Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

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GCD
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by GCD » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:22 pm

A lot of good, well written thoughts have been already posted. Rather than duplicate it, I will throw out a couple different observations, not meant to really contradict anyone.

I felt that the friendships made in a small residential liberal arts college were part of the benefit of the school. Although it would have been cheaper to do the community college plus transfer route, it would have inhibited the development of some of those relationships. That's a really amorphous benefit and hard to quantify.

The teaching at large universities, particularly R1s is abysmal. I was a philosophy major as an undergrad. I got a TA to study criminology in grad school at a large state university. The professor lectured to a class of 100 students who had no interaction with him. He could have just as well been on videotape. Then I taught 4x 25 student discussion sections each week where we had group discussion of the material and I answered student questions. To be blunt, those students didn't get a very good education from me. I did the best I could, but what did I know about criminology? I was literally a chapter ahead of the students. I couldn't discuss anything nuanced or detailed. The major university system may be good for churning out research (I would argue the jury is out on that), but the teaching aspect is quite broken.

cheapskate
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by cheapskate » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:30 pm

Thanks for all the thoughtful and useful comments and advice on this thread. After reading many of these comments, I am more encouraged about LACs. As many posters have mentioned, I think my daughter would be quite miserable if I were to force her into a STEM program - she clearly enjoys her English, History and Law classes a lot more than Calculus. She says Socratic Seminars/Class Discussions/Papers are the most enjoyable parts of school for her, hence her focus on LACs.

I will encourage her to apply to the LACs she has shown interest in, as well as our in-state flagships campuses and allow her make the choice.

deikel
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by deikel » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:41 pm

I would recommend reading this:

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING
The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education
By George Anders
342 pp. Little, Brown & Company. $27.

Its one of the ' In Defense of LAC education' books, but it does so in an interesting way and clearly makes the point that LAC is just a very different start in the following career, it is very US typical and it all depends on the student - much more so than STEM degrees which are formalized, school-like and also carry mediocre students to success.

Ultimately, you (and your daughter) are better off with her doing something she loves and applies herself to 100%, than anything you push to, be more practical (aka pays the bills quicker) or she does not like.

Life is pretty short for doing something you don't like..
Everything you read in this post is my personal opinion. If you disagree with this disclaimer, please un-read the text immediately and destroy any copy or remembrance of it.

golfCaddy
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by golfCaddy » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:57 pm

College Confidential might provide better information on the pros/cons of specific schools. From a purely ROI standpoint, it's difficult to envision a political science degree at a 2nd tier LAC would be optimal for someone who is full pay.

CascadiaSoonish
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by CascadiaSoonish » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:29 pm

I'm not a huge fan at all of thinking of college education solely in terms of return on investment. But I'll admit that future income is certainly worth considering when picking a school. Fortunately there are some resources out there -- the US Department of Education has put out an interesting data explorer which looks at cost of attendance and long-term earning potential. Recent expansions support the ability to look at specific degree programs, which is useful in this case.

Here's a listing of costs, graduation rates, and post-attendance salaries for California humanities programs:
https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/search/ ... ntage:desc

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Pajamas
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by Pajamas » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:33 pm

cheapskate wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:30 pm
Thanks for all the thoughtful and useful comments and advice on this thread. After reading many of these comments, I am more encouraged about She says Socratic Seminars/Class Discussions/Papers are the most enjoyable parts of school for her, hence her focus on LACs.

I will encourage her to apply to the LACs she has shown interest in, as well as our in-state flagships campuses and allow her make the choice.
She may already be aware of this type of curriculum offered by some schools, but if not, she might be interested:

https://www.bestcollegereviews.org/feat ... -programs/

maddogio
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by maddogio » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:25 pm

I think some of the comparisons between LACs and STEM programs are a bit misguided. Every LAC will offer degrees in Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Mathematics. Some will even have engineering schools.

LACs come in a myriad of different flavors.

JBTX
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by JBTX » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:31 pm

For what it is worth:

https://moneyish.com/ish/this-is-the-mo ... n-america/

Not very favorable on liberal arts degrees.

For the opposing point of view

https://www.amazon.com/Defense-Liberal- ... 1442389761

I suspect a high percentage of kids going to highly ranked liberal arts degrees go to some sort of grad school. Law school. Mba. Med school. Etc. Many of my MBA classmates had liberal arts degrees. The value is probably not so much the education but the experience and the filtering, prestige and connnections.

I’d be suspect of getting liberal arts degrees in intermediate ranked state schools. Not because the education is worse but because you don’t have the non educational benefits of the prestigious LAC.

HornedToad
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by HornedToad » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:38 pm

I think this is much more of a college major question (Liberal Arts vs. STEM) instead of a liberal arts vs non-liberal arts college. I went to a Liberal Arts college and anyone from that college with a degree in hard sciences (Comp Sci, Physics, Engineering, etc) did very well. Generally people with Business, Accounting, etc also did well and I would say no different than same degree from other colleges. We had less of a focus on specific disciplines/programming languages/etc and a broader class curriculum but that's a tradeoff that for me was more than acceptable. Several people also went to Masters, Law School, Ph.D. programs etc afterwards or also went directly into the workforce.

The people who didn't do as well are those with unmarketable degrees and didn't get their foot into a specific career path out of college and so haven't found a direct career focus: Religious Studies, Women's Studies, Sociology, etc. Interestingly, the people I know with Philosophy majors also did well whereas Biology was a field that required a graduate degree to really continue forward.

Focus more on style of learning and opportunity to explore and help direct to a major that has what she likes that still can earn a living. I know people who changed majors 3-4 times and came out of it knowing what they enjoyed and able to find a very successful career in it.

ThatGuy
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by ThatGuy » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:46 pm

Can someone enumerate the differences in critical thinking in a liberal arts degree versus a STEM degree?

