Picking College and College Scholarships

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timmy
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:20 am

I should have mentioned. Even for the "most qualified", getting into the likes of MIT, Stanford, etc. is a lottery. Your qualifications grant you one lottery ticket. While he'll likely apply to this class of schools, if gets in ... great. We'll put it in the mix then ...

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:30 am

timmy wrote:I should have mentioned. Even for the "most qualified", getting into the likes of MIT, Stanford, etc. is a lottery. Your qualifications grant you one lottery ticket. While he'll likely apply to this class of schools, if gets in ... great. We'll put it in the mix then ...

If he's getting 36 on practice tests, he will likely do very well on the test. IME, a 34 is about as good as a 36, and stress isn't helpful to thinking and writing good essays. At the level of schools you're looking at, essays and teacher recs are what gets acceptances.

On a personal curiosity note: what turned you/him off to Yale? They have a thriving music culture. Was it a perceived shortfall in STEM/Engineering?

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:49 am

Thanks for the comments on the recommendations. He's already firmed up three teachers. So hopefully we should be good there.

Yale was interesting ... They talked about STEM and their plans for STEM ... It was all very future focused. We are planning on this or that. We are spending X and Y. MIT and Princeton were very now orientated (and plenty future focused too). This is the experience you can expect (vs. some far out graduating class). Does that make sense?

Yale's STEM programs seemed less hands-on, less access to Profs and labs.

Yale had a bit of the Harvard thing going, but not as bad. It felt uppity. We expected some of that. At Harvard, it was shocking. Yale was no where near as bad, but still ... On this last point, there is probably some confirmation bias ... lots of if really :happy Princeton did not feel uppity, not sure why. We did expect to see it.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:20 am

As the saying goes, that's what makes horse races.

Our familiarity at Yale is with CS, where a lot of additional spending has taken place and some quality professors have been hired. It would be wrong to say that they've righted all the wrongs, but they have played pretty serious catch-up. I should be clear that what I'm praising is Yale's Theoretical CS (not an official distinction, but it really does bifurcate), where IMO they excel, as opposed to the "learn some languages, build some websites" side of things, where they don't.

Re access to professors, that is possibly true in general, but DS has had awesome access. He says that many CS students, somewhat private by nature, don't make full use of the access offered. He's a bit more social than the typical CS student, and he's had ample opportunities for research, conferences, and mentoring.

Anyway, fit is all-important, and if Yale didn't resonate with your son, then it's not meant to be. I'm finished with my Yale pitch, so back to our regularly scheduled programming :D

Good luck!

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by itstoomuch » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:14 am

I hope, Carnegie-Mellon, is on the list. :mrgreen:
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:04 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:As the saying goes, that's what makes horse races.

Our familiarity at Yale is with CS, where a lot of additional spending has taken place and some quality professors have been hired. It would be wrong to say that they've righted all the wrongs, but they have played pretty serious catch-up. I should be clear that what I'm praising is Yale's Theoretical CS (not an official distinction, but it really does bifurcate), where IMO they excel, as opposed to the "learn some languages, build some websites" side of things, where they don't.

Re access to professors, that is possibly true in general, but DS has had awesome access. He says that many CS students, somewhat private by nature, don't make full use of the access offered. He's a bit more social than the typical CS student, and he's had ample opportunities for research, conferences, and mentoring.

Anyway, fit is all-important, and if Yale didn't resonate with your son, then it's not meant to be. I'm finished with my Yale pitch, so back to our regularly scheduled programming :D

Good luck!


Thanks for the input. That is good to hear.

What other schools did your DS consider? What was the deciding factor?

Thanks again. I find first hand accounts super helpful.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:07 pm

itstoomuch wrote:I hope, Carnegie-Mellon, is on the list. :mrgreen:


Ha ha. Yes. It's on there. We need to figure out when to work it in. It is not quite east (coast) and not quite south.

I love going to Fallingwater, so we'll work it into a visit then! Early Spring likely ...

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:50 pm

He applied SCEA to Yale and Michigan (allowed under SCEA rules), accepted to both, did not apply to others.

He had also considered MIT, Caltech, CMU, Stanford and some safeties.

He decided against MIT because he wasnt sure about his major (at the time it was Physics) and MIT's offerings if he switched. Strong Econ, and not chopped liver in the humanities, but Yale was stronger. Dorms, campus, and food were not a +.

Caltech was a contender, but it is regarded as grueling. Really tough for an East Coast kid to get in, and it's pretty small.

Stanford - nothing bad to say, weather is wonderful, and DS happens to be there today visiting friends. At the time of applications, though, he had no friends there. The hassle of flights across the country to visit home was a factor.

CMU would have risen much higher if he had known that his future was CS. Wonderful school.

DS created what he called his "db index." This is a family forum, or so we say, but you can imagine that db does not stand for "dear brethren." His HS sent a good number of kids to selective schools, so he knew many kids and how he got along with them. At the time (and this has changed), he liked nobody that wound up at Harvard, Princeton or Stanford, a few at Penn, some at Cornell, he didn't know anyone at CMU, he respected but didn't enjoy kids at Caltech and MIT, but he was batting 700 with the kids at Yale. One of his best friends now is a Princeton grad getting a PhD at MIT, so go figure :D

His info session at Harvard lasted a few minutes before he texted his mother, sitting next to him, "could they be any more pretentious?" Since then, at The Game, he reports that many H students are miserable and regret their decision because of the social life.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by Rodc » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:06 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
His info session at Harvard lasted a few minutes before he texted his mother, sitting next to him, "could they be any more pretentious?" Since then, at The Game, he reports that many H students are miserable and regret their decision because of the social life.


