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Is an Ivy League education much better than public universities/colleges?

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I was talking with someone this morning about college.  We were talking about how in New Jersey Rutgers the state university is just a big pain in the ass in many ways.  There’s even a nickname RU screw for it.  

 

Then she mentioned Ivy League schools are easier than Rutgers.  In the sense that 99% of students graduate there versus 50% at Rutgers.  I mean yes obviously it’s much harder to get into an Ivy League school but with those graduation rates it seems the teachers want the students to succeed.  Large public universities that’s often not the case, professors could care less.  

 

Education wise are those schools any better though?  Seems like it’s just a name  

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2 minutes ago, Another Fan said:

 

Then she mentioned Ivy League schools are easier than Rutgers.  In the sense that 99% of students graduate there versus 50% at Rutgers.  

 

That's a very poor stat to use if you're trying to judge how difficult each school is.   

 

Rutgers students come from very diverse backgrounds and often don't have either the financial or family support resources to finish school.   That tells you nothing about how "hard" Rutgers is vs. an Ivy--where students usually come from upper and upper-middle class homes with plenty of resources and support systems.

 

Getting a college degree is as hard or easy as the student wants to make it.    Folks who sleep walk through the experience and wonder why it wasn't as life changing as they thought it would be need to look in a mirror more often...

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I have a few friends who left  service academies and went to Ivy League schools.

Universally, they claimed the service academies were much more challenging, for what that's worth, and their opinion eliminated the military demands,

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16 minutes ago, Lurker said:

 

That's a very poor stat to use if you're trying to judge how difficult each school is.   

 

Rutgers students come from very diverse backgrounds and often don't have either the financial or family support resources to finish school.   That tells you nothing about how "hard" Rutgers is vs. an Ivy--where students usually come from upper and upper-middle class homes with plenty of resources and support systems.

 

Getting a college degree is as hard or easy as the student wants to make it.    Folks who sleep walk through the experience and wonder why it wasn't as life changing as they thought it would be need to look in a mirror more often...

The demographics at Ivy League schools aren’t necessarily that much different than most public universities.  There’s more kids per year that get perfect SAT scores then say admissions each year at Harvard.  Other factors play a role in admissions.  

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10 minutes ago, plenzmd1 said:

You make connections for life at Ivys...worth a ton. 

 

Ivy League educations are the epitome of the saying "its not what you know, it's who you know".  If you want to get into law, politics, or a path towards being a corporate executive the Ivy League is a good option

 

Otherwise public universities or small colleges provide better education and training.  I would hire a Penn St engineer over an ivy leaguer any day, and I'm just as comfortable at a doctor from the University of Toledo as I would be with an Ivy Leaguer

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20 minutes ago, sherpa said:

I have a few friends who left  service academies and went to Ivy League schools.

Universally, they claimed the service academies were much more challenging, for what that's worth, and their opinion eliminated the military demands,

 

Service academies are very difficult from what I know.  I think at Ivies or other top schools you have an expectation of hard work and serious students, but I don't think the work assignments are that dramatically different than state school.

 

But as plenz notes, there are benefits that extend far beyond graduation.  I've been in a lot of work situations where just about everyone went to an Ivy, or Georgetown, Stanford, etc.  It opens doors that are not always available to those who graduated from State U.  Certain industries (eg., investment banking) or companies only recruit from top schools.

 

My goal is to save enough to let my kids go to as good a school as they get in.

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23 minutes ago, KD in CA said:

 

 

My goal is to save enough to let my kids go to as good a school as they get in.

 

Long story, but about 02 we were able to make a lump sum contribution of $25K for each of our kids. Having that money now has made college so much easier for us. I understand we were lucky we could do that, but man those things are gold!

 

Having said that, I read a lot of financial stuff that says one of the major mistakes people make in their financial planning/ retirement planning is they save/spend too much on their kid's college expenses and not enough on their retirement funds.

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To me it is less about the education than the opportunities after graduation.

 

I went to a very good state school with a top rated department.  When i accepted a position mid career with a fortune 50 company I could see that Ivy leagues had a bias that I did not have.  I don't think it held me back but I had to compete hard.

 

There is an advantage with a local state school.  My company HQ was in NJ and they supported Rutgers.  They always interviewed and hired many Rutgers grads.  The connection helped with getting an interview but not the job.  A tie breaker at best.

 

No one way to go and a lot depends on the field of study but an Ivy degree can only help.

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6 minutes ago, plenzmd1 said:

Long story, but about 02 we were able to make a lump sum contribution of $25K for each of our kids. Having that money now has made college so much easier for us. I understand we were lucky we could do that, but man those things are gold!

 

Having said that, I read a lot of financial stuff that says one of the major mistakes people make in their financial planning/ retirement planning is they save/spend too much on their kid's college expenses and not enough on their retirement funds.

 

Yup.  First goal is to max the tax benefits on retirement, then on college plans.

 

I was fortunate enough to get a sizable chunk into the 529s early and have been able to benefit from long investment horizon.

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To me, it entirely depends on what degree you pursue. Law, medicine and other more prestigious curriculums carry more weight from these schools than state schools or your local college while you are applying for a secondary degrees or internships.

 

Othe degrees (take education or communications) probably don’t make much of a difference since your jobs are generally earned by your work experience and performance, not your degree. 

 

FWIW, I have a Bachelors and Masters from SUNY schools. I may not know as much as someone from Harvard, or have all the fancy connections, but I wouldn't trade my experience and I feel that I go shot for shot with anyone in my field despite their Alma mater. 

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55 minutes ago, Another Fan said:

The demographics at Ivy League schools aren’t necessarily that much different than most public universities.  