I stipulate that LA degrees are valuable, in no small part because of the communication skills one learns by writing lots and lots of papers. But I see over and over again that they teach critical thinking with the implication that other courses of study do not.
Critical Thinking wrote:Traditionally, critical thinking has been variously defined as:
  • the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion
  • disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence
  • reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do
  • purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based
  • includes a commitment to using reason in the formulation of our beliefs
  • the skill and propensity to engage in an activity with reflective scepticism
  • disciplined, self-directed thinking which exemplifies the perfection of thinking appropriate to a particular mode or domain of thinking
  • thinking about one's thinking in a manner designed to organize and clarify, raise the efficiency of, and recognize errors and biases in one's own thinking. Critical thinking is not 'hard' thinking nor is it directed at solving problems (other than 'improving' one's own thinking). Critical thinking is inward-directed with the intent of maximizing the rationality of the thinker. One does not use critical thinking to solve problems—one uses critical thinking to improve one's process of thinking.
  • an appraisal based on careful analytical evaluation
  • the ability to think clearly about what to do or what to believe.
Is this not taught in the synthesis of hypotheses and scientific thought?
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Pajamas
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by Pajamas » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:19 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:46 pm
Can someone enumerate the differences in critical thinking in a liberal arts degree versus a STEM degree?
It's interesting to me that you asked for someone to "enumerate" the differences.

Perhaps the primary or greatest difference in critical thinking is in breadth and range in liberal arts vs. a well-defined, practical or even vocational focus with a STEM degree.

This might interest you:

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/ ... clnk&gl=us

gips
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by gips » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:56 pm

my S just graduated from u mich (we're out of state) with a liberal arts degree (pub policy). IMO, he received a fabulous education. His ability to analyze, write and communicate is light years beyond what I took away with my computer science degree. It took him 6 months to find a job, he's working on the editorial staff at a pharma company and doing very well. He had a high gpa and, should he decide on law school or mba, will be competitive for a top 10 school.

my middle child is a junior at oberlin, pursuing a history degree. He's also learned to reason and write well. He still has no idea what he wants to do with his life but like his brother seems well equipped for any challenge.

my youngest is a stem student at cornell and knows exactly what she wants to do. But I'm worried that she'll graduate with a ton of technical knowledge and change her career path. Her writing skills are poor compared to the boys and her stem knowledge may end up being worthless should she decide on another career path.

I think there's a common misconception that because kids are studying liberal arts subjects, they have a lighter, warm and fuzzy workload. I can tell you that my two boys seemed to have a lot more work than my D taking stem classes.

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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by Shikoku » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:12 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:53 pm
The parent shouldn't pay for their children's college education until their retirement/FI is fully funded.
Sorry, KlangFool, this statement is completely opposite to what my parents did and what I am doing and planning to do.
"I don't worry too much about pointing fingers at the past. I operate on the theory that every saint has a past, every sinner has a future." -- Warren Buffett

TrustButVerifying
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by TrustButVerifying » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:32 pm

cheapskate wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:30 pm
Thanks for all the thoughtful and useful comments and advice on this thread. After reading many of these comments, I am more encouraged about LACs. As many posters have mentioned, I think my daughter would be quite miserable if I were to force her into a STEM program - she clearly enjoys her English, History and Law classes a lot more than Calculus. She says Socratic Seminars/Class Discussions/Papers are the most enjoyable parts of school for her, hence her focus on LACs.

I will encourage her to apply to the LACs she has shown interest in, as well as our in-state flagships campuses and allow her make the choice.
+1

It looks like you know your daughter well and trust her to make a good decision.

For what it's worth, my son went to one of the top tier LACs that you mentioned and graduated with a degree in Literary Arts. In all honesty, at the time, I wasn't very pleased with this. After graduating, he bounced around for a few years but eventually, he got a job in Analytics. This turned out to be the perfect fit and would probably a good fit for many graduates from a Liberal Arts College. He is now a senior director at a large company and I strongly feel that he is where he is because of the skill set (critical thinking, oral communication, etc) learned in college.

cantos
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by cantos » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:55 pm

What an interesting thread. Love that philosophy majors seem to have been very successful. Makes me think of my own history. I went into university, big school, great engineering department, because it was basically what the men in my family do. I hated it, did poorly, and quit the first year. Switched universities into essentially a LAC, into a philosophy degree, for the sole reason that it was the only one that would take me. To my amazement I did extremely well, better than math and physics (which I had always done well in). Got into law school and chose not to go. Pursued grad school philosophy MA, PHD. Then, older, wiser, and jaded about the PHD, went back to law school. Graduated and drew an income which I am sure was in the top 1% in my class for the first 5 years (yes, Boglers, I saved). Still working, in-house counsel now, content with job, solid net worth, family, retirement date, etc.

I won't say LAC is the way to go and the key to success - for my own children, if they chose to be doctors/MBA/engineers I would feel some measure of financial peace of mind for them. At the same time, with a STEM degree I would worry about how well-rounded they were. I happen to think liberal arts-educated people are more well-rounded.

So TLDR: LAC worked out amazing for me, in my unique life circumstances (I attribute much of my success and mindset to things that happened in life outside of schooling, but I can't deny, either, that the schooling helped me develop a strong mind).

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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by jminv » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:57 pm

I went to a top 15 university to study economics as that was my interest at the time. (I was also interested in law or medicine and had considered doing one after bachelors) I then rejected the economics degree as relatively theoretical (after two years but about 3/4 finished with it) and transferred to a small, specialized engineering university where I was much happier. I still finished the economics degree in my spare time at a state university an hour away. I paid for all of my educational expenses and my parents gave me $500/month for living expenses. I received much more in the way of scholarships at the engineering school than I did when I was at the expensive school for economics. It worked out well and helped me focus.

