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Old August 8th, 2010, 09:50 AM
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Default For parents whose child is planning to attend college

I overheard this morning a TV interview with two educators who have a new book out on colleges. I'm sorry I didn't get the name of the book but since some of our fellow CruiseMates have children who will be going to college, here is what I heard discussed.

Many people want their children to attend Ivy League schools as graduates from those schools are far more successful. Turns out, that is a big misconception. The book authors said their research revealed that Ivy League graduates aren't much if any more successful than those from non Ivy League universities. Of course Ivy League schools for those without scholarships are absolutely prohibitive in cost.

While Ivy League schools may have the big name professors, it doesn't mean your children are ever going to meet them even if they take their class. As an example, currently 40% of the professors in the History Department of Harvard are out on sabbaticals! Often, even though the well known professor is listed for the course, someone else often actually teaches it.

Okay, then what are the better schools? The authors cited two possibilities for major Universities, Ole Miss and Notre Dame. They pointed out that not only is Ole Miss a tolerant university, but that it has a gorgeous campus and, wonder of all wonders, still offers a type of curriculum that students really need. By that I presume the authors mean there aren't all those courses that when I was younger, we called (crip courses) such as "The Study of Multi-Colored Furry Ding Bats in Antarctica."

Also they stated it is often actually quite a wise choice were your high school graduate to attend a Community College for the first two years of College and they cite Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey as the one that sets the benchmark for Community Colleges. The authors pointed out that most Community Colleges are actually Liberal Arts schools where your child can build a great foundation in the basics. (including learning such things as proper study habits) before stepping up to University life. While the Freshman who commences his higher education at Community College will be introduced to the college environment by way of small classes, those who attend a large University may often find they have several hundred classmates in a particular class.

All in all, a very important subject, especially for those with college bound children.

Todd
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Old August 8th, 2010, 01:11 PM
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interesting....I agree with doing the community college route then transfer (SUNY has a great system in place for that process)...it keeps cost down and allows your child to get acclimated to college life..I went from a high school with a graduating class of 39 (largest in the school history) to the military then to a major college where my first class had 500 students (larger then my town)..if a child is really not sure what they want to do..it's senseless for the parent to spend big bucks in the first year of college, when the first year of CC will do

my parents pushed the military route to all of their sons, to obtain the GI Bill, to help pay for college..my son did the other route..went to the United States Air Force Academy straight out of high school..for what he wanted to do (fly fighter jets) it was perfect and was paid for in full courtesy of our tax dollars..I strongly suggest the military route to young folks today, it is a great opportunity to mature and make the college experience more meaningful
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Old August 8th, 2010, 01:25 PM
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one final thought..I've always thought that unless your child is highly motivated..college should be deferred untill they are in their 30's...when they graduate from high school they should do a military stint, get a real entry level job in the field that they are interested in and find out what it's really like (i.e. an orderly in a hospital for 2 years to get a sense of the medical areana that they will be working in) or doing a 2 -5 year stint as a volunteer/community service (i.e AmeriCorp) or the Peace Corp..a few years of the real work world will make them appreciate (and provide the discipline) to be successful in college..also the employer might be willing to pick up some of the cost..Peace Corp/AmeriCorp provides educational stipends and looks great on the resume

however, do not underestimate the PERCEPTION of the value of having a degree from a big time (i.e. $$$$$$$$$ ) school..it's the networking in these places that is the value..there are some great small schools that provide an outstanding educational experience and at reasonable cost and provide great job networking..one just has to do research (i.e one of the best aviation schools in the WORLD (outside of the USAFA) is the Univ of North Dakota
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Old August 8th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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My daughter went to the Univerty of Connecticut, and she is doing well.

She allways wanted to do social work and she has a masters degree and is doing the kind of work that she likes to do.

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Old August 8th, 2010, 04:35 PM
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If you are entering a profession, don't underestimate the importance of the school if you plan to remain in your geographical region. Having a degree from Alabama or Auburn can be important in my state (Alabama). Auburn has a world-class veterinary school. Having a degree from there will open doors for those looking to enter an established practice. Same for doctors and lawyers.

The law firm which represents me (when needed) is composed primarily of graduates from Samford University's Cumberland School Of Law.

The same no doubt holds true in the northeast.

