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Old 01-19-2012, 08:04 AM
 
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golfgal is 100% correct on the cost of the Ivy's. If you have the ability to get in and are from an average family you will most likely have your entire education, or at least the vast majority of it paid for. There is almost no reason for a good student to NOT try and apply to one of the Ivy's.

The issue comes when you start looking at non-Ivy private schools and are an average middle-class family. Schools like Notre Dame, Boston College, Amherst, Swarthmore, Wellesley, Duke, Georgetown, Vanderbilt, etc. Are all fantastic schools, but they all cost an arm and a leg. They have high admittance standards and look nice on a resume, but the average student and their family will end up with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt.

Compared to these top tier private schools, there are many fantastic public universities that are FAR more affordable and give you almost the same education. When they look at the earning potential of someone who went to say Duke compared to someone who went to Penn State, what they find is that the Duke grad most likely NEVER earns back the cost premium of their education.

I was fortunate in that I got into a good private school and had the majority of it paid for with sports scholarships. My degree looks impressive, but I sit in an office full of public university grads who make just as much as I do. Had I paid out of pocket for my education it would have been an immense waste.

Another major consideration is that while most kids won't know their major or what they want to do with their life going in, they do need some idea. Anything in the hard sciences like engineering, medical, bio-sciences, etc. is going to require careful selection of schools so that you end up somewhere with a competitive program. Almost all of these fields require graduate work and coming from a highly regarded undergrad program makes the next step that much easier. This may be the case where a top private school may be worth the money in the long run.

In general liberal arts students have far more selection and that selection is less important. These students are going to generally be much better served at public schools for their undergrad work as long as that school has a decent program. If they end up in a field that requires graduate level work then they should pick the school with the best program and spend the money for it as that will most likely pay itself back.

The final consideration is what kind of school will the kid do well in? Many kids will not thrive in a large university where they are just a number, but instead need a smaller environment. On the other hand, some kids will feel stifled in a small school and crave the large university appeal.

On the topic of community vs. straight to four year, I think that is really dependent on the kid and what they want. I wouldn't send an otherwise "ready" kid to community just because they didn't know what they want to be, because they won't find it there. However, a kid that is not really "ready" or struggled in high school may be much better served at community and earning their associates before possibly moving onto a four year school.

So, it really all comes down to the kid.

If I have a kid who is driven and passionate to be a doctor or lawyer and they have the grades to get them into a top private school it will most likely be worth the cost to send them.

If I have a kid who thinks that they maybe have an interest in English Literature, there is no way in HELL I am paying for them to go to Vanderbilt, you can read all the English Lit you want at the state school. If you want Vanderbilt, you better have a scholarship that will cover it.
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:14 AM
 
Location: North America
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Originally Posted by passwithoutatrace View Post
I think parents should help their children pay for college (providing they have the means to do so). At the same time, it is the parents' money, so they should have veto power.

Deciding on a college depends on the student. It's pointless to spend tons of money if someone is completely undecided; they should go to community college for a couple years at a greatly reduced cost. It's also pointless to spend thousands more on an out of state public school if there are awesome schools in state. Finally, parents should help their children choose a school that is actually good for their major. If there is a choice between several decent schools, pick the best one for a specific major.
Its depends on their major which can factor into jobs later on. A MBA will vastly be worth more depending on where you get it from for example.
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
We suggested our kids look into certain fields...of course we are parents, what do we know. They then took a career exploration class and low and behold, all of the career interest surveys pointed to exactly what we though they would be good at. I am looking forward to getting smart again in about 10 years . We've suggested some schools for the kids to look at. One school our son was fine going to see, our daughter, not so much but we made her go anyway--she loved it of course. After visiting the school though, she loved campus, loved the non-academic programs but their program in her major is no where near as strong as the other schools she has looked at so it is last on her list right now. If that program was better, it would be her #1 choice.
How do you go about finding out of a particular program is strong or not? Are they ranked somewhere, or is it just reputation?
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Originally Posted by Lucidkitty View Post
Its depends on their major which can factor into jobs later on. A MBA will vastly be worth more depending on where you get it from for example.
True, but this is dealing with a graduate level degree, rather than an undergrad degree. If the student plans to pursue a career requiring a grad degree, the grad institution is going to have a much larger bearing on their marketability than the undergrad institution. Unless the student hopes to do their grad work at the same school they do their undergrad, I think there's more flexibility with where the undergrad degree is obtained. Of course, getting a finance degree from a school that has only strong arts programs probably won't look as good as coming from an undergrad program with at least a decent finance program.
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Marlow View Post
How do you go about finding out of a particular program is strong or not? Are they ranked somewhere, or is it just reputation?
There are rankings for schools by individual programs as well as macro disciplines like liberal arts. US News and Rankings has a searchable one by major that gives you the "best" in each discipline.

