*Big State U v. LAC*





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Discus: College Search and Selection: March 2004 Archive: *Big State U v. LAC*
By B18c1cx (B18c1cx) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 12:04 am: Edit

I don't understand the appeal to large state universities. The way I see it...

Big Univ.

-ppl know about ur school (that doesn't mean they think highly of it)
-Many ppl there aren't success-driven... you may get caught up in the lifestyle
-They are more fun socially (generally)
-Cheaper tuition, but only by 5-10k if you are out of state... also many "prestigous" big state schools have 4yr grad rates in the 30-60% range. You end up paying another semester AND wasting time in your life.


LACs

-there is more prestige (to me) in an intimate, academically challenging, small institution.
-Everyone there is going to do something in life... there are MUCH less burnouts.
-You know everyone at the school. Things are so friendly.
-You can't skate through a course, so you get a better education (I know kids @ UMD CP who basically do nothing, then cheat on every exam)
-They are prettier
-You can do more and be a leader at your school
-You are MUCH (I don't care what anyone says...it's true.. I have done SSOO much research on this topic) more likely to get into a prestigous grad school, which is really what matters in the end.


Someone please shed light onto what I am missing. I truely don't see the advantage.

By Metz (Metz) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 12:13 am: Edit

Some people don't want to spend 40k a year to go to a no-name college (obviously I'm not talking about AWS, but the non-elite ones) when they could get an education for 10k a year at State U.

By B18c1cx (B18c1cx) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 01:13 am: Edit

Don't you see though... the point is not the money...w.e

Doesn't the LAC situation seem better.

By Baltodad (Baltodad) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 08:59 am: Edit

If you are studying History or English Lit, a small LAC might be perfectly ok... perhaps better than a state university. If you want to study Physics or Chemistry, the faculty and course selection at the typical LAC will be miniscule and the facilities inadequate. If you want to study Engineering, you're totally out of luck. Want to major in Business or Journalism? You'll get a much better education at that big state university you mentioned.

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 11:08 am: Edit

Baltodad, you need to look more specifically at each school. For example, engineering at Lehigh; English Lit at Middlebury and Kenyon; history at Colgate, Franklin & Marshall and Dickinson -- each is among the best programs in the US. Physics and chemistry are quite respected at Colgate, Bucknell, Williams and Amherst. Business at Babson is extraordinary. Journalism and communications at Quinniapiac and Emerson are well-regarded. And these are only a few examples. I would recommend looking at Rugg's as well to determine which school -- LAC or university -- which offers an exceptional course of study.

By B18c1cx (B18c1cx) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 12:41 pm: Edit

While there are many LACs with exceptional programs in the forementioned majors, Baltodad did mention one thing I missed... BREADTH OF COURSES...that is true, a LAC will have less courses per topic.

Which brings me to my next point... Big schools are how-to mind drills... LACs "teach you how to think critically" as so many of them say in their mission statements.

By Farrahday (Farrahday) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 01:20 pm: Edit

Yeah, but not everyone wants to go to a small school. Most LACs have only a few thousand students. I don't think that going to a big school means not learning how to think. A lot of big schools have small seminars, especially in the honors program.

I don't know much about LACs, but it seems from what I've read that individual LACs tend to have one stand out department, but some of their other departments have only a few faculty members. Unless you have a very strong idea of what you want to do, it might be better to go to a school which will have a larger department no matter what you choose.

IT just comes down to personal preference.

By Chrisd (Chrisd) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 02:14 pm: Edit

Many LACs have a lot to offer, but the cost is prohibitive for many students. If you find that hard to believe, it illustrates what John Edwards said about "two Americas." The big schools are the only way that many US students can get a college education.

