Picking College and College Scholarships

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KlangFool
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:36 pm

timmy wrote:<<Just as an example, Ramanujan was probably one of the most brilliant mathematicians in history. >>

At 18 years old, does Ramanujan KNOW that he is a BRILLIANT mathematician? I agree that PSAT is not a perfect system in ranking a person's intelligence. But, unless a person is living in a isolated cave, at 18 years old, a person would know how he / she rank in term of intelligence in many areas as compare their peers. PSAT allows a person to be ranked among their peers across the WHOLE COUNTRY. It is an OBJECTIVE measure. There are many others too.

KlangFool


Good point. For my son, the issue be deciding with path (Mechanical, Chemical, etc.) to head down. As he works at these topics, it'll come to him.

In terms of interest, he studies coding, math, chemistry and physics on his own. He seems to like applied better than theoretical.[/quote]

timmy,

IMHO, the KEY is to provide the BEST NURTURING and GROWTH environment for your son. I am NOT CONVINCED that the TOP SCHOOLS are BEST ENVIRONMENT for many. A person need to go into a place where he can compete and has a FAIR CHANCE of winning. That means a person need to be at least average or above average where he is going. It has to be compatible.

Being the TOP STUDENT at lower tier school has its advantage. Aka, "Big Fish at small Pond". You have access to all the resources. Meanwhile, at the big pond, if you are not above average, you get NOTHING. You are just door mat for others to step on.

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livesoft
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by livesoft » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:49 pm

KlangFool wrote:Being the TOP STUDENT at lower tier school has its advantage. Aka, "Big Fish at small Pond". You have access to all the resources. Meanwhile, at the big pond, if you are not above average, you get NOTHING. You are just door mat for others to step on.

KlangFool

As a person involved in higher education for decades, I disagree with your synopsis. I will make a few observations:

1. The top student at a lower tier school may have lower tier professors who are satisfied with teaching in a backwater university and have no drive of their own to pass on to top students much less the grants to get top resources that students can work with.

2. An average student at a top university may have the personality to interact with professors (great, top, mediocre, whatever kind of label you want to put on them) and get to use resources and have experiences that some top students won't have because they don't interact with people well.

3. Yes, top students can have no problems dealing with people well. Yes, professors in lower-tier institutions can be top notch.

4. Some places will lead to better internships simply from the reputation of the school.

I could go on and on, but will stop here.
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JDCarpenter
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by JDCarpenter » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:12 pm

Eldest was looking at these schools 10 years ago (yikes, time flies!).

He decided that he liked southern california better than Boston, so turned down MIT for Mudd (partially because he figured MIT would be there for graduate work). Was happy there, did well, but the lure of NorCal $$ diverted him from further studies after undergrad. If the size (and the nasty grading curve) of Mudd aren't turnoffs for your son, take a look at Mudd's merit scholarships. Your son could knock 11,000 a year off of the list price (assuming he isn't URM).

One additional thing to consider with Champaign-Urbana is the state's fiscal/political situation. What will happen to tuition/staffing over the next four years if the present situation in Springfield continues/recurs?

Finally, as several have alluded to, we found that National merit finalists were heavily recruited with full-ride options. Don't know if that is still the case--and many of the recruiting schools were large state universities, which was a negative for our kids.
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KlangFool
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:19 pm

livesoft wrote:
KlangFool wrote:Being the TOP STUDENT at lower tier school has its advantage. Aka, "Big Fish at small Pond". You have access to all the resources. Meanwhile, at the big pond, if you are not above average, you get NOTHING. You are just door mat for others to step on.

KlangFool

As a person involved in higher education for decades, I disagree with your synopsis. I will make a few observations:

1. The top student at a lower tier school may have lower tier professors who are satisfied with teaching in a backwater university and have no drive of their own to pass on to top students much less the grants to get top resources that students can work with.

2. An average student at a top university may have the personality to interact with professors (great, top, mediocre, whatever kind of label you want to put on them) and get to use resources and have experiences that some top students won't have because they don't interact with people well.

3. Yes, top students can have no problems dealing with people well. Yes, professors in lower-tier institutions can be top notch.

4. Some places will lead to better internships simply from the reputation of the school.

I could go on and on, but will stop here.


livesoft,

So? If a person is GOOD, he / she will find a way. If not, it won't matter anyhow. So, why WASTE the money?

1) My older brother graduated Summa Cum Laude with BSEE at a lower tier university. He did it in 2 1/2 years while working 40 hours per week. He started 3 companies and sold two. The last job that he had was GM at a high tech company. He early retired at 49 years old.

2) His daughter aka my niece is a National Merit Finalist. Full ride scholarship to study International Business at Arizona State University. First year at Arizona. Second year as exchange student at Spain, Third year exchange student at Paris, France. Fourth year, at Beijing, China. Fifth year went back to Arizona and finish her degree. It costs her and her parent NOTHING. She knows English, Mandarin, Spanish, and French. She learn those languages in those countries.

3) My brother-in-law was top 10 students in my home country. Graduated with an accounting degree from UT at Austin. Then, he did his master degree of Economy at University of Chicago. Worked at Wall Street for 20+ years. Now, he is a managing director of a major bank in the world.

4) I graduated from a lower tier university with my BSEE and MSEE. I had 5 years of working experience with the university computing center. So, people do not even look at my degree when I was job hunting.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:36 pm

OP,

My son is studying Mechanical Engineering at VTech now. It is about 30K per year. A lower tier university offered him $6,500 per year scholarship but we choose to pay full price at VTech instead. So, I am willing to pay for a good in-state university undergraduate engineering program at around 30K to 40K per year but not a lot more.

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anonforbogleheads
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by anonforbogleheads » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:32 pm

Anecdotes are nice but oftentimes unreliable. A degree from an elite university is a credential that stays with you as long as you live (and also your heirs due to legacy).

Don't underestimate the power of having a good 'pedigree': it will at a minimum get your foot in the door, and probably provide positive externalities (better education, more influential network, prestige, personal life satisfaction) that are undervalued on a forum like Bogleheads.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:56 pm

anonforbogleheads wrote:Anecdotes are nice but oftentimes unreliable. A degree from an elite university is a credential that stays with you as long as you live (and also your heirs due to legacy).


anonforbogleheads,

1) So does THE DEBT!

2) How does being the bottom 1/3 of the elite university sounds? It stays with you forever too. Is that something to be proud of?

<< probably provide positive externalities (better education, more influential network, prestige, personal life satisfaction) that are undervalued on a forum like Bogleheads.>>

3) Which proves THE POINT that you do not need to get into DEBT to get there.

<< better education, more influential network, prestige, personal life satisfaction>>

4) My older brother FIRE at 49 years old. My older sister that never enter college FIRE at 49 years old either.