Our son will be heading to college in 3 years. He'll likely go to a college in the south. I agree with the original post - Ole Miss is a fine school. I'd be quite happy if my son went there.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 05:26 PM
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Venice and Dave both have great points.

Venice's in that graduating from an expensive school such as an Ivy League college does make people take notice, especially if the graduate was serious about his/her education and can also use the networking part of it.

Dave as well has a good point about regionalization which for some reason, is especially true for the southeastern part of the United States. And while I was extremely impressed by the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary medicine when I had to take one of our pets, I have to agree that Auburn has one of the best Veterinary schools in the country. My Vet and his son both graduated from Auburn and Doug has the largest and most successful practice in the county. I've heard it said that Auburn ranks right up there with Cornell.

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Old August 8th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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It really depends on the criteria for the ranking. The 2007 rankings had University of Tennessee and Auburn both tied for 14th. Cornell is rated number 1 and that has as much to do with the "name" and the cost of tuition as it does with the quality of the education.

All I know is that Veterinary school isn't cheap. I didn't start cruising until my daughter graduated from the University of Minnesota. I finally had some money after that. Well; not really, getting the practice started was almost as expensive.

The "name" of a college or university does carry a lot of weight. I saw it many times in my business career. While it opens doors it doesn't usually guarantee a permanent position. The person with a degree from Yale will have a better chance of securing a position, if they interview as well, as the person with the degree from the University of Phoenix.

Take care,
Mike
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Old August 8th, 2010, 07:41 PM
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It's interesting to see all the different arguments.

When I was a manager (I've retired from that career) and I interviewed job candidates, I often looked at how someone may have had to struggle to piece together a degree as they balanced school with needing a job, having a family to support, etc. It showed dedication and desire, perhaps more than the kid who went right from high school to college without really having to worry about other things. But then I was with a federal agency and we had strict rules about things like education. We couldn't be biased because someone went to Harvard, yet another went to a correspondence school. If the school was accredited it counted the same.

I'm just thankful that I won't have to worry about paying for our son's college. We have a well-funded 529 plan which should carry him all the way, and not burden us or him with college loans. I'm not bragging, just glad to have that taken care of. I really feel for those parents who can't do the same.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 09:30 PM
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When I was in HS I desired to be a Veterinarian .However ,I did not have the grades to either get into Cornell or Oberlin .I could have gotten into Farmingdale but my goal was to get into Cornell. I began in a community college in NYC hoping to maintain a B average for 2 years ,get my AAS and then transfer to Cornell . However due to various circumstances I never got there and insteaded graduated from a CUNY college with a dual major of psychology and Sociology .

My BDW graduated from a CUNY school with a major in History and studied further to achieve a Masters in Social Work. Thirteen years later she opted for a second career and obtained a Masters in Nursing and worked as an RN till retirement .

My youngest child has 3 Masters degrees and my other child has 2
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Old August 8th, 2010, 11:08 PM
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Dave,

Is your son planning on being a vetrinarian?

Take care,
Mike
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Old August 8th, 2010, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
Dave, Is your son planning on being a vetrinarian?
Too early to say. He does have an affinity for animals and even from a young age would handle snakes, wild animals, sea life, other reptiles, which normally cause humans to recoil in fear. I guess we'll know more after this year's advanced biology course. He does have high grades in the sciences. I certainly will be happy if he chooses that career path.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 12:07 AM
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David,

It's a good profession and one that is somewhat recession proof. My daughter's practice has increased in the last two years.

One hint if he wants to be a vet is for him to take "any" part-time job in a vet clinic or animal hospital. Recommendations and work experience help greatly in getting into vet school. (which is as hard to get in as med school)

Take care,
Mike
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:09 AM
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Hi Todd,

Our son was accepted into big schools... but after researching and going to see them, he chose a Morehead State Uniiversity.. He got his BBA there.. Then went on to Northern Ky. Univ and got his first Masters. Then he got his second Masters.

The way see it... Big Schools just have well known names.. The education is the same. Our son chose the smaller college where your actually a name... not a number as you are in the big ivy league college.

And when it comes to paying for the education... IVY LEAGUE = your paying for the name & education.
Smaller College... Your paying for education only.

I hope that helped a little.

