Help with college choice

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CppCoder
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by CppCoder »

midlemom wrote: Yes, he plans to visit on admitted student days and possible do an overnight there.
Vandy has reached out to him and a CV scholarship peer to ask any questions.
If Vandy is truly not a good fit, then he can always go to our instate 'public ivy' NCAA champion :)
Wait, UNC is on the table too? That's another great school, albeit pretty limited in engineering disciplines (my expertise), and I don't know anything about their CS program. They do have a pretty good business school, though.

I will say this about Vandy. One of the things it has going for it is that you get to watch some great college football teams play and never have to worry about disruptive athletes in your classes. Sure, your school loses all of those games, but who's counting... :twisted:
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ram
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by ram »

I would recommend going to Vandy. That is what my son did 5 years ago when faced with a similar choice. I presume you have read that thread. I have PMed you also.
My other child also preferred the cheaper state school Vs high cost school for BS. As pointed out by others about 18 yr old changing their mind she started with biomed engg and ended up in med school.
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ks289
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by ks289 »

Congratulations on you son's acceptances.

I echo the other posters that full tuition to Vandy is a great deal for a very competitive university with a wide range of opportunities. That's what I would probably choose having visited most of those schools (20 or so years ago).

My wife had a similar decision to make, and her parents encouraged her to turn down full tuition to Duke in favor of attending Harvard at full price. They did also "encourage" her to graduate in 3 years. Costs have gone up since then, and their finances were not exactly the same as OP's, but I think that turned out fine for all of them ultimately.

Good luck.
Zott
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by Zott »

midlemom wrote:Hello Bogleheads,

I am avid reader of this forum and value the advice given by the forum members.
I wanted to get your opinion on college choices for our kid ( 1st one of 2)
We are classic middle class 2 income family, but not much assets and classified as full pay at colleges.

He attended a competitive STEM high school, and did very well with the opportunities provided, CS research, participated in national level competitions etc, straight A student taking college level math and science classes.
He got admitted to UPenn, Cornell, Vanderbilt, UCBerkley EECS program, Georgia Tech etc.
He is deciding between UPenn (full pay), Cornell (5k Pres. research grant) and Vanderbilt (full tuition scholarship).
Major is Computer science but he may add a major/minor in Economics or business.
We have told him Berkeley is pretty much off the table due to OOS costs of 60K+ and overcrowding.

Is it foolish to give up full tuition offer at Vandy for UPenn full-pay( we have about 1 yr saved in 529 and another yr in savings and would have to cash flow the rest or take loans in case of job loss)
He loved UPenn but yet to visit Vandy.
Not sure if it is too southern for my Asian kid.



For what it's worth, I know a Chinese-American fellow who graduated from Vanderbilt a few years ago. He grew up in the US but visits China a lot and speaks fluent Mandarin. He has a high opinion of Vanderbilt.
Incendiary
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by Incendiary »

Is Nashville that much more "Southern" than North Cackalacky?
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triceratop
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by triceratop »

ram wrote:I would recommend going to Vandy. That is what my son did 5 years ago when faced with a similar choice. I presume you have read that thread. I have PMed you also.
My other child also preferred the cheaper state school Vs high cost school for BS. As pointed out by others about 18 yr old changing their mind she started with biomed engg and ended up in med school.
Most of the biomed engrs I knew in undergrad went to med school. It was basically for ppl who wanted a more challenging course of study but still close to medicine and physiology.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."
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midlemom
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by midlemom »

triceratop wrote:
ram wrote:I would recommend going to Vandy. That is what my son did 5 years ago when faced with a similar choice. I presume you have read that thread. I have PMed you also.
My other child also preferred the cheaper state school Vs high cost school for BS. As pointed out by others about 18 yr old changing their mind she started with biomed engg and ended up in med school.
Most of the biomed engrs I knew in undergrad went to med school. It was basically for ppl who wanted a more challenging course of study but still close to medicine and physiology.
Yes, this is what I heard too, Vandy is great for someone interested in medical field.
Woodlake
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by Woodlake »

sometimes people tend to look down their best choice (in OP's case Vandy), and that's just human nature, you always want what you don't have

Vandy is a great school that would offer you broad experience in college and actually let your son enjoy his four years there
UCB is too competitive, just imagine the 40% chinese california students enrolled in UCB every year
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midlemom
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by midlemom »

Woodlake wrote:sometimes people tend to look down their best choice (in OP's case Vandy), and that's just human nature, you always want what you don't have

Vandy is a great school that would offer you broad experience in college and actually let your son enjoy his four years there
UCB is too competitive, just imagine the 40% chinese california students enrolled in UCB every year

I think you are right.
My son has not yet realized what a great option this is.
Hopefully, his college visit will have a positive outcome.
He got in touch with another student and plans to shadow him that day for classes in the same major.