Meanwhile those so called:

<< better education, more influential network, prestige, personal life satisfaction>>

are still working for a living.

KlangFool

P.S.: By the way, if a person NEED the degree from the elite university to prove his / her worth in life, that person must not had accomplished much in his / her life.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by Rodc » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:13 pm

livesoft wrote:
KlangFool wrote:Being the TOP STUDENT at lower tier school has its advantage. Aka, "Big Fish at small Pond". You have access to all the resources. Meanwhile, at the big pond, if you are not above average, you get NOTHING. You are just door mat for others to step on.

KlangFool

As a person involved in higher education for decades, I disagree with your synopsis. I will make a few observations:

1. The top student at a lower tier school may have lower tier professors who are satisfied with teaching in a backwater university and have no drive of their own to pass on to top students much less the grants to get top resources that students can work with.

2. An average student at a top university may have the personality to interact with professors (great, top, mediocre, whatever kind of label you want to put on them) and get to use resources and have experiences that some top students won't have because they don't interact with people well.

3. Yes, top students can have no problems dealing with people well. Yes, professors in lower-tier institutions can be top notch.

4. Some places will lead to better internships simply from the reputation of the school.

I could go on and on, but will stop here.


Well, backwater or a single notch below MIT? Different things.

I work in research engineering at a top flight laboratory and we hire only the top students from very good and better universities, a good mix of MS and PhD (engineering, physics, math, some chem, some bio). You simply can't tell the best students from a good state school vs MIT/Stanford/Cal Tech etc on the job. For one thing to do really well you need top technical skills but also top organizational skills, top skills in solving ambiguous problems (unfortunately some bomb out because they are super book smart but lack the ability to really be creative problem solvers when the answer is not hidden in the book in the 5 pages before the problem set), solid skill in leading a team, and other things that do not factor that strongly in the school process.

Now to be fair it might be the top 5% from state U but the top 25% from MIT that we recruit. But any student who can crack top 25% at MIT should be able to crack top 5% at the state U and the reverse as well so this is not really important to the conversation.

FWIW: A family friend recently turned down MIT at full price for a full ride at Rose Hulman. He got a great job no problem.

FWIW II: I have a number of friends and colleagues who went to state U engineering programs and then went to MIT for either an MS or a PhD. I have no idea what the stats are but it does not seem to be as difficult as getting in as an undergrad.

I would suggest one stay away from backwater colleges. But a top 50 college will be perfectly fine, unless perhaps one has picked out a very specific line of work dominated by a small clique that has a certain collegiate fetish.
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:35 pm

Rodc wrote:Now to be fair it might be the top 5% from state U but the top 25% from MIT that we recruit. But any student who can crack top 25% at MIT should be able to crack top 5% at the state U and the reverse as well so this is not really important to the conversation.


Rodc,

That is MY POINT. If a person is THAT GOOD, going to a TOP STATE University is good enough. If the person is not that good, why bother? Going to MIT and be the bottom 75% would not help either. It just going to cost a lot of money and the person will get beaten down for 4 years.

We are talking about Engineering here. Now, whether it helps in business area. That is a different and separate discussion.

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LiveSimple
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:45 pm

timmy wrote:Looking at top engineering schools (MIT, Stanford). We'll be doing the tours this year.

We will not let him take loans (we would drop all support if he goes this route). We will not take loans. That said, we have a healthy incomes (think moderately successful engineer ... not Wall Street titan).

We have 529 savings.



Sure, you will son will graduate with good grades and extra curricular activities.

For MIT / Stanford, people talk about the hooks that get the student admission, so discuss with your son to get some hooks handy within the next couple of years.

http://hwchronicle.com/hook-line-and-si ... ion-hooks/
http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/mas ... thing.html

In reality, the admission depends !!!

Let us say on the positive side, your son got admitted to the $70 K / year and you do not want and debt, then please make sure, you have 529 funded for that. Or at least $ 250 K stacked up somewhere, that you can tap into. May be in taxable investments, that are separate and know for college expenses.

Please do not mix and match your retirements savings / investments and college tuition, it seems easy to say now before two years that you are willing to pay $250 K for college, but December / January of your admission year, your thinking may be cluttered or at least will think twice.

Just sharing my thoughts, I was like you a year ago, but this December / January the thinking was different, not that we cannot afford, but it takes some commitments in the family. Finally my son ended in a state school, saving 50 % of our tuition, what we were intent to pay to MIT / Stanford. ( No scholarship, we are paying 100%)

Also all scholarships are need based, so check your net payment calculators. None of our acquaintances has scholarships, all paying full tuition, as most family are well off, based on the need based calculations. If you are a two person professional household, forget the scholarships ( expect merit scholarships). Unless your son chooses to go one or two level low colleges that provide a merit based full ride.

Wish you the best to you, your son and your family,
Last edited by LiveSimple on Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KlangFool
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:57 pm

Folks,

The fundamental question that many of us ask is this:

Is the undergraduate Engineering degree from elite university worth the listed price?

My answer is NO.

I am willing to pay 20K to 40K per year for the undergraduate Engineering degree. I am NOT willing to pay the 60K to 80K per year from those elite university.

To all those folks that say it buys connection / better prospect and so on, I will say that my children could save those 100K and live a BETTER LIFE. They do not need connection / better prospect and so on. They will start their career with NO DEBT and SOME SAVINGS / INVESTMENT.

Even if I have that kind of money, look at the end result:

A) Undergraduate engineering degree from Elite university.

B) Undergraduate engineering degree from state university and 100K worth of savings / investment.

Guess who is in better shape? (A) or (B)?

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by livesoft » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:05 pm

Are you giving your VTech student a $100K cash graduation present?
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:12 pm

livesoft wrote:Are you giving your VTech student a $100K cash graduation present?


livesoft,

No. But, he is keeping his existing 10+K savings / investment. Plus, I plan to fund / match his Roth IRA account for all his summer jobs. At this rate, he should have 15K to 20K when he graduates.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by itstoomuch » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:13 pm

timmy wrote:We will consider any choice under that amount. Ex: If no scholarships ... no Stanford (and the like).


This will eliminate many very good universities. Many will only give "Need based" aid. Some will give "competitive" institutional aid that matches "peer" universities.

Although we and Only had large if not big student loans, I had designed the college financing from the UGMA, Only's loan & our contributions/loans to leave a substantial UGMA remainder to Only. He was "unbounded" to any financial constraints
at graduation. He is now bounded by a mortgage, very manageable.

