Old 04-28-2012, 04:03 PM   #1
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Default What If You Were a High School Senior?

Most of you are probably past your high school years, so you may have a better opinion considering you have possibly been through this. I am almost halfway through my high school career, but it is never too early for stuff like this, I guess.

Alright! Here is your scenario:

It is fall of your senior year and your college planning is coming to a close. You have created a short list of colleges that you visited and would like to go to. One of the schools is quite big (possibly even Ivy League) and a few are smaller public or private institutions. You decide to apply to the schools on your list and are accepted to every one (without Early Action or Decision).

You are unsure of where to go, but you have narrowed your options down to four. The possible Ivy League school and a large public school are far away from home so you must pay for room and board, while two of the smaller schools on your list are close enough for you to commute from home. One of the smaller schools is private and the other is public.

The Ivy League school would cost approximately $50,000 a year.
The large public school would cost approximately $25,000 a year.
The smaller public school would cost approximately $14,000 a year.
The smaller private school would cost approximately $30,000 a year.
*Financial aid is not included in these estimates.

So, which school would you go to? Would it change if you are only planning to get a Bachelor’s Degree? What about a Master’s or Doctorate Degree?

My opinion:
I would probably choose the smaller public school regardless of the degree I am hoping to receive only because I would hate to graduate with a ton of debt. There is always the possibility that I may not be employed right away.
A college graduate is about $25,000 in debt on average (usnews.com, 2010)

*Also, this is the first thread I started. Apologies in advance if it does not belong in Critical Thinking.*
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

I am in this situation right now, although it's past the halfway point. I've been accepted to three universities (college equivalent up here), and I am still stuck on making the choice. For all three of mine, they are all around $7,000 for tuition a year. However, one of the universities is far away, so I would have to pay ~$10,000 for residence a year. The other two are in my city, so I can live at home.

Because the one university is so far away, I've sort of 'opted out' of going there, leaving my other two options. Gladly, I have been accepted with a co-op option for both of these (meaning the degree goes from 4 years to 5, but I get to work with a firm or any other place of employment for the extra year, whilst being paid). It's a hard decision, because my friends are splitting up, half going to one and half to the other. I would have to base my decision on the credentials of the school, and whether or not I would have a good experience going there. I'm going to have to take some tours of the campuses, as well as talk to teachers about the programs I've been accepted to, to see which one would be more beneficial for me.





In your scenario, it would really depend mainly on the financial situation (and whether or not you want to take out big loans), and the quality of the education offered at that particular situation. Also, a smaller school does not mean lesser quality of education. In some cases, it might actually be better because of an increased focus on the individual. For myself, I would need to base it largely on financials, because taking out huge loans is not something I'd particularly like to do, although it may be inevitable. From those four options, the second or third options would be my pick.
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Old 04-28-2012, 06:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

Yeah, I want to go to a public school that doesn't cost too much for tuition because I plan on going to medical school after that, but some of my family members think I should aim higher.
I think all those ideas are getting in their heads because of my PLAN score. I winged it and ended up with a 29 (which landed me in the 99th percentile), so I'm getting all this college mail spam.
Well, I also have a bunch of other stuff going for me that can get me to a top school, but I won't name those here because that would just be gloating.

I know one school that's 30 minutes from my where I live which has a great medical program and I have been taking math courses there since my seventh grade year, so that is what I'm aiming for. Won't have to pay room and board, school has a good reputation, and tuition's pretty low!

**And I forgot to say this:
Good luck with finding the college that is best for you. And it's really nice that you are trying to hang on to your friends.

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Old 04-28-2012, 07:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

As Netjet stated, it really does depend on the financial aid.
Personally, given the financial aid that my private school is providing me, it's far cheaper for me to be attending this school than a public school, so there really is no drawback for me to attend a good private school.
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

Depends entirely on financial aid.

In hindsight I would have chosen a cheaper school. Student loans suck.
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

a) Financial situation is probably gonna trump all, because it's worth it to not be in debt.

b) Programs matter too. Don't go to a college that doesn't have an engineering school if you want to be an engineer. Make sure the school's strengths match your interests if possible.

c) A good college GPA and good GRE/LSAT/whatever scores will get you into grad schools you want even if you go to a smaller school for undergrad. Just know that that compromise must be matched by excelling in undergrad, otherwise you're just another mediocre candidate from a small school. Reputation of school will win you tiebreakers but your other strengths will carry you.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

I'd go for the cheaper school. i am never one for prestige, etc... This holds true for undergrad.
for postgrad, i think cost doesn't matter as much anymore. in masters/PhD, you go to the school that has a research group that does research that interests you. at that level, you need to pick somewhere where you can do the research you want.
for me, i picked my postgrad school because it was the only one I got accepted into
I had to move to australia, and it costs a hellova lot more than if I'd have done in at home, but at the end of the day, I'm doing what I love and the money it costs to be here is worth it
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Old 05-1-2012, 01:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

If colleges keep spamming you to go to theirs, then I'd assume they're also offering you scholarships?
It's kinda hard to help you decide where to go based on price and location only when you don't include all the other financial information with it.
You may not mind living at home right now, but it seems likely you will within the next 4 years. I'd opt for the cheapest one away from home :-p
That said though, looking after yourself is time consuming and can be quite stressful. Gotta do all your own groceries, cooking, laundry, etc. Might have awful for roomates. Is a huge pain if you're not going to school in the summer and you've got to move twice a year.

