|04-18-2010, 05:29 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2009
Does where you go to college really matter?
Hey guys. I just made some good pizza.
ANYWAYS, I'm a high school senior and I'm going to college next year. I really can't take a gap year or anything like that (though I'd love to) because if I did I'd lose my scholarships. And in reality, I have to figure out my college choice by April 26th.
So, I messed up high school. I got a 34 on my ACT, but I have a 3.1 GPA with a bunch of C's. But after discovering this site I've become a lot more hard-working, and I'm on track for a 3.83 this semester (5 A's and 1 B). I would have had a 4.0, (excuses excuses) but I went through some stuff a few weeks ago that has had me in a mental haze for a while. Bad excuse, I know.
So, basically, I didn't get into any of the really "good" schools, but because of this test I took last year, I have a full ride scholarship (I actually profit off of going to college...) to a couple of schools that my parents think are "mediocre."
Now, I COULD transfer after my first year of college, but then I'd have to pay for 3 years, whereas I could just have all 4 years free. but I'm just curious, what do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of going to a brand-name university vs. an average one?
EDIT: Also, I'm like 90% sure I'm going to graduate school afterwards. And I'm going to shoot for a 4.0 in undergrad. I'm going to be majoring in something math/science related for sure. I'll definitely have to go look through the strategies Steve used in college.
Last edited by ahazaq2; 04-18-2010 at 05:36 PM.
|04-18-2010, 06:21 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Depends on what field you plan on going into and what you expect to get out of the college "name" vs. the content of your studies. Every college will have some exceptional teachers, although they may not be in the field you are studying. The bottom line, though, is that what you get out of it will depend on what you put into it.
As an example: I work at a university that it the top choice of many applicants, and one of most highly rated schools at this University is the School of Engineering.
My nephew transferred in to this university for his last 2 years of Mechanical Engineering, thinking that a degree from this school would guarantee him a good job. He did just enough to get by in his classes, didn't engage at all with his professors or other students, missed the job fairs etc. Once he graduated, took him 2 years to get a job and ended up getting a fairly low-level job through a friend of a friend.
On the other hand, one of the student workers in my department is in Aerospace Engineering. He has gone out of his way to look for opportunities outside of the classroom - helping professors on research projects, President of the AE honor society, mentoring students at a local high school. When he applied for internships for this summer he was offered the two top internships in his field and had to choose between them - which will bode well for getting a top job when he graduates.
The funny thing is, both are probably equal in terms of intelligence and their personalities are not even much different - the difference is that one put a lot into his college career and the other just expected to receive.
How this applies to you? Even at a "second tier" college - if you put a lot into it, you will be successful. More successful to someone at a top college who sits back and expects success to come to him.
If you were going into politics or another field that is mainly about connections - then going to an Ivy League institution would make a big difference. In your field - probably not so much. Aim for the top school for Graduate school.
Last edited by SireneB; 04-18-2010 at 06:24 PM.
|04-18-2010, 06:49 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2007
The consensus these days seems to be that you should go a cheap school for your undergrad, where the education is homogeneous, then apply to a "name brand" grad school. When you finish, you'll find that you went to the most recent school, and no one cares about your undergrad.
Also note that grad schools tend to be MUCH less competitive to get into, even the name brand ones.
Finally, 4.0s are over rated. I got one and I barely got a pat on the back, and frankly grad schools don't really give a ****. It can't hurt, but if you focus on GPA and fail to do anything interesting, you will not get in. Start a charity, go to Africa with the Peace Corps. Anything but just going to class for 4 years and getting As.
|04-18-2010, 10:50 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Manhattan, NY
Anyway, Ahazaq2, I'm pretty sure you know my opinion. It's always possible to get into grad school-I know people who got into Berkeley from some 2nd and even 3rd tier schools-but the better your starting school, the easier it is.
If your goal is grad school, I would do everything in my power to accomplish the goal. College debt is really not a lot over the course of a lifetime if it helps you accomplish your life goals. Even if you change your mind afterwards, you can leverage the resources you've built up (high GPA, impressed professors) to get a good job too.
By the way, many schools have financial aid even for transfer students. This is especially true at brand name schools. So don't be too worried about how much you'd have to pay.
|04-18-2010, 11:20 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Manhattan, NY
Here is a bullet-point list of advantages and disadvantages of going to a brand-name school:
-Expectations tend to be higher. Studies have shown that others' expectations of you have a big effect on your own performance. As an example, at a brand name school it's much more expected that you'll continue to do well and get into a good school, and that kind of mentality tends to sink in.
-Professors are more connected. The best way to get into Princeton is to have a professor there want you as a student. This is easier said than done of course, but having well-connected professors who are known in their field goes a long way. One major observation I had was that recommendations from well known professors a student hardly knows are typically stronger than recommendations from an unknown or unpopular professor a student knows very well. Strange, but true.
-It's easier to get into multi-school events, such as talks. Talks are another excellent way to get known at other schools and impress other professors.
-More courses are available. The more advanced courses you can take, the better your start will be at grad school. Better schools tend to have more graduate level courses available.
-More high-level students means more social support. You might have noticed that Steve makes a big point of social support in his articles. Well, better schools tend to have better students, which lets you build a circle of friends who can help you out with homework, keeping up with interesting math, getting into grad school and meeting people, etc.