Thanks for all your input. It is very helpful.
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LiveSimple
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by LiveSimple »

Just from my perspective :
  • If your son will be in STEM, mostly technology, then you should reconsider Berkley.
    If your son will be in STEM / Leadership then you should reconsider U Penn.
    If you are counting your $$$, please go with what gives full ride.

Also, see if you child can manage the loan partially, instead of the parent paying in full and that criteria comes in the decision making.

However the connections that the student will make, in school is going to be lifelong.
As I remember livesoft (others ?) stated earlier, decide the college from where you want your daughter-in-law to be from :D Since this may happen most probably as well.

I know my friend's family is putting their son in Stanford, stretching the $$$.
The friend used to tell me, "let him decide where he wants to go. If the discussion of money comes, he will not look any further than the state flagship college."

Consider the $$$ as investment, they will earn it back many times.

Also the college aid is more towards "What is your ability to pay; and not what is your willingness to pay"
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midlemom
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by midlemom »

LiveSimple wrote:Just from my perspective :
  • If your son will be in STEM, mostly technology, then you should reconsider Berkley.
    If your son will be in STEM / Leadership then you should reconsider U Penn.
    If you are counting your $$$, please go with what gives full ride.

Also, see if you child can manage the loan partially, instead of the parent paying in full and that criteria comes in the decision making.

However the connections that the student will make, in school is going to be lifelong.
As I remember livesoft (others ?) stated earlier, decide the college from where you want your daughter-in-law to be from :D Since this may happen most probably as well.

I know my friend's family is putting their son in Stanford, stretching the $$$.
The friend used to tell me, "let him decide where he wants to go. If the discussion of money comes, he will not look any further than the state flagship college."

Consider the $$$ as investment, they will earn it back many times.

Also the college aid is more towards "What is your ability to pay; and not what is your willingness to pay"
Yes, we had the money talk, but I doubt that a 17yr old can truly understand the long term impact of loans.
If we continue on our career trajectory, we can manage to pay with belt-tightening, and small loans when both kids are in school.
Education is high priority for us, but I want to make sure there is a ROI with the selected school.
If he had gotten into Stanford, there would be no discussion.
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LiveSimple
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by LiveSimple »

midlemom wrote:If he had gotten into Stanford, there would be no discussion.

midlemom, sure you know your / your family / your son's status on "What is optimal" than in the anonymous Internet forum.

Still let me present some pointers for you to think about. As mentioned by me earlier my son is a freshman, and hence these thinking was discussed in our family. Also discuss at work / other places with parents, who son / daughter is high school or went to college in the last few years.

1. Agree that to take the "Full Ride \ better financial aid" school path, when the student has the optimal plan in mind.
Student who do want to do medicine, clearly fall in this category. As I type I remember a few daughters went this route, including our daughter.

2. Agree not to spend on "full price, for some out of state school", when the student did not even able to get to state flagship college / regional college. This is for reference, and do not apply to your son's case at all.

3. I know a family who send their son to MIT, and the student came out with a PhD, in less than 8 years or so. His mom used to say, that the son managed to lower the tuition better than the state flagship school, by becoming a teaching assistant, etc. But the family is a family of intellectuals, so it was not a surprise for me. All in the family are in / were in McKinsey Consulting, Federal Research Institution, Senior leaders in technology, retail, and senior techie as a Quant. The MIT finally became the senior techie, the VP level, developing mathematical models for financial markets.

4. The same MIT mom above said. Berkley is for nerds"; So I made my mind that your son is a nerd, since he got admission in Berkley. Wait another 8+ years, you have "Mover / Shaker" in his field.

4. Know many that completed PhD at top universities, that they attended for B.S.

5. When you really think, you are less than a 1% parent, whose son / daughter got admission to U Penn / Berkley. This was awarded to you by your son. For sure, for normal familes, money cannot buy this admission ( Ignoring the larger philanthropic donor families , or so...)

6. From my perspective, one can become a leader from a researcher / scientist / technical / Professional.
The other way is not possible, you cannot make someone a scientist / technical later in age / career. Again let us leave the any outliers.

7. For my son, he started to say, "the course is easy, what should I do ?. Can I do double major"
You son after getting Berkley, if he goes to GA Tech, do not know, if he will enjoy. Nothing may be challenging for him.
The reason GA Tech gives a full ride, is they know, even if they give full ride, some will not join, they want that top 1% in their school and lead the baton, for their school.