School doesn’t really prepare students to choose ‘what they want to be when they grow up’ or at least give them some sort of idea. In fact, my high school prepared me to further pursue liberal arts since that’s what most of my high school time actually was. That’s probably why she wants to do liberal arts in the first place. It was a major problem for me and this was back in early 2000s. I was interested in business but saw myself more on academic end while considering medicine. I then went to a very tangible career before shifting back more toward business and I ended up doing an mba at an elite university. I’ve been very successful but I’ve also taken a high degree of career risk.

I’d let the kid do what they want to do but they should have some idea at the time of what they want to do. I’d also put some skin into the game. Have them take out some loans and make it clear you won’t pay them back. Even marginal amount should help some. One thing you can do is take what you’re going to pay and project it at 6.5% to kid’s retirement 50 years in the future and make them aware exactly how much that’s worth. At 160k now it will be worth about 3.7 mil then. That’s what they need to overcome with lifetime *savings* from their college degree. You could also let her take some of the savings into a retirement account if she firmed up her plans, picked a state school, and decided what she wants to do.
Last edited by jminv on Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:11 am, edited 4 times in total.

Big Dog
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by Big Dog » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:19 am

Most LACs don't give out merit aid...
That's not correct. Only about the top 10-ranked LAC's are need-only. Smith College #12, for example, provides merit aid.

stlutz
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by stlutz » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:39 am

What is the obsession with "top X" of this or that? You get out of college what you put into it. Graduate from a standard liberal arts school with good grades ( and a good attitude) and you'll do just fine career wise.

Now, if your aspiration is to be a Supreme Court judge or something like that, well then you'll want to go to the most prestigious school.

One other note:. Some companies don't hire people with liberal arts degrees; others do. As I have such a degree, I personally am more interested in the liberal arts applicants when I hire than I am those with a finance degree, even though I work in finance.

Lastly, on the critical thinking question, I think it's a matter of imagination than just bring able to think. Think of all the BH posts where people talk about back testing. One group focuses on the numbers; another group focuses on how the future can be unlike that past. I'll bet that later group is more likely to have a history degree.

jakerm17
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by jakerm17 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:42 am

Pitzer grad '07 here (sister school to Pomona). My parents had paid for my undergrad (having struggled themselves, they didn't want me to have to consider finance as an educational factor). Academically, this was terrible for me. I I graduated a-ok but my major was a flop and I came out of school without a ton of focus. It took me a couple years of working odd jobs, going back to school at a community college and then paying grad school on my own for me to get on track.

I will say that I think an LAC offers a really great community where your daughter will likely form strong bonds, networks, and friendships. A lot of the student body as these schools come from very affluent backgrounds and a boat load of privilege. Study abroad and other life experience also rates very strongly. And if your daughter seems like she knows what she wants then I think there are a lot of resources that can be taken advantage of that you won't have a larger state school. On the other extreme, if she's gonna hang out, get a pysch degree, then go become a social worker . . . well maybe there are better ways to justify that 200k + price tag.

daveydoo
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by daveydoo » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:47 am

Nice to see some solid support on this forum for liberal arts education. That's not my background, but it has enriched my background.

Similar threads over the past year all came down on the side of engineering, computer science, or accounting -- with anything else being a waste of time and of Mom and Dad's hard-earned money. I understand that viewpoint.

I do think there is an emerging backlash against the notion that college is just vocational training.

With two kids in college who have forged their own paths and who have diverse interests and good judgment (and who are meeting wonderful people along the way), I'm not too worried.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

b.lock
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by b.lock » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:25 am

I think that you and your daughter should look up the employment rate for each major, as well as the income per major. I wish someone told me to do that when I first started. I can't believe my parents trusted 18 year old me enough to pay for my college when I didn't know what I was doing for the first year. I had friends whose parents paid for their college only if they did community college for the first 2 years. That way they could finish their Gen Eds inexpensively, and figure out what they wanted to major in.

Look around for reports like this: https://247wallst.com/special-report/20 ... mployment/

Edit for clarity: my parents paid for my college, not I.
Last edited by b.lock on Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

otinkyad
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by otinkyad » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:38 am

For context, I graduated from a small LAC with a BA in math and computer science, just short of a minor in physics. I’ve had to explain a few times that a BS was not offered. I transferred from a major state university after 2 years. The college was missing the social energy and top-level research of the university, but the teaching quality was amazing, as others have mentioned. (On the downside, there are still horrible profs and it’s worse when there are only ten students in the class.)

My two main thoughts are that I’m leery of a 17 year old who knows what they want to be, and I’m leery of both a vocational education without a grounding in a broad spectrum of topics, and a liberal arts education with no deep, career-oriented focus. The breadth of material at any university compared to any high school is astounding. It makes no sense to me to have a firm plan when you’ve seen a tenth of the possibilities. Likewise, undergrad should be a preparation for life. A graduate should have a plan that they’ve prepared for at that point, even though the path will likely take some turns later.

I would also encourage taking a year of calculus (or maybe statistics) early, because it opens more doors in STEM or business if you do decide to go that route.

jalbert
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by jalbert » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:57 am

If someone can get into one of the U of California campuses, they can get into a very good quality LAC— maybe not Amherst or Wesleyan, but one that will not reduce subsequent opportunities.

That said, if a student’s interest is to take a wide variety of courses to explore possible majors, a large state university will offer a more comprehensive set of opportunities than a LAC. Many LAC’s have narrower, more restrictive curriculums. Some have a fairly standardized curriculum for the first two years, but generally they have smaller faculties and thus a narrower selection of courses.

The benefit of a LAC is more individualized attention from faculty. Some students thrive in that environment, others prefer a more aloof environment where they feel more in control of the process as with a large state university.
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msk
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by msk » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:09 am

Always told my kids that they can study anything for their undergrad degree, but they have to get GPAs good enough to do a grad degree that leads to a "career". First kid did English Drama for her BA... Then an MBA in HR. Turned out fine. Second kid did BCom then wanted to do an MBA that was too political for my taste (Human Rights in Developing Countries). To me, the only place that would be a move up in employability would be at the UN, but she wanted to work in a particular developing country. I refused to pay. So she finally got some sense and became a CPA. Absolutely fabulous move income-wise. She retired at age 31... Let your kid find her own way. Some cajoling may be required, but her ambitions will be very different from your wisdom. I have my two youngest kids at the crossroads of about to enter grad school. So far the vibes are still sensible.