A lot of counsellors will tell you that outside of going to the top 10 or 20 nationwide, where you go doesn't really matter, but you should try to pick a school that is in the top 10 or so for your major as chances are it will carry some name recognition in your field. There are some small and relatively unknown schools that just happen to be HUGE in certain fields. One example I can think of locally to me is the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. It's a small liberal arts college that is considered solid overall, but isn't a school anyone from out of state would really choose. However, its Marine Biology program is considered one of the best in the country and draws students from all over.
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:54 AM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,532,806 times
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Originally Posted by eastwesteastagain View Post
True, but this is dealing with a graduate level degree, rather than an undergrad degree. If the student plans to pursue a career requiring a grad degree, the grad institution is going to have a much larger bearing on their marketability than the undergrad institution. Unless the student hopes to do their grad work at the same school they do their undergrad, I think there's more flexibility with where the undergrad degree is obtained. Of course, getting a finance degree from a school that has only strong arts programs probably won't look as good as coming from an undergrad program with at least a decent finance program.
I touched on this in my lengthy post above, but this is my take on it...

A kid who knows what they want to be and is going into a highly competitive field like medicine, finance, engineering, bio-science, law, etc. is probably better served by going to a big name school in that field (most of which are expensive private universities) in order to have a much better shot at getting into a top flight post grad program in their field. For instance, if you want to be a lawyer and don't make the Ivy's, but manage to get into Georgetown, the Georgetown undergrad has a much better shot at getting into Georgetown Law School then a kid from another school.

Where it really doesn't matter is liberal arts. In that case, I would go to the school that represnts the best overall value and then if moving on to grad work, would pick the best school in the field as the grad degree will matter far more than the undergrad and those grad programs tend to be less competitive.

I guess, my overall point is don't pay for your kid to go to a $50k a year school just to earn a philosophy degree. However, the kid who wants to be a lawyer or doctor, is going to get a lot of value out of that $50k a year school.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:02 AM
 
15,200 posts, read 16,058,326 times
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Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
There are rankings for schools by individual programs as well as macro disciplines like liberal arts. US News and Rankings has a searchable one by major that gives you the "best" in each discipline.

A lot of counsellors will tell you that outside of going to the top 10 or 20 nationwide, where you go doesn't really matter, but you should try to pick a school that is in the top 10 or so for your major as chances are it will carry some name recognition in your field. There are some small and relatively unknown schools that just happen to be HUGE in certain fields. One example I can think of locally to me is the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. It's a small liberal arts college that is considered solid overall, but isn't a school anyone from out of state would really choose. However, its Marine Biology program is considered one of the best in the country and draws students from all over.
Thanks for the information. We're still a couple of years away from all that.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
3,388 posts, read 3,228,085 times
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Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
I touched on this in my lengthy post above, but this is my take on it...

A kid who knows what they want to be and is going into a highly competitive field like medicine, finance, engineering, bio-science, law, etc. is probably better served by going to a big name school in that field (most of which are expensive private universities) in order to have a much better shot at getting into a top flight post grad program in their field. For instance, if you want to be a lawyer and don't make the Ivy's, but manage to get into Georgetown, the Georgetown undergrad has a much better shot at getting into Georgetown Law School then a kid from another school.

Where it really doesn't matter is liberal arts. In that case, I would go to the school that represnts the best overall value and then if moving on to grad work, would pick the best school in the field as the grad degree will matter far more than the undergrad and those grad programs tend to be less competitive.

I guess, my overall point is don't pay for your kid to go to a $50k a year school just to earn a philosophy degree. However, the kid who wants to be a lawyer or doctor, is going to get a lot of value out of that $50k a year school.
That's interesting. I wonder if it varies somewhat by field. Both my undergrad and grad clinical psych programs frowned upon doing both degrees at the same institution. We had some very unhappy undergrads who figured out that one of the top 10 grad schools was effectively off their list because they obtained the undergrad degree there. I suppose checking out the acceptance rate of undergrads into the same school's desired grad program is something worth inquiring about when choosing the undergrad program, if that makes sense.
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:15 AM
 
Location: North America
14,212 posts, read 9,623,527 times
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Originally Posted by eastwesteastagain View Post
True, but this is dealing with a graduate level degree, rather than an undergrad degree. If the student plans to pursue a career requiring a grad degree, the grad institution is going to have a much larger bearing on their marketability than the undergrad institution. Unless the student hopes to do their grad work at the same school they do their undergrad, I think there's more flexibility with where the undergrad degree is obtained. Of course, getting a finance degree from a school that has only strong arts programs probably won't look as good as coming from an undergrad program with at least a decent finance program.
engineering would factor in then
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:58 AM
 
Location: here
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Interesting info on the cost of Ivys. I had no idea.
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