Post graduate schooling is very far in the future to look towards. You might not like your program, you might find yourself in a relationship, you might not get the grades, you might find a job you'd rather have. Besides which, the only info that I have on graduate work is that you don't want to do it at the same school you did your undergrad, and that it's a specific area of research which will determine where you'll do any post grad schooling.
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Old 05-1-2012, 07:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

Oh wow, I never thought of if what I wanted would change in the future o.o
And the college mail's mostly advertisements. I think they send that to anyone who gets somewhat of a good score on SAT/ACT and other stuff.
I also guess it's bad that when I read "research" I had a derp face e.e.. Gave me bad elementary school memories x3
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Old 05-1-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

I would settle with a Community College for starters and get all of your core classes out of the way.... If you plan to attend for a Bachelors which most people do. I would get the core classes out of the way at a Community College and then switch to a University after I had achieved my Associates. Then continue on with my Bachelors in whatever I want to major in. Depends mostly on your Major. Which you're typically going to change at least once or twice. (Just using what happens to most College Students) Oh yea btw this is what I've done ^.^ Easy going on the money bit too and if you can save up as much money as possible early on it makes the later years a breeze.
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Old 05-3-2012, 08:13 AM   #11
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

what exactly is a 'medical' program? Is it the undergrad courses designed to get you into med school? What do you want to do with yourself when you're all done school? You seem to have a clear goal in mind, let's hear what it is.
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Old 05-3-2012, 08:29 AM   #12
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

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Depends entirely on financial aid.

In hindsight I would have chosen a cheaper school. Student loans suck.
this. you dont want to have to be paying back loans forever. my friend goes to columbia and has changed her major 3 times. thats so much money just wasted. and then she also dorms, and eats and, and books. it adds up, and for what? the name of the school. you most likely aren't going to get your masters from there anyway. i have friends from community college that went to columbia continue to their masters in economics. its not impossible no matter what anybody says.

college is a scam, beat the system, live at home, go to community college till you know exactly what you want to do and where you want to go. its cheap, and you can get scholarships and financial aid still. there are people who go to community college because it's the only place they could get in, but just don't mingle with them. i made that mistake once, horrible influences XD
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Old 05-3-2012, 08:32 AM   #13
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

Get scholarships and financial aid. There's almost always a way to get some form of tuition assistance if you are really dedicated about it.
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Old 05-3-2012, 09:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

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college is a scam, beat the system, live at home, go to community college till you know exactly what you want to do and where you want to go. its cheap, and you can get scholarships and financial aid still.
Going to college, living away from home, etc. are worthwhile experiences. Even though it can cost a lot of money (protip: do well in high school and college suddenly becomes cheaper), the reason why people change majors is because they change as a person. When you experience something different (i.e. not going to community college living at home and essentially continuing the high school routine) you can better reassess your priorities and not have to make changes after the fact when you get your degree.

I'm not saying that community college isn't a good option for some people, but getting out of your comfort zone is important, and I would suggest going to a 'traditional' college if you have the wherewithal to do so.
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Old 05-3-2012, 09:51 AM   #15
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

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Get scholarships and financial aid. There's almost always a way to get some form of tuition assistance if you are really dedicated about it.
Not always. When it comes to elite schools, aid is a completely different beast. I got royally screwed here.


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this. you dont want to have to be paying back loans forever. my friend goes to columbia and has changed her major 3 times. thats so much money just wasted. and then she also dorms, and eats and, and books. it adds up, and for what? the name of the school. you most likely aren't going to get your masters from there anyway. i have friends from community college that went to columbia continue to their masters in economics. its not impossible no matter what anybody says.

college is a scam, beat the system, live at home, go to community college till you know exactly what you want to do and where you want to go. its cheap, and you can get scholarships and financial aid still. there are people who go to community college because it's the only place they could get in, but just don't mingle with them. i made that mistake once, horrible influences XD
It's very hard to go from a community college to an Ivy, especially when you've got a ton of students from other Ivies/top schools with fantastic GPA's, etc. I can also say this empirically because a ton of my Ivy friends pretty much went on to, well, more Ivies. The admission rates tend to scale with the nature of the school. It's not impossible to do it from a CC, but it's still very, very, very hard. To go from a community college to a place like Columbia basically means you have to be at the top of your college with ridiculous scores and whatnot -- there's not a lot of wiggle room compared to coming from a top school. You don't necessarily need the top school anyway. A lot of my Ivy friends who landed sweet jobs now were mainly able to do so because they had connections and came from rich and/or super-supportive families. Correlation != causation, in this case.