Interesting. I know many middle aged Harvard gads and they seem fine. Maybe a bit of a change over time or something.

I'm surprised their social life is not better, after all unlike just down river, they are all but guaranteed at least an A- is all classes.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:28 pm

Rodc wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
His info session at Harvard lasted a few minutes before he texted his mother, sitting next to him, "could they be any more pretentious?" Since then, at The Game, he reports that many H students are miserable and regret their decision because of the social life.


Interesting. I know many middle aged Harvard gads and they seem fine. Maybe a bit of a change over time or something.

I'm surprised their social life is not better, after all unlike just down river, they are all but guaranteed at least an A- is all classes.

I think it's a bit of this, a bit of that. H is still #1 in international prestige, but they are not quite as "king of the hill" among today's kids.

Purely anecdotal, but during The Game kids from one school crash at the dorm rooms at the other. There is lots of talking about school, and he feels that H kids look wistfully at the social life available at Y.

Btw, Y won The Game after losing 9 straight. :sharebeer

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by emanuel_v19 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:28 pm

Depending on the family income, If i remember correctly, Stanford pays tuition for those that make less than 120k/yr Please be sure to check these numbers! Also, weather is fantastic depending on what activities he does.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by Rodc » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:52 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Rodc wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
His info session at Harvard lasted a few minutes before he texted his mother, sitting next to him, "could they be any more pretentious?" Since then, at The Game, he reports that many H students are miserable and regret their decision because of the social life.


Interesting. I know many middle aged Harvard gads and they seem fine. Maybe a bit of a change over time or something.

I'm surprised their social life is not better, after all unlike just down river, they are all but guaranteed at least an A- is all classes.

I think it's a bit of this, a bit of that. H is still #1 in international prestige, but they are not quite as "king of the hill" among today's kids.

Purely anecdotal, but during The Game kids from one school crash at the dorm rooms at the other. There is lots of talking about school, and he feels that H kids look wistfully at the social life available at Y.

Btw, Y won The Game after losing 9 straight. :sharebeer


Go Bulldogs!

FWIW: I gave an invited lecture in the engineering school last year and got a tour. The students were smart and engaged and seemed pretty happy.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by MnD » Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:15 pm

My daughter had a perfect ACT, 31 IB/AP credits, top 5 GPA from an enormous high school where 1/3 the class was IB and tons of extracurricular accomplishments with top leadership roles. And she didn't get into MIT or Stanford. They are looking for students with journal articles, successful non-profits they set up to dig water wells in African villages, inventions with patents etc. Some like my daughter might get in if they fill just the right niche but it's a lottery ticket.

She did get in to 9 schools including several $60k a year places (now $65-70k) like Harvey Mudd and U of Chicago but we really didn't care for the vibes. On the tours it seemed like the families were either super-wealthy and often legacy (whole family going skiing in Switzerland next week types) or families of modest means where the kids were going to attend for free due to very good need aid at these schools. Seemed like very few Boglehead - millionaire next door type families that due to income and savings were going to be self-pay and it was going to hurt. I also didn't appreciate what were obviously professional sales reps they assigned to each family to bewitch the students and guilt the parents.

Since we had financial rules like Timmy and because most merit aid apps didn't pan out, it came down to a few very solid State U's with great STEM programs. In the end she opted to go in-state Colorado School of Mines for Physics with a merit aid award worth about 25% of total cost of attendance. She lived away from home all 4 years but with the scholarship my total cost for her degree was around $70K. She went for 4 years because she loved it - could have graduated in 3. She worked over 2200 hours at paid internships, earned around $35k and saved about half so graduated with a net worth of about $17K.

Accepted directly into the computer science PhD program at UIUC and they pay her to go to school plus 24K a year stipend plus paid internships with startups and what not. Due to a very low cost housing situation and no car she's again saving about 1/2 her income so 1.5 years in, her net worth is pushing $40K.

Contrast this story with families that are paying now close to $300K per kid at elite private U for one undergraduate degree, not to mention what they might sink into grad school.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by itstoomuch » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:01 pm

timmy wrote:
itstoomuch wrote:I hope, Carnegie-Mellon, is on the list. :mrgreen:


Ha ha. Yes. It's on there. We need to figure out when to work it in. It is not quite east (coast) and not quite south.

I love going to Fallingwater, so we'll work it into a visit then! Early Spring likely ...


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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by duckcalldan » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:04 pm

KlangFool wrote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCU_School_of_the_Arts`

VCU only ranked #2 for Arts which is the major that my daughter is interested in. I got lucky.

KlangFool


Just came across this thread. Like you, my daughter is enrolled at VCUarts. She's a 2nd year graphics design major and loves it. It was her early #1 choice. She was accepted at MICA in Baltimore and at JMU, but once she got the acceptance letter at VCU, her mind was made up. She also got merit aid of $3500/yr which we were very happy with as an in-state student.

Our second and last kid is a HS junior who doesn't have such a straightforward college choice. She is into government, model UN and forensics and has been chosen for both HOBY and the Sorensen Institute at UVA. She gets her PSAT scores next week. Should be high. Lots of AP coursework. Her heart is on a D.C. school but our assets are too high for aid and I don't think they offer merit aid to make the math work for her. She loves the city, so a small town LAC is not a good choice. Plenty to digest and research. We are unlikely to stay in VA once we're empty nesters so in-state UVA is not an obvious choice.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:11 pm

duckcalldan wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCU_School_of_the_Arts`

VCU only ranked #2 for Arts which is the major that my daughter is interested in. I got lucky.

KlangFool


Just came across this thread. Like you, my daughter is enrolled at VCUarts. She's a 2nd year graphics design major and loves it. It was her early #1 choice. She was accepted at MICA in Baltimore and at JMU, but once she got the acceptance letter at VCU, her mind was made up. She also got merit aid of $3500/yr which we were very happy with as an in-state student.