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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:56 am

gips wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:56 pm
I think there's a common misconception that because kids are studying liberal arts subjects, they have a lighter, warm and fuzzy workload. I can tell you that my two boys seemed to have a lot more work than my D taking stem classes.
My son and his GF will be graduating soon, from the same school. He will have a combined Masters/Bachelors in CompSci, she will have a combined Masters/Bachelors in Poli/Sci*. They are both hard-working and intelligent. She had many more and longer papers to write, and he had many more psets to do. Semester to semester, one or the other had a tougher workload, but my impression is that, over the four years, they both worked equally hard (and, fwiw, twice as hard as I EVER did). They both have jobs waiting for them after graduation and a summer of travel.

I think it’s fair to say, however much I don’t like to think of college as career prep, that both families regard the ROI as wonderful.

* parenthetical note: My son, his GF, and most of his friends are graduating after four years with an MS/BS or MA/BA. I asked him whether the majority at the school did this. He said no, depending on the major, it was from 1% to 4% that got the combined degrees, but that it was noticeable that kids getting the combined degrees tended to gravitate to the same friend groups. These kids are also going on to great jobs and great PhD programs, and the network will benefit them throughout their lives. More ROI :D
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by KlangFool » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:27 am

Shikoku wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:12 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:53 pm
The parent shouldn't pay for their children's college education until their retirement/FI is fully funded.
Sorry, KlangFool, this statement is completely opposite to what my parents did and what I am doing and planning to do.
Shikoku,

1) Will the children fund their parent's retirement?

2) The kids could borrow for their college education. The parents could not borrow for their retirement.

KlangFool
Last edited by KlangFool on Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sockpuppet
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by Sockpuppet » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:53 am

Few thoughts:

1. Deciding what to do after high school is one of the first adult decisions you make. Of the people I know, parents who have forced their kids into a specific college or major...it ended very badly.

2.Unless, your going to pay for her to travel the world non-stop for a year don’t encourage her to do a gap year. Life comes at you fast and I know so many people whose year off from college has turned into decades.

3. Something like 75% of students change majors in college. So it’s kind of pointless to worry about now. You might want to point this fact out and encourage her to attend a school with a lot of majors offered to maximize flexibility.

4. I know people with highly specialized work related degrees who have struggled (post dot-com crash wasn’t a great time for computer science degree holders) and people with liberal arts majors who are CEOs.

5. I would not encourage her to go to community college. I think getting a young person surrounded by as many smart people as possible is good at pushing them forward. Community Colleges offer a great service but often the people there have more important priorities and you don’t want that rubbing off on your daughter.

6. Also the average community college student loses nearly half their credits when they transfer. A shockingly 1 in 10 lose all their credits. I know a number of highly motivated individuals and people who needed a second chance who have flourished in community colleges. But my experience is that they offer poor results for kids straight out of high school who don’t know what they want to do and who have middling grades.

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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by tibbitts » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:59 am

Sockpuppet wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:53 am
Few thoughts:

1. Deciding what to do after high school is one of the first adult decisions you make. Of the people I know, parents who have forced their kids into a specific college or major...it ended very badly.

2.Unless, your going to pay for her to travel the world non-stop for a year don’t encourage her to do a gap year. Life comes at you fast and I know so many people whose year off from college has turned into decades.

3. Something like 75% of students change majors in college. So it’s kind of pointless to worry about now. You might want to point this fact out and encourage her to attend a school with a lot of majors offered to maximize flexibility.

4. I know people with highly specialized work related degrees who have struggled (post dot-com crash wasn’t a great time for computer science degree holders) and people with liberal arts majors who are CEOs.

5. I would not encourage her to go to community college. I think getting a young person surrounded by as many smart people as possible is good at pushing them forward. Community Colleges offer a great service but often the people there have more important priorities and you don’t want that rubbing off on your daughter.

6. Also the average community college student loses nearly half their credits when they transfer. A shockingly 1 in 10 lose all their credits. I know a number of highly motivated individuals and people who needed a second chance who have flourished in community colleges. But my experience is that they offer poor results for kids straight out of high school who don’t know what they want to do and who have middling grades.
I somewhat agree but #5 goes both ways. If she's surrounded by people who are all smarter than she is, she can also become discouraged and give up entirely.

And #6 can happen no matter where you attend the first two years. Most of that can be overcome by planning at the CC or elsewhere, and realizing there are some institutions and programs you'll be able to transfer 100% to, and some you won't. Most CCs have some (not all) programs that are coordinated with 4yr colleges and universities.

Sockpuppet
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by Sockpuppet » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:09 am

tibbitts wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:59 am
Sockpuppet wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:53 am
Few thoughts:

1. Deciding what to do after high school is one of the first adult decisions you make. Of the people I know, parents who have forced their kids into a specific college or major...it ended very badly.

2.Unless, your going to pay for her to travel the world non-stop for a year don’t encourage her to do a gap year. Life comes at you fast and I know so many people whose year off from college has turned into decades.

3. Something like 75% of students change majors in college. So it’s kind of pointless to worry about now. You might want to point this fact out and encourage her to attend a school with a lot of majors offered to maximize flexibility.

4. I know people with highly specialized work related degrees who have struggled (post dot-com crash wasn’t a great time for computer science degree holders) and people with liberal arts majors who are CEOs.

5. I would not encourage her to go to community college. I think getting a young person surrounded by as many smart people as possible is good at pushing them forward. Community Colleges offer a great service but often the people there have more important priorities and you don’t want that rubbing off on your daughter.

