Life Without the Ivies? From Newsweek

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Life Without the Ivies? From Newsweek
By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 03:16 pm: Edit

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 03:45 pm: Edit

Youre preaching to the choir here, after all I sent my daughter to Reed the school where people either say "Weed? thats a druggie school isn't it"? ( At least they don't say Oregon? What is in Oregon? as some students report their peers do)
Or else they say " Oh cool..... My parent's wouldn't let me go there cause of the drugs/hippies/commies so I hadda go to the
UW / Yale instead.

But citing that really selfdriven people do well at little known schools or even without college is an easy way out. Most of us aren't harboring baby Bill Gates at home, most kids I think need a little external motivation to keep plugging along. My daughter felt that she needed more structure than her favorite school Evergreen could offer, great for really self motivated kids, but how many of us are at 19?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 03:46 pm: Edit

Preaching to the choir is OK.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 05:00 pm: Edit

Stark - Great article! Hope you don't mind that I re-posted it in the College Admissions section. While it's preaching to the choir here, I think some younger CC readers need to read it.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 05:30 pm: Edit

Carolyn, of course I dont mind.
You are a big asset to this board.
One of the biggest.

By Mom2003 (Mom2003) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 05:37 pm: Edit

Do you know that for many disciplines Reed has produced so many Ph.Ds. that professional conferences every now and then have a "Reed" session? I always wished I had gone there.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 05:45 pm: Edit

Dstark, as part of the choir, Amen! Amen! I am sending my son this link. He leaves for school in two days, and I think he would enjoy it.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 06:54 pm: Edit

I think it is good to help kids put things in perspective. Right now I have my hands full with my "adult" daughter, who is taking a year off from "weed" ( they are very (tic)upset that Lewis and Clark apparently beat them in the reefer madness dept recently), to retake Organic chemistry and get refocused. We are both frustrated and upset that this is necessary, but it has been good lately to hear from others who are now doctors and had to retake Ochem, and to also remind her that while she went to school with kids whose parents are college professors and who have degrees from ivy schools, she is far from, and we haven't been able to give her the background that those kids had growing up.
It is also getting close to when she is going back down to Reed for a week to work in the computer labs to help them start the school year, and I imagine that while she loves being there, it is going to be very hard for her.
I really appreciate having parents on these boards to get feedback from. Most of my friends now center around kids of my younger daughters age, or else are having such different experiences with their kids ( early pregnancy , drug use etc) that I think our problems seem pretty trivial.
It is so satisfying to have someone whose opinion I value agree with me, and even more satisfying to be able to help somebody

By Shennie (Shennie) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 07:48 pm: Edit

Emeraldkity - interesting message. My nephew started Reed, essentially failed most of his classes first semester and was asked to take 2nd semester off. He ended up taking a year and half off, and started all over again this past fall with a whole different major and focus. He had a very good year. The whole time he was gone he kept focused on the fact that he wanted to go back. He got a lot of support from the staff and from the students whom he met originally. I think Reed is a great school for the right kind of kid.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 08:08 pm: Edit

Reed is a school that doesn't show up well in the ratings. Why? Incredibly difficult, and they will fail you.
I have no idea why these are negative traits.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 08:08 pm: Edit

We will most certainly have "life without the Ivies" in this house. One of DD's criteria for her college search is warm weather. That rules out ALL of the Ivies.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 08:09 pm: Edit

Thumper1, does your daughter have any ideas yet about where to go?

By Spoonyj (Spoonyj) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 09:04 pm: Edit


Reed's long-standing dispute with the U.S. News rankings is legendary--or at least it was. Long before these rankings gained the stature they now enjoy, Reed felt the criteria were shoddy and misleading, publicly denounced the rankings, and ultimately decided not to make any information available to the magazine. This was a difficult decision, but one that the trustees, faculty, and administration felt very strongly about. They just didn't want to play the games required to rise in the rankings. The success Reed enjoys as a college is, from an academic and intellectual point of view, indisputable. Not only does Reed produce more Ph.d's per capita than almost any other academic institution in the country, it is third (or at least it was when I went there in the late 80s) in the raw number of Rhodes schools produced, an amazing feat given Reed's small size. All this underscores the misleading nature of rankings. Much more useful, of course, are books like Fiske and Princeton, in which Reed has always fared well. Why? Because these publications make an effort to go beyond stats, to actually get to know the schools they assess and describe.