 

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/1/25/harvard-income-percentile/

 

The median family income for Harvard undergraduates is $168,800—more than three times the national median, according to a recent study.  The national median household income in 2015 was $55,775, according to Census data.

 

...The study ranks Harvard among the worst colleges nationwide at enrolling lower-income students. With 4.5 percent of students from the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution, Harvard ranks 2011th out of the 2395 schools for its proportion of low-income students.

 

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I went to Cornell.  I passed classes that I attended less than 5 times and studied for maybe one day for mid terms and finals when they came up.  I also took classes such as Gamelan where I got 3 credit hours and an easy A for playing gongs.  I mean, our final project was a concert on a gorgeous May day in Ithaca sitting Indian style on one of the quads.  I had great professors, I had bad professors.  Some classes were tougher than others, but overall, if you were just concerned with passing with a decent GPA, you didn't really have to do much, at least I didn't.  I imagine its not much different from most well run Universities.

2 minutes ago, EmotionallyUnstable said:

To me, it entirely depends on what degree you pursue. Law, medicine and other more prestigious curriculums carry more weight from these schools than state schools or your local college while you are applying for a secondary degrees or internships.

 

Othe degrees (take education or communications) probably don’t make much of a difference since your jobs are generally earned by your work experience and performance, not your degree. 

 

FWIW, I have a Bachelors and Masters from SUNY schools. I may not know as much as someone from Harvard, or have all the fancy connections, but I wouldn't trade my experience and I feel that I go shot for shot with anyone in my field despite their Alma mater. 

 

This is probably very true.  I got into a much better law school than I should have based on my GPA.  I'm sure this and a good LSAT were the reason.

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9 minutes ago, Lurker said:

 

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/1/25/harvard-income-percentile/

 

The median family income for Harvard undergraduates is $168,800—more than three times the national median, according to a recent study.  The national median household income in 2015 was $55,775, according to Census data.

 

...The study ranks Harvard among the worst colleges nationwide at enrolling lower-income students. With 4.5 percent of students from the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution, Harvard ranks 2011th out of the 2395 schools for its proportion of low-income students.

 

Fair enough.  I was just looking at race diversity.  

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.wbur.org/edify/2018/10/24/harvard-diverse-wealth

 

As mentioned these schools can open up the door easier for you finding a job at graduation.  I just don’t think the education is necessarily better 

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Not sure about the quality of education,  but an ivy league school on a resume will get your foot in a lot more doors.

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6 hours ago, Another Fan said:

Fair enough.  I was just looking at race diversity.  

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.wbur.org/edify/2018/10/24/harvard-diverse-wealth

 

As mentioned these schools can open up the door easier for you finding a job at graduation.  I just don’t think the education is necessarily better 

 

As I said previously, "education" is what the student makes it.   It's an active, not passive process.  In addition to their faculties, facilities and off campus connections, the most (I repeat, most) imporant thing Ivys have to offer are the fellow students you meet and form life-long connections with.  Not so much as in an "old boys" sense, but in the sense that being exposed to high achievers and seeing that close up is revelatory.   The classes themselves are the least important reason to attend an Ivy or any university, IMO.

 

I work with many Ivy and public university grads.   The Ivy folks might not necessarily be more talented--but more often than not, are.   Not necessarily because of the cirriculum or anything that came from their classes--but because of who they were before, during and after school.   Many of them have experienced so much "more," have stronger interpersonal skills and an ease that comes from family backgrounds that have "done it before."

 

It's not a golden ticket.  But the opportunity to attend an Ivy is as the commercial says, priceless...

 

 

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1 hour ago, Another Fan said:

I was talking with someone this morning about college.  We were talking about how in New Jersey Rutgers the state university is just a big pain in the ass in many ways.  There’s even a nickname RU screw for it.  

 

Then she mentioned Ivy League schools are easier than Rutgers.  In the sense that 99% of students graduate there versus 50% at Rutgers.  I mean yes obviously it’s much harder to get into an Ivy League school but with those graduation rates it seems the teachers want the students to succeed.  Large public universities that’s often not the case, professors could care less.  

 

Education wise are those schools any better though?  Seems like it’s just a name  

  I attended Cornell many many years ago.  Your citation of graduation percentages lacks context.  I know having gone through the admissions process Cornell analyzes your abilities extensively.  Cornell graduates an extremely high percentage because nothing is left to chance.  Odds are your potential curriculum advisor and dept instructors look over your application and essay for admission.  They will give admissions feedback as to whether you are worth a seat as my advisor put it.  Contrast this with when I attended a junior college.  When I applied to SUNY I met my advisor for ten minutes and took a self tour for half a day.  The admission to SUNY mostly hinged on my high school transcript.  Probably Rutgers and Ohio State of which I applied to only looked at grades and achievements.  I never wrote an essay or interviewed with admissions twice unlike Cornell to get accepted at Ohio State.

 

  As to being worth going to an Ivy I would say it is definitely worth it.  Not only for the connections which really did not do much for me personally for the decades afterward.  My instructors were well placed in the government and industry before they joined the academic world.  The information free flow is just something you are not going to get elsewhere.  One marketing professor was able to pass on useful anecdotes about his time in the Kennedy Administration and how the CIA could impact trade in certain parts of the world.

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6 hours ago, mead107 said:

 

What a silly article.  The guy argues that since Ivy-plus undergrads make up only 13% of 1,000 "leaders," an Ivy degree is over-rated.   

 

What he should have considered is that while Ivy-plus undergrads make up 0.5% (roughly 80,000) of the 17.4 million U.S. undergrads at all institutions, they make up 13% of the "leaders".    That's a 26-to-1 favorable ratio.   

 

Image result for total u.s. undergrad enrollment by year

 

Its an advantage and all the stats in the world won't change that...

 

 

 

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