The Only is now "bounded" by the house mortgage. :idea: I have no problems in financing a career path for a promising child. :idea:

YMMV
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by ks289 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:25 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Rodc wrote:Now to be fair it might be the top 5% from state U but the top 25% from MIT that we recruit. But any student who can crack top 25% at MIT should be able to crack top 5% at the state U and the reverse as well so this is not really important to the conversation.


Rodc,

That is MY POINT. If a person is THAT GOOD, going to a TOP STATE University is good enough. If the person is not that good, why bother? Going to MIT and be the bottom 75% would not help either. It just going to cost a lot of money and the person will get beaten down for 4 years.

We are talking about Engineering here. Now, whether it helps in business area. That is a different and separate discussion.

KlangFool

Makes perfect sense what you are saying.

The main issue I (as a non-engineer) have with your analysis is that it assumes that a student planning on studying engineering graduates with an engineering degree. In fact, maybe 1/3 of students who plan on studying engineering actually graduate with an engineering degree. Most change majors while a smaller percentage do not graduate at all.

However, it is likely that those "weeded out" at an elite college would choose a less rigorous major (the most common reason prospective engineers change majors) and end up with better GPA than many of their engineering colleagues, particularly those at state schools which undeniably grade more stringently. For this reason, the average and even below average students at top schools can still do quite well. No guarantees of course.

Moreover, I need to read that Gladwell book about the big fish /small pond idea. Many of my relatives have espoused this idea at family gatherings. While it certainly makes a lot of sense, it seems that striving for and becoming a big fish in a big pond would carry more risk but potentially could deliver a greater reward- speaking again as a non-engineer.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:37 pm

ks289 wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
Rodc wrote:Now to be fair it might be the top 5% from state U but the top 25% from MIT that we recruit. But any student who can crack top 25% at MIT should be able to crack top 5% at the state U and the reverse as well so this is not really important to the conversation.


Rodc,

That is MY POINT. If a person is THAT GOOD, going to a TOP STATE University is good enough. If the person is not that good, why bother? Going to MIT and be the bottom 75% would not help either. It just going to cost a lot of money and the person will get beaten down for 4 years.

We are talking about Engineering here. Now, whether it helps in business area. That is a different and separate discussion.

KlangFool

Makes perfect sense what you are saying.

The main issue I (as a non-engineer) have with your analysis is that it assumes that a student planning on studying engineering graduates with an engineering degree. In fact, maybe 1/3 of students who plan on studying engineering actually graduate with an engineering degree. Most change majors while a smaller percentage do not graduate at all.

However, it is likely that those "weeded out" at an elite college would choose a less rigorous major (the most common reason prospective engineers change majors) and end up with better GPA than many of their engineering colleagues, particularly those at state schools which undeniably grade more stringently. For this reason, the average and even below average students at top schools can still do quite well. No guarantees of course.



ks289,

<< However, it is likely that those "weeded out" at an elite college would choose a less rigorous major (the most common reason prospective engineers change majors) and end up with better GPA than many of their engineering colleagues, particularly those at state schools which undeniably grade more stringently. For this reason, the average and even below average students at top schools can still do quite well. No guarantees of course.>>

From pure average starting salary point of view, your statement is NOT TRUE. Average starting salary for engineer is HIGHER than most non-engineer. So, as per your example, the state school engineer would had earned MORE than the engineering drop out at elite school. Plus, it costs less for the state school engineer.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/ ... de2c8a7130

In summary. those former engineering major at elite school has a LOUSY DEAL.

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Rodc
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by Rodc » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:44 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Rodc wrote:Now to be fair it might be the top 5% from state U but the top 25% from MIT that we recruit. But any student who can crack top 25% at MIT should be able to crack top 5% at the state U and the reverse as well so this is not really important to the conversation.


Rodc,

That is MY POINT. If a person is THAT GOOD, going to a TOP STATE University is good enough. If the person is not that good, why bother? Going to MIT and be the bottom 75% would not help either. It just going to cost a lot of money and the person will get beaten down for 4 years.

We are talking about Engineering here. Now, whether it helps in business area. That is a different and separate discussion.

KlangFool


Right. I was agreeing with you. :oops:
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 ks289 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:54 pm

KlangFool wrote:
ks289 wrote:
KlangFool wrote:
Rodc wrote:Now to be fair it might be the top 5% from state U but the top 25% from MIT that we recruit. But any student who can crack top 25% at MIT should be able to crack top 5% at the state U and the reverse as well so this is not really important to the conversation.


Rodc,

That is MY POINT. If a person is THAT GOOD, going to a TOP STATE University is good enough. If the person is not that good, why bother? Going to MIT and be the bottom 75% would not help either. It just going to cost a lot of money and the person will get beaten down for 4 years.

We are talking about Engineering here. Now, whether it helps in business area. That is a different and separate discussion.

KlangFool

Makes perfect sense what you are saying.

The main issue I (as a non-engineer) have with your analysis is that it assumes that a student planning on studying engineering graduates with an engineering degree. In fact, maybe 1/3 of students who plan on studying engineering actually graduate with an engineering degree. Most change majors while a smaller percentage do not graduate at all.

However, it is likely that those "weeded out" at an elite college would choose a less rigorous major (the most common reason prospective engineers change majors) and end up with better GPA than many of their engineering colleagues, particularly those at state schools which undeniably grade more stringently. For this reason, the average and even below average students at top schools can still do quite well. No guarantees of course.



ks289,

<< However, it is likely that those "weeded out" at an elite college would choose a less rigorous major (the most common reason prospective engineers change majors) and end up with better GPA than many of their engineering colleagues, particularly those at state schools which undeniably grade more stringently. For this reason, the average and even below average students at top schools can still do quite well. No guarantees of course.>>

From pure average starting salary point of view, your statement is NOT TRUE. Average starting salary for engineer is HIGHER than most non-engineer. So, as per your example, the state school engineer would had earned MORE than the engineering drop out at elite school. Plus, it costs less for the state school engineer.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/ ... de2c8a7130

In summary. those former engineering major at elite school has a LOUSY DEAL.

KlangFool


Ok, so I get that the starting salary for engineers coming out of undergrad is high. Most of my friends in college and my wife's friends in college went to professional schools so our starting salaries were all $0. Oops, I forgot to count the $2500 summer temp job before med school.
It is entirely possible that some people couldn't hack it and should go someplace cheaper and less competitive to save money and avoid the big scary pond, but my (and livesoft's) point is that your fearful doomsday scenario of 75% of the class ending up as doormats at an elite school is way overblown.
Is it cost effective? Probably not. But that's worth planning for me, if it is the right fit for my kids.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:11 pm

ks289 wrote:Ok, so I get that the starting salary for engineers coming out of undergrad is high. Most of my friends in college and my wife's friends in college went to professional schools so our starting salaries were all $0. Oops, I forgot to count the $2500 summer temp job before med school.
It is entirely possible that some people couldn't hack it and should go someplace cheaper and less competitive to save money and avoid the big scary pond, but my (and livesoft's) point is that your fearful doomsday scenario of 75% of the class ending up as doormats at an elite school is way overblown.
Is it cost effective? Probably not. But that's worth planning for me, if it is the right fit for my kids.


ks289,

<<Is it cost effective? Probably not. >>

We are NOT talking about cost effectiveness in term of small amount of money. We are talking about doubling THE PRICE aka 100K more. Aka, life changing amount for most people at a young age.