6. Also the average community college student loses nearly half their credits when they transfer. A shockingly 1 in 10 lose all their credits. I know a number of highly motivated individuals and people who needed a second chance who have flourished in community colleges. But my experience is that they offer poor results for kids straight out of high school who don’t know what they want to do and who have middling grades.
I somewhat agree but #5 goes both ways. If she's surrounded by people who are all smarter than she is, she can also become discouraged and give up entirely.

And #6 can happen no matter where you attend the first two years. Most of that can be overcome by planning at the CC or elsewhere, and realizing there are some institutions and programs you'll be able to transfer 100% to, and some you won't. Most CCs have some (not all) programs that are coordinated with 4yr colleges and universities.
Yes, ending up at Harvard when you’re not Harvard material can end badly, but my experience it’s less commonn.

I doubt there are a lot of folks at Harvard or even Penn State who lose half of their credits when transferring. I worked at the Dean’s office during college and saw so many students come in appealing their transfer denials, and schools are just very tough on cc credits. They don’t want to accept “vocational “ credits.

Transfer agreements are great, but it seems for whatever reason a lot of people have trouble figuring them out.

bgf
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by bgf » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:15 am

PhilosophyAndrew wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:55 pm

I was (unsurprisingly, given my username) a philosophy major. At my liberal arts alma mater, there was a strong 'pipeline' between philosophy majors and Harvard Law, and several of my classmates went there, including the wealthiest member of our graduating class who first worked as a lawyer, then for one of the top consultancy firms, and finally as co-founder and of what is now a significant hedge fund. When I've talked with him about his career path, he believes that his strong liberal arts education prepared him well to flourish in each of his careers -- and he still reads philosophy in his free time.
this person had it made before stepping foot on campus. this is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of an elite liberal arts education - the network of people who go there. these connections and 'pipelines' do not just just pop up at your local community college. on the other hand, one can go to one of these colleges and not take any advantage of that network, in which case you've just blown one of the most desirable aspects of the entire education.
“TE OCCIDERE POSSUNT SED TE EDERE NON POSSUNT NEFAS EST"

KlangFool
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by KlangFool » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:16 am

Folks,

My daughter wants to major in Arts. I say go right ahead. In fact, I told her that I will support her in whatever major that she chooses. Meanwhile, my son wants to major in Physic. I told him that I am not paying for that. Either he doubles major in Engineering and Physic or he has to find some way to pay for his college. Why the difference?

My daughter knows exactly what she wants to do. In fact, she interns at some art studio while in high school. Meanwhile, my son is clueless. He wants to major in Physic because Physicist is cool. He is not a Physic aka scientist type of person.

For my son, after the first year in college, he drops the Physic major. He found that he is not a scientist type of person. He prefers Engineering. If I let him major in Physic, he would not be able to get back to Engineering.

Parental guidance is necessary for this decision. The amount of guidance is dependent on each individual child. Start discussing their career aspiration while they are in high school.

KlangFool

smitcat
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by smitcat » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:27 am

KlangFool wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:27 am
Shikoku wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:12 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:53 pm
The parent shouldn't pay for their children's college education until their retirement/FI is fully funded.
Sorry, KlangFool, this statement is completely opposite to what my parents did and what I am doing and planning to do.
Shikoku,

1) Will the children fund their parent's retirement?

2) The kids could borrow for their college education. The parents could not borrow for their retirement.

KlangFool
It is pretty well understood that parents should fund their retirement needs prior to making investments in their children's higher education. From a financial point of view I am not aware of any positions to the contrary.

TheDDC
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by TheDDC » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:30 am

College costs and debt are unsustainable for the long term at current projected rates of increase, especially for those of us raising kids who are under 5. At some point we need to recognize the bubble and stop feeding the beast.

As much as some here don't want to admit it, college ventures need to be self-sustaining financially at some point. You can't expect to get an education degree anymore without lots of debt and very little future financial growth to service that debt, for instance. I don't care who is paying for it.

I say this as someone whose parent paid my way through college AND as someone with a guaranteed pension stream in the future. The variable of health care costs alone rule out pulling out projected unknown large streams of money in the future. The future landscape of higher education is not going to look like the past.

My suggestion, which my wife and I have discussed, would be to have our kids look into apprenticeships and internships with options through networks developed. The network means a lot more than the degree. Getting an employer to assist with tuition is also a good idea.

-TheDDC

smitcat
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by smitcat » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:58 am

TheDDC wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:30 am
College costs and debt are unsustainable for the long term at current projected rates of increase, especially for those of us raising kids who are under 5. At some point we need to recognize the bubble and stop feeding the beast.

As much as some here don't want to admit it, college ventures need to be self-sustaining financially at some point. You can't expect to get an education degree anymore without lots of debt and very little future financial growth to service that debt, for instance. I don't care who is paying for it.

I say this as someone whose parent paid my way through college AND as someone with a guaranteed pension stream in the future. The variable of health care costs alone rule out pulling out projected unknown large streams of money in the future. The future landscape of higher education is not going to look like the past.

My suggestion, which my wife and I have discussed, would be to have our kids look into apprenticeships and internships with options through networks developed. The network means a lot more than the degree. Getting an employer to assist with tuition is also a good idea.

-TheDDC
Extremely well summarized - thank you.

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MnyGrl
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by MnyGrl » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:03 am

This is an interesting discussion. I disagree with the notion that "thinking critically" can only be learned in a liberal arts college. I am surrounded by brilliant people at work every day who are changing the world and not one attended a LAC.

