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Colleges and Universities--where are the real good ones?!

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 

I realize that many of year aren't possibly thinking along these lines, but I am looking to create a list of universities and colleges that create a learning environment that places "learning" and "expanding horizons".  My husband and I went to University of Southern California, and we really enjoyed our years there.  Really, really a lot.

 

It is a large university, with the feel of a small liberal arts college, at least for the undergrads in the College of LAS.  If anyone had a wonderful, enriching and mentoring environment at their college or university, please let us know.  We would love if our kids went there, but it's expensive.

 

Large, small, liberal arts, science-directed, anything.  If you had a great college time, put your school on the list.

post #2 of 56

Well... A lot is going to depend on the child. I can tell you that *neither* of mine have ended up where I may have expected or chosen (were it my choice). Nor were either too interested in the schools their Dad or I suggested they look at.

 

Not saying that you shouldn't give it thought, but be aware that it may not go the way you expect it to.

 

In any event. my son has been thrilled with the two years he has spent so far at Temple's Boyer School of Music & Dance, and I think my daughter made the right choice for her with Wells College. Two completely different environments,

post #3 of 56
post #4 of 56

A good online resource is College Confidential.

post #5 of 56
Thread Starter 

I realize it is not my choice.  :)  I totally rocked my parents' world with where I went.  But I am living in the East now and I grew up ish and went to school in the West, so I am really needing some help to think about the "whole picture" of colleges/universities across the spectrum.  Will continue to look at College Confidential.
 

post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I found this book very interesting:

http://www.amazon.com/Colleges-That-Change-Lives-Schools/dp/0143037366/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336019183&sr=8-1


 

I recommend that book ,too. Except for Reed. Do not send your kid to Reed unless you want them to fully indoctrinated into the drug culture. Trust me.
post #7 of 56

I went to SUNY Plattsburgh and I thought it was great. Small school, great engaging professors and a very liberal and diverse student body.  This college and visits to Vermont will bring out your inner hippy :)

post #8 of 56

Bekka, I see you're in Virginia. My niece is at UVA and reportedly loving it and it is much cheaper in-state. I have a good friend who went to Radford and I think she liked it, too. I also know many folks who had good experiences at Va Tech. 

 

I think a lot depends on your finances as well as the school culture. We paid for private school early on for our kids (now in public school) and they'll be going to a state school or earning a scholarship for college. We're tapped out. I want them to have a good experience, but no way will we do fat student loans for private schools. The debt is too burdensome and not worth it IMO. I know plenty of people who have great degrees from state schools and had wonderful experiences. If they can earn a scholarship to a private university I'm all for it, but some of them are so #$%&^ expensive now! $40,000 for 8 yrs (2 kids) is pretty steep for us. State tuition and expenses ($20,000) are bad enough.

post #9 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post


I recommend that book ,too. Except for Reed. Do not send your kid to Reed unless you want them to fully indoctrinated into the drug culture. Trust me.

 

Mother of a non-sub-using junior Reedie here.  He has experienced no "indoctrination" in anything but intellectual rigor and genuine concern for his overall well-being from members throughout the community.

 

That's what I hear from him, anyway.  I'm inclined to believe him due to a combination of medical issues and his history of being honest and precise regarding very difficult and unpleasant things about himself, us, and the world and people around him.  Ironically, he talked about feeling isolated due to not using drugs (alcohol) at another campus he visited -- more socially conventional with a more mainstream attitude about AOD (alcohol and other drugs) and many other things.  The only climate aspect he raised about making friends at Reed is one he says he shares with fellow students:  their work is so absorbing that it can be hard getting time to meet new people.

 

Reed is only right for your child if it's right for your child.  Visit first, decide with your eyes open.  And examine any school beyond judgmental, sweeping, and facile overviews.

 

Trust your child.


Edited by MariaMadly - 5/6/12 at 3:45am
post #10 of 56

I have to say that the comment about Reed earlier in the thread didn't sit right with me. Realistically speaking? Regardless of WHAT college/university someone attends, there is going to be some level of drug use. And ezch student is responsible for their choice in that regard. Sure, some schools are bigger party schools than others, but ALL of them have students who choose not to partake.

 

As PP stated - if a school is right for your kid? It's right for your kid.

 

Also... with regard to state schools. My son attends a state school. Just not in our state. He was accepted to our state school, full ride, but it would not have been the right place for him. Not in any way, shape or form. It would have been the wrong place for my youngest, as well.

 

Funnily enough, I had people warn me that our state school is a HUGE party school, with a HUGE drug culture. That had nothing to do with the choices my kids made. It was still the wrong school, regardless.

post #11 of 56

I have to say that the comment about Reed earlier in the thread didn't sit right with me. Realistically speaking? Regardless of WHAT college/university someone attends, there is going to be some level of drug use. And ezch student is responsible for their choice in that regard. Sure, some schools are bigger party schools than others, but ALL of them have students who choose not to partake.

 

As PP stated - if a school is right for your kid? It's right for your kid.

 

Also... with regard to state schools. My son attends a state school. Just not in our state. He was accepted to our state school, full ride, but it would not have been the right place for him. Not in any way, shape or form. It would have been the wrong place for my youngest, as well.