One of my family member is rich enough to pay that kind of price for his children. Plus, he gave about 200K each to his children in their investment accounts before they graduated college. If you are at this level of wealth, then, no discussion is needed. But, if you are not, does it makes sense? Is THIS worth 100K more?

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by celia » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:17 pm

KlangFool wrote:College recruits National Merit Scholars. So, if a person is a National Merit Finalist, the person is guaranteed to get a full ride scholarship form a college some where.

I am very familar with this from several top students I know/knew. They are colleges you've never heard of and wouldn't want to go to if you were accepted to a quality college/university. And the college(s) you were accepted to might not offer NM scholarships. What you end up with is recognition, but not necessarily money.

OP, I would start by you and your wife talking to him about his goals and preferences. Major? Distance from home? Weather? Lots of serious students vs party school? # students? Even if he doesn't know, he needs to start thinking about this. With our youngest we made a chart as a family and put criteria in it that were important to the student and had the student research many colleges online to fill in the boxes. No use visiting or applying to a college if it doesn't have what he is looking for.

Also attend college fairs in your area this fall where 20-50 colleges have a rep to answer your/his questions.
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:53 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
timmy wrote:Looking at top engineering schools (MIT, Stanford). We'll be doing the tours this year.

We will not let him take loans (we would drop all support if he goes this route). We will not take loans. That said, we have a healthy incomes (think moderately successful engineer ... not Wall Street titan).

We have 529 savings.



Sure, you will son will graduate with good grades and extra curricular activities.

For MIT / Stanford, people talk about the hooks that get the student admission, so discuss with your son to get some hooks handy within the next couple of years.

http://hwchronicle.com/hook-line-and-si ... ion-hooks/
http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/mas ... thing.html

In reality, the admission depends !!!

Let us say on the positive side, your son got admitted to the $70 K / year and you do not want and debt, then please make sure, you have 529 funded for that. Or at least $ 250 K stacked up somewhere, that you can tap into. May be in taxable investments, that are separate and know for college expenses.

Please do not mix and match your retirements savings / investments and college tuition, it seems easy to say now before two years that you are willing to pay $250 K for college, but December / January of your admission year, your thinking may be cluttered or at least will think twice.

Just sharing my thoughts, I was like you a year ago, but this December / January the thinking was different, not that we cannot afford, but it takes some commitments in the family. Finally my son ended in a state school, saving 50 % of our tuition, what we were intent to pay to MIT / Stanford. ( No scholarship, we are paying 100%)

Also all scholarships are need based, so check your net payment calculators. None of our acquaintances has scholarships, all paying full tuition, as most family are well off, based on the need based calculations. If you are a two person professional household, forget the scholarships ( expect merit scholarships). Unless your son chooses to go one or two level low colleges that provide a merit based full ride.

Wish you the best to you, your son and your family,


Thank you. Very useful. I am totally guarded on what you mention (mixing retirement, etc.). We will stay diligent.

In terms of retirement, I started saving early. So we are near (and arguably at) FI. The BIG exception is paying for college. To restate, I'll keep saving for retirement as insurance, I'll keep our retirement funds isolated and we'll cashflow per our budget. Good guidance.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:56 pm

All - Again. This has been very helpful. I appreciate the viewpoints and experiences. Certainly, if you have more to add, I'll keep reading. I'll also be using the resources noted throughout.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:03 pm

timmy wrote:
LiveSimple wrote:
timmy wrote:Looking at top engineering schools (MIT, Stanford). We'll be doing the tours this year.

We will not let him take loans (we would drop all support if he goes this route). We will not take loans. That said, we have a healthy incomes (think moderately successful engineer ... not Wall Street titan).

We have 529 savings.



Sure, you will son will graduate with good grades and extra curricular activities.

For MIT / Stanford, people talk about the hooks that get the student admission, so discuss with your son to get some hooks handy within the next couple of years.

http://hwchronicle.com/hook-line-and-si ... ion-hooks/
http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/mas ... thing.html

In reality, the admission depends !!!

Let us say on the positive side, your son got admitted to the $70 K / year and you do not want and debt, then please make sure, you have 529 funded for that. Or at least $ 250 K stacked up somewhere, that you can tap into. May be in taxable investments, that are separate and know for college expenses.

Please do not mix and match your retirements savings / investments and college tuition, it seems easy to say now before two years that you are willing to pay $250 K for college, but December / January of your admission year, your thinking may be cluttered or at least will think twice.

Just sharing my thoughts, I was like you a year ago, but this December / January the thinking was different, not that we cannot afford, but it takes some commitments in the family. Finally my son ended in a state school, saving 50 % of our tuition, what we were intent to pay to MIT / Stanford. ( No scholarship, we are paying 100%)

Also all scholarships are need based, so check your net payment calculators. None of our acquaintances has scholarships, all paying full tuition, as most family are well off, based on the need based calculations. If you are a two person professional household, forget the scholarships ( expect merit scholarships). Unless your son chooses to go one or two level low colleges that provide a merit based full ride.

Wish you the best to you, your son and your family,


Thank you. Very useful. I am totally guarded on what you mention (mixing retirement, etc.). We will stay diligent.

In terms of retirement, I started saving early. So we are near (and arguably at) FI. The BIG exception is paying for college. To restate, I'll keep saving for retirement as insurance, I'll keep our retirement funds isolated and we'll cashflow per our budget. Good guidance.


There's been a couple of mentions about hooks, etc. I like the framing. We'll have to think more about that. I think he'll do OK in that regard. For example, he's been doing Science Olympiad since 6th grade. He now coaches the local Jr High Science Olympiad.

I also understand that at these top schools that its a lottery like process. You need to be good enough to be considered ... After that, it's up to the admissions gods. So apply at several places and have a back up plan!

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by spammagnet » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:04 pm

KlangFool wrote:College recruits National Merit Scholars. So, if a person is a National Merit Finalist, the person is guaranteed to get a full ride scholarship form a college some where.

Keyword: somewhere. Also, some colleges recruit NM Scholars. At others, they're the middle of the pack.