Smart people are everywhere, at big state universities and little liberal arts colleges and community colleges, for many different reasons and from many walks of life. If your daughter is bright she will find her tribe wherever she goes. But I also don't have the income to write my kids blank checks for college, so this is how I prefer to think about it. :happy

uclalien
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by uclalien » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:04 am

Pajamas wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:59 pm
Going to a good community college is fine as long as your daughter gets an associate's degree so that her next school won't pick away at her transcript to decide if each class should be accepted for credit.
You can get an AA and/or AS and still have very few classes transfer. The key is talking to a guidance counselor at the community college to find out what curriculum will transfer where. For example, the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) is generally accepted at UCs. There are slightly different requirements for CSUs (I can't remember the name of the curriculum similar to the IGETC). If your daughter wants to go to a non-UC/CSU, she should talk to a guidance counselor at that school to find out exactly what classes will count toward a 4-year degree. Don't assume a class will transfer. Even some math, English, and other classes won't.

I am a huge advocate of community colleges. Not only can they save a ton of money, but they provide a "reset" for students that may not have done well enough in high school to attend a top-tier university. CCs can also give the student a couple additional years to be better prepared to move out on their own (many are not ready at 18).

The lower cost of CCs may also provide less pressure to figure out a major ASAP and/or provide the flexibility for working students. This can be a two-edged sword though. Driven students will do fine while others may linger at the CC for years.

Not all CCs are equal though. I was fortunate to live in a city with an exceptional CC. If she considers the CC route, I recommend you research some CCs. Some are far better than others.

miamivice
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by miamivice » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:17 am

KlangFool wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:16 am
My daughter wants to major in Arts. I say go right ahead. In fact, I told her that I will support her in whatever major that she chooses. Meanwhile, my son wants to major in Physic. I told him that I am not paying for that. Either he doubles major in Engineering and Physic or he has to find some way to pay for his college. Why the difference?
In my opinion, your philosophy of allowing your daughter to major in art (which is not a life sustaining degree for most) while not wanting your son to major in physics (also not a life sustaining degree) comes across as sexist.

Just my opinion.

miamivice
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by miamivice » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:29 am

smitcat wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:27 am
KlangFool wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:27 am
Shikoku wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:12 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:53 pm
The parent shouldn't pay for their children's college education until their retirement/FI is fully funded.
Sorry, KlangFool, this statement is completely opposite to what my parents did and what I am doing and planning to do.
Shikoku,

1) Will the children fund their parent's retirement?

2) The kids could borrow for their college education. The parents could not borrow for their retirement.

KlangFool
It is pretty well understood that parents should fund their retirement needs prior to making investments in their children's higher education. From a financial point of view I am not aware of any positions to the contrary.
While I agree that parents need to put the most emphasis on retirement planning, I don't agree with KlangFool's idea that a parents retirement needs to be FULLY FUNDED before putting a dime toward a child's college education.

Much of how far along a parent will be on the retirement track depends on their age when their kids are in college. A person who has a kid at age 20 will encounter college spending when they are around 38. A 38 year old will definitely not have a fully funded retirement, however, they still have 17 to 27 years to save for retirement.

Also, saving for college in a 529 when the kid is little allows for significant tax free growth which is a wise financial move, even though the parents retirement isn't fully funded.

johnz1001
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by johnz1001 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:31 am

cheapskate wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:30 pm
Thanks for all the thoughtful and useful comments and advice on this thread. After reading many of these comments, I am more encouraged about LACs. As many posters have mentioned, I think my daughter would be quite miserable if I were to force her into a STEM program - she clearly enjoys her English, History and Law classes a lot more than Calculus. She says Socratic Seminars/Class Discussions/Papers are the most enjoyable parts of school for her, hence her focus on LACs.

I will encourage her to apply to the LACs she has shown interest in, as well as our in-state flagships campuses and allow her make the choice.
On a practical level, I would encourage her to study a language whatever her liberal arts major. A person fluent in a language other than English in the United States will have more advantages and opportunities in the world of work than those who do not. Besides, it's a wonderful way to expand your understanding and exposure to other cultures, including the culture's great literature. It's a lifelong benefit in so many respects in my opinion. And most anyone who is immersed in learning a foreign language is not slacking off at a chosen LAC.

KlangFool
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by KlangFool » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:33 am

miamivice wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:17 am
KlangFool wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:16 am
My daughter wants to major in Arts. I say go right ahead. In fact, I told her that I will support her in whatever major that she chooses. Meanwhile, my son wants to major in Physic. I told him that I am not paying for that. Either he doubles major in Engineering and Physic or he has to find some way to pay for his college. Why the difference?
In my opinion, your parenting philosophy of allowing your daughter to major in art (which is not a life sustaining degree for most) while not wanting your son to major in physics (also not a life sustaining degree) comes across as sexist. It reeks of the idea that your daughter can major in art because she'll marry a breadwinner, while your son cannot major in physics because you want him to a breadwinner which physics is not.

Just my opinion.
miamivice,

<<In my opinion, your parenting philosophy of allowing your daughter to major in art (which is not a life sustaining degree for most) >>

My daughter started some Art business while she is in high school. She knows how to monetize and commercialize her Art skill. She is researching the earning potential of several Art careers. And, she interned in a few of them before she graduated high school. In fact, she will be interning at an Art studio this summer that produce movie clip for some major movie studio. She got her act together. Meanwhile, when I asked my son what is he going to do with his Physic degree, he has no idea and he did no research.

It is the parent's responsibility to guide our children. We should tailor our guidance to the individual capability of our children.

KlangFool

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bottlecap
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by bottlecap » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:37 am

OP:

It sounds like you really don’t want D to go to a LAC because it’s not for you. You’ve also discouraged her from an expressed desire to go into law based on opinions held by you.

I know you are well-meaning, but your opinions aren’t very helpful to D. She is not you. In fact, you are likely to push her even more in the opposite direction from what you want her to do.

The most important thing is that she does what she wants to do and comes up with a realistic plan to make a living doing it.

Even if there is a glut of lawyers, for example, if she’s smart and passionate about it, that doesn’t matter. She will make a living and likely rise to the top.

It’s also not unusual for 17 year olds to not know what they want to do. Our system is set up to provide educators and administrators a nice lifestyle, not to provide guidance to students. But there isn’t much you or she can do about that.