Susan
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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As this is a topic I am somewhat passionate about here are my two cents:

1. I do believe that Ivy League schools give you contacts. They also open doors. What you do with those advantages is up to you. I know that my company has a list of schools we must use when hiring young people. If you are not from Cornell, Standford, Georgia Tech or Arizona State(don't get that one), it will be very difficult to get a job with my company straight out of school. I also know that my company considers MBAs obtained at smaller schools worthless and will not lead to promotion or job offers. Just telling you how it is at my company - a major electronics and measurement company.

2. Education is what you make of it, however at the better, more well-known schools - if you avail yourself to the resources- you have access to much better professors and much better equipment, library materials, etc. I also know that in the world of sciences, it is very important to do your graduate work with someone who has earned a good reputation in the field. These people gravitate to better schools. Quite frankly, in the sciences, the faculty at small schools are really not very good and they do not keep up with the latest advances as they do not have the money or resources, equipment, etc. They cannot get the grant money for the best graduate students, etc. That is the reality.

However, education is a result of what the individual puts into the effort. The true goal of a univeristy student is to learn to teach themselves and grasp concepts on their own so that they will be prepared for lifelong learning.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 02:47 PM
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Sorry for my spelling
Stanford not the southern school Standford.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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Deb,

You make valid points and they are well taken. Nonetheless, of all the schools you list from which your employer will accept immediate graduates, only Cornell is an Ivy League school. Stanford (I knew which school to which you were referring ) is an outstanding University but it is not classified as an Ivy League school. As a matter of fact, two of the four schools you cited are public state universities (Arizona State and Georgia Tech).

Todd
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:11 PM
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Well aware they are not Ivy League - went to Georgia Tech for my Ph.D. But the point is that many employers weed applications today by school and GPA. You must have a 3.0 or you will not get an interview. You must be from our preferred schools or you will not get an interview.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:38 PM
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depends on what your child is interested in..for flying, going to the Ivy League means very little..for pharmacy, the top school in the country for undergraduate, Xavier University in New Orleans an historical Black college and the only African American Catholic University..Supreme Court Justice, Ivy League without a doubt
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Old August 10th, 2010, 10:42 PM
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Very interesting ideas, but Deb you killed me when you mentioned Ga. Tech, because it makes me want a Varsity Hot Dog!!

Both of my sons went to a local Jr college, to get use to higher learning, and because they received Scolarships. Both had planned to transfer to a university later.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 07:15 AM
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Luanne pointed out something discussed in the interview which bears repeating yet again. That is the value for many students of commencing their collegiate studies in a Community college. It certainly reinforces the necessity of "bearing down" educationally without the concomitant distractions of social life, an overwhelming combination to many teenagers.

Another benefit to Community colleges besides the significantly less cost is that it also provides the student with time to choose their major and in all possibility their future profession. While of course hundreds of thousands successfully transition directly from high school to college, community colleges provide what I would call that "educationally enhanced breather" so many need. Also the idea put forth on this thread that obtaining a job or going into the military, in short, "taking a break," can be extremely useful for any number of reasons.

Finally, heavens knows there are outstanding educational institutions out there, both state and private. While the cost of a college education has, as have most other things, gone stratospheric, one may still receive an outstanding education without having to attend the most expensive colleges and universities.

Todd
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Old August 11th, 2010, 02:28 PM
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This is interesting, I hate to say it but, when I looked at people for employment more often than not all you needed to do is read there application. Many missed spelled words poorly writing. I never understood why people did not take the application home and take time to fill it out. I wish I could say that people with higher educations did better but I could not see a big difference. I know college has changed a lot since I attended. I did a lot of writing (blue books) and learned to use the library. Just my opinion. Mike
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Old August 11th, 2010, 03:01 PM
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I agree with a previous poster that graduation from a big-name school can help open doors.
I think this can especially be true for those wanting to pursue advanced degrees.
I went to an Ivy League school for two graduate degrees - the vast majority of my fellow students were graduates of big-name places - not necessarily Ivy League but definitely top-tier colleges and universities.
And I absolutely feel that having those two Ivy League degrees make my resume look more appealing to potential employers.
Nevertheless, I work with plenty of people who went to less well-known schools that are completely qualified - so I doubt that it helps with actual job performance.
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