My son is a merit scholar from a nationally-ranked IB high school with a good high school resume but got little notice from the few top-tier schools where he applied. It's my impression that top-tier schools may be good at picking the top 0.5% of students that are obvious geniuses but, because the applicant pool is so huge, the next 50% or so of applicants are indistinguishable. They're unlikely to have offered much and we were unwilling to pay more than a 4 year full ride at an in-state school, so it's just as well.

Better to look at respectable state schools (not all are worth considering and some states have little aid to offer) or smaller schools. Considering a small school assumes the student is interested in that kind of environment. They're a different culture.

Put more weight on the likelihood of success than on the absolute dollar amount. A student who picks the school with the best scholarship but winds up being very unhappy is unlikely to get the same level of financial aid as a transfer, if they get any.

I second recommendations of CollegeConfidential as a useful source of information. Correspondents there are parents, graduating HS seniors, and college students who have recent experience with the process. You get a lot of perspective.
Last edited by spammagnet on Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:08 pm

anonforbogleheads wrote:Anecdotes are nice but oftentimes unreliable. A degree from an elite university is a credential that stays with you as long as you live (and also your heirs due to legacy).

Don't underestimate the power of having a good 'pedigree': it will at a minimum get your foot in the door, and probably provide positive externalities (better education, more influential network, prestige, personal life satisfaction) that are undervalued on a forum like Bogleheads.


+1

Worth every penny. It is already paying dividends, and he's only a rising junior.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by timmy » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:11 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
anonforbogleheads wrote:Anecdotes are nice but oftentimes unreliable. A degree from an elite university is a credential that stays with you as long as you live (and also your heirs due to legacy).

Don't underestimate the power of having a good 'pedigree': it will at a minimum get your foot in the door, and probably provide positive externalities (better education, more influential network, prestige, personal life satisfaction) that are undervalued on a forum like Bogleheads.


+1

Worth every penny. It is already paying dividends, and he's only a rising junior.


Where is he attending ... if you don't mind saying?

I've worked at two large companies. I've know plenty of VP level folks that worship pedigree.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by Misenplace » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:11 pm

Timmy,

Agree with celia to map out what your S and family need/want in a school program. Also agree with Klangfool that an engineering degree from your state flagship is worth about the same as one from an Ivy League, but at a fraction of a cost. Go to MIT for grad school if you want that prestige label.

Also, for any school with an admission rate under 30%, it's a crap shoot. The schools you mentioned had admit rates under 10%. I know several National Merit Finalists who were flat out rejected last year from the likes of Stanford (including female aspiring engineer majors).

College confidential has a wealth of information from some well informed parents. For merit awards, check out these lists:
http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/fin ... leges.html

Good luck!

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:22 pm

timmy wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
anonforbogleheads wrote:Anecdotes are nice but oftentimes unreliable. A degree from an elite university is a credential that stays with you as long as you live (and also your heirs due to legacy).

Don't underestimate the power of having a good 'pedigree': it will at a minimum get your foot in the door, and probably provide positive externalities (better education, more influential network, prestige, personal life satisfaction) that are undervalued on a forum like Bogleheads.


+1

Worth every penny. It is already paying dividends, and he's only a rising junior.


Where is he attending ... if you don't mind saying?

I've worked at two large companies. I've know plenty of VP level folks that worship pedigree.


I don't mind saying, and have in many other threads. He is attending Yale, and is on track for degrees in CS and Math. He spends time with great kids and wonderful professors (positive externalities).

We are paying full price because of our income, but know many relatively well-off families getting some need-based aid. Many similar schools are no-loan.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by spammagnet » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:25 pm

celia wrote:
KlangFool wrote:College recruits National Merit Scholars. So, if a person is a National Merit Finalist, the person is guaranteed to get a full ride scholarship form a college some where.

I am very familar with this from several top students I know/knew. They are colleges you've never heard of and wouldn't want to go to if you were accepted to a quality college/university.

While I agree that few top schools offer much in the way of academic scholarships, I'm not as cynical about those that do. Yes, you have to weed out those that are trying to buy academic respectability but there are many that are attractive.

In Florida, the state legislature mandates that all resident NMS Finalist will get the full four-year cost of attendance at any in-state school, including the bottom line for laundry and transportation. Any NMS Finalist that gets into UF gets a 4 year full ride + pocket money, no questions asked. And, that applies to any private school in the state. (Accreditation requirements may apply.) For those, the scholarship pays the equivalent of the highest-cost state university cost of attendance toward the private school.

Pick a good program at a respectable lower cost school with high rates of employment and admission to grad school. Do well. Save your money for name-brand grad school.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by spammagnet » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:49 pm

timmy wrote:... We've told our 3 boys that we'll always love them unconditionally. However, our money comes with strings. It is actually not about control. It is about complete freedom. At 18, if he doesn't like the rules, he can move out. We'll even help him get started in life. I'm a bit old school like that.

Our offer was also limited but perhaps less dogmatic. We told our kids from an early age that, barring unforeseeable bad things happening in the family, we guaranteed them a 4 year full ride at the state university of their choice. We also told them they could go anywhere they could get in and we'd pay the same: state rates. They'd have to come up with the rest.

If that ended up involving loans to attend a private school that differentiated them in their future life, we probably would have counseled against serious debt but not have interfered. If their choice were paying out-of-state rates at a public university in a different state, well, that's just kinda dumb and probably would have had a different outcome. In the end they both accepted generous offers at a well-respected state university, both were/are happy with their choice and it appears that it will lead to happiness and career success.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by jackholloway » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:07 pm

I echo the other posters suggestion to run a calculator. When I did, the EFC was 99999, as schools feel pretty free to try to tap resources.

HMC is a very good school. It is also 71k a year. The students I hire from there do very well, arguably better than those from many other schools. I suspect it comes from the broad exposure to their fields, including humanities. I have also had good outcomes from other top schools.

When the time comes for daughter to select a school, I hope we have enough in the kitty to afford it, and that she gets in HMC, Berkeley, MIT, Cal Tech, and wherever else fits her skill set and inclinations; where she will go depends on which speaks to her and what her realistic options are

I do not see a lot of economic value in taking longer to get a degree unless you have to - working careers seem to end based on age, not time since degree. That said, you do what you must, and the choices are never easy.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by JamalJones » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:10 pm

welldone wrote:MIT and Standford are 70K a year for undergraduate and they don't offer scholarships - it is all need based aid. You really need to run the NPC calculators for both and realize that both require the CSS profile filled out as well as FAFSA. I wouldn't count on getting much (if any aid) if you and your spouse both work and you have been diligent about saving.

I personally believe that your son would be better off looking at schools 1-2 tiers below MIT/Stanford to be in real contention for the merit monies those "lesser" schools offer to attract applicants like your son. Look at schools in the top 50-150 to maximize merit money as well as being a bigger fish (and getting opportunities).