Good luck,

JT

miamivice
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by miamivice » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:39 am

bottlecap wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:37 am
OP:

It sounds like you really don’t want D to go to a LAC because it’s not for you. You’ve also discouraged her from an expressed desire to go into law based on opinions held by you.

I know you are well-meaning, but your opinions aren’t very helpful to D. She is not you. In fact, you are likely to push her even more in the opposite direction from what you want her to do.

The most important thing is that she does what she wants to do and comes up with a realistic plan to make a living doing it.

Even if there is a glut of lawyers, for example, if she’s smart and passionate about it, that doesn’t matter. She will make a living and likely rise to the top.

It’s also not unusual for 17 year olds to not know what they want to do. Our system is set up to provide educators and administrators a nice lifestyle, not to provide guidance to students. But there isn’t much you or she can do about that.

Good luck,

JT
+1

Well said.

smitcat
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by smitcat » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:42 am

miamivice wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:29 am
smitcat wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:27 am
KlangFool wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:27 am
Shikoku wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:12 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:53 pm
The parent shouldn't pay for their children's college education until their retirement/FI is fully funded.
Sorry, KlangFool, this statement is completely opposite to what my parents did and what I am doing and planning to do.
Shikoku,

1) Will the children fund their parent's retirement?

2) The kids could borrow for their college education. The parents could not borrow for their retirement.

KlangFool
It is pretty well understood that parents should fund their retirement needs prior to making investments in their children's higher education. From a financial point of view I am not aware of any positions to the contrary.
While I agree that parents need to put the most emphasis on retirement planning, I don't agree with KlangFool's idea that a parents retirement needs to be FULLY FUNDED before putting a dime toward a child's college education.

Much of how far along a parent will be on the retirement track depends on their age when their kids are in college. A person who has a kid at age 20 will encounter college spending when they are around 38. A 38 year old will definitely not have a fully funded retirement, however, they still have 17 to 27 years to save for retirement.

Also, saving for college in a 529 when the kid is little allows for significant tax free growth which is a wise financial move, even though the parents retirement isn't fully funded.

A safe retirement funding for at least your 'needs' in retirement is primary, then perhaps savings for college is secondary and then discretionary spending on 'wants' can follow.
Savings in 401K's or 529's are similarly valuable so if you have the means to utilize them they are great tools.
If necessary you can pay for college with loans that have little or no interest if needed and repay them without incurring any realy penalty even 5-6 years after your child enters college.
There are certainly no rules that say parents should pay for college and I know many around us that have not - that is a personal choice.
Of course there are many ways to pay for college both contributions by parents and children along the way.

KlangFool
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by KlangFool » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:23 am

bottlecap wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:37 am

Our system is set up to provide educators and administrators a nice lifestyle, not to provide guidance to students. But there isn’t much you or she can do about that.
bottlecap,

<<But there isn’t much you or she can do about that. >>

Who says so? Isn't this whole point? The system is not going to provide career guidance to the students. The parents have to do this. The students have to take the initiative to take charge their own future.

Counting on the system is a guarantee for failure.

We always have a choice: to be a helpless victim of the system or to go beyond the system.

KlangFool
Last edited by KlangFool on Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

oldfatguy
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by oldfatguy » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:30 am

bottlecap wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:37 am
Our system is set up to provide educators and administrators a nice lifestyle, not to provide guidance to students.
That's one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.

dknightd
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by dknightd » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:32 am

When they turn 16 (or 18) you have to let them do what they want. Your job is done

alfaspider
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by alfaspider » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:51 am

b.lock wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:25 am
I think that you and your daughter should look up the employment rate for each major, as well as the income per major. I wish someone told me to do that when I first started. I can't believe my parents trusted 18 year old me enough to pay for my college when I didn't know what I was doing for the first year. I had friends whose parents paid for their college only if they did community college for the first 2 years. That way they could finish their Gen Eds inexpensively, and figure out what they wanted to major in.

Look around for reports like this: https://247wallst.com/special-report/20 ... mployment/

Edit for clarity: my parents paid for my college, not I.
With all the discussion of college majors, I would like to highlight that we are discussing two different things. Liberal arts colleges are not the same as liberal arts majors. One could go to a liberal arts college and major in a STEM field, or one could go to a public state school and major in English.

I'd also point out that comparisons of non-career majors with career majors is hard to do accurately. If one is looking at philosophy majors, for example, do you include or not include the philosophy majors who went on to be lawyers? If you exclude the lawyers and other professions, you likely deflate the true career salaries of the philosophy majors. Moreover, non-career majors tend to be employed in a much wider variety of fields. A philosophy major might be employed in anything from investment banking to teaching. But an engineering major is much more likely to be employed in the engineering firm.

At the end of the day, it's very difficult to garner useful data based on major for an individual candidate. Rather than focusing on major, I think it makes more sense for a prospective college student to think about what career they want and what the potential paths to that career are (which may or may not be dependent on college major).

humanities
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by humanities » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:06 am

