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Old 01-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #21
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Then spend the big bucks on your terminal degree.
OH Nooo, Mr. Bill avoid those 'terminal' degrees... They're killers!

Seriously, having that grad degree at presitge U might be helpful in some fields... Throw in an internship or something for experience and you have a marketable plan. (As long as you DON'T end up with something like a comparative lit or history degree)...
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:11 PM   #22
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to spend the money on the same. If the parents went to a state university, then they are less willing to pay for more than a state u.
I think this is true. I went to an OK but not wonderful state U for undergrad but did really well on my LSAT and went to a state U law school but one that was very highly ranked. I was never sorry.

I do not believe that there is long term substantial economic benefits for most people in attending expensive private universities. Given this we've told our kids that we will pay for state university (in state). If they want to go somewhere else it is on their nickel. So far they are choosing the state u route. For our oldest son he is choosing to go to residential community college for two years because it is so much less expensive than the 4 year school. They do work with the state university so he can transfer all credits.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:38 PM   #23
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I think this is an interesting idea--one that is worth sharing with my son. In my limitted thinking (and I think his as well), we just assumed that it was one school for 4 years. Thank you.
Transfers into Ivies are not common.

Ha
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:42 PM   #24
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This then at the limit leads to only children of elite private university graduates going to elite private universities. Lots of folks complain about legacy admissions already and the perceived fact that Harvard, Princeton, Yale graduates occupy the highest political offices in the land and run Wall Street.

But also the same pernicious phenomenon haunts first-to-college kids. Their parent thinks: "I didn't go to college at all and I turned out just fine. I won't push my kid to go to college, but let them make the choice for themselves."
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:52 PM   #25
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Transfers into Ivies are not common.
Well, I don't think we are thinking Ivy League here---his preferred "elite" universities are more along the lines of Duke, Emory, etc. As I mentioned before, while he is a good student, I suspect that Penn, Cornell, Harvard, etc. are probably a bit out of his league.
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:17 PM   #26
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Well, I'll throw in my two cents, as someone who is just about to finish the process that your son wants to go through (undergrad+law school), and had almost the same exact grades, at least for undergrad.

I think something people may not be keeping in mind is, is that law school is immensely expensive, it is just just as bad as the ivies. Additionally, unlike with undergrad, going to the best law school possible actually MATTERS, a huge amount.

Law schools care about two things, and only two things (except for URM status), the LSAT (60% of the decision), and undergraduate GPA (40% of the decision). Some schools weight the two a bit a differently. What school he went to, and what degree he chooses, are very weak soft factors.

Law employers, in general, care an immense amount about what law school you went too, and how well you did at that law school. They don't care about your undergrad (unless it is patent law). Along with any relevant legal experience, this makes up most of their hiring decision. If it is a top end law school, they may accept average grades, but at an average law school, they really want to see top 10-20% grades.

Top law schools cost about 50-60k a year, in tuition, and rarely give out scholarships, of any sort, it will be much harder to get financial aid from them. Even the lowest quality law schools are in the 30k/year range, just for tuition.

So, whatever you decide, just keep this information in mind. The ivy league school is going to have a marginal effect on your son's job prospects, if he goes into law. From what I have read, this also applies even he does not go into law. But, if he is dead set on going to an Ivy, just for the experience, that is fine, he just can expect to have 200-300k of debt when he graduates from law school, or not be able to go to law school at all because of the crushing amount of debt he very well may have to take on.
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:53 PM   #27
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Additionally, unlike with undergrad, going to the best law school possible actually MATTERS, a huge amount.

Law schools care about two things, and only two things (except for URM status), the LSAT (60% of the decision), and undergraduate GPA (40% of the decision). Some schools weight the two a bit a differently. What school he went to, and what degree he chooses, are very weak soft factors.

Law employers, in general, care an immense amount about what law school you went too, and how well you did at that law school. They don't care about your undergrad (unless it is patent law).
As someone who has interviewed many young attorneys I largely agree with this.

Bear in mind, however, that which law school is considered good by a potential law firm employer is often extremely local. In some states, that "best" law firm is indeed a state school which does tend to be more expensive than other degrees from that school but still less than a private law school. Often the private school is less prestigious than the state school depending upon locale. So where he wants to practice has to be factored in as well.

