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  1. #1
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Default US top colleges - really that special?

    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

  2. #2
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Top American schools are generally great for extracarriculars, they often have more special programs like internships than what the not-as-good schools have to offer. At the tippy-top, though, often all you have to show for it is a name, which can be useful if you're going into certain fields but otherwise unnecessary.

    I do not know about the cost of schools in Croatia, but the costs of schools in the US is hellishly, freakishly expensive. I got a lot of generous scholarships and aid and still I'm borrowing from my future. If you don't have to do that, then perhaps it's best that you didn't go.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Top American schools are generally great for extracarriculars, they often have more special programs like internships than what the not-as-good schools have to offer.

    Well, i know what extracurriculars mean,..but dont know how it really looks, the proportion of it, what's available and how eas (in top schools)?
    but that's exactly the reason i am sorry i didnt go, because here we dont have oportunities to try things besides our major. it's not usual, if you go for medicine you do only that. or math, or anything

    btw. in which school are you ?

    At the tippy-top, though, often all you have to show for it is a name, which can be useful if you're going into certain fields but otherwise unnecessary
    i am not that concerned about getting a job, i am more concerned about not developing as person as i could... i will never anymore have an oportunity to be in such top and creative enviorment, i suppose.


    I do not know about the cost of schools in Croatia, but the costs of schools in the US is hellishly, freakishly expensive. I got a lot of generous scholarships and aid and still I'm borrowing from my future. If you don't have to do that, then perhaps it's best that you didn't go.

    schools in Croatia are *completely* free, (if you get in which isnt always easy). but i would get full scholarship in US, this is why i am sorry i wasted it.
    i know it's stupid to look back, but recently i began to see what i missed.
    at least i dont want to stop my progress because i am not somewhere where i have good enviorment (and i am worried thats not possible!), and it was stopped for few years, or more than a few.

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    I don't know exactly what you mean, but I think there are a few schools here in the United States that have that very creative and flexible environment you might be talking about. I went to one of them and it made all the difference for me.

    Having said that however, a lot of it was due to the fact that I had my own very strong academic and intellectual interests, and I basically knew exactly what I wanted to learn and how I wanted to learn it. The advantage, school-wise, was that the school had a structure in place that gave me the freedom to do what I wanted to do. I was supported the entire way and that was what made the difference for me.

    However, as far as general Ivy Leagues are concerned, I don't think your development as a person would be that much improved as the only real benefit of going to these schools are the greater range of opportunities that are afforded to you by going there - professionally speaking, that is. Education-wise, you'd be getting pretty much the same quality as you would at any decent public school in the United States. If you are an intelligent and independent person, you will do whatever you want to do - the resources that are provided for you to do so is the key factor and in that sense, I don't believe there is a huge difference among most of the decently respected schools in the US, public or private. It's tough to make a comparison to schools in Croatia because I'm not familiar with the schools there.

    Basically what I'm trying to say is is that you get what you put into the experience, whether you're going to a community college or an Ivy League school. The only difference between those two groups are 1) the resources available to you and 2) the professional opportunities that are available to you. If you are clever and resourceful enough, you can make any environment work to your advantage so that you can grow as much intellectually as you so wish. No matter how good or bad the school, ultimately, it would be you who determines how much you develop, I think.

    I hope that answers your question.

    EDIT** - The second part is true. YES! What I'm trying to say is that YOU are responsible for your own development and that no school can provide that for you unless you have the ability and intelligence to do it yourself already. The only difference is resources and opportunities - which is marginal compared to your own desire to develop.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecondBest View Post
    I don't know exactly what you mean, but I think there are a few schools here in the United States that have that very creative and flexible environment you might be talking about. I went to one of them and it made all the difference for me.
    Yeah i know very little about schools in US; but I have a hunch that places like Whitman (ranked 28. i think) would be where i'd choose to go if i can choose again like few yrs ago.

    where did you go, just curious?


    Having said that however, a lot of it was due to the fact that I had my own very strong academic and intellectual interests, and I basically knew exactly what I wanted to learn and how I wanted to learn it.
    well.. i dont have that. i have no clue what i want etc. this is also strong reason why i think going would be so better for me, bc i could find out there, try many different things, which i couldnt here. here you can try only 1 thing.

    The advantage, school-wise, was that the school had a structure in place that gave me the freedom to do what I wanted to do. I was supported the entire way and that was what made the difference for me.
    wow. that's what i am talking about.

    However, as far as general Ivy Leagues are concerned, I don't think your development as a person would be that much improved as the only real benefit of going to these schools are the greater range of opportunities that are afforded to you by going there - professionally speaking, that is. Education-wise, you'd be getting pretty much the same quality as you would at any decent public school in the United States. If you are an intelligent and independent person, you will do whatever you want to do - the resources that are provided for you to do so is the key factor and in that sense, I don't believe there is a huge difference among most of the decently respected schools in the US, public or private. It's tough to make a comparison to schools in Croatia because I'm not familiar with the schools there.
    yeah i wasnt talking about Ivy Leagues particularly... i dont think i'd choose to go there bc it has probably much snobbery which i like to avoid, and too academic sj settings perhaps. but anything with more flexible and creative enviorment -hah, sounds good
    and i am asking to see if i am idealizing the whole situation a lot

    as for Europe, it's very very different:
    in croatia.