By Xyz155 (Xyz155) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 02:19 pm: Edit

No no no, I couldn't disagree with you more. First of all, "only 5-10K a year". I dunno about you but that's a lot of money, that ends up being a 40k difference and thats only if you are out of state at a school like michigan. Usually you end up spending much much more. LACs are only good if you know exactly what you want to major in. You do not have room to move around to different majors and LAC's barely even have that many majors to offer. "They are prettier". So you are trying to tell me that every LAC in the country is prettier than every state school. You obviously have not seen schools like UVA, W and M, Penn State, Michigan, etc...which have beautiful campuses. And yes everyone has heard of the Big State Universities and that is very helpful in the business world. My dad went to Vassar and no one has even heard of it or gives him any respect for it. My mom went to Penn State and makes a lot more money than him. Anyway, you are over generalizing way too much and quite frankly I find it very offensive. I could have gone to tons of LACs, many of them are much easier to get into than State Schools because they want your money but it was not for me at all. Yes, there are lazy kids at state schools but there are also rich brats that are lazy at LACs. College is what you make of it and I worked very hard in high school a long w/ many other kids at my school that are all going to state schools next year. Don't be bitter just because you can't handle a classroom that has more than 20 kids and are going to some LAC that no one has heard of it and you are mad because you are getting no recognition for your accomplishment.

By B18c1cx (B18c1cx) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 08:05 pm: Edit

xyz - ARE YOU INSANE!?!?

" LACs are only good if you know exactly what you want to major in. You do not have room to move around to different majors.."

LACs are based on the idea of taking a WIDE variety of courses. Most DO NOT allow you to choose a major before end of sophmore year. The majors are often nine to twelve courses deep.

This is an absolute joke. You could not have been more wrong. Read up...don't shoot off.

By Xyz155 (Xyz155) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 09:09 pm: Edit

Look B18c1cx I know I appeared insane in my post, I'll admit I went off a little bit. However, I know I am absolutely not wrong at all about LACs not giving you room to move around. That is the one huge difference between LACs and State Universities. LACs have a very small selection of courses to choose from which is why many people have to transfer to a different school if they change their mind because their LAC is lacking the major they want to switch too. I am not saying you walk in to school and declare a major your first day. Therefore, if you are an undecided student the LAC will only be able to familiarlize you with a limited number of areas. I know I am not crazy here B18, you can look at any college site and see about 15 courses listed for an LAC and over 100 for a large state university. If there was one part of my argument to disagree with it was definatly not that point. I told you before I kind of lost it with what I said. Many LACs are great if you know exactly what you are looking to major in, you absolultely want small classes, and you have the money or are willing to spend a lot of extra time working for the money to afford tuition. You just need to understand that I've worked as hard as I could over these past four or so years so that I could get into the large state schools that I got into this year, and then hearing your comments about them is just a huge slap in the face. I know I am not a genius like some of the others on this board, but the one thing that I do know is that I could not be any happier about going to a Large State University next year. I wouldn't want to go anywhere else even if I had the money. Just be a little more open minded, just because these schools are not right for you does not mean they are not right for anyone else.

By Xyz155 (Xyz155) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 09:09 pm: Edit

Look B18c1cx I know I appeared insane in my post, I'll admit I went off a little bit. However, I know I am absolutely not wrong at all about LACs not giving you room to move around. That is the one huge difference between LACs and State Universities. LACs have a very small selection of courses to choose from which is why many people have to transfer to a different school if they change their mind because their LAC is lacking the major they want to switch too. I am not saying you walk in to school and declare a major your first day. Therefore, if you are an undecided student the LAC will only be able to familiarlize you with a limited number of areas. I know I am not crazy here B18, you can look at any college site and see about 15 courses listed for an LAC and over 100 for a large state university. If there was one part of my argument to disagree with it was definatly not that point. I told you before I kind of lost it with what I said. Many LACs are great if you know exactly what you are looking to major in, you absolultely want small classes, and you have the money or are willing to spend a lot of extra time working for the money to afford tuition. You just need to understand that I've worked as hard as I could over these past four or so years so that I could get into the large state schools that I got into this year, and then hearing your comments about them is just a huge slap in the face. I know I am not a genius like some of the others on this board, but the one thing that I do know is that I could not be any happier about going to a Large State University next year. I wouldn't want to go anywhere else even if I had the money. Just be a little more open minded, just because these schools are not right for you does not mean they are not right for anyone else.