One last point: Several months ago the NYT did an article about grade inflation in the nation's leading colleges and universities. Reed was singled out as one of the few colleges in which the median GPA has not risen significantly in the last thirty years. My experience certainly bears this out. The few A's I got weren't easy, but they felt awfully good.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 09:48 pm: Edit

Yes, our daughter does have some ideas. She has seen U of Richmond (hated it), Davidson (liked it), U of South Carolina (liked it and would apply to the honors college there), College of Charleston (liked it too) and Elon (no). She wants to visit Emory, Vanderbilt, Southern Methodist University, U of Miami, U of San Diego, and possibly the three main Pittsburgh U's (Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, and Duquesne) even though they don't fit her "warm weather" criteria. In addition to the warm weather, she would also like to be able to play her oboe and take lessons whether she majors in music or not. Right now she ranks 10/193 in her class with a challenging course load. She will be a junior and will take the PSAT this fall. I suspect that after that, her list will change. Her interests lie in science and math, and music. She is interested in music technology as a possibility (thus U of Miami, and Duquesne). Engineering is another possibility. I certainly would welcome any suggestions!!

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 11:28 pm: Edit

My daughter is getting alot of support from the profs. The ochem prof that failed her spring semester met with her regularly and says that she is a good student. When the ochem professor at the community college wouldn't let her retake the class there cause she didnt have a B in her last chem class, the Reed professor offered to talk to him. ( she is going to a different community college- she is still going to need office hours and she didn't need the teacher saying 'see I told you this was too hard for you")
I don't expect she will change majors, she is technically a senior- she passed her junior qual, and she really wants to write a thesis.
While many students do very well attending school on the other side of the country, it has been a blessing that she can go visit campus and that it is easy for friends to come up here. Not that she did so when she was living there too much, but this year, it will make it easier to go back.
( And of course she can't miss Renn faire and graduation, if we lived in Boston that would have been more tricky to do- particulary since the community college won't be over for summer yet)

By Anthony (Anthony) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 11:33 pm: Edit

Quote from the article:

"Getting into a brand-name school does notimprove your life. A 1999 study by Mellon Foundation researcher Stacy Berg Dale and Princeton economist Alan B. Krueger shows that students with the char-acter traits that bring success in life—persistence, charm, humor—are doing just as well financially 20 years after college graduation regardless of whether they went to a college with high average SATs."

I think it is very irresponsible of this author to mention the *ONE* study that claimed there is no link between college and lifetime earnings but not mention the twenty or so studies that show that there *is* a link, and not discuss the errors with the Krueger study that other researchers have commented on.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 11:45 pm: Edit

Which studies are out there stating there is a link between a particlular college and your lifetime earnings?
Can you provide any links?

By Mom2003 (Mom2003) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:22 am: Edit

I personally found the article unbalanced which acts as if all colleges are on par with each other. If that is the case, we would not have been singing praises of Reed in the posts above and would dump it in favor of U of Oregon.

Ratcheting down the college pressure is great and the basic message "Smart and hardworking kids do well in many situations" is terrific. But acting as if good research universities (or for that matter selective LACs) have nothing to offer is plain silly ... or a good example of talking in soundbites.

By Muppetcoat (Muppetcoat) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 08:44 am: Edit

FWIW, I've yet to go on a job interview where the fact that I'm currently at an Ivy school hasn't been brought up (by the interviewer, not myself). Even the guy at TJ Maxx this summer noted it. (I ended up temping at a Gov't Contractor, thank god.)

(AND, I don't even go to HY- I go to Penn, which nobody even knows is an Ivy)

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 09:40 am: Edit

Muppetcoat, there is a difference between an IVY league school helping you get a first job and an IVY league school insuring that you will have higher lifetime earnings than someone else.
The guy who wrote the article graduated from Harvard.
His boss did not go to an IVY league school.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 09:54 am: Edit

As has been said too many times to count. It's all about fit. Finding the school that will help you reach your potential. No school comes with a written guarantee that you will make more money and have a better life than someone who chose a path with another school.