Our second and last kid is a HS junior who doesn't have such a straightforward college choice. She is into government, model UN and forensics and has been chosen for both HOBY and the Sorensen Institute at UVA. She gets her PSAT scores next week. Should be high. Lots of AP coursework. Her heart is on a D.C. school but our assets are too high for aid and I don't think they offer merit aid to make the math work for her. She loves the city, so a small town LAC is not a good choice. Plenty to digest and research. We are unlikely to stay in VA once we're empty nesters so in-state UVA is not an obvious choice.


duckcalldan,

Does that really matter? For some state like Florida, once you are admitted as in-state, you stay in-state unless you change you major. I am not sure whether the same rule applies to VA.

KlangFool

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:17 pm

MnD wrote:My daughter had a perfect ACT, 31 IB/AP credits, top 5 GPA from an enormous high school where 1/3 the class was IB and tons of extracurricular accomplishments with top leadership roles. And she didn't get into MIT or Stanford. They are looking for students with journal articles, successful non-profits they set up to dig water wells in African villages, inventions with patents etc. Some like my daughter might get in if they fill just the right niche but it's a lottery ticket.

She did get in to 9 schools including several $60k a year places (now $65-70k) like Harvey Mudd and U of Chicago but we really didn't care for the vibes. On the tours it seemed like the families were either super-wealthy and often legacy (whole family going skiing in Switzerland next week types) or families of modest means where the kids were going to attend for free due to very good need aid at these schools. Seemed like very few Boglehead - millionaire next door type families that due to income and savings were going to be self-pay and it was going to hurt. I also didn't appreciate what were obviously professional sales reps they assigned to each family to bewitch the students and guilt the parents.

Since we had financial rules like Timmy and because most merit aid apps didn't pan out, it came down to a few very solid State U's with great STEM programs. In the end she opted to go in-state Colorado School of Mines for Physics with a merit aid award worth about 25% of total cost of attendance. She lived away from home all 4 years but with the scholarship my total cost for her degree was around $70K. She went for 4 years because she loved it - could have graduated in 3. She worked over 2200 hours at paid internships, earned around $35k and saved about half so graduated with a net worth of about $17K.

Accepted directly into the computer science PhD program at UIUC and they pay her to go to school plus 24K a year stipend plus paid internships with startups and what not. Due to a very low cost housing situation and no car she's again saving about 1/2 her income so 1.5 years in, her net worth is pushing $40K.

Contrast this story with families that are paying now close to $300K per kid at elite private U for one undergraduate degree, not to mention what they might sink into grad school.


Thank you for your story. My sense is our story will be much like yours. We'll give it (MIT, Stanford, etc.) a shot. But if it doesn't happen, he'll still be a smart, hard working, ethical and content kid. And he'll probably make a lot of money :sharebeer

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:23 pm

itstoomuch wrote:
timmy wrote:
itstoomuch wrote:I hope, Carnegie-Mellon, is on the list. :mrgreen:


Ha ha. Yes. It's on there. We need to figure out when to work it in. It is not quite east (coast) and not quite south.

I love going to Fallingwater, so we'll work it into a visit then! Early Spring likely ...


Simple. Instead of "Irish", substitute Scottish and bagpipes. :wink:


Funny about that. He plays violin. He's pretty good at playing the "the Irish Fiddle". Over the Summer, he learned 19 Irish songs to play at my parents 50th wedding anniversary party. A slightly drunk uncle (from Ireland) said to him ... Jesus F***, I thought I was listening to a F***ing recording. Higher praise ... he may never get again.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:27 pm

emanuel_v19 wrote:Depending on the family income, If i remember correctly, Stanford pays tuition for those that make less than 120k/yr Please be sure to check these numbers! Also, weather is fantastic depending on what activities he does.


I (but not my boy) visited Stanford's campus in October. Just fantastic.

We do a little better income wise, but to your point, I think it's a sliding scale. If I recall, a family of $200K, might pay $30K. Not bad. Very close to a state school.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:32 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
His info session at Harvard lasted a few minutes before he texted his mother, sitting next to him, "could they be any more pretentious?" Since then, at The Game, he reports that many H students are miserable and regret their decision because of the social life.


Too funny. We had the exact same reaction. 2 of the 3 were just ... self assured. The third kid was nice and really tried to connect. Funny, he seemed to be the most accomplished of the 3. Funny how that works.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:36 pm

Rodc wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
His info session at Harvard lasted a few minutes before he texted his mother, sitting next to him, "could they be any more pretentious?" Since then, at The Game, he reports that many H students are miserable and regret their decision because of the social life.


Interesting. I know many middle aged Harvard gads and they seem fine. Maybe a bit of a change over time or something.

I'm surprised their social life is not better, after all unlike just down river, they are all but guaranteed at least an A- is all classes.


I know a few folks from Harvard. They are fine people. So it might be a culture thing. And again, I fully admit to confirmation bias. I probably saw exactly what I expected to see.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by duckcalldan » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:37 pm

KlangFool wrote:
duckcalldan wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCU_School_of_the_Arts`

VCU only ranked #2 for Arts which is the major that my daughter is interested in. I got lucky.

KlangFool


Just came across this thread. Like you, my daughter is enrolled at VCUarts. She's a 2nd year graphics design major and loves it. It was her early #1 choice. She was accepted at MICA in Baltimore and at JMU, but once she got the acceptance letter at VCU, her mind was made up. She also got merit aid of $3500/yr which we were very happy with as an in-state student.