I agree that when I've done interviewing I haven't cared at all where someone went to undergraduate school.
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:38 PM   #28
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So, whatever you decide, just keep this information in mind. The ivy league school is going to have a marginal effect on your son's job prospects, if he goes into law. From what I have read, this also applies even he does not go into law. But, if he is dead set on going to an Ivy, just for the experience, that is fine, he just can expect to have 200-300k of debt when he graduates from law school, or not be able to go to law school at all because of the crushing amount of debt he very well may have to take on.
Again, just for clarification, he has not applied to an Ivy League School.
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:50 PM   #29
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We had two children relatively close in age, so we had to make sure that what we did for each of them with regard to financial assistance for college was equitable. Also, we live in Virginia, with arguably the best public university system of any state in the country. So we set up a family financial assistance system that allowed them to choose where they wanted to go, but also encouraged them to think seriously about the public universities.

After a significant amount of intra-spousal discussion around the beginning of my son’s junior year in high school, DW and I presented the kids a three tier funding system based on their choice of university. The purpose of the system was to ensure that the two kids had freedom to pick the university they wanted, and to let them know that we would help them financially, but also to reinforce that their decisions had economic consequences for us and thus for them. Also, as you read the three tiers below, keep in mind that there was no way we could qualify for needs based assistance.

In the first tier, if they went in-state to a public school, we told them we would pay for room, board, and a small monthly living allowance ($300). We would also throw in the use of a car in the junior and senior years, and allow them to go overseas on an exchange program for one summer or one semester. We also said there would be some unspecified amount of help from us for graduate school.

In the second tier, if they wanted to go to a private school as good or better than the University of Virginia (UVA) or William and Mary – such as an Ivy or Duke -- we would pay the entire four years of tuition and room and board, but there would be no assistance with a car or an overseas semester, and that they would have to use money earned from summer jobs (or work study) for other living expenses during the school year. Also, any scholarship money they got, they could keep half and we would keep half (i.e, we would expect them to pay half toward the tuition). As for graduate school, they might get something from us, but we would make no commitment as to financial aid.

In the third tier, if they wanted to go to some school not in the two tiers above, we would pay an aggregate amount each year the equivalent of what it would cost us to provide them tuition, room, and board at an in-state public school. They would get no other bennies from us, however, and would have to fund the remaining tuition costs themselves through scholarships or loans.

My wife, who has her undergraduate degree from an Ivy, thought the above system was fair. It certainly discouraged my son from attending Penn State (labeled a third tier school in the system above), a pretty good school but which had an outrageous out-of-state tuition add-on.

OK, this arrangement was kind of complex, but in hindsight I think this system worked out well for our family. Both my kids are currently undergraduates at UVA, with very reasonable tuition and room and board, and we expect that the seven or eight total years of undergraduate expenses for us will be funded almost 90% out of our 529 plans.

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Old 01-02-2010, 07:15 PM   #30
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Thanks for sharing OhSoClose. My spouse had a not dissimilar discussion which has ended differently.

First, let me make it clear that my daughter has just submitted applications, so no school decision is forthcoming for a few months.

I felt that my kid should apply to any school that she wanted to. I would set absolutely no conditions on the schools she would apply to. I did make it known that I felt our state had a perfectly outstanding flagship university, so there was no need to apply to another state's flagship university such as UVa (where my sister went to school ). But I set no financial conditions.

My spouse felt that if we allowed our daughter to apply anywhere, that meant that we were promising that we would pay for any school that she attended no matter the cost. She did not want the financial rug yanked out from under our daughter after being admitted to an expensive school.

So that's where it stands now. I think my daughter should help pay for her own university education like I did. My wife still thinks otherwise. I have told my daughter that she is clever enough to figure out a way to pay for college just like I did.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:48 PM   #31
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My spouse felt that if we allowed our daughter to apply anywhere, that meant that we were promising that we would pay for any school that she attended no matter the cost. She did not want the financial rug yanked out from under our daughter after being admitted to an expensive school.
In our case, I expressed to my oldest son that he could apply wherever he wanted to. I really strongly think that is not for us to tell him what to do or not to do. He is an adult. (We have a son who will be graduating high school at 15 and since he is not an adult some of the considerations are different where he is concerned). However, I also made it clear what I was willing to pay and what I was not. So he knew he could apply but he also knew that the funds coming from mom and dad were not unlimited.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:54 PM   #32
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Thanks for sharing OhSoClose. My spouse had a not dissimilar discussion which has ended differently.

