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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 01:19 PM   #21
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Re: College Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr._johngalt
Some of you may recall my story of how I was hauled into court
and a large sum extorted to pay for my youngest daughter's
4 years at a very expensive private lib. arts College. She's working at Old Navy.
She's a good kid and she did graduate, but oh the money that went down a rat hole!

JG
JG,
I am sorry to hear that.
Spanky
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 01:27 PM   #22
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Re: College Selection

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Originally Posted by Spanky
JG,
I am sorry to hear that.
Spanky
Well, she is a talented kid and very attractive, so she will be fine.
You know, I was just thinking today that this was the only serious fight over money that I ever lost in my life. I caved mostly because I was
alienating my daughter. If not for those parental instincts we might still be in court. Oh wait, I am still in court - different issue.

JG
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 01:51 PM   #23
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Re: College Selection

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Originally Posted by Spanky
My nephew is a civil engineer for LA county (California). He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona, a public state university. He likes the light workload and the health and pension benefits. A civil engineering job for the government is consdiered as a "golden rice" bowl.
If you think your daughter may end up as a civil engineer in state govt, she would probably be just as well off (or better off) at a state school. UT and UW (madison) both have a national rep for civil and I have to imagine an excellent local rep for state DOTs and consulting firms in the area. I don't know how it is elsewhere, but Caltech doesn't have a lot of name recognition around here in civil engineering (as compared to a state school - but it is 3000 miles away). Plus, if you go to a local state school that everyone else in the industry in your locality attended, then you have a huge alumni network and you are an instant insider - your degree is a known quantity. I don't see lot of potential for a big payoff for attending a top notch private ($$$$) school for civil. Other disciplines, sure.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 01:53 PM   #24
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Re: College Selection

I agree with Ha and Justin and simply dont see the point of more expense. I think this topic has come up several times including T-Al and JG getting hosed ....I am happy with my engineering degree from UW-Madison and left with little debt....The large public schools are great for engineering....and contrary to the earlier post...not everyone is going to get or need a masters degree....that is the point of these degrees in my opinion, a bachelors degree and pretty good job.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 04:35 PM   #25
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Re: College Selection

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Originally Posted by youbet
Sure, been there and done that.......

Right now you and your daughter don't know if you are willing to pay a premium for her to attend Stanford or Caltech. You need to make that decision. It sounds like you would like her to attend a so-called "prestigious" school but you're reluctant because it will be more expensive than attending a mid-tier school on merit schlorship or a local school on in-state tuition.

We walked the same path with my son, "the engineer." A National Merit finalist, he had full-ride offers from all the mid-tier schools he applied to and was accepted at our state university but finally went to his first choice, a school held in high regard in engineering. The National Merit folks gave him $2K per year and the school gave him $1K per year merit based, that's it. This was all a decade ago, so I'm sure the numbers have changed by now.

I have absolutely no regrets regarding having allowed him to attend the school he wanted to attend. In retrospect, everything worked out for us despite a few years of eye-watering tuition bills. If the expense would have significantly pushed out retirement, caused other family members to have to give much up, etc., I'm sure we would have thought differently.

You'll get advise all over the spectrum on this subject, but, you have to make that decision for yourself. Your mileage may vary!

Wow, youbet. My answer would be almost identical.

I was able to attend the school of my choice, albeit on need-based financial aid, and I couldn't bring myself to refuse my son the path of his choice. I did offer him a car to take the UT deal but it turned out to be an offer he could refuse.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 05:08 PM   #26
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Re: College Selection

My dad gave me carte blanche. I ended up attending an Ivy League school for 2.5 years and then graduated from a small, lesser-known but still well-regarded regional liberal arts university about 13 years ago. I liked the second school much better mostly because it was a much better fit for me culturally, but I do sometimes wonder how different my life would have been had I graduated from the Ivy.

I have three kids and am saving for their college but right now my target is 4 years worth of the average public 4 year university tuition, room, board, books, and fees according to the college board. I think the number is ~$12K per year per kid now, and I assume 6% inflation. With my divorce, I have not thought through all of the financial ramifications. Philosophically I want my kids to understand how much college costs and how rewarding it can be. I don't want to have them graduating from Harvard with $100K in loans and then become a teacher. But I also know that I have not reached for my dreams and the consequences of leading a practical life. I guess I would want them to at least think about the cost/benefit ratio. I also wonder how to be "fair" between the three of them if, say, kid #1 chooses Stanford and kid #2 chooses Local U, with kid #3 going into the Army.

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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 05:47 PM   #27
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Re: College Selection

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Originally Posted by Grep


I'd like to caution you that if she is aiming at a career that requires graduate school, it's better to go to a mid-tier school as an undergraduate and then a top-tier school as a graduate student than the other way around. Some people may choke in a place like Caltech and then wind up at a B-grade graduate school. Engineering, for example, is a field where she will absolutely want to go on for a Masters, at least. On the other hand, if graduate school is not a concern, then she should go for the gold as an undergraduate.