Our second and last kid is a HS junior who doesn't have such a straightforward college choice. She is into government, model UN and forensics and has been chosen for both HOBY and the Sorensen Institute at UVA. She gets her PSAT scores next week. Should be high. Lots of AP coursework. Her heart is on a D.C. school but our assets are too high for aid and I don't think they offer merit aid to make the math work for her. She loves the city, so a small town LAC is not a good choice. Plenty to digest and research. We are unlikely to stay in VA once we're empty nesters so in-state UVA is not an obvious choice.


duckcalldan,

Does that really matter? For some state like Florida, once you are admitted as in-state, you stay in-state unless you change you major. I am not sure whether the same rule applies to VA.

KlangFool


It appears that VA universities pay close attention to residency throughout a student's education (from UVA):

Q: May I leave the state temporarily?
A: Once you have established domicile in Virginia, you may be absent from the State provided you 1) continue to file resident Virginia income tax returns (Form 760) each year you are out of the State, declaring ALL earned income regardless of source; and, 2) do nothing incompatible with your claim of domicile, such as registering to vote in another state.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by ks289 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:06 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Rodc wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
His info session at Harvard lasted a few minutes before he texted his mother, sitting next to him, "could they be any more pretentious?" Since then, at The Game, he reports that many H students are miserable and regret their decision because of the social life.


Interesting. I know many middle aged Harvard gads and they seem fine. Maybe a bit of a change over time or something.

I'm surprised their social life is not better, after all unlike just down river, they are all but guaranteed at least an A- is all classes.

I think it's a bit of this, a bit of that. H is still #1 in international prestige, but they are not quite as "king of the hill" among today's kids.

Purely anecdotal, but during The Game kids from one school crash at the dorm rooms at the other. There is lots of talking about school, and he feels that H kids look wistfully at the social life available at Y.

Btw, Y won The Game after losing 9 straight. :sharebeer


I have no clue about how happy kids are at various schools or the social scene these days, but I know that individual experiences vary tremendously based on major, background, personality, fit, etc.

The "student satisfaction" data out there attempts to use retention rate, graduation rate, and alumni giving rate to capture satisfaction which is probably a bit of a stretch. FWIW Yale and Harvard are #4 and #5 on the list.

http://www.bestcolleges.com/features/hi ... isfaction/

Being an only slightly biased outsider, (my wife and more of my friends being from Harvard rather than Yale), I also am very partial to the offerings (cultural, dining, sports, entertainment, safety, quality of life) in Cambridge/Boston vs New Haven. Being college age vs middle age could probably make that a little less important though.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:51 am

Happiness rankings are a bit of a mug's game. As should be clear, what I posted was one student's perception of his friends' and acquaintances' happiness, and much of the analysis taking place at The Game, one can imagine that beer might have been involved. The rankings I've seen are all over the map; I of course prefer the one that has Yale first in freshman happiness :D

Cambridge/Boston probably has more to offer an adult than New Haven does.

Once again, anecdotal, but the cross-admits that I know personally and on college confidential (i.e., these numbers are not released by schools, and no reliable or recent studies exist afaik, so I'm basing this on personal experience with all the issues that come with the territory): whereas in the past, choosing H was almost a foregone conclusion, many cross-admits are now choosing other schools, among them Yale and especially Stanford. Stanford has, IMO, considerably more cachet in the "start-up culture," and the weather sure is nice :D

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by travellight » Sun Dec 04, 2016 2:32 pm

I am very surprised in that article that Stanford is not in the top 10 in happiness ranking.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Dec 04, 2016 2:57 pm

travellight wrote:I am very surprised in that article that Stanford is not in the top 10 in happiness ranking.

I think they just misspelled Stanford: D.A.R.T.M.O.U.T.H. I was surprised to see it at #2

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by travellight » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:03 pm

^LOL! I know, right?!

In my mind, I had Stanford/Brown/Yale/Rice in the upper rankings on the happiness scale based on some survey/study/article the year my son was applying/looking.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by itstoomuch » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:02 pm

We always asked if he was having Fun not if he was happy. He wasn't supposed to happy in school. :annoyed
Even today, we ask if he is having Fun at his work, not if he is happy.
YMotiveMV :mrgreen:
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:38 am

I promised to update as the story evolves ...

We just received the PSAT results (tied to National Merit), 1500 (out of 1520). A good sign for the ACT and SAT (one never knows though).

He took the ACT last weekend. It'll be a bit before we know the score.

SAT is planned for next month.

If he plans to retake the ACT and SAT, those would happen in April and June, respectively.

He attended a local presentation from Cal Tech. It seems to be very research focus, which is less interesting for him.

Stanford seems to be dropping in interest. Why? Not sure. (Recent issues with the band?) We will still visit.

As the world turns ...

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by alfaspider » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:51 am

daveydoo wrote:
Show me a field that only recruits from elite schools or, worse, a single elite school, and I'll show you a field that lacks an objective measure of potential or even success. These are the fields of bullsh*t resumes where connections mean more than quality or even competence. The great "recent advances" in business and finance have all been innovative ways to separate unsuspecting clients from their cash.


Show me this mythical field that has objective measures of potential and success and I will show you door to shangri-la.

On the main topic, it's interesting to see how heated these discussions get. I think a lot of it has to do with people's insecurities about their own life choices and those of their children. It's all wrapped up in class, status, and the dialectic between elitism/populism.