First, let me make it clear that my daughter has just submitted applications, so no school decision is forthcoming for a few months.

I felt that my kid should apply to any school that she wanted to. I would set absolutely no conditions on the schools she would apply to. I did make it known that I felt our state had a perfectly outstanding flagship university, so there was no need to apply to another state's flagship university such as UVa (where my sister went to school ). But I set no financial conditions.

My spouse felt that if we allowed our daughter to apply anywhere, that meant that we were promising that we would pay for any school that she attended no matter the cost. She did not want the financial rug yanked out from under our daughter after being admitted to an expensive school.

So that's where it stands now. I think my daughter should help pay for her own university education like I did. My wife still thinks otherwise. I have told my daughter that she is clever enough to figure out a way to pay for college just like I did.
I understand the tensions that can exist. My wife's parents paid for almost her entire education -- at expensive undergraduate and graduate schools. I went to undergrad and grad pretty much on my own dime, with some help from Uncle Sam. So we each had to compromise a bit when it came to funding for our kids.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:58 PM   #33
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Transfers into Ivies are not common.

Ha
No, but it can be done -

My oldest brother, back when dinosaurs walked the campus, went from Notre Dame to Harvard.

A niece went from Hofstra to NYU (she's the one who never finished high school - she was offered early admittance and said "toodles, I'm outta here!" to her high school.)

Pay attention to what courses you take, and get good grades.

ta,
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:51 AM   #34
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You already wrote that your daughter has received many job offers, but I wanted to know about the rest of the story. I doubt your daughter will ever say she made the wrong decision, but can one tell if she has any regrets at all? What about her friends/peers at her HS who did go to Ivies? Are they going on to grad schools? Is your daughter interested in grad school?

I do think there is a big difference in being admitting to an elite university and deciding not to go (whether for financial or other reasons) and not even bothering to apply to an elite institution because of preconceived notions about the cost.
She has never expressed any regrets for not attending an Ivy-league university. Her friends at prestigious universities plans to continue to graduate school after graduation this year. Needless to say, they will graduate with a big, big, big debt. My daughter plans to attend graduate school under the tuition reimbursement program from her employer. Many colleagues of mine did the same (part-time) and received their masters from Standford in 3 years.

BTW, she only applied for admission to one prestigious university (Stanford) that offered no merit scholarship. Standford does provide financial aid, but we do not qualify because of our assets. The parental contribution was $65,000 per year.
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:36 AM   #35
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Wow - you all have some pretty amazing pedigrees! Things are so different now from when I was applying - first, the state I was in did want to keep their top high school grads, so I had a tuition waiver immediately for one of the state universities.

I think it depends on what type of degree is being earned. With engineering, I believe that a state university for undergrad is fine - where the discrimination lies is in the graduate program. A previous poster mentioned the path to becoming a lawyer---however, this assumes your child knows what they want to do at 17-18 years old.

The benefit with the Ivies is the networking - I visited a friend of mind who was at Stanford and met his frat brothers: one was the son of a senator from Alaska, the other was the son of the Secy of the US Dept of labor, one was the son of the man who invented the Avia tennis shoe.....ummmm, those are pedigrees and friends one would be hard-pressed to find at State U. HOWEVER, when I asked about the undergrad engineering curriculum, they used the same books and classes were taught by assistant profs and graduate students - hello, that was my experience at State U.

Graduate school was a different process - I looked at specific programs and chose one which was highly rated in the very particular profession I was interested in. However, I had the benefit of having worked for 4 years before going to graduate school, so my decision was grounded in experience and a bit more maturity. Going to school full-time after having worked very hard for four years was quite a contrast - school is a lot easier especially if you will discipline your time. I was highly motivated and it showed. I still remember 20 years later what I learned in graduate school (as for undergrad, that was a blur).

For my stepsons, who are not as academically gifted as the other posters' progeny, my husband and I will be happy if they go to a communicaty college and then transfer to a state university - as it is, the 20 year old hasn't done that yet and still doesn't know what he wants to do - we'll see about the 16 year old. Additionally, with the recent reading I've been doing about the costs of a university education and the future payoff, I believe it is important to truly weigh the cost-benefit, especially in light of the spiraling costs and increasing amounts of time expected to attain degrees.