A few thoughts from a humanities professor whose education and career have been at large universities (not LACs):
  1. The job market for tenure track professors is always competitive, and it has been extraordinarily competitive for the past decade. No matter where she goes to college, if your daughter is able to take courses from tenured or tenure-track professors (not TAs, not adjuncts), she is likely to get very good teachers.
  2. The biggest difference in quality of instruction from one school to another results from the ability and diligence of the students. If most students are highly intelligent, well-prepared, and diligent, professors can present more challenging material, and class discussion will be richer.
  3. Ability and diligence do not always go together. There are noticeable differences among elite colleges and universities in the degree to which students make academics a priority.
  4. Some schools rely heavily on adjunct instructors. Though many adjunct instructors are talented, highly qualified, and hard-working, the circumstances of their lives often prevent them from providing the same quality of education as a full-time professor. Many adjuncts have to take on a high teaching load, often at multiple schools, to make ends meet, and thus they can't give students the attention that full-time professors can. (There are exceptions, of course, e.g. adjuncts who have non-academic jobs and teach one or two courses a year on the side.) Moral: find out whether the colleges your daughter is considering rely heavily on adjuncts.
  5. At large universities, graduate student TAs lead discussion sections. The quality of graduate students varies a lot more from one university to another than does the quality of professors. Large undergraduate courses in departments with top-ten graduate programs will get significantly better discussion leaders than large undergraduate courses in departments with unranked programs. The quality of graduate programs is only loosely correlated with universities' overall reputations. Some top-5 graduate programs are at universities that don't make the US News top-50 overall rankings.
  6. Undergraduate students who want to go to graduate school need letters of recommendations from professors. Letters from TAs don't carry the same weight. Students at large universities need to take the initiative to get to know some of their professors, whether by finding some small classes or by going to office hours. It is easier to get to know faculty members at a liberal arts college.
  7. Others have said this, but remember that part of the value of college is the network it provides.

uclalien
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by uclalien » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:29 am

Sockpuppet wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:53 am
5. I would not encourage her to go to community college. I think getting a young person surrounded by as many smart people as possible is good at pushing them forward. Community Colleges offer a great service but often the people there have more important priorities and you don’t want that rubbing off on your daughter.

6. Also the average community college student loses nearly half their credits when they transfer. A shockingly 1 in 10 lose all their credits. I know a number of highly motivated individuals and people who needed a second chance who have flourished in community colleges. But my experience is that they offer poor results for kids straight out of high school who don’t know what they want to do and who have middling grades.
I just thought I would let you know that this sounds incredibly pretentious.

5. Plenty of very smart, driven people attend community colleges for a number of reasons. My girlfriend in CC could have attended virtually any university of her choosing out of high school (last I heard, she was at Duke Medical School). Personally, I tried to do too many extra curricular activities in high school (I don't regret it) and my grades suffered a bit as a result ("B" student and unlikely to get me into the schools I would ultimately target). I earned far better grades at UCLA than in high school, mostly because I learned how to prioritize my time (as a student athlete) and become a better all-around student while attending CC. My wife also attended a CC and was an extremely good student (definitely smarter than me). She could have attended any number of top universities but ultimately elected to attend a small private university.

At major universities, you can still be surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of students who lack focus or have priorities other than getting a good education. Ultimately, college is what you make of it. I am grateful for the people that "rubbed off on me" at CC.

6. I can't speak for other states, but California makes it extremely easy to avoid losing credits when transferring if you follow the IGETC. It is literally a list of courses that will transfer to UCs/CSUs. I don't think I had one course that unknowingly didn't transfer. It gets more complicated when transferring to a non-UC/CSC; in which case, you need to do your due diligence.
But my experience is that [CCs] offer poor results for kids straight out of high school who don’t know what they want to do and who have middling grades.
You literally took two of the greatest advantages of CCs and attempted to turn them into negatives. CCs are a great, cheap option to help students who may not have the best high school grades or who haven't figured out their path. The alternative is to have these kids to go to 4-year universities straight out of high school and spend 5-6 years (or drop out) trying to figure it out while spending big bucks (likely in the form of debt).

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MnyGrl
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Re: Need advice re: Liberal Arts Colleges...

Post by MnyGrl » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:50 am

uclalien wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:29 am
Sockpuppet wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:53 am
5. I would not encourage her to go to community college. I think getting a young person surrounded by as many smart people as possible is good at pushing them forward. Community Colleges offer a great service but often the people there have more important priorities and you don’t want that rubbing off on your daughter.

6. Also the average community college student loses nearly half their credits when they transfer. A shockingly 1 in 10 lose all their credits. I know a number of highly motivated individuals and people who needed a second chance who have flourished in community colleges. But my experience is that they offer poor results for kids straight out of high school who don’t know what they want to do and who have middling grades.
I just thought I would let you know that this sounds incredibly pretentious.

5. Plenty of very smart, driven people attend community colleges for a number of reasons. My girlfriend in CC could have attended virtually any university of her choosing out of high school (last I heard, she was at Duke Medical School). Personally, I tried to do too many extra curricular activities in high school (I don't regret it) and my grades suffered a bit as a result ("B" student and unlikely to get me into the schools I would ultimately target). I earned far better grades at UCLA than in high school, mostly because I learned how to prioritize my time (as a student athlete) and become a better all-around student while attending CC. My wife also attended a CC and was an extremely good student (definitely smarter than me). She could have attended any number of top universities but ultimately elected to attend a small private university.

At major universities, you can still be surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of students who lack focus or have priorities other than getting a good education. Ultimately, college is what you make of it. I am grateful for the people that "rubbed off on me" at CC.

6. I can't speak for other states, but California makes it extremely easy to avoid losing credits when transferring if you follow the IGETC. It is literally a list of courses that will transfer to UCs/CSUs. I don't think I had one course that unknowingly didn't transfer. It gets more complicated when transferring to a non-UC/CSC; in which case, you need to do your due diligence.
But my experience is that [CCs] offer poor results for kids straight out of high school who don’t know what they want to do and who have middling grades.
You literally took two of the greatest advantages of CCs and attempted to turn them into negatives. CCs are a great, cheap option to help students who may not have the best high school grades or who haven't figured out their path. The alternative is to have these kids to go to 4-year universities straight out of high school and spend 5-6 years (or drop out) trying to figure it out while spending big bucks (likely in the form of debt).
I know several people who started out at community colleges and ended up at prestigious universities. Why were they there? Money. Not because they had bad grades or were "lost."

In my area at least, the CCs are excellent and are packed with kids who are saving themselves and/or their parents many thousands of dollars by living at home for a couple of years and taking core classes, then transferring to UVA, William & Mary or Va Tech for the subsequent years. I think they are very smart, and hope my kids will consider this option so I can retire earlier.

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