The only practical advice I can offer is to have him do a lot of research into the kind of career and type of educational experience he wants. STEM can diverge in a lot of ways. Becoming a chemistry professor is going to be very different from becoming a petroleum engineer, which will be very different from a Wall Street quant. I don't claim to know the best path for those fields, but it may be worthwhile finding people in the fields he's interested in and doing some informational interviews. I have friends who chose majors and career paths without really understanding what they entailed, and many were unhappy for doing it. Some fields are very school status driven (law, banking, consulting), some fields less so. As for finances, I wouldn't pay too much attention to the sticker price at the application stage- expensive schools often have a much greater divergence between the "sticker" price and the real price offered to the applicant. You can compare after all the financial aid offers are in.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:30 am

alfaspider wrote:
daveydoo wrote:
Show me a field that only recruits from elite schools or, worse, a single elite school, and I'll show you a field that lacks an objective measure of potential or even success. These are the fields of bullsh*t resumes where connections mean more than quality or even competence. The great "recent advances" in business and finance have all been innovative ways to separate unsuspecting clients from their cash.


Show me this mythical field that has objective measures of potential and success and I will show you door to shangri-la.

On the main topic, it's interesting to see how heated these discussions get. I think a lot of it has to do with people's insecurities about their own life choices and those of their children. It's all wrapped up in class, status, and the dialectic between elitism/populism.

The only practical advice I can offer is to have him do a lot of research into the kind of career and type of educational experience he wants. STEM can diverge in a lot of ways. Becoming a chemistry professor is going to be very different from becoming a petroleum engineer, which will be very different from a Wall Street quant. I don't claim to know the best path for those fields, but it may be worthwhile finding people in the fields he's interested in and doing some informational interviews. I have friends who chose majors and career paths without really understanding what they entailed, and many were unhappy for doing it. Some fields are very school status driven (law, banking, consulting), some fields less so. As for finances, I wouldn't pay too much attention to the sticker price at the application stage- expensive schools often have a much greater divergence between the "sticker" price and the real price offered to the applicant. You can compare after all the financial aid offers are in.


To your first and second points, I very much agree.

We've noticed way to much flagging among parents, way-way too much. We've been in enough of these conversations that we've decided to keep our experience private and only share if there is something to be gained (learning from others who are going through/ have gone through the process) or given (someone asks about our experience). Meaning, we won't to a family party lamenting how he scored so and so and really hopes he can go to so and so school. In this, it's like personal finance.

In terms of "elite" vs. non-elite schools, it's an input to be considered. Elite schools are not an end in and of themselves. I've probably discussed the topic above enough.

Of the topics that he's expressed interest in, he has been rather thoughtful. And, of course, we see it as our job to help him make informed decisions. (He's 16, not 36 :happy ).

To your point on sticker price vs. actual costs, this was/ is the most surprising thing. I also discussed this above. He'll apply to a reasonable mix of schools. We'll see what is offered and make decisions in accordance with our values and $ limits. We will also look for money (outside scholarships), etc.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by daveydoo » Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:05 am

alfaspider wrote:Show me this mythical field that has objective measures of potential and success and I will show you door to shangri-la.


Fields with objective measures of success include the STEM fields you actually refer to. The metrics include grants, patents, high-impact publications, etc. That is, a resume that isn't populated exclusively with bullet-points and verbs. Welcome to Shangri-La, I guess.

alfaspider wrote:On the main topic, it's interesting to see how heated these discussions get. I think a lot of it has to do with people's insecurities about their own life choices and those of their children. It's all wrapped up in class, status, and the dialectic between elitism/populism.


It may be comforting for you to think that criticisms stem from people's insecurities. Lord knows I have my share of those, but not about my education, career choice, success -- or family, for that matter. I based my comments upon my experience, and I was able to choose between a state school and the most elite of undergraduate schools. I certainly don't feel that it's wrapped up in class or status... Threads like this tends to devolve into "you're just jealous!" Trust me, I'm not.

For those of us playing along at home, it's cringe-worthy to see parent after parent asking whether their smart 12-year old should go to Harvard or Stanford (for example) because he/she really likes the architecture at the former but just loves the "vibe" at the latter. It's a little like asking what you should do with a $100 million windfall since you just bought two Megabucks tickets and have a pretty good feeling. If you're not an under-represented minority and are not a legacy, your chances of admission to Harvard or Stanford are very slim irrespective of your perfect scores and years of violin. That's not my sour grapes. Now, if you're a single- or double-legacy, talk away because your odds just went up five- or ten-fold -- but for that one school.

And I'd be willing to shrug this all off yet again except (yet again) someone says that nay-sayers like me are simply insecure about "their own life choices and those of their children" (!?!). :shock:

Oh, and if you think you can plan your child's future based upon the one-hour campus-visit commercial powerpoint, then I'd like to talk to you about an outstanding time-share opportunity... :happy

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:22 am

For those of us playing along at home, it's cringe-worthy to see parent after parent asking whether their smart 12-year old should go to Harvard or Stanford (for example) because he/she really likes the architecture at the former but just loves the "vibe" at the latter. It's a little like asking what you should do with a $100 million windfall since you just bought two Megabucks tickets and have a pretty good feeling. If you're not an under-represented minority and are not a legacy, your chances of admission to Harvard or Stanford are very slim irrespective of your perfect scores and years of violin. That's not my sour grapes. Now, if you're a single- or double-legacy, talk away because your odds just went up five- or ten-fold -- but for that one school.

I like the lottery ticket analogy.

Fwiw, URM and legacy will improve the odds but will not be a game changer (too large a cohort). Otoh, if you're the smart and accomplished offspring of POTUS, or can row the hell out of a racing shell, that's the ticket :sharebeer

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Dec 13, 2016 8:13 am

I agree with the lottery ticket analog.

However observing the admissions for a few years, those who got admiddted to the top schools, went the extra mile, by publishing papers, leading organizations and being well rounded. Atleast paid attention to detail in school life and application process.

For the next set of applicants, who had everything similar but had to settle for the next level schools, lottery analogy calms us or atleast keep the life moving. I am a parent to lottery analogy. My son is in a state school.