 

Funnily enough, I had people warn me that our state school is a HUGE party school, with a HUGE drug culture. That had nothing to do with the choices my kids made. It was still the wrong school, regardless.

post #12 of 56

Regarding state schools, we have 16 state universities. I think our kids can find a decent fit at one of them or earn a scholarship elsewhere. I'm not willing to burden them or us with debt for the "perfect fit" if it's $160,000 for 4 years vs finding a "good fit" for $22,000. I'd rather help them buy a $160,000 house when they get out. I don't think the particular college is _that_ important. I mean, it does have to have the area of study they're interested in, but I know plenty of folks who have excelled in their careers and had a great college experience and didn't go to Harvard. 

post #13 of 56

I went to Unversity of Southern Maine and was VERY happy with it. :)

 

Some of my friends who wenty from out of state said it offered the best financial aid package of their choices, also.

 

I liked the Portland campus better then the Gorham campus. Also, at the time the dorms were downtown on Congress st and really economical. Now they have some called Bayside village in Portland that are a lot more expensive. Gorham has some more housing out there, though. It may actually be cheaper & more convienient to find an apartment w/roommates in Portland.

 

Anyway, it's a fairly small campus, great little city, public transportation, a shuttle between the 2 campus', etc.

post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

Regarding state schools, we have 16 state universities. I think our kids can find a decent fit at one of them or earn a scholarship elsewhere. I'm not willing to burden them or us with debt for the "perfect fit" if it's $160,000 for 4 years vs finding a "good fit" for $22,000. I'd rather help them buy a $160,000 house when they get out. I don't think the particular college is _that_ important. I mean, it does have to have the area of study they're interested in, but I know plenty of folks who have excelled in their careers and had a great college experience and didn't go to Harvard. 

 

Well... while we have numerous state colleges, we only have the one state university. Which was also the only one offering the area of study #1 was looking at. And it still would have been a terrible fit for him. However, NOT going there does NOT mean a tuition bill of $40k/year. Heck it doesn't mean a bill of $22k, either, necessarily. There is needs- and academic-based aid. Like I said, my oldest is going to a state school in a different state, and I don't pay anywhere near $22k. My youngest will be going to a private school, and I'm not paying anywhere near $22k there, either. It's one reason why I continually reminded them that their achievements in HS were going to make a difference. And it has.

 

I will disagree that the particular school makes no difference. I think it can make a world of difference.

lp

post #15 of 56

Well, you will note that I did say "earn a scholarship elsewhere". I'm all for them going someplace great that they can help pay for by having good grades, but we're unlikely to qualify for much financial aid, yet aren't rich enough to shell out for Duke or Stanford or Reed which is $55,920 per year according to their website. We do have 16 universities (not colleges, and all but 3 with graduate programs, some with medical schools, law schools, etc) in our state, North Carolina. I don't think a degree from UNC-Chapel Hill (my alma mater) is going to be a big disadvantage in any field. It may not hold quite the cachet that a degree from Harvard or MIT does, but there are plenty of professionals at the top of their field with a degree from UNC. If UNC-CH isn't a good fit there are 15 other universities in the state system and most of them have fine degree programs, too, in different areas. Some of them are big like UNC-CH and NC State and some are small like UNC-Asheville and Western Carolina. I am all for our girls doing well and earning a scholarship to the school of their choice, but we just can't shell out $56 thou a year ($224,000 for 4 yrs) for Reed. I want them to go to a school where they're happy, and I am all about a good fit, but it doesn't have to be the absolute perfect fit any more than I have to be the absolute perfect mom. It's just got to be good enough for them to be happy and study what interests them.

post #16 of 56
Thread Starter 

Good discussion.  In the circles I move in, many of my friends either attended one of a couple church-sponsored schools or have been homeschooled/have homeschooled and they or their children have followed alternative paths to education (College Plus).  I am very interested in many paths to education, but my oldest daughter is a knowledge and information sponge, and she is really the type to benefit from a liberal arts AND sciences-type education that delves into why and how people are the way they are, etc. and would like a broader picture than these few schools.

post #17 of 56
post #18 of 56

One thing you'll find is the information overload is mind-numbing.  Especially by the time DS2 applied last year, there was almost too large a field to choose from.  So, while the decision about where to apply was completely his, he gave me some show-stopper guidelines with which I narrowed down a list of schools for him to use as a starting point.  His parameters were size, geography, majors offered, academic reputation, religious affiliation, probably a couple of others.  He had a much easier time weeding through two single-spaced sheets than the entire Fiske Guide.

 

So I guess I wanted to chime in with how we balanced administrative support and still had our son lead the process.

post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaMadly View Post

One thing you'll find is the information overload is mind-numbing.  Especially by the time DS2 applied last year, there was almost too large a field to choose from.  So, while the decision about where to apply was completely his, he gave me some show-stopper guidelines with which I narrowed down a list of schools for him to use as a starting point.  His parameters were size, geography, majors offered, academic reputation, religious affiliation, probably a couple of others.  He had a much easier time weeding through two single-spaced sheets than the entire Fiske Guide.

 

So I guess I wanted to chime in with how we balanced administrative support and still had our son lead the process.

 

That's very useful help, IMO.

post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightCommando View Post

I went to SUNY Plattsburgh and I thought it was great. Small school, great engaging professors and a very liberal and diverse student body.  This college and visits to Vermont will bring out your inner hippy :)

 

wave.gif I graduated from SUNY Binghamton; I really enjoyed my time there.

 

Quote:

Binghamton University offers the attention of a small college with the choices and opportunities of a research university.

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/suny-binghamton-2836

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binghamton_University

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