-More competition. If you go to a brand name school only to not to particularly well and not take advantage of the resources and build connections with professors, you will actually look worse than if you went to a lower-level school and were the best student there.
-It's easier to think you're doing well enough. At a high-level school, if you're doing as well as your peers it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you're doing well enough. It's much easier to stick to objective goals that don't rely on your peers when you're at a lower-level school.
In all, while I do believe you should go to the best possible school you can, it's not a death sentence to go to a second or even third tier school. It's just a matter of what gives you the highest chance of succeeding with your specific goals.
|04-19-2010, 06:40 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2006
You'd be surprised what you can get by asking.
|04-19-2010, 01:37 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2009
And I really wish people would stop discouraging people from going to college here. Even if you NEVER EVER use your college education and don't learn a damn thing you can actually use in the real world, there is a very marked measure of security involved with having a college degree that is well worth the cost of tuition in and of itself.
|04-19-2010, 08:12 PM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
Unless of course you are planning on making a living online.
In that case, college is irrelevant
You are right that he didn't ask about online business, but I decided to give my opinion anyways.
Regarding his question, I think college will end up just like everything else:
1. Once you get into middle school, what you did in grade school does not matter.
2. Once you get into high school, what you did in middle school does not matter.
3. Once you get into college, what you did in high school does not matter.
4. Once you get a job after college, *I assume* what you did in college does not matter.
I say "I assume" because I am still in college. But if the past equals the future, then a year after graduating college, it will not matter whatsoever in my life other than having a degree and a nice little afterthought of "been there, done that" to keep in my memories.
|04-19-2010, 08:27 PM||#10 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2008
This is going to depend a great deal from one industry to the next. For some careers going to a top school could help with you with certain employers. Jobs that depend a great deal on networking could also benefit from attending a top school.
I believe that in most careers, however, going to a top school vs an average school has little impact. My suggestion would be that you do a return on investment analysis to determine how long it will take for the top school to provide enough additional income to cover the cost of attending. If you don't have good reason to believe that you'll make more money with the degree from the top school, then I'd suggest go to school you have a scholarship to and don't waste your money on a more prestigious school. It makes no sense to start your adult life being deeply in debt unless you have to.
|04-19-2010, 10:18 PM||#11 (permalink)|
Join Date: Mar 2010
I would attend, and really shine. Get that 4.0, make connections with your professors, find opportunities to do research , and then ace the GRE. That should get you into a strong graduate school, and the name of your graduate school is going to matter more than where you did your undergraduate work. Have a great time! (Also, if you feel you you would benefit from some time off, as another poster suggested, by all means check and see if you can defer your funding for one year.)
|04-21-2010, 03:43 AM||#12 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2010
No one...please read on
First of all, this my personal opinion only, and this is not about discouraging others about college. Everyone should stick to their beliefs, but they should be also open to see what else is out there. Be open mind and judge the best you can.
College is an experience that you cannot get anywhere else, however let me ask you this.
Why are you going to college?
1. because you really love math/science?
2. because is the right thing to do after you finish high school?
3. because the college girls?
4. because you really want to get that lovely degree?
I mean, you could get millions of answers to that question, I have been in both colleges and universities.
But when I did answer that question to myself, my answer was because I want to make money.
I know people will or will not agree to me on this point, but personally I don't believe on colleges or universities. I believe in education, and that you can get in lots of different places. After education, experience, tools, and some of self luck creation and you are setup to success.
|04-22-2010, 05:20 AM||#13 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2008
Name matters, due to network affect. Being smart is important, but without connections intellgence in a bubble isn't worthwhile, unless you are some gifted genuis. Life is about team work and having a team of highly motivated well connected (read:rich) friends really helps in life. Also, don't kill yourself for a 4.0, from my understanding a 3.85 or even 3.75 can accomplish the same.
|04-22-2010, 08:49 AM||#15 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2009
Depends what you're doing!
When I were a nipper, MBAs were rare and anyone with an MBA would be automatically bowed down to and worshipped. (When I were a nipper we had one computer in the whole company and you had to book time on it and it had a 640k RAM )
Nowadays, with MBAs 2 a penny, they ask 'where did you go' merely to ascertain how much you forked out for your bit of management theory with a project on top! If you went to the places that charge an utterly outrageous £42000 for your bit of elementary quants and organizational theory, then you're in, mate! If you paid $5000 to RedNeck Online Uni - then forget it!
Really, as one of the other posters said - it's about the use you make of the time. Employers want to see a well-rounded person - once you've qualified for a couple of years it's work performance and connections that count most.
PS you cannot underestimate the intelligence and knowledge of management in many companies - eg I know one senior manager who thought that a BSc was the highest possible qualification a person could get and couldn't understand why applicants for jobs in his department not only were bothering to go to night school to do Masters degrees when they already had bachelors but were expecting some financial reward for it!
I know HR departments who believed that an Irish Higher School Leaving Certificate (don't know if they still have them!) was the equivalent of 7 A levels just because it covered 7 subject areas!
In the UK they go through spates of experimenting with educational qualifications and I remember interviewing job candidates who had been subjected to these (with no choice I might add) and a few times them commenting to me 'you know, you're the first person who has ever interviewed me that understands what this is'.
Last edited by CoolBee; 04-22-2010 at 08:56 AM.
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