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Old 12-09-2009, 05:32 AM
 
195 posts, read 57,740 times
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If your son or daughter graduated from an elite High School on the top of his class, got a near perfect SAT score and has an impressive record or leadership in countless activities, wouldn't you insist that the go to one of the best colleges in the nation?

In every almost guaranteed admission State College, there are many of these top notch students. Are they wasting their time in such easy settings? Shouldn't they be attending an Ivy League College?
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
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Yes, they are wasting their time. The bar at your typical state college is set rather low and the people they will be around will be rather different than those at a top college.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
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National Merit Scholar kids don't all come from families with piles of money. And I can tell you from experience that even a huge scholarship offer doesn't cover all the costs of an Emory or Yale.

Better, in many people's minds, to use the in-state scholarship money (Bright Futures, etc) for a decent-if-not-stellar undergrad, and try not to mount up the debt /deplete finances until grad school.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,330 posts, read 10,473,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aconite View Post
... and try not to mount up the debt /deplete finances until grad school.
Getting into a good grad school is highly related to where you go to undergrad. Furthermore, Ph.d programs are free so undergrad is where you should spend money if you going to do so.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:26 AM
 
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A guy that was in my same freshman dorm was in this same situation. He could have gotten into any school he wanted, but was very close to his family and wanted to stay close to home. The good thing for him was that my alma mater is one of the best med schools in the country, so when he applied to for early acceptance he got in.

Could it be that they know they wouldn't fit in at those top level schools?
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:38 AM
 
Location: New York, NY
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A lot of poor kids don't know how cheap private schools can be. They don't realize that a lot of the top schools offer huge financial aid packets. My alma mater and several others have done away with loans completely and only offer grants now to cover the full cost of attendance.

If you're the first person in your family to go to college, you probably don't know how much money you can get from certain private schools. It takes research, but it helps if you have a parent who can point you in the right direction. State schools are known for being affordable and a parent who hasn't been to college could assume it would be the best deal.

Also, some of the smartest people I knew in high school were just plain lazy. They did well on standardized tests and had high G.P.A.s because they didn't have to work hard, and wanted to continue the easy workload in college.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:53 AM
 
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I don't think the kid should have to go to an Ivy school. A highly ranked public school (ala Michigan, UVA, UNC, Cal...) may fit their personality better. Also, most larger state schools have at least one discipline that is their specialty and they are well regarded in. If the state flagship school has a great medical, engineering or law school, and that is their interest, then it may be the best decision for them.

Another thing is that there are more of those kids out there than you think. Just because a kid has a high GPA and a 'near perfect' SAT, it doesn't mean Ivy league schools will be fawning over him/her and throwing money at their feet. Whereas the state school will probably be offering a full ride as well as accelerated program options.

All that said, if that kid decides to enroll at NW Podunk State in general studies without a plan, then absolutely, it is a waste. Hopefully within the first couple years he/she will figure out what they really want and transfer to a higher regarded or they will just end up another wasted talent.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:06 AM
 
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It depends on:
a) The kid.
b) The program in question.
c) The family.

A. There are kids who do better being the sharpest of a bunch and others who do not want to stick out so much. There are kids who will thrive with the chance to connect with their professors by being that leader in a way that might be harder if they were merely one among many sharp kids - the MIT environment is filled with so many of those kids that standing out is that much harder. And for some kids, the pressure is too much, as well, while others thrive on it.

B) There are superb programs out there at many of these state land grant universities. They have the faculty, the resources, and the opportunities.

c) Sometimes, the family needs a kid closer to home, even without the $$ issue.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:12 AM
 
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It should be noted that some state schools offer special programs and incentives to attract these high achievers. For example, my undergrad offered a program that combined undergrad and a guaranteed admission to the medical school in a 6 year program. The medical school, by the way, is a top tier program. All I'm saying is that there may be good reasons to choose State U versus the Ivy League.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enigmaingr View Post
It should be noted that some state schools offer special programs and incentives to attract these high achievers. For example, my undergrad offered a program that combined undergrad and a guaranteed admission to the medical school in a 6 year program. The medical school, by the way, is a top tier program. All I'm saying is that there may be good reasons to choose State U versus the Ivy League.
Exactly, my State U offers a 5 year accelerated BS/MS in Engineering for approved students. It is a well regarded (not top 25, but borderline top 50) engineering program. 5 years of tuition and 2 degrees is not a bad deal. Unless the kid is an absolute genius, I can guarantee that this program would challenge them. Many of the professors are highly connected at other engineering schools as well...many at their alma mater (I had professors from Berkeley, Yale, Purdue, GA Tech, VA Tech, MIT...), and getting into a top 25 program for a PhD would not be difficult for a kid that succeeded in that program.
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