However, I am involved, in a math teaching for gifted kids ( ex board member, not teaching) this week told an elementary school parent to be ready for top school, as the child in 5 grade, did well and placed within the top 10, at the first attempt, out of all elementary students in the region. Highly potential student, will make it. The student caliber is shown or known at a young age. I see all students in the region, not just my kids at home.
Last edited by LiveSimple on Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Dec 13, 2016 8:20 am

KlangFool wrote:4) My nephew got his BSEE from Texas A&M. The employer sponsored his MBA at MIT. Now, he is a director at 30+ years old.


Not to hijack the discuss.

This week, my daughter, who is a junior in BS BIomedical engineering, had the same plan. To get into M.B.A, after a couple of years working. Discussed the same thing to work for a employer, who will sponsor the M.B.A

Any sharing of thoughts appreciated KlangFool.
Last edited by LiveSimple on Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by alfaspider » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:16 am

daveydoo wrote:
alfaspider wrote:Show me this mythical field that has objective measures of potential and success and I will show you door to shangri-la.


Fields with objective measures of success include the STEM fields you actually refer to. The metrics include grants, patents, high-impact publications, etc. That is, a resume that isn't populated exclusively with bullet-points and verbs. Welcome to Shangri-La, I guess.



Would you be interested in a bridge I have for sale? You are kidding yourself if you think there's no politics or luck involved related to who gets those high-impact publication and plum projects to work on.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by alfaspider » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:19 am

daveydoo wrote:
alfaspider wrote:Show me this mythical field that has objective measures of potential and success and I will show you door to shangri-la.


Fields with objective measures of success include the STEM fields you actually refer to. The metrics include grants, patents, high-impact publications, etc. That is, a resume that isn't populated exclusively with bullet-points and verbs. Welcome to Shangri-La, I guess.

alfaspider wrote:On the main topic, it's interesting to see how heated these discussions get. I think a lot of it has to do with people's insecurities about their own life choices and those of their children. It's all wrapped up in class, status, and the dialectic between elitism/populism.


It may be comforting for you to think that criticisms stem from people's insecurities. Lord knows I have my share of those, but not about my education, career choice, success -- or family, for that matter. I based my comments upon my experience, and I was able to choose between a state school and the most elite of undergraduate schools. I certainly don't feel that it's wrapped up in class or status... Threads like this tends to devolve into "you're just jealous!" Trust me, I'm not.

For those of us playing along at home, it's cringe-worthy to see parent after parent asking whether their smart 12-year old should go to Harvard or Stanford (for example) because he/she really likes the architecture at the former but just loves the "vibe" at the latter. It's a little like asking what you should do with a $100 million windfall since you just bought two Megabucks tickets and have a pretty good feeling. If you're not an under-represented minority and are not a legacy, your chances of admission to Harvard or Stanford are very slim irrespective of your perfect scores and years of violin. That's not my sour grapes. Now, if you're a single- or double-legacy, talk away because your odds just went up five- or ten-fold -- but for that one school.

And I'd be willing to shrug this all off yet again except (yet again) someone says that nay-sayers like me are simply insecure about "their own life choices and those of their children" (!?!). :shock:

Oh, and if you think you can plan your child's future based upon the one-hour campus-visit commercial powerpoint, then I'd like to talk to you about an outstanding time-share opportunity... :happy


I think you misread me a bit on on this. The insecurities go both ways- it's not just that people are jealous of the fancy school attenders. The fancy school attenders (and aspirants) are also have their own insecurities- that's how you get parents of 12 year olds comparing Harvard and Stanford. My point is that few people really look at this subject dispassionately.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by livesoft » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:31 am

alfaspider wrote:Would you be interested in a bridge I have for sale? You are kidding yourself if you think there's no politics or luck involved related to who gets those high-impact publication and plum projects to work on.

I agree that there are politics and luck involved, but sometimes not as much as in other fields. But sometimes even more.
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:53 pm

livesoft wrote:
alfaspider wrote:Would you be interested in a bridge I have for sale? You are kidding yourself if you think there's no politics or luck involved related to who gets those high-impact publication and plum projects to work on.

I agree that there are politics and luck involved, but sometimes not as much as in other fields. But sometimes even more.


Sure, I get all the "special projects", as they know, "it will be delivered, rest assured" But took decades to earn that trust / value.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by travellight » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:02 pm

"Now, if you're a single- or double-legacy, talk away because your odds just went up five- or ten-fold -- but for that one school."

I just want to say that I think this is overstated. Legacy carries little weight imo... perhaps if every factor was identical, a slight nod might go to the legacy but that is rarely the case. Big big donors certainly get noticed but your average legacy gets a minimal boost. In my personal experience as a parent, my kid got rejected by my legacy school (Johns Hopkins) but got into a higher ranked school regular decision (Columbia).

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:05 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
KlangFool wrote:4) My nephew got his BSEE from Texas A&M. The employer sponsored his MBA at MIT. Now, he is a director at 30+ years old.


Not to hijack the discuss.

This week, my daughter, who is a junior in BS BIomedical engineering, had the same plan. To get into M.B.A, after a couple of years working. Discussed the same thing to work for a employer, who will sponsor the M.B.A

Any sharing of thoughts appreciated KlangFool.


LiveSimple,

Work for a few years first before deciding whether MBA is the right way to go. Some people are cut out to play that kind of office politic game. Others not so much.

<<Discussed the same thing to work for a employer, who will sponsor the M.B.A>>

She might choose to do a technical master and/or Phd instead.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by alfaspider » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:21 pm

travellight wrote:"Now, if you're a single- or double-legacy, talk away because your odds just went up five- or ten-fold -- but for that one school."