8. Again on money, for a moment if you leave the money off the discussion, where you think you son will do better.

9. Again copying from here, "If you want your son to be a "Mover / Shaker" in his field, send him to the school that will challenge his intellectual capability" Never bring money into this equation. Allow him to go forward, he may find a way to fund his education or earn multiple times the tution.

10. If you want your son to be a mediocre, scientist, researcher, engineer, professional, then send him to the most economical school.


Again, you have a different / difficult problem to solve. You have a mover / shaker son, so what is your action now ?
Woodlake
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by Woodlake »

my argument on Berkeley.....why paying 60k for a school that only cost 8k-9k a year for in-state student?

vandy gets the best student across the country
UCB gets 80% of its student from California, and 20% from out-of-state/international

at vandy, you are getting free education along with kids whos parents are paying 60k a year
at UCB, you are paying 60k a year to study with kids who pay $0 if their family income is less than 80k in California

go to UCB if you want to help fund the California publish school system
headedwest
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by headedwest »

I'm a professor in a non-STEM field. I would suggest that you negotiate with your college of choice (other posters have great suggestions about how to determine that). Use your best offer from another school to see if you can get a better deal at your first choice.
random_walker_77
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by random_walker_77 »

Some things to closely evaluate:

Overcrowding and the ability to get into needed classes?
* In some schools, it's really hard to graduate in 4 years because some required classes are too full and filled by lottery, w/ preference to upperclassmen

Strength across programs in case of change of major?
* Most incoming freshman don't major in what they think they'll study coming in

Ease/risk associated with getting into your desired major?
* At some schools, you need nearly a 4.0 to get into the CS program. And some schools restrict (some) classes to students admitted to that department.

How well does the school fit the student? Are class sizes huge or small and personalized?

How accessible are the professors?

How accessible are research opportunities?

What companies recruit at the campus?
* For CS students going into industry, it's really important to get solid internships, especially after the junior year. Campus recruiting can be really helpful. It's also helpful to be at a school located near where the jobs are. Companies don't spend as much of their travel budget on hiring to fill internships, so on-campus recruiting is critical, especially if you're located far from the jobs. Students don't typically fly out for internship interviews... yet in CS, it's beneficial to spend at least a summer working in silicon valley.

Without knowing a lot about Vanderbilt, on the whole, I think taking the free ride makes a lot of sense. But it's important to evaluate the above points to make sure that Vanderbilt is a good fit.

On a different note, I would point out that connections from the very top schools can indeed open doors. A long time ago, my friend was the first intern and then first new college grad (NCG) hired by a tiny company. A year later, I was one of a few NCGs hired by the same company, partially on the basis of his recommendation. The company proceeded to rapidly grow into a much larger company, making this quite lucrative. Had I gone to my state's flagship school instead, I think it would have taken longer to work my way up to a top tier company, doing the type of work I prefer, and I would have missed the top boom years. Of course, YMMV
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Woodlake wrote:my argument on Berkeley.....why paying 60k for a school that only cost 8k-9k a year for in-state student?

vandy gets the best student across the country
UCB gets 80% of its student from California, and 20% from out-of-state/international

at vandy, you are getting free education along with kids whos parents are paying 60k a year
at UCB, you are paying 60k a year to study with kids who pay $0 if their family income is less than 80k in California

go to UCB if you want to help fund the California publish school system
I think you're applying the wrong yardstick to this. If I paid for my flight, but someone sittIng in my aisle is a spouse of an airline employee and got a free flight, am I wrong to get on the plane?

Are the full pay kids at Vandy idiots?

I agree with Vandy, but not for the comparative cost metric.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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midlemom
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by midlemom »

I interpreted this as, bigger State schools have a wider variety of students from all socioeconomic and academic levels, whereas private schools like Duke, Emory and Vanderbilt have more smart kids ?
I think Berkeley EECS program is very well known and that cohort is quite small and attend more or less the same classes, but some classes for CS happen to be huge > 1000 kids.
I completely agree about proximity to SV and other benefits, but do those benefits outweigh the OOS costs, overcrowding and not guaranteed housing ?
KALS
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by KALS »

Many students end up in different majors than they anticipate as high school seniors. Sometimes its worth looking at the overall reputation of a school in addition to specific programs. It's different when considering graduate school.

agree
CppCoder
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by CppCoder »

midlemom wrote:I interpreted this as, bigger State schools have a wider variety of students from all socioeconomic and academic levels, whereas private schools like Duke, Emory and Vanderbilt have more smart rich kids ?
Fixed that for you...just an opinion.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by TomatoTomahto »

midlemom wrote:I completely agree about proximity to SV and other benefits, but do those benefits outweigh the OOS costs, overcrowding and not guaranteed housing ?
In our experience, on campus initial meetings (the interest round), followed by the HR round on the phone, and then perhaps a telephone or more likely a software-based tech round (i.e., you write code that the interviewer sees real time) can be done with the student on campus. If the interest still exists on both sides, a flight and hotel is arranged.