To the OP - I believe your approach is a valid one - set a monetary amount that you are willing to provide and then have your son decide - he is ultimately responsible for his life decisions and the blowback on you for overt influence could be harsh if he doesn't succeed. Frankly, he is damn lucky to have his parents provide monetary support for his upper education - most people are not that fortunate. The statement made to me by my parents: We cannot afford to send you to college, however, you have demonstrated you are able to earn a scholarship or could go to a military academy like your father - oh, and you will be going to college :-) Nothing like incentive to motivate one...and a dose of fear.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:36 PM   #36
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I think this is an interesting idea--one that is worth sharing with my son. In my limitted thinking (and I think his as well), we just assumed that it was one school for 4 years. Thank you.
I have found this not to be a very viable alternative, so research this very thoroughly before attempting it. For the record I'm a fairly recent college graduate(class of 04) and I got lucky and grew up in a state that had an elite public university, so I got the best of both worlds.

Although the school your son transfers to might accept some of the credits from the two years at a previous school, they likely will only count for general credits (much like his AP high school classes). The elite schools that your son is looking into are likely going to require something around 90-105 of the 120 credits to be from specific classes that are taken at that university. There may be exceptions, but most likely he'll still need another 3-3.5 years at the new school.

I think the answer to your OP is it totally depends on your son. I think the biggest factor is; is he going to thrive when amongst higher levels of peer competition, or might he struggle with the additional pressure? If he thrives, I believe he would more than make up for the difference in tuition over his working career. In particular, if he goes to grad school he'd have a huge advantage in the admissions process at higher end programs by doing well at a school like Duke. The faculty recommendations for instance would carry much more weight.

It may have just been modesty on your part, but don’t sell your son short. He does sound like a great rather than just a good student. Getting into Duke is no small feat! Congrats!
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:23 PM   #37
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Another thing to look into at flagship universities -- college honors programs. I was admitted to ours, and it was wonderful. Small classes with top professors in all fields -- intro-level courses were about 20-30 student/class, meeting 4-5x a week, more advanced classes were similar to graduate seminars with 5-15 students per class meeting once or twice a week for two or three hours. It was also generally pretty easy to get permission to take graduate courses in your major your senior year. I wrote a senior thesis that my advisor said was better than some Ph.D. dissertations she had read. It was great preparation for grad school. And cost no more than regular in-state tuition (which I got a scholarship for the first year).

In grad school I had friends who were grad students at top schools (Harvard, Chicago, etc.) and they were doing most of the teaching for undergraduate courses. They were great people, and I'm sure they were good teachers, but they were not the famous faculty those schools tout as justification for their high tuitions. I will not encourage our kids to go to said schools for undergrad -- aim instead for grad school, where the level of financial support an interaction with faculty makes it a more worthwhile deal.

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Old 01-03-2010, 09:39 PM   #38
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It depends on the school I think. I went to a university where I had only one small class taught by a 5th year math grad student. All other classes were taught by full profs including a guy that later won a Nobel. (OK, he sucked as a teacher.) I was able to start research at the end of my sophomore year that resulted in two publications in J. Biol. Chem. It was like being in grad school.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:58 PM   #39
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It is very interesting to find that on a forum populated by people whose biggest dream for themselves is to quit working, their biggest dream for their progeny is that they attend big-time universities.

If the acorn does indeed fall close to the tree they would be better off becoming civil engineers or actuaries or nurses at state U, avoid debt and have Mom and Dad start funding a Roth for them right now. And get the first decent federal job they can get. Look around here and see how many of us are government workers or government retirees.

For most big time U. graduates, the ROI is not real impressive even if they keep at it for a normal career span. Today's costs are so great that IMO they only make sense if someone else is paying- a scholarship, an ambitious parent, the Army or whomever.

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Old 01-03-2010, 10:08 PM   #40
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LOL! My spouse is a civil engineer. Perhaps going to big-time university is a way to get your MRS or MR degree?

Which kind of university do you have a higher chance of avoiding a slacker and marrying someone with a high future income?

You certainly wouldn't want to marry a slacker who caused you to keep working past 35 would you?
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