Engineering is one of the few fields where undergraduate "prestige" is almost meaningless. Top grades at any accredited engineering school will get a graduate into grad school or a great job. Also, there isn't a pay bump in engineering based upon the "prestige" of your degree. Engineering salaries are based upon experience because the degree is pretty much equal amongst top students.


I'm going to have to agree wholeheartedly with welldone. Sure, this is just my observation, but the engineers I know went to--how should I put this--less than top tier schools and all are doing quite well financially. In fact, one guy I know went to what many would consider a fairly "bad" college but majored in mechanical engineering and got good grades. He makes $129,000 a year, not too bad (I know this because his mother--completely unsolicited--told me at a BBQ a few years ago).

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by rrppve » Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:02 am

I'll join the minority opinion here. If your kid is good enough to get into Caltech, MIT or Stanford and wants to be in science or engineering, you should think long and hard about finding a way to afford it financially including the use of debt.
Also, even though you're paying the freight, the kid needs to make the decision as they have to do the time and feel that they are in a place that gives them the best opportunity to succeed. Supporting the decision process is great, but they have to be the deciders.
As a graduate of those institutions, they will just receive a different set of opportunities when they graduate. They also will be highly competitive with other graduates who have an MS without needing to get one. In addition, if they want to get a PhD and pursue academics/research, they will get a solid look from top institutions. Also having gotten through one of those programs, they will be incredibly well prepared for grad school should they choose to go that route.
Yes there are some specific state schools whose particular engineering programs are top notch, e.g. Berkeley in EECS and UIUC in Solid State, so there are times when state schools make sense for a top student, and in reality Berkeley is a pretty compelling institution in its own right.
I'm sure I'll take flak, but I can tell you from experience that when the resumes come around, grads from those institutions will always get the interview opportunity and if the interviewer is from an elite, will get a boost in the hiring process.
If the kid gets into one of the elites, he won't be the doormat. He has the talent to succeed there. The issue becomes whether they have the drive or get distracted by the various other opportunities available in the university environment.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by spammagnet » Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:12 am

rrppve wrote:The issue becomes whether they have the drive or get distracted by the various other opportunities available in the university environment.

Tactfully put.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by LiveSimple » Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:51 am

timmy wrote:
There's been a couple of mentions about hooks, etc. I like the framing. We'll have to think more about that. I think he'll do OK in that regard. For example, he's been doing Science Olympiad since 6th grade. He now coaches the local Jr High Science Olympiad.

I also understand that at these top schools that its a lottery like process. You need to be good enough to be considered ... After that, it's up to the admissions gods. So apply at several places and have a back up plan!



Since, I was in your shoes, the last 12 - 24 months, let me share these...
My son did Destination Imagination from third grade, state level, and went to national levels, a couple of times during the elementary school.
Then in middle school, engaged in first robotics, Science Olympiad, math counts, etc.
In high school, continued in maths competitions, Science Olympiad, till senior years, I used to drive him / his team for shopping for materials, etc.

He become the Science Olympiad, co president and he / his team, coached middle school. He breathes Science Olympiad.
The team came second in state and went to nationals, and was placed on the top twenty (?)
We are sure, he will spend most part of his college time, in building labs.

But these things, did not get in an admission in MIT / Stanford.

But two of his friends, were able to make it to MIT / Stanford. one is U.S. Math Olympiad top 20 or so, did not make the team, but recognized at the national level. The another is similar in physics / chemistry. One has published research paper, to his credit, out of summer school college mathematics for invited kids ( Top 100 students in Maths).

So yes we talk about lottery, but if the student gets into one school, gets into another as well, disproving the lottery. These friends got into Yale and Cornell as well, did not even consider though.

Best thing if you want MIT / Standford, see if your son can make it to the national level on some event, that will reduce his competition. But hard or it depends. I have seen students get to these schools by publishing research papers.

All were discussed, in here as livesoft mentioned viewtopic.php?f=2&t=171074

livesoft wrote:And of course, bogleheads.org has all your problems solved in spades because lots of readers graduated from Stanford and MIT and sent there kids there. Here is a 6-page thread to read: [url]viewtopic.php?f=2&t=171074[/url]



Yes, we would have been happy if he made it to Stanford or MIT, but we are happy as well for his state flagship engineering college admission.
He will do his best here, not much will be missed, when he uses all the opportunities available.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by Rodc » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:33 am

I'm sure I'll take flak, but I can tell you from experience that when the resumes come around, grads from those institutions will always get the interview opportunity and if the interviewer is from an elite, will get a boost in the hiring process.


You guys must not be so selective. We require top grades as well as a solid school. In fact getting a 3.8 from a good school is going to look better than a 3.2 from MIT as far as getting an interview. So someone who could get into to MIT but not be one of the better students would have been better off going to a slightly easier school and being a top student there.

I used to sit on a committee at a major state university that decided which grad school applicants for our department would get extra funding to entice them to come. A 4.0 from a middling school would get money but a 3.5 from MIT would not. The reasoning was that the kid with a 4.0 might turn out to be a genius (or might not, after all they come from a middling school so hard to know exactly what a 4.0 meant!), while the 3.5 kid from MIT was surely competent, but also clearly had little chance of being a genius.

The point really being that being from MIT (etc.) mostly helped if in addition they were top of the class.

******************************

I think this is really a tough problem. If like Mr Tomato you have enough money that the relative cost one school to another is a non-issue then you have nothing to decide - kids gets in and wants to go to Yale, sure go. If you have very little money then your kids gets into Yale with a free ride you have nothing to decide.

If you make a good solid but not stellar income it gets a great deal harder. If your kid really thinks they want to be faculty at an elite university someday it might help to have every little advantage as some departments are very much good old boy networks where you not only have to get your PhD at the right school but you also have to have the right advisor. And perhaps going to MIT/Stanford/etc might give you an incremental advantage at getting into the right grad school or getting the right advisor. But the number of kids who really fit this are about the same number as have a good solid shot at making the NBA. Same, but to a much lesser degree, if your kid wants to someday be CEO of a Fortune 500 company, where they might (or very well might not) run into an executive who puts huge stake in pedigree. Advantage of Stanford might be real, but is likely small and is likely to apply to a very small number of students.

That said, going to MIT (etc.) is a big deal. It is a real accomplishment that no matter whether it helps or not is something that no one can ever take away. My PhD certainly helped launch my career. Less clear if it meant more career success in total pay or even in final rise in rank. Especially since it is in theoretical math and my career is in research engineering. But I am proud that I got my PhD, no one can take that away. Is that worth cost (in fewer years of income as the degree was paid for)? Who knows.