    18 you finish HS
    then you choose college you want to go, and it's specialized. ex. if you want to be a dentist, or physician you go for stomatology/med school where you listen ONLY medical courses. Nothing else. Not even "croatian language", or math.
    then if you decide to quit, after 1 semester even if you have 4.0 GPA; you cant transfer it anywhere, you need to wait for next fall and apply to something else, go all over again.
    if you decide to quit on ex. 4th year, with all credits from first 3 yrs, you need to wait end of 4th year, apply somewhere else, and go all over again from first year, nothing of your 3 years will be transfered (that will probably happen to me with medicine and all courses i studied all fuckin day like anatomy, physiology,pathology,neuroscience...... will just disappear! ).

    so we dont have general requierments.

    Basically what I'm trying to say is is that you get what you put into the experience, whether you're going to a community college or an Ivy League school. The only difference between those two groups are 1) the resources available to you and 2) the professional opportunities that are available to you. If you are clever and resourceful enough, you can make any environment work to your advantage so that you can grow as much intellectually as you so wish. No matter how good or bad the school, ultimately, it would be you who determines how much you develop, I think.
    aha. what about competitive enviorment? if students are more talented in top schools, than in community colleges... it also makes a difference..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petra Pan View Post

    aha. what about competitive enviorment? if students are more talented in top schools, than in community colleges... it also makes a difference..
    In terms of getting a chance to explore what you're interested, you can very easily do that with just one helpful person and a library. I found that even in the environment that I was, once you signed up for a course, the course had its own structure to it and such that could be very stifling.

    FREE TIME is what you really need to explore where your interests are and develop and grow as a human being. As far as being around smart and intelligent people, I'll say this: there are PLENTY of people here in this forum who are, generally speaking, at least as intelligent as some of the students I went to school with, if not more so.

    More talented than in community colleges? Honestly, you might be surprised by my answer, but no. The proportion of genuinely intellectually curious people in community colleges are about the same as they are in the top schools/Ivy Leagues, in my humble opinion. The only real difference in the general population between these two environments is that people in the top schools are more ambitious and studious - and not necessarily interesting or intelligent. That is to say, they are very good at succeeding. If you want to call that interesting and intelligent, then that's fine.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecondBest View Post

    EDIT** - The second part is true. YES! What I'm trying to say is that YOU are responsible for your own development and that no school can provide that for you unless you have the ability and intelligence to do it yourself already. The only difference is resources and opportunities - which is marginal compared to your own desire to develop.
    aha. but why are resources marginal? i agree desire is the main, but i think resources are huge part. ALSO, resources can make your desire bigger. "you cant miss what you never had"

    look what i wrote in previous post about system in croatia. you think that system like that doesnt considerably cut my resources?

    also HS here are.. without any extracurriculars, no theater, drama groups, nothing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecondBest View Post
    In terms of getting a chance to explore what you're interested, you can very easily do that with just one helpful person and a library.
    Yeah, maybe. But it can also depend on your learning style, and mine is not from books, that's maybe the problem. Not enough real practice and i am not really a book type.


    FREE TIME is what you really need to explore where your interests are and develop and grow as a human being. As far as being around smart and intelligent people, I'll say this: there are PLENTY of people here in this forum who are, generally speaking, at least as intelligent as some of the students I went to school with, if not more so.
    i agree with this but i dont know where do most people go from this forum, you know, and intelligence is very hard to define, as we both agreed, i am in medicine and majority of people consider everybody with M.D. degree to be some lumen, i dont think this is the case at all, majority of students i go with arent at all smart just ambitious.

    but i dont know what's the criteria to get into some schools in USA, i know some have reputation of being creative places etc so i guess something is behind that

    also ratio of student professor and communication could be a big plus to some people i guess, depending on styles of learning i am sure it has something with that.

    but as someone who has strong dislike for any rules i agree that even the courses i choose to take could very soon become stifling
    More talented than in community colleges? Honestly, you might be surprised by my answer, but no. The proportion of genuinely intellectually curious people in community colleges are about the same as they are in the top schools/Ivy Leagues, in my humble opinion. The only real difference in the general population between these two environments is that people in the top schools are more ambitious and studious - and not necessarily interesting or intelligent. That is to say, they are very good at succeeding. If you want to call that interesting and intelligent, then that's fine.
    haha, yeah i considered this option too.. this is why i dont consider everybody with presticious diploma intelligent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petra Pan View Post
    aha. but why are resources marginal? i agree desire is the main, but i think resources are huge part.

    look what i wrote in previous post about system in croatia. you think that system like that doesnt considerably cut my resources?

    also HS here are.. without any extracurriculars, no theater, drama groups, nothing.
    Yeah, maybe resources can make a big difference. But if you're resourceful enough, you can find what you're looking for depending on what you're interested in. Though if you're into theater/drama, then that definitely would be a bigger struggle. It may just be that I took my resources for granted.

    I don't want you to regret your decision, basically. Just because you didn't decide to go to school in the US, doesn't mean you can't start pursuing your interests right now. Yes, in retrospect, maybe there are more resources available at some of the schools here, but it doesn't mean you can't find your own way with enough drive and willpower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petra Pan View Post
    i am in medicine and majority of people consider everybody with M.D. degree to be some lumen, i dont think this is the case at all, majority of students i go with arent at all smart just ambitious.
    You'll find its the same here in the US that the best schools house the most ambitious students and not necessarily the most intelligent.

    but i dont know what's the criteria to get into some schools in USA, i know some have reputation of being creative places etc so i guess something is behind that

    also ratio of student professor and communication could be a big plus to some people i guess, depending on styles of learning i am sure it has something with that.

    but as someone who has strong dislike for any rules i agree that even the courses i choose to take could very soon become stifling
    All these factors you're talking about here will depend on the university. Even at the top level, all these factors are different depending on the school - so you'd have to look up each school individually. Every school is different.

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