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  • #61
    I think tiny private colleges are different from large private colleges in the sense that teaching actually is emphasized at the smaller schools whereas research (i.e. grants and funding) is much more important at larger private schools. So one can argue the teaching quality does suffer at large private schools, but at, say, Williams or Swarthmore, I do think the teaching is probably pretty top notch. Now, does that mean the students will remember it all and are smarter and should all have better life outcomes? no. So why are we paying so much for an education at Williams or Swarthmore?

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    • #62




      I think tiny private colleges are different from large private colleges in the sense that teaching actually is emphasized at the smaller schools whereas research (i.e. grants and funding) is much more important at larger private schools. So one can argue the teaching quality does suffer at large private schools, but at, say, Williams or Swarthmore, I do think the teaching is probably pretty top notch. Now, does that mean the students will remember it all and are smarter and should all have better life outcomes? no. So why are we paying so much for an education at Williams or Swarthmore?
      Click to expand...


      how are any prices set?  education is definitely not a cost + pricing plan.  It is more of a what the market will bear pricing plan.  so i think that the short answer is because people will pay it.  if not you, someone else.  if not able to pay directly, with loans.

      it's a fascinating discussion actually.  so many say they wouldn't pay for tiny private college, and you are making the case for the tiny private college actually offering better teaching.

       

       

       

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      • #63
        the education system has framed the debate as it's an investment. And it is....the statistics are clear that more education leads to a range of better outcomes over the rest of your life, from money to happiness to health to general stability to having a supportive family. And yes certain tiny private colleges I do think have better teaching (though I can't say for sure I guess since I never went to one). The issue is, is the investment for better teaching worth it? I say no but obviously these schools can charge a ton and still have very low acceptance rates because so many people apply for so few spots

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        • #64
          Why someone would pay a premium for an expensive tiny liberal arts school makes no sense to me. You don’t get the brand that I alluded to earlier and you are paying a ton.

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          • #65
            On average you have to be smart to get into an Ivy League school.

            You did not need to be very smart to get into my state school.

            There is a different starting line.  Not to mention the connections and access to influential people.

            However this only applies to a very small minority of people who are smart enough to make this matter.

            Every parent thinks their kid is a genius and deserves the best but you have to be realistic as well.

            Very hard to do I am sure.

             

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            • #66
              Probably depends on the kid too.  Different kids...or "young adults"...will thrive or fail in different environments.

              I went to a big state school that had IMO a solid honors program where you could get solid fairly individualized attention and small class sizes...there were certain classes that only kids in the honors program could get into.  My "honors" calculus and org chem classes were smaller and I think much better than the huge non-honors classes of the same subjects.  Plus you were surrounded by other students who were engaged in the material, not one of 200 people who were just taking it because they hadn't yet realized they were never going to get into med school and hadn't dropped that track yet.

              On the other hand, it was a huge party school.  So I had multiple friends freshman year who went off the rails in that environment.  I was a pretty timid goody 2 shoes and wasn't going to party my way through school no matter where I was.  So for me it was fine.  For someone who can't resist every available keg, probably not the best place.

              I wanted to go to a prestigious Ivy league school when I was in high school.  I got in but only got a small scholarship vs full ride at the state school.  I'm glad I didn't go there because like I said I was timid and would have been intimidated by feeling like I wasn't smart enough...vs in the state school I felt like I was one of the smarter ones, and it helped build up my confidence.

              Another thing that hasn't been mentioned yet...for better or worse, a lot of people meet their future spouse in college, and that undoubtedly can have an affect on how someone does financially.  I'm definitely not advocating going to college for an MRS degree, and I'm not saying it's right, but where you go to college does have a large bearing on who you meet, who your future friends will be, what types of circles you might run in...

              Would never ever ever recommend a parent sacrifice their retirement savings to pay for college.  Having solid retirement savings to the point I don't have to worry about them financially is one of the biggest gifts my parents gave me.

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              • #67
                This was sent to me today by my kid's school (which is in the top 20 so of course it went out to all the parents).   I thought it was an interesting list since we are in a money forum.....

                reading the methodology is somewhat interesting in terms of what factors were used.