A little hint about graduate school: forget everything you know about how to get into Stanford as an undergraduate - being president of the high-school "save the whales" organization, etc., doesn't count. What she needs to do is work with a few professors as a research assistant and (1) get her name on a few publications and so that (2) they can write truly strong recommendation letters as opposed to "I don't remember her, but according to my records she was in my class and got an A."
There was another thread on this topic a few months back. I agree with the above poster. As someone who has been affiliated with University life for a long time and researched a lot about colleges, I always tout the benefits of the small liberal arts college where a science major can do research as an undergrad and be a teaching assistant, roles that at a big University are reserved for graduate students. My son, a geology major, received those benefits at a small college, and with those personal recommendations from professors won a National Science Foundation grant . All this before he got the BA! Many many opportunities are available at small liberal arts colleges that are not available to students at "big name" universities.

Also, the other part of a students education, namely the liberal arts, is better taught in the small seminar classes at a liberal arts college than in large lecture halls at big universities with discussion sections led by inexperienced teachers who are graduate students.

Another point, many students who have a firm idea about their major before college, change their minds once they get into the classes or do an internship. Many would-be engineers in this category.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 05:48 PM   #28
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Re: College Selection

Hard to tell with an 18 YO.

But if your daughter has a theoretical bent, and is interested in serious R&D, for example, she will probably be significantly better off with a school like Cal Tech. She will certainly need at least a masters degree, and probably a PhD.

OTOH, if she is interested in becoming a journeyman engineer, maybe going into management later on, she may do just as well, or better, with a state-university BS as her highest degree. As Justin suggested, the big names around here for working engineers are NC State, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Big-10 schools, and so forth, rather than Cal Tech or Duke.

This is, of course, a broad generalzation, with many real-life counterexamples readily available.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 07:11 PM   #29
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Re: College Selection

BiL is the director of engineering for a decent sized company (3+Bil in sales) involved in the oil industry. When it comes to hiring fresh graduates his philosophy is that he doesn't care where you went to school or what your GPA was. He says that as long as you have a degree from an accredited school he thinks that proves you are teachable, and the first few years on the job are going to be spent learning how the business is really done.

The people he wants to hire are the ones who have demonstrated a passion for engineering and the ability to put into practice what they have learned. He looks for that in their personal interests or capstone projects. His idea of the ideal candidate is one whose senior project was to work with a company and actually develop or improve a product, or otherwise solve a real world engineering problem, and then spends most of the interview talking about that.

His explanation for his preference was that too many engineers have a hard time understanding that a product or solution not only has to do the job it was intended to do, but it has to make money for the company through profit and repeat business. It does no good to have the "perfect" product if it takes to long to get to market, doesn't have enough profit built in, or if the customer isn't satisfied and goes somewhere else the next time. The graduate who has made that leap in thinking is the kind of engineer he prefers to hire. He said "good enough" and ready to sell beats "it'll be perfect if we could just figure out this one last problem."
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 08:37 PM   #30
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Re: College Selection

I'll second most of what Leonidas said but....

Companies are very interested in GPAs. Some are very snobbish about the school but it isn't always the "big names." If some VP "likes" the grads from ol' Bugtussle U, they get favored.

I've recruited and hired numerous new grads for the oil and chemical business. I can assure you there is no correlation between school and career success. Some schools may get a very small hiring premium for their new grads but it disappears after two years on the job.

I have personally not seen any school produce "better" graduates. I will say that MIT produces a high percentage of grads who think they are smarter than God. Some of them have trouble buttoning their shirts.

I've paid for two kids to go to Texas A&M's College of Engineering. They were told that they could go to UT or A&M or they better have a pretty good story. I don't see a "value" in dropping big money to go to an expensive, prestigeous college or paying out of state tuition when high quality in state tuition is available. The high priced alternatives won't return the "value" for the extra cost to your child. I know a lot of people that did drop big money to send their kids to name schools and I never saw it get paid back in any form other than their ability to say "my son went to Rice." BFD.

Save the money for grad school. The nice thing about that is that anywhere an engineer goes for grad school will be paid for with TA positions -- not including an MBA.

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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 09:55 PM   #31
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Re: College Selection

My daughter went to Rice
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 09:57 PM   #32
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Re: College Selection

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My daughter went to Rice
Was she in the MOB?

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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 10:06 PM   #33
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Re: College Selection

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It pains me to report this, as a Berkeley alumnus, but the institution has a reputation for not making available in a timely fashion all the courses needed for graduation. Many students take 6 years to graduate with a BA.
It's also true at UW-Madison or U of Minnesota. Many students complain about the lack of class offering to graduate within 4 years.