By Newyorker06 (Newyorker06) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 09:58 am: Edit

He's also a journalist, a career where only the very top people are financially well-compensated. The truth is, the traditionally high-paying jobs (banking, law etc.) are stuffed to the gills with Ivy grads.

That's why I hate articles pointing out that few of the ten richest people in America went to Harvard or Yale. The sad truth is that 99.9999% of people will never come CLOSE to experiencing that kind of wealth, fluky as it is. The fact remains that prestigious degrees are hugely advantageous to scoring a high-paying job that will put you well within the American upper-middle class, not a bad place to be.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:05 am: Edit

How many high paying jobs are there in the US?
How many IVY graduates?
I live on the west coast.
Not too many IVY graduates here.
I guess there aren't too many high paying jobs here either.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit

Actually, the percentage of CA residents who matriculate at H & Y is very high. The same may be true of Princeton and Columbia. The three cities in which the largest number of H graduates live are: Boston, NY, San Francisco, in no particular order.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:32 am: Edit

Marite, the percentage of Cal residents that went to HY can't be very high. Think about it.

By Newyorker06 (Newyorker06) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 10:34 am: Edit

I wasn't just speaking about the eight Ivy League schools. I meant to refer to schools that are generally considered "elite."

And you're right Marite. Cali sends almost as many kids to Harvard as New York (NY is 2nd behind MA in state representation). I'd guess that a good number of them eventually return to the left coast.

By 2dsdad (2dsdad) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:11 pm: Edit

The article is a summary (and a very short summary, at that) of the author's book, "Harvard Schmarvard", which goes into the points he makes in a lot more detail. Certainly a brief article like that can be seen as overstating the case. However, his points are worthwhile considering and serve as a counter balance to the attitude, prevalent among many kids and some parents, that if you don't get into one of 10-15 brand name schools you are doomed to be a failure in life.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:11 pm: Edit

Marite is right, it's just that we often don't know where a lot of people went. I walked into a play at my daughter's Palo Alto school with my brother, a Harvard grad, and he knew half the room! Ca is also one of the most represented States at "elite" prep schools back East.

By Mimk6 (Mimk6) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:12 pm: Edit

"the percentage of Cal residents that went to HY can't be very high. "

Well, no, but CA is the second most represented state at Yale.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:17 pm: Edit

Emeraldkity--This is the link for Reed's latest Princeton Review rankings:

Note that they are now 3rd for "Best overall academic experience!"
Lots of gloating about that over on the Reed livejournal community, I guess--they beat Swarthmore.

I love Reed's high standards--but... at the same time I do see other schools with high standards (like MIT) and better graduation rates. Is there something Reed should be doing differently? (I think more on-campus housing and better RAs might help, actually. What do you think?)

I just ordered my D's books for the fall: four courses, 56 books--lots of reading-intensive courses... Life as a potential literature major is not easy. I'm thinking a speed reading course might be a worthwhile addition to the curriculum at Reed.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:36 pm: Edit

Mom101, Marite is right. The percentage of Cal residents that have matriculated at Harvard and Yale is very high.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:39 pm: Edit

More on Reed -- it's ranked #53 in the new US News rankings -- pathetically low, esp when you look at the schools above it.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:45 pm: Edit

I think they have pretty good on campus housing don't they? My daughter has always had a single room, even without requesting one. She also had good luck with RA but they are generally her friends so their persepective can be clouded. She opted not to be an RA, but she was a peer mentor which she really enjoyed, something that I think should continue past freshman year. Mentors are for students that don't generally attend college, and the challenges don't vanish after the first year.
She figured out that out of the students who were in her freshman dorm 78% are still at Reed and on track to graduate 2005. Not a bad record, and some are still graduating ,just at a different school.
But Reed is very small, and I think even adding 400 students could add more classes and support for the campus.

Have you bought books at Powells? I think lots of students turn them in at end of term so you can get pretty good deals. My daughter doesn't have so many, but the bio & chem books can be very pricey, we often get them at Amazon. I think speed reading is a great idea, perhaps they could have it at Paideia?
BTW my daughter is going down( 22)Sunday to Reed and we are going down the Sunday( 29) stop and say hi, I have red hair and will have a black lab named Sadie with me!