                This is the list            http://money.com/money/best-colleges/

                http://money.com/money/5649328/how-money-ranks-best-colleges-2019       This is the methodology.

                 

                 

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                • #68
                  I have two teens in high school, so think about this question a lot.  They are very different kids, and have different needs and ambitions, so obviously college isn't one size fits all.

                  That said, I just read "Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania" and thought it was a great perspective.

                  I also found the series of Revisionist History podcasts on colleges to be thought provoking (http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/05-food-fight). Highly recommend, with the standard grain of salt required for all of Gladwell's work.  He also argues about college choice in his book David and Goliath (see https://www.businessinsider.com/malcolm-gladwells-david-and-goliath-2013-10).

                  I'm definitely not sold on the necessity of going to the "best" college, but of the necessity of finding the best fit.

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                  • #69
                    It's signaling, not education. The high priced tuition only makes sense for name brand type places such as the Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, UChicago, etc. but also a handful of other institutions that are particularly prestigious for a particular field of interest (Juilliard for theater, Cooper Union for art, Carnegie Mellon for Comp Sci, etc.). Other than that, I would send my kids to a good state school any day over the $$$$mall liberal art$$$$$ college.

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                    • #70




                      Does anyone actually believe that the teaching at Harvard is any better than a state school or even a community college. You’re paying solely for the brand and to be surrounded by other like minded students. College is kind of a overpriced scam.
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                      Uh... yes, the teaching is better.  Obviously.

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                      • #71




                        Not sure about Harvard. I think at these tiny random private colleges if anything the teaching is worse. In general there is no quality control for profs due to tenure. Most only care about research. Just like med school you pretty much use book to teach yourself often times. Vast majority don’t care about teaching.

                        I will never understand tiny private colleges. Crappy opppurtunities, nobody has ever heard of them, and you get the reward of 50k a year or whatever. For me it’s either state school or high level places, ivies etc.
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                        What do you base that insight on?  So you know that the teaching quality at Swarthmore, and Williams, and Bowdoin, and Harvey Mudd, and Haverford, and Amherst, etc etc, is poor?  Wow.  You'd be the first.

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                        • #72







                          Not sure about Harvard. I think at these tiny random private colleges if anything the teaching is worse. In general there is no quality control for profs due to tenure. Most only care about research. Just like med school you pretty much use book to teach yourself often times. Vast majority don’t care about teaching.

                          I will never understand tiny private colleges. Crappy opppurtunities, nobody has ever heard of them, and you get the reward of 50k a year or whatever. For me it’s either state school or high level places, ivies etc.
                          Click to expand…


                          What do you base that insight on?  So you know that the teaching quality at Swarthmore, and Williams, and Bowdoin, and Harvey Mudd, and Haverford, and Amherst, etc etc, is poor?  Wow.  You’d be the first.
                          Click to expand...


                          Harvey Mudd is legit.  I'll pay for that in a heartbeat.

                          As for the others, it would depend largely on what the kid wanted for a major.  Frankly, I probably would encourage the kid to get into an Ivy at that price point or do engineering, comp sci, econ, or finance at Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, or a flagship state school.

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                          • #73
                            Not sure I can take a college seriously that has 800 students. That's laughable. Community colleges are bigger and have more experience educating people.

                            And also it seems like that place ranks pretty high on lists. There are lots of random private schools in podunk land that still cost 60k/yr. There is no way in ************************ that can be a good value.

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                            • #74




                              Not sure I can take a college seriously that has 800 students. That’s laughable. Community colleges are bigger and have more experience educating people.
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                              The US Coast Guard Academy has a student body of only 1,045. Cooper Union has only 867 undergraduate students.  Harvey Mudd is just 844 undergrads.

                              I wouldn't say that a small student body necessarily precludes a rigorous, quality education.  However, you need quite a bit of endowment or government funding.

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                              • #75
                                I think it's just like surgeons. If you get someone that does 500 hernias a year they probably aren't gonna suck at it. If you get someone that does 25 a year, maybe they are OK, maybe they suck.

                                Same thing for colleges. If 10k graduate per year the kids probably have plenty of resources at their disposal to do whatever they need. If you do 800, maybe, maybe not. So if it's an elite place and it's caltech maybe. But if its podunk middle of nowhere? Maybe not

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