Quote:
Another point, many students who have a firm idea about their major before college, change their minds once they get into the classes or do an internship. Many would-be engineers in this category.
I will not be suprised if she changes her mind about her major or career direction.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 10:15 PM   #34
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Re: College Selection

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Originally Posted by Leonidas
His explanation for his preference was that too many engineers have a hard time understanding that a product or solution not only has to do the job it was intended to do, but it has to make money for the company through profit and repeat business. It does no good to have the "perfect" product if it takes to long to get to market, doesn't have enough profit built in, or if the customer isn't satisfied and goes somewhere else the next time. The graduate who has made that leap in thinking is the kind of engineer he prefers to hire. He said "good enough" and ready to sell beats "it'll be perfect if we could just figure out this one last problem."
Yes, an engineer has to understand the importance of time to market and developing a product that has a market and profitable. However, "good enough" is not always good enough for medical devices that are regulated by the FDA. The product has to be "perfect" and "safe" to use.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 10:19 PM   #35
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Re: College Selection

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If you think your daughter may end up as a civil engineer in state govt, she would probably be just as well off (or better off) at a state school. UT and UW (madison) both have a national rep for civil and I have to imagine an excellent local rep for state DOTs and consulting firms in the area. I don't know how it is elsewhere, but Caltech doesn't have a lot of name recognition around here in civil engineering (as compared to a state school - but it is 3000 miles away). Plus, if you go to a local state school that everyone else in the industry in your locality attended, then you have a huge alumni network and you are an instant insider - your degree is a known quantity. I don't see lot of potential for a big payoff for attending a top notch private ($$$$) school for civil. Other disciplines, sure.
Name recognition may not be as important as having a PE license for civil engineering.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 10:58 PM   #36
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Re: College Selection

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I've paid for two kids to go to Texas A&M's College of Engineering. They were told that they could go to UT or A&M or they better have a pretty good story. I don't see a "value" in dropping big money to go to an expensive, prestigeous college or paying out of state tuition when high quality in state tuition is available. The high priced alternatives won't return the "value" for the extra cost to your child.
I am pleasantly suprised that both of these schools (UT or Texas A&M) have very low in-state tuition (less than $5K) and out of state tuition is only $11K compared to $18 - 20K for other schools of U of california and big-10 universities. Both schools offer a lot of merit scholarships that waive tuition for all four years plus $2000 per year for room and board. I wonder how do they afford that when Texas does not collect income tax.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 11:09 PM   #37
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Re: College Selection

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I am pleasantly suprised that both of these schools (UT or Texas A&M) have very low in-state tuition (less than $5K) and out of state tuition is only $11K compared to $18 - 20K for other schools of U of california and big-10 universities. Both schools offer a lot of merit scholarships that waive tuition for all four years plus $2000 per year for room and board. I wonder how do they afford that when Texas does not collect income tax.
Texas universities have tuition and fees. The numbers you are quoting for in-state tuition are only the tuition part. The fees are about equal to the tuition. Therefore for a year of in-state tuition and fees is over $8K. Out-of-state is much higher also when fees are added.

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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 11:12 PM   #38
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Re: College Selection

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I wonder how do they afford that when Texas does not collect income tax.
Oil and gas severence taxes. Even with production depleting, at recent prices it is a bonanza.

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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 11:13 PM   #39
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Re: College Selection

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Yes, an engineer has to understand the importance of time to market and developing a product that has a market and profitable. However, "good enough" is not always good enough for medical devices that are regulated by the FDA. The product has to be "perfect" and "safe" to use.
We actually discussed "good enough" at length (we spend a lot of time together driving on hunting trips and solve all of the world's problems while on the road). It doesn't mean that it's shoddy work - but that it meets all the requirements that it is supposed to - but it stops there. He says engineers always like to do more - add another little gizmo or capability that's was not in the specs. I guess you might call it "over engineering". His company has been around for more than a century and he said that they had developed a reputation of making some really good products that often were overly complex solutions to the problems. The increased price cost them business. Then, because they stand behind their products, they found that the complex nature of what they created often caused problems if they had to go back and fix things that went wrong.

They don't deal with medical equipment, but everything they build winds up a long way below the surface of an ocean somewhere. On our last trip together he got a call from somewhere off Nigeria where one of the crews had completed a 2-year, $2 Million fix to a problem caused by a 1/64 of an inch screw up (somebody painted a surface that shouldn't have been). It was a good thing because if the fix hadn't worked the cost would have gone up to $20 million per hole, times several holes. Nobody would have died, but some heads would have rolled if a bill came in for $80 - 160 million.
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Re: College Selection
Old 10-12-2006, 11:13 PM   #40
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Re: College Selection

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Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Was she in the MOB?
No, but she did streak (clad only in strategically placed shaving cream) on Halloween as part of a small mob. One year a guy accidentally broke an expensive glass library door when he made a butt print on it during this annual merriment. The fundraiser to help him pay for a new door was called "Save Mike's Ass."
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