I just want to say that I think this is overstated. Legacy carries little weight imo... perhaps if every factor was identical, a slight nod might go to the legacy but that is rarely the case. Big big donors certainly get noticed but your average legacy gets a minimal boost. In my personal experience as a parent, my kid got rejected by my legacy school (Johns Hopkins) but got into a higher ranked school regular decision (Columbia).


I agree. Legacy status isn't quite what it used to be. My sister did not get into my father's Ivy alma mater despite being valedictorian of her high school and having test scores right in line with the school's medians. Elite undergraduate admissions at any specific institution is a huge crapshoot unless you are a truly unusual applicant (i.e., your father is Barack Obama). That said, I think a pretty good chuck applicants with credentials in line for such schools will get into at least one if they apply broadly.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by livesoft » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:26 pm

travellight wrote:In my personal experience as a parent, my kid got rejected by my legacy school …, but got into a higher ranked school regular decision.

Ditto (for her major).
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by alfaspider » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:29 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
livesoft wrote:
alfaspider wrote:Would you be interested in a bridge I have for sale? You are kidding yourself if you think there's no politics or luck involved related to who gets those high-impact publication and plum projects to work on.

I agree that there are politics and luck involved, but sometimes not as much as in other fields. But sometimes even more.


Sure, I get all the "special projects", as they know, "it will be delivered, rest assured" But took decades to earn that trust / value.


There are people who build up such reputations through pure technical expertise, but there are also people who are highly skilled at taking credit for the work of others. There are also people who work in STEM fields but excel because they are masters of reading the politics or market demand, or people who have incredible abilities that they never really get credit for because they cannot work the system.

For example, I have a friend who is an absolutely brilliant computer scientist and all-around know-everything. He can do incredible things, but his career has gone nowhere. He's likely on the autism spectrum and has a lot of difficulty in social situations and working with others- he just doesn't get great opportunities. By contrast, nobody accused Steve Jobs of being the greatest engineer, but he will likely to be remembered 100 years from now as the inventor of the smartphone because he was a master of playing the politics and pushing people in his direction (kind of like how Edison got credit for "inventing" the light bulb even when he did no such thing).

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:56 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
KlangFool wrote:4) My nephew got his BSEE from Texas A&M. The employer sponsored his MBA at MIT. Now, he is a director at 30+ years old.


Not to hijack the discuss.

This week, my daughter, who is a junior in BS BIomedical engineering, had the same plan. To get into M.B.A, after a couple of years working. Discussed the same thing to work for a employer, who will sponsor the M.B.A

Any sharing of thoughts appreciated KlangFool.


I have ChemE degree. I went for my MBA about 10 years out of school. My work paid for it. I liked the sequence (although 10 years is a bit long).

I think a MBA is best with some real world experience for context, and having it paid for by an employer is a plus.

I tend to play in the large company space/ run with that crowd. My view seems to be the consensus (OBSERVATION ... not fact :shock: ) .

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by daveydoo » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:43 am

alfaspider wrote:I think you misread me a bit on on this. The insecurities go both ways- it's not just that people are jealous of the fancy school attenders.


So the Harvard grads and their Harvard-legacy progeny stay up at night worrying about that state-school path not taken? Is that really what you'd have me take away?

Because you actually said this...

alfaspider wrote:...it's interesting to see how heated these discussions get. I think a lot of it has to do with people's insecurities about their own life choices and those of their children. It's all wrapped up in class, status, and the dialectic between elitism/populism.


...and I think it's pretty clearly a dig at the hoi polloi. You're entitled to do that, of course, but I'd hope you'd own it after the fact.


You also wrote:

alfaspider wrote: Show me this mythical field that has objective measures of potential and success and I will show you door to shangri-la.


...and I responded:

daveydoo wrote: Fields with objective measures of success include the STEM fields you actually refer to. The metrics include grants, patents, high-impact publications, etc.


...after which you wrote:

alfaspider wrote:You are kidding yourself if you think there's no politics or luck involved related to who gets those high-impact publication and plum projects


I said (or implied) nothing about politics or luck, but you're free to attack that straw man. :happy I only said that there are objective measures of potential and success in STEM fields. This informs my hiring decisions, for example.

The upper echelons of STEM fields are populated with grads of schools you've never heard of, and I've tried to make that point on other threads. Yes, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are over-represented, but certainly not to the extent that they are on the Supreme Court. Some "soft" non-STEM fields led by the easily-impressed and intellectually lazy let undergrad admissions committees do all their thinking for them -- forever!

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by ks289 » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:00 am

alfaspider wrote:
travellight wrote:"Now, if you're a single- or double-legacy, talk away because your odds just went up five- or ten-fold -- but for that one school."

I just want to say that I think this is overstated. Legacy carries little weight imo... perhaps if every factor was identical, a slight nod might go to the legacy but that is rarely the case. Big big donors certainly get noticed but your average legacy gets a minimal boost. In my personal experience as a parent, my kid got rejected by my legacy school (Johns Hopkins) but got into a higher ranked school regular decision (Columbia).


I agree. Legacy status isn't quite what it used to be. My sister did not get into my father's Ivy alma mater despite being valedictorian of her high school and having test scores right in line with the school's medians. Elite undergraduate admissions at any specific institution is a huge crapshoot unless you are a truly unusual applicant (i.e., your father is Barack Obama). That said, I think a pretty good chuck applicants with credentials in line for such schools will get into at least one if they apply broadly.


I agree that for average folks (non-billionaires, non-celebrities) legacy status is perhaps only a slight advantage for admissions among already competitive applicants. It beats having no advantage or a disadvantage of course. Moreover, there is a distinction between the weight given to legacies of alumni donors vs. non-donors. Many schools consider only undergraduate attendance for legacy status with some exceptions (Columbia for example).