Penn gets more interviews in NYC, most likely, than Vandy does. I don't think it's a deal breaker. Companies that are giving out limited numbers of internships put a lot more weight on the candidate's smarts, work ethic, interest, etc. than their school's geographical location. The companies that hand out internships like candy don't, but you don't want your son spending time there anyway.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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LiveSimple
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by LiveSimple »

midlemom wrote: I completely agree about proximity to SV and other benefits, but do those benefits outweigh the OOS costs, overcrowding and not guaranteed housing ?
Same when a fresh graduate out of school gets a job in SV; maybe even for a few years, until earns better or able to afford better.
Better the student be equipped with the knowledge of the local area, where he may end up working !!!
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LiveSimple
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by LiveSimple »

midlemom, not sure which state your are from, mostly NE ?
Woodlake
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by Woodlake »

even if your son is determined to have a career in tech and land a job in SV....it still doesn't justify the 60k a year at Berkeley

I think UCB is ranked 21 and vandy is ranked 20 on usnews, so academic and reputation these two schools are pretty much equal

I admit it's very true Berkeley has big advantage in its CS program and is regarded as probably just below Stanford/MIT/Caltech in silicon valley, but 4 years is a long time and no one can be so true of something 4 years from now
Bfwolf
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by Bfwolf »

Count me among the "Vandy is a no brainer" crowd.

17/18 year olds are, for the most part, too immature to make a decision like this on their own. They don't appreciate money like a "real" adult does. When I finished high school in California, I was deciding between Michigan (in the honors program) and Cal. I really wasn't even considering Cal but my Mom made me visit, and I liked it a lot more than I thought. My parents were paying for the cost of Cal--any add'l would've been on me. Even so, I was THIS close to going to Michigan before, at the last minute, I said to myself: "Why do I want to pay twice as much to go to this cold weather school that's not any better??" To this day, I appreciate that my Mom made me visit Cal but am peeved that she was leaving the ultimate decision to me. She should've just told me I was going to Cal and I may have been mad and huffed and puffed but eventually I would've thanked her.

I think you can take your son to Vandy and give him the proper encouragement and "let" him make the decision, but in the end if the decision isn't Vandy or somewhere reasonably similar in cost, you have to be the parent and say no.

The ROI on an extra $150K or $200K in tuition at the more expensive schools is going to be terrible.
erock139
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by erock139 »

CppCoder wrote:Why have you or your kid summarily rejected Georgia Tech from your list? You do realize that it's the second best school on your list for STEM subjects (behind Berkeley).

I was accepted to Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech for undergrad and chose Georgia Tech (engineering, not CS). For my PhD, I only applied to MIT, Caltech, Berkeley, and CMU, was accepted to all four, and went to MIT. I also visited all four, and you could not have paid me enough to attend Berkeley. Unlike your son, I really disliked the vibe there.

Of the three finalists, I would only even consider Penn if your son really wanted to go into finance. Otherwise, it's not worth the cost. If he'll definitely go to graduate school, go with Vandy. All are good enough to get into the next level. Honestly, though, of all the schools you listed, it would come down to Berkeley or Georgia Tech if it were me, even given my dislike of Berkeley after visiting there.
I'm with CppCoder on this one - not sure why GaTech is being passed up. Wouldn't hurt to reach out and see if they can offer any financial help. Great CS program too. (I went there for undergrad Electrical & Computer Engineering.) Plus Atlanta is nice and a major hub for many large companies. Home Depot, Coke, AT&T, etc. GaTech has a great co-op program that feeds into the industry there, he won't have a problem finding a nice job after he finishes. He can even stay and do his graduate there. I don't think I met a grad student who was paying - the school pays for your graduate degree. Just not sure what it costs to attend there these days.
daveydoo
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Re: Help with college choice

Post by daveydoo »

triceratop wrote:^ But especially Harvard. Eventually they switch to "when I was in cambridge" and it isn't any better. :)
+1000. Or "Back in New Haven..."
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"
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