As a parent if your kid gets into MIT/Harvard etc, a truly world class world renowned school and you are faced with the full cost, and your kid also gets into a good solid school at very low cost you have a potentially very difficult decision. All the more if you have more than one child to think about.

If it is a lower tier school at the same full cost the decision is much easier.
Last edited by Rodc on Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by livesoft » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:36 am

The OP mentioned they were financially independent. To me that means that their portfolio will increase each year by 1 to 5 times the annual cost of the most expensive private elite university in the US. That is, this family will have absolutely no problems paying full sticker price for any college or university that their children choose. Cost is simply not an issue at all.
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by Rodc » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:40 am

livesoft wrote:The OP mentioned they were financially independent. To me that means that their portfolio will increase each year by 1 to 5 times the annual cost of the most expensive private elite university in the US. That is, this family will have absolutely no problems paying full sticker price for any college or university that their children choose. Cost is simply not an issue at all.


From the OP (combining from two posts):

That said, we have a healthy incomes (think moderately successful engineer ... not Wall Street titan).

Yes, our budget right now ...

Cashflow up to $25K/ year

+

$10K/ year from 529

We will consider any choice under that amount. Ex: If no scholarships ... no Stanford (and the like).


Added: If the budget is $35K a year, best bet if the kid were Stanford quality or close, is a school down one or two notches and hope for a good scholarship. Maybe the Honors College at State U as an even lower cost option.
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:44 am

rrppve wrote:If the kid gets into one of the elites, he won't be the doormat. He has the talent to succeed there. The issue becomes whether they have the drive or get distracted by the various other opportunities available in the university environment.


rrppve,

You know that mathematically it does not make sense. Out of 100% students admitted to the Engineering, there will be those that are above average, average, and below average. So, at least 50% of the students admitted will be average or below average.

<<He has the talent to succeed there.>>

Statistically, 50% to 67% of the students admitted will not be getting a good deal. Aka, they are not likely to succeed. Plus, they will be paying DOUBLE for the PRIVILEGE to be the doormat.

Were you at the top 33% or 25% of your graduating class? If yes, it was a great experience for you. But, please note that for the bottom 67% to 75%, it may not be as good.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:51 am

livesoft wrote:The OP mentioned they were financially independent. To me that means that their portfolio will increase each year by 1 to 5 times the annual cost of the most expensive private elite university in the US. That is, this family will have absolutely no problems paying full sticker price for any college or university that their children choose. Cost is simply not an issue at all.


livesoft,

Please note that some of us may have the ABILITY to pay but we CHOOSE not to pay. We simply do not believe that it is worth THE MONEY. Your opinion might be different.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:18 am

welldone wrote:I personally believe that your son would be better off looking at schools 1-2 tiers below MIT/Stanford to be in real contention for the merit monies those "lesser" schools offer to attract applicants like your son.


This is exactly what I was going to say. MIT and Stanford give grand sums of $0 out in merit money to undergrads. Why? Because there are plenty of high-caliber students willing to pay full price. Go one tier down from your son's scores and the schools will be giving him merit-based scholarships to incent him to attend.

A primer book I found useful to understand how colleges work admissions/merit-rewards decisions if you don't want to pay full price is this one:
The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price (2nd Edition)May 3, 2012
by Lynn O'Shaughnessy

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by livesoft » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:30 am

KlangFool wrote:livesoft,

Please note that some of us may have the ABILITY to pay but we CHOOSE not to pay. We simply do not believe that it is worth THE MONEY. Your opinion might be different.

KlangFool

Right. As I wrote, cost is not an issue at all.
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:27 am

Rodc wrote:I think this is really a tough problem. If like Mr Tomato you have enough money that the relative cost one school to another is a non-issue then you have nothing to decide - kids gets in and wants to go to Yale, sure go. If you have very little money then your kids gets into Yale with a free ride you have nothing to decide.

If you make a good solid but not stellar income it gets a great deal harder. If your kid really thinks they want to be faculty at an elite university someday it might help to have every little advantage as some departments are very much good old boy networks where you not only have to get your PhD at the right school but you also have to have the right advisor. And perhaps going to MIT/Stanford/etc might give you an incremental advantage at getting into the right grad school or getting the right advisor. But the number of kids who really fit this are about the same number as have a good solid shot at making the NBA. Same, but to a much lesser degree, if your kid wants to someday be CEO of a Fortune 500 company, where they might (or very well might not) run into an executive who puts huge stake in pedigree. Advantage of Stanford might be real, but is likely small and is likely to apply to a very small number of students.

That said, going to MIT (etc.) is a big deal. It is a real accomplishment that no matter whether it helps or not is something that no one can ever take away. My PhD certainly helped launch my career. Less clear if it meant more career success in total pay or even in final rise in rank. Especially since it is in theoretical math and my career is in research engineering. But I am proud that I got my PhD, no one can take that away. Is that worth cost (in fewer years of income as the degree was paid for)? Who knows.

Aside from preferring to be referred to as Mr Tomahto :D , this is a great synopsis. Some BHs try to peddle the fiction that there is no benefit to attending a top 50 or top 100 school (the engineering curriculum is identical; if you were accepted to H but attend Podunk, you will do as well as your H-attending cohort, etc). That's not to say that a smart kid can't have a successful outcome, even a stellar outcome, at another school, but let's not say that there's no benefit.

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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by itstoomuch » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:56 am

We have an Only. Saved and Invested for the Opportunity for Only to attend any school that he wanted. Only did not apply to instate nor to any public universities. all private. Since the money was in UGMA, it was his choice.

IMO, good reasons of a premier school is the cohort itself and the expectation of a great training regime from top trainers. I am not advocating "education" but training as a way of thinking and learning. I would recommend a listening/viewing of Randy Pausch's Last Lectures. :annoyed

YMMV
Rev90517; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax 25%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo

Bfwolf
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:58 am

OP, you are fortunate to live in a state with an excellent in-state engineering option (UIUC). Tuition is $17K a year. MIT and Stanford are $45K a year. This is a sizable difference, and it doesn't sound like you are likely to get need based aid.

Shouldn't UIUC be on top of the list? If another excellent university offered a scholarship to be competitive, then great. But it seems like if they can't get close to UIUC's price, why consider them at all unless your son absolutely hates UIUC for some reason? From what I can gather on the interwebs, UIUC's undergrad engineering admission rates are north of 50%...with your son's resume, he will be a shoe-in for acceptance there.

sciliz
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by sciliz » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:28 pm

timmy wrote:Facts:
Good other stuff. Plays violin, lots of activities and service.

Likely chemical or mechanical engineering. Maybe minor in music.

Looking at top engineering schools (MIT, Stanford). We'll be doing the tours this year.

