state flagships for that reason.</p>

<p>ACcecil, I think the growing trend of competitive honors colleges and living & learning communities within large universities should address worries about kids being "surrounded by low achievers".</p>

<p>
[quote]
So, let's assume, say, state flagships for the purposes of my question.

[/quote]

There will always be some people who have opinions based on ignorance and some who generalize too much.</p>

<p>Using one of the metrics you stated, the 'median SAT scores', the scores of someplace like UCB, UCLA, UCSD, UVA, and others are higher than that of many privates. </p>

<p>One should evaluate a particular one versus a particular other one (i.e. not ALL state vs ALL private) for criteria that's important to them. They should factor reputation, cost, availability of the major, research and other opportunities, class sizes, average SAT scores of incoming freshmen, etc. - whatever they find important. Some people put a lot of weight on class size yet others don't care at all if the lecture in an intro bio class is to 30 students versus 400 students (and it often is irrelevant) yet in other more focused classes it's beneficial to have some smaller class sizes. There are some privates that will have larger class sizes than some state schools but it doesn't necessarily make them the poorer choice. </p>

<p>Average incoming freshman SAT scores can be a marker for the pace and depth a particular course can achieve so IMO it can be an important statistic yet some colleges that accept a broad range of applicants in this area offer honors classes where the high SAT scorers may be clustered allowing them to still achieve the pace and depth and some places, like the school of engineering at UCLA, already have very high incoming average SAT scores.</p>

<p>I just discount the opinions of any poster who makes a broad generalization in this area since it doesn't really mean anything. In some cases they're taking a slight liberty with generalization, which most of us do, and in some other cases they're simply uninformed and/or haven't looked into the public/private question deeply enough.</p>

<p>Regardless, who cares what they think really. You likely know more about your college than they do, you know why you selected the college you did, you know what it offers you, and you know whether you're happy enough there or not. Their opinion can be irritating but doesn't really matter.</p>

<p>Here in NC our state schools are very respected and very competitive. I agree with NJSue that they will become even more competitive as families decide less debt is a good thing.</p>

<p>ACCecil--</p>

<p>"most of drunk 24/7"---um, where exactly does that occur?</p>

<p>I too have noticed "some" people getting that vacant look when I mention S is going to the local public uni...even tho he is on full scholarship and in the Honors program. In our case, it may be because he is going to the "local" one, and not across the state. Whereas kids from the other corner of the state gladly come down to ours! Funny.</p>

<p>It's a great deal, he is already taking advantage of being a big fish in a big pond, and we are looking forward to 5 (co-op) years of it.</p>

<p>There are good and bad state schools and good and bad private schools. I taught at a mid sized second tier public where teaching was emphasized. It offered wonderful opportunities particularly for first generation college students who may have been overlooked in larger universities and may have felt intimidated by the atmosphere at some private universities that attract large numbers of students from affluent and/or highly educated backgrounds.</p>

<p>Older S applied to 3 public universities, and happily went to one. He flunked out, but that was his fault (too much partying), not the school's fault.</p>

<p>Younger S is going to a small private school and turned down our local almost flagship public for it. If he had gone to the public school and had been accepted into what he ended up majoring in, he probably would have had even more opportunities than at the private school. However, he had no idea what he wanted to major in when he started college, and going to a LAC was an excellent way for him to explore a variety of fields.</p>

<p>Out of ignorance and narrow mindedness some people put down all public schools. That's their loss. No reason to get upset about their opinions. What's important is that you're happy with your college choice.</p>

<p>To the OP: I hear a lot of condescending comments about state universities, but I've learned to just "smile and nod," as the title of one popular thread on the Parents Forum says. My S goes to a midwestern state flagship, which is the polar opposite of my own college experience, so I've changed my own attitudes. </p>

<p>There ways to affect stereotypes in real life (or maybe even among students on CC). Be positive instead of defensive. When someone makes a snarky comment to you, say, "Gee, that hasn't been my experience at all," and give a specific example. Ask your HS guidance counselor if you can go back on college night to talk up your school, or just volunteer to be a resource for interested students. Become a tour guide on your campus. Find out how the admissions office at your university uses student volunteers in their hometowns. Or you can just do what my husband does (he is an alum of our son's school): wear logo t-shirts all the time, put a decal on your car, and fly a flag on game day.</p>

<p>There is nothing wrong with state schools. Great opportunites for the very top caliber students. My D. has graduated #1 from her private prep HS that consistently sends top kids to Ivy's. She is at state school where scholarships, grants, job opportunities, internships, awesome recs literally showering on her. A lot of classes are not large at all - they are Honors. Her school even has a campus in Europe, there are organized trips abroad (she went to New Zealand), pre-med advisory is top notch. And a very old and pretty campus that she really appreciates. College suites are awesome way of living close to campus. She is senior next year, has been very happy with her choice.</p>

<p>"I live in VA. With schools such as UVA, William & Mary and VATech (as well as many other good, but not as well known state schools), no one I know has any reason to look down on state universities"</p>

<p>We get asked why our DD is NOT going to VTech. We feel that we have made the right choice though - every young person, and every situation, is different. </p>

<p>There are some people here biased against state schools. There are some people here biased against private schools. </p>

<p>I really find positions infuriating.</p>