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Thread: US top colleges - really that special?

  1. #21
    Welcome to Sunnyside Array Mondo's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    As someone who attends a "top 10 school", I'll make a few points.

    1.) Compared to my high school- the general student body is way more intelligent and talented. On the other hand, my high school was kind of dumb- so that may not be saying much. However, I've met a lot of incredible people here- people who are very bright and intellectually curious.

    2.) There are a lot of ridiculously wealthy people where I'm at- not everyone gets in based on academic performance- some people get in for athletics (I think we've had some cases in which a basketball player or two barely met NCAA academic requirements), a lot of legacies and development admits go here too. I never felt prouder to be middle class,

    On the other hand, I have some bright friends who are attending state universities for financial reasons- they could have gone to higher-ranked, more expensive private schools but chose not to. I'd argue that I'm having similar experiences to them academically- except I face tougher competition because academic standards are higher and there's a more ambitious student body.
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  2. #22


    Quote Originally Posted by Petra Pan View Post
    Here it's very important what are you calling an "average" school. I was mostly speaking of European vs. USA system. And also, whats a top school? Top 50?
    Haphazard gave a good answer to this question.

    My point though is that the quality is not that different in pure classroom academic terms. The math and science they teach at Harvard is the same math and science they teach everywhere else. The literature and history is largely the same as any other school in the US, because it's American and English focused. In a European school they are going to teach European literature and history. There is not a difference in quality though, just in what you are learning.

    this is not probably the best way to judge, especially as i am mostly interested in NF stuff and arts.
    What type of arts are you interested in? I minored in Drama and it turns out I lucked out being in a small program. I was able to get acting roles and be stage manager at various times. The Drama majors got lots of chances to act, and could even direct or design when they were seniors. I found out later that at a big school the graduate students get all of the best roles both on and off stage.

    In the US at least a small school is better if you are interested in any arts with a performance element. I have no idea how they do fine arts programs in Europe.
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  3. #23
    Don't Judge Me! Array Haphazard's Avatar
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    Apr 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by Petra Pan View Post
    it's quite known thing among international students wanting to go to US, that chances of getting in are bigger in Ivy Leagues and other tops, than in lower ranked, because of scholarships. So state schools end up more expensive than top schools for internationals.
    Well, state schools are supposed to serve the state -- thus the higher tuition for people out of state and general more difficulty for people out-of-state trying to get in. Private institutions have no such allegiance and have the same tuition for everyone -- despite this, there are an awful lot of students from Asian countries here.

    I'm at the school I'm in for financial reasons, to be honest. If money was no issue, I would be at this school's rival xD
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  4. #24
    No moss growing on me Array Giggly's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    Yes, they are.

    But there are top Universities all over the world.

    The top universities get a lot of money for cutting edge research and publication, which is invaluable.

    They also employ the best people they can to be professors to teach the students.

    The extracurriculars are just a bonus if you're not an athlete.

    This does not mean that every graduate will be successful in their career or even guarantee them a good job.

    You have to be special for that.

    There is some value in the name though.

  5. #25
    ¡MI TORTA! Array Amethyst's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petra Pan View Post
    So... are US top colleges, Ivies, and other well respected..(i dont mean only top 10...) really that special?
    By special I mean; would my development as a person really be so much improved if I went there?
    or they are overblown?

    is "if you want to get laid go to college, if you want an education go to a library" - really truth? especially the 2nd part???

    i dont know much, so any opinion and info is good.

    Some schools in my country are good (croatia) like medicine school, math university etc... but majority suck. And since I am not into some science particularly, or dont like *strong* academic (=SJ) settings... i have a feeling that i am missing more than someone who for ex. really wants to be a doctor because here the school really is good enough and majority you learn from books, so no THAT big difference between top US schools and medical school in Croatia.
    BUt if its something other, like needing very creative and flexible enviorment, which is something I wish I had, seems like advantages of US top schools are huge.

    Basically, I had an oportunity to go to any top university in US which I wasted because I didnt realize what I am missing. Lately I am really really sad about this. Feel like part of me died because I will never have good enviorment to grow like I could have.
    But not to make this into personal thread...

    just share your views
    It depends on what you want.

    If you want a good learning experience, then yes. It's worth it, for the most part. All top schools are different in themselves. I went to a very good school, but it isn't well known. I found it to be a complete waste of money, because I pretty much got nothing out of it and was miserable the entire time there. I could've gone to Georgetown instead and might've loved it....but who knows.

    Another thing I found out was that the school I went to was not helpful AT ALL!! The professors would just laugh at my questions and say 'Why did you even bother taking this class?' or I'd see paid tutors and try to see if the understood something and they had no clue what the hell I was saying. It was an environment that was mostly like 'eat or be eaten', and there was no one to help guide you.
    If you want a degree, no, it's not...but it also depends on where you go and what you plan to do with your life and your major.

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