We will not let him take loans (we would drop all support if he goes this route). We will not take loans. That said, we have a healthy incomes (think moderately successful engineer ... not Wall Street titan).

First, the specific activities do not make him stand out. Unless he plays violin at Carnegie hall, or his service consists of starting a non-profit that has won Gates foundation grants.
Not trying to be mean, but the Stanford/Harvard game is very much about that level of accomplishment. It's also about the game of having a great reason to stand out- you might be better off being a world-class ukulele player than another excellent violin player. MIT probably cares a bit less about well-roundedness, but exceptional competency in mathematics and programming is probably a minimum.

Also, I think it's a bit of an overreach to categorically state "you can't use debt or we withdraw support". I understand feeling that way, but I personally would spin it a bit differently, given your circumstances...
timmy wrote:Yes, our budget right now ...
Cashflow up to $25K/ year
+
$10K/ year from 529

You are in a very fortunate position where you can likely say "financial support sufficient for a debt-free education from UIUC is available. it is an excellent engineering school. If you can get into a better one for less, we're happy to send you. In general, institutional prestige pays off more in business than engineering (http://www.wsj.com/articles/do-elite-co ... 1454295674), UIUC should not close any doors to you, and we urge you in the strongest terms to avoid debt".
From the tuition cost calculator BlueCable posted, it looks like it'll likely be a bit more than 18k/semester for Engineering Mechanics (thus 36k/year, likely a bit more by the time he'd be actually in school), and so if you're kicking in 25k from cash flow and 10k from the 529, debt free requires only that your son earn ~1k+/year, a very obtainable number even if he wants to do summer research instead of a co-op program. I would highly recommend he look into co-op programs though, they are great for getting him meaningful experience and better than other options as far as getting an income during studies.
You do have to be honest you're constraining his choices somewhat (my memory is UIUC is better in mechanical than chemical engineering, so that may be worth factoring in. I'm a fan of their EE program).

rrppve
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by rrppve » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:29 pm

KlangFool wrote:
rrppve wrote:If the kid gets into one of the elites, he won't be the doormat. He has the talent to succeed there. The issue becomes whether they have the drive or get distracted by the various other opportunities available in the university environment.


rrppve,

You know that mathematically it does not make sense. Out of 100% students admitted to the Engineering, there will be those that are above average, average, and below average. So, at least 50% of the students admitted will be average or below average.

<<He has the talent to succeed there.>>

Statistically, 50% to 67% of the students admitted will not be getting a good deal. Aka, they are not likely to succeed. Plus, they will be paying DOUBLE for the PRIVILEGE to be the doormat.

Were you at the top 33% or 25% of your graduating class? If yes, it was a great experience for you. But, please note that for the bottom 67% to 75%, it may not be as good.

KlangFool

It's commonly accepted that if you're an athlete, you don't get better by competing against inferior opponents. You get get better by playing against tough opponents.
Similar in academics. The overall higher quality of the student body will help cause the student to reach higher and achieve a higher level of success.
I do agree that if you don't think you can compete successfully at an elite, you shouldn't go there. However, the students that get admitted think for the most part that they can or they wouldn't have reached that level of success already.
While this is a financial board, finances are only one element in the college decision and rarely the most important in the case of upper middle class families like the OP.

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ram
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by ram » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:55 pm

viewtopic.php?t=93996
The bogleheads were a great help when we had similar decisions to make.
viewtopic.php?t=43726
Ram

KlangFool
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:59 pm

rrppve wrote:It's commonly accepted that if you're an athlete, you don't get better by competing against inferior opponents. You get get better by playing against tough opponents.
Similar in academics. The overall higher quality of the student body will help cause the student to reach higher and achieve a higher level of success.
I do agree that if you don't think you can compete successfully at an elite, you shouldn't go there. However, the students that get admitted think for the most part that they can or they wouldn't have reached that level of success already.
While this is a financial board, finances are only one element in the college decision and rarely the most important in the case of upper middle class families like the OP.


rrppve,

<<It's commonly accepted that if you're an athlete, you don't get better by competing against inferior opponents.>>

<< I do agree that if you don't think you can compete successfully at an elite, you shouldn't go there. However, the students that get admitted think for the most part that they can or they wouldn't have reached that level of success already. >>

A) Compete as the top 5% in a flagship state university

B) Compete as one of the 100% in the elite university and pay double in the process.

Competition exists everywhere.

WHY should I care about COMPETITION anyhow? My GOAL is to achieve GROWTH for my children. Some place that they could be nurtured and grew as a person. From that standpoint, the elite university FAILED too. It is an ISOLATED CAVE with SMART people with NO REAL RELATIONSHIP with the REAL WORLD. There are more DUMB PEOPLE out there than SMART PEOPLE. The ABILITY to work with DUMB PEOPLE is more important than the ABILITY to work with SMART PEOPLE.

The flagship state university has a larger cross sections of REAL PEOPLE that my children has to deal with. Hence, it is a BETTER ENVIRONMENT for my children.

KlangFool

rrppve
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Re: Picking College and College Scholarships

Post by rrppve » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:02 pm

KlangFool wrote:
rrppve wrote:It's commonly accepted that if you're an athlete, you don't get better by competing against inferior opponents. You get get better by playing against tough opponents.
Similar in academics. The overall higher quality of the student body will help cause the student to reach higher and achieve a higher level of success.
I do agree that if you don't think you can compete successfully at an elite, you shouldn't go there. However, the students that get admitted think for the most part that they can or they wouldn't have reached that level of success already.
While this is a financial board, finances are only one element in the college decision and rarely the most important in the case of upper middle class families like the OP.


rrppve,

<<It's commonly accepted that if you're an athlete, you don't get better by competing against inferior opponents.>>

<< I do agree that if you don't think you can compete successfully at an elite, you shouldn't go there. However, the students that get admitted think for the most part that they can or they wouldn't have reached that level of success already. >>

A) Compete as the top 5% in a flagship state university

B) Compete as one of the 100% in the elite university and pay double in the process.

Competition exists everywhere.

WHY should I care about COMPETITION anyhow? My GOAL is to achieve GROWTH for my children. Some place that they could be nurtured and grew as a person. From that standpoint, the elite university FAILED too. It is an ISOLATED CAVE with SMART people with NO REAL RELATIONSHIP with the REAL WORLD. There are more DUMB PEOPLE out there than SMART PEOPLE. The ABILITY to work with DUMB PEOPLE is more important than the ABILITY to work with SMART PEOPLE.

The flagship state university has a larger cross sections of REAL PEOPLE that my children has to deal with. Hence, it is a BETTER ENVIRONMENT for my children.

KlangFool

In YOUR OPINION

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