That being said, I don't think college is a scam. It's just gotten so retardedly expensive that the marginal benefit is decreasing over time, and for many, it's a negative-NPV deal.

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Old 05-6-2012, 08:46 PM   #16
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

I want to know what's the inner differences between getting the sufficient knowledge to get a Doctorate Degree from an average school and an Ivy league school.
A doctorate's the same everywhere in the country, the standards are all the same (expected maybe, the greater is the school, the harsher it'll be, but ultimately, that's just a mean from getting knowledge that doesn't have much differences concerning the ends), so...
For somebody that's strictly interested by the knowledge what's the point (strictly concerning the knowledge and the way you get it) in getting in an elite university ? What's the advantage he'll get ? Isn't aiming for excellence just getting a bit... farther from the true aim of studying ?)

tl;dr what's the true foundation of this elitism except strict rules and social elitism ?
I want to know how that country works.
I find it utterly sad that people (have to) learn/study their things considering two factors : The money it'll take from you and the social recognition it'll grant you. All is ultimately decided upon economical reasons that doesn't have anything to do with studying and knowledge. Why ? (= not a rhetorical question)
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Old 05-7-2012, 12:04 PM   #17
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

You don't HAVE to study and consider either social recognition or money.
The true foundation for the motivators of social status is that we're social beings. We're designed to care about what other people of us, it's born into us.
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Old 05-7-2012, 12:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

Yup, and I think wether it's determined by the school you're in or not is entirely obedient to the subjectivity of individuals.
You don't have to care about the professionnal PrEsTiGE the university you studied in gave you, it's a matter of view. You can care more about the knowledge and qualities you had by studying, getting a good doctorate with good grades for instance, coming from an average school. We're social beings yes, not "socially solely determined by the hierarchy of the places we belonged to" ----> No essentialism on that determining part.
Getting a doctorate in mathematics, no matter where it comes from, is still a great achievement. Moreover, I think there's mostly rich and top-of-the-hierarchy/elite families that can care about being in a great university for some inner reasons linked to social recognition (familiy name/tradition and all : "we're the elite so we have to be in top classes compared to the average people"). (You can recognize the people belonging to this social class by the place their degree(s) come from, it'll be prestigious schools/universities 95% of the time)

So, no reason why an Ivy league school is better than an average school other than what have been said ? No hypocrisy there, I really want to know. I know you don't HAVE to care, but what would make it better anyway ? What would make anybody desire getting in a top-class school excepting the reasons I've took into consideration ?
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Old 05-7-2012, 12:41 PM   #19
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Default Re: What If You Were a High School Senior?

A lot of my math professors here in college and a lot of websites that I came across one day advised me to look into the faculty's research interests rather than prestige when applying for graduate schools in mathematics (I need to start doing that this summer... blechh). A doctorate degree in mathematics is a big accomplishment in itself, so the name of the university doesn't matter much. I think attending more "prestigious" schools give you the opportunity to have closer interactions with the top mathematicians in the country or possibly the world, so it's essentially a "bonus" to the package.

All in all, there's no reason to say that Ivy schools are better than other schools. It's just that added "bonus" that makes it seem that way. Every school has a great way to educate others, but not many schools have the funding to provide these opportunities for everyone that attends the college.
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Old 05-7-2012, 03:37 PM   #20
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For somebody that's strictly interested by the knowledge what's the point (strictly concerning the knowledge and the way you get it) in getting in an elite university ? What's the advantage he'll get ? Isn't aiming for excellence just getting a bit... farther from the true aim of studying ?)
If all you're after is knowledge, any good PhD program will do. At the Ivy level, the advantages tend to come in the form of access to resources/financing and the ability to work with ass-blindingly brilliant people. What matters is your dissertation advisor and the committee -- and the school you choose should be based on the prospects of researching something you plan to leverage. Like iironiic said, it's about faculty research interests. You'll find a lot of awesome opportunities at non-Ivies, but that being said, you're still going to see a big cluster of top talent at top-name schools, and sometimes strong knowledge is easier to come by that way.

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tl;dr what's the true foundation of this elitism except strict rules and social elitism ?
I want to know how that country works.
I find it utterly sad that people (have to) learn/study their things considering two factors : The money it'll take from you and the social recognition it'll grant you. All is ultimately decided upon economical reasons that doesn't have anything to do with studying and knowledge. Why ? (= not a rhetorical question)
Because shit is competitive and expensive as hell, and can really set the track for, well, the rest of your life in terms of being on the "good" side of the earnings gap. This is especially true in hard times.

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