By Studentoflife (Studentoflife) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 09:19 pm: Edit

B18c1cx,

Reading your initial post, and this entire thread, it seems like the disposition taken is one in which the college makes the experience. I have to disagree with this viewpoint, simply because the college only has about 15% to do with your educational experience, and 85% has to do with YOU...how hard you are willing to work, how big your desire is for learning, and what length you are willing to go to reach your goals. The school really doesn't play as big of a role as you are arguing here.

You can "read" up all you want, but in the words of The Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Life is more than just a read through."

Peace

By B18c1cx (B18c1cx) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 09:59 pm: Edit

xyz - first of all I'm sorry for being harsh earlier..

but this time you are changing your argument. I admitted in this thread (above) above that big state schools have a much larger breadth of courses. I am not arguing that... and you weren't either (until this most recent post). Read what I previously quoted you on. That's what is dead wrong... not the amount of courses offered.

Student - I couldn't agree with you more about the college experience being made by YOU, the student. That's extremely obvious. The college does NOT make the experience... but like I said earlier, I feel it is a HUGE advantage to be in an envirnment where everyone around you is working hard in college and want to be successful in life. There are a lot more people who are in college to party first at Big State Us... I know too many ppl at too many big schools for you to disprove this.

To put it very simply...
I think the envirnment you reside in (your College) is also a pretty crucial factor in what you will do in college. If a lot of ppl you meet drink a lot and don't study that much... you're more likely to do that... if every1 around you works hard and is dedicated..you will do the same. There are many exceptions... but too many sheep. I have a friend who took a big scholarship to Rutgers over a few elite schools (Northwestern, for one) and is now a pothead who may fail out soon... if he went to a LAC....things would have been different... he tells me this.

By Xyz155 (Xyz155) on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 11:08 pm: Edit

Ok, so all people at LACs don't drink and smoke? I can assure you that is very wrong. Large State Univ. are not full of just a bunch of kids that are partying all of the time. Yes, there are many kids that do but there are just as many or more that don't. I also don't appreciate that you are assuming that every1 that goes to a State U. does not want to be successful in life??I don't even know where to begin in saying that it is just wrong to assume something like that. And your friend that you were talking about earlier, going to rutgers over Northwestern. I don't know if you are aware of this but Northwestern is not a LAC, it is a University. I feel like you have this image about State and LAC schools that are not realistic. As we have been saying before, college is about you and no matter where you end up it is up to you to make the most out of it.

By Studentoflife (Studentoflife) on Wednesday, March 17, 2004 - 04:12 pm: Edit

I know one big private University, that has enrollements of 20,000+, where students are focused and not out drinking and smoking pot all the time. (the school is BYU) I can even name a public state university where this is the case too. (see Utah State University, or U of Utah) And, I can name LAC's (with enrollments of 2K and less) where I personally know handfulls of students who are more concerned about drinking and smoking weed than anything that relates to academic/future pursuits. (see Fort Lewis College, Westminster College of SLC, UT)

I don't think any generalizations can be made. State, or LAC, you find all types.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, March 17, 2004 - 05:35 pm: Edit

I am pro LAC. I love LACs and tend to steer kids towards them. I agree with all of the pluses listed for the LACs and shudder at the thought of my son at one of the large state schools.

That said, I visited Penn State recently. I had never taken an official tour there nor had I ever meandered around the school. Incredible. So many options, so much to do and all so conveniently right there. Truly an unparalleled experience for college, a wonderland, a Disney World.

For my own private reasons, I still prefer LACs but I certainly can see why many kids want to go to their flagship school. Especially a school like Penn State.

By Winterfresh (Winterfresh) on Wednesday, March 17, 2004 - 05:36 pm: Edit

I would have to agree with Student. There are all types of students at all types of schools. You can't really argue that all LAC's have studious students while state universities are party havens.

I've been accepted to Hartwick College in New York which is a LAC and happens to be one of the biggest party schools.

By Xyz155 (Xyz155) on Wednesday, March 17, 2004 - 07:21 pm: Edit

Jamimom, very well put. It's nice to see someone that is willing to look at both sides evenly. I happen to be going to Penn State-main next year for business and you can obviously see why I am so excited.


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