The overall admissions rates for legacies are quite high compared to overall admissions rates, but these are skewed by legacy applicants having stronger scores/grades than the average applicant. There is an advantage still after controlling for these variables.

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Legacy ... Be/125812/

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by alfaspider » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:27 am

daveydoo wrote:
alfaspider wrote:I think you misread me a bit on on this. The insecurities go both ways- it's not just that people are jealous of the fancy school attenders.


So the Harvard grads and their Harvard-legacy progeny stay up at night worrying about that state-school path not taken? Is that really what you'd have me take away?

Because you actually said this...

alfaspider wrote:...it's interesting to see how heated these discussions get. I think a lot of it has to do with people's insecurities about their own life choices and those of their children. It's all wrapped up in class, status, and the dialectic between elitism/populism.


...and I think it's pretty clearly a dig at the hoi polloi. You're entitled to do that, of course, but I'd hope you'd own it after the fact.



I'm kind of puzzled as to how you are concluding that was a dig at any group in particular. No, most Harvard grads probably don't stay up at night worrying about what might have happened if they had gone to state school, but they might worry what people will think if their kids go to state school. Or be frustrated when the state school attendee gets promoted above them. Or, perhaps most commonly, people don't seem particularly impressed about the fact they went to Harvard even though they may feel they worked extraordinarily hard to get that distinction. There's also the (sometimes justified) fear that people will make assumptions about them when they find out where they went to school. I know people who attended Ivies who go out of their way to downplay it for fear of being assumed to be snobby or having unrealistic expectations put upon them.

daveydoo wrote:
You also wrote:

alfaspider wrote: Show me this mythical field that has objective measures of potential and success and I will show you door to shangri-la.


...and I responded:

daveydoo wrote: Fields with objective measures of success include the STEM fields you actually refer to. The metrics include grants, patents, high-impact publications, etc.


...after which you wrote:

alfaspider wrote:You are kidding yourself if you think there's no politics or luck involved related to who gets those high-impact publication and plum projects


I said (or implied) nothing about politics or luck, but you're free to attack that straw man. :happy I only said that there are objective measures of potential and success in STEM fields. This informs my hiring decisions, for example.

The upper echelons of STEM fields are populated with grads of schools you've never heard of, and I've tried to make that point on other threads. Yes, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are over-represented, but certainly not to the extent that they are on the Supreme Court. Some "soft" non-STEM fields led by the easily-impressed and intellectually lazy let undergrad admissions committees do all their thinking for them -- forever!


There are objective measures in even the squishiest of fields. For example, an artist can be judged by the number of paintings sold and exhibitions given. A philosopher can be given by publications, teaching appointments, and citations. I don''t think STEM is particularly special in that regard.

What I did not mean to imply is that going to an elite school is necessarily the way to win the political games that underpin most conventional career success. Where you went to school can certainly matter, but you are absolutely right that some fields are dominated by schools that may not be at the top any conventional ranking of undergraduate institutions. If you want to be a petroleum engineer, you don't want to go to Harvard- you are probably better off at Texas A&M. That's why my original advice for the OP was to have his son talk to people who are successful in fields relating to his area of interest and get their advice.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by travellight » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:43 pm

"Moreover, there is a distinction between the weight given to legacies of alumni donors vs. non-donors. Many schools consider only undergraduate attendance for legacy status with some exceptions (Columbia for example)."

I don't know of any convincing data that donors vs non-donors matters. Again, big money ("development".... many zeroes in the number) definitely matters but your average donor versus non-donor, not so much. I agree that legacy applicants do have a somewhat higher acceptance rate but that may be because they are often highly qualified.

Anecdotally, I was a donor without missing a single year of donating starting in my twenties as soon as I got a real job. I donated for over 25 years, many of those years with no plans to even ever having a kid, so it was not planned/strategic manipulation. I also got my undergrad degree there as well as graduate degree. I still believe legacy carries small to minimal impact and there is unwarranted resentment and presumed considerable advantage for this group.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by ks289 » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:10 pm

travellight wrote:"Moreover, there is a distinction between the weight given to legacies of alumni donors vs. non-donors. Many schools consider only undergraduate attendance for legacy status with some exceptions (Columbia for example)."

I don't know of any convincing data that donors vs non-donors matters. Again, big money ("development".... many zeroes in the number) definitely matters but your average donor versus non-donor, not so much. I agree that legacy applicants do have a somewhat higher acceptance rate but that may be because they are often highly qualified.

Anecdotally, I was a donor without missing a single year of donating starting in my twenties as soon as I got a real job. I donated for over 25 years, many of those years with no plans to even ever having a kid, so it was not planned/strategic manipulation. I also got my undergrad degree there as well as graduate degree. I still believe legacy carries small to minimal impact and there is unwarranted resentment and presumed considerable advantage for this group.


I have very little direct knowledge here, but my comment was made based on tidbits I have heard through the years. This old WSJ piece offers some dollar figures which could move the needle for an applicant.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1047409881995483800

The educational consultants' advice in this piece was to give $2500-$5000 annually on a consistent basis. This is more than my family is willing to give to multi billion dollar universities. We have other worthy causes that we donate to.

The point is that clearly there are no guarantees for legacies, but there are clearly demonstrated improvements to admission rates even after correcting for test scores/grades. Money is likely important here because it is hard to believe that any other factor is motivating schools to give any preference whatsoever. It is not just the actual sum towards their bottom line, but also the boost to their student satisfaction rankings due to higher alumni giving rate. The article quoted a study showing admission rate of 42% for legacies not applying for financial aid vs 35% for legacies applying for financial aid.

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