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 04:48 pm: Edit

Dmd -- how much do 57 books cost???

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:26 pm: Edit

I agree that going to a top 25 school doesn't gaurantee success but I do think that your opportunities are much greater which could *allow* someone to be successful in life if you go to a top 25. Alexandre stated that her 5 bosses went to no name schools (in another thread). However, if you look at Ibanks (which is primarily the industry in which Alexandre worked) you will notice a trend - most Ibanks recruits the VAST MAJORITY of their employees from TOP 25 schools. This doesn't mean that someone not from a top 25 school won't make it. All it means is that by going to a top 25 school you'll open up more doors initially. I can gaurantee you that a student from Yale will *initially* have way more opportunities open to him in comparison with someone from a non top 25 school. I still believe, though, that many times its not about the school, its about the *student* and his or her drive, ambition, attitude, character, etc. However going to a top 25 school might help someone with these qualities to succeed more easily due to the opportunities that the person will have just by going to a top 25 school.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:49 pm: Edit

Rhonda--All of the books were available used at the bookstore. Powell's might be (slightly) cheaper but certainly wouldn't assemble them into a nice stack available for pickup and charge my credit card, too. The total was $475. The good news is that my son only has one (1) textbook for all his engineering courses this fall--the rest are instructor packages--and that one book he bought used from a friend for 2x what the friend could sell it to the bookstore for--and less than he would have paid for it...

Emeraldkity--Your daughter may have received some preferential treatment on the housing (and for good reasons, from your description above). My D went through the housing lottery, and it was questionable--from her not-so-good number--whether she would get campus housing at all for sophomore year. She's sharing a room.

By Spoonyj (Spoonyj) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 02:54 am: Edit


As I understand it, Reed's traditonally high attrition rate is a function of several factors:
1) Reed has always taken risks when it comes to admissions, allowing folks in who don't fit the traditional mold of accomplished HS student, but who seem to offer something distinctive and interesting. At times, this policy pays nice dividends, but often non-traditonal high school students turn into non-traditional college students. Reed attracts free-thinkers, and free-thinkers don't tend to graduate in four years. In many cases--Steve Jobs, for instance--they don't graduate at all.
2) For many years, Reed cultivated a sort of sink-or-swim ethos. Whether consciously or not, the institution prided itself on being an academic wilderness, intense and demanding, with pathetically few support services in place for its students. If you found your way, fine; if not, nobody was likely to rescue you. This was certainly the feel I got when I attended, and it came as a shock. Although I was eventually grateful for the responsiblity and intensity thrust upon me at Reed, I'm glad that the college has made great strides in the past fifteen years to improve suppport services for students. Although some crusty old Reedies might disagree with me, the rising graduation rate is a good thing, a sign that the college is addressing some of its past weak spots.
3) As much as Reed improves support services, it remains a place of extremes, where students face a high level of both intellectual rigor and social freedom. This bizaare and paradoxical mix of qualities makes Reed a distinct environment that just doesn't suit everybody. My friends who never made it through generally fell into two categories: those who believed Reed was a liberal, free-wheeling place and weren't prepared for its intellectual intensity; and those who were prepared for the intellectual intensity, but were turned off by the free-wheeling social scene.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 02:43 pm: Edit

pretty good description spoon but I think Steve Jobs did graduate from a ca school ( he only attended Reed for one year).
Plenty of my peers are attracted to the "free wheeling social scene" But I would agree that kids who aren't overwhelmed by the academics, would tend to be startled by the parties. For example a boy we know who is a physics major at Toronto visited Reed and was really quite shocked that there was drinking and smoking ( pot) in a dorm. His dad was really disappointed he didn't apply, but although they didn't pressure him to partake, he had impression that it was representative of whole campus.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 12:08 am: Edit

Emerald--I will be on campus briefly on the 27th; will not have my cream-colored standard poodle with me (is everyone in Seattle a dog person?)... oh well, perhaps another time.) Do you ever go to Marymoor with your dog? I see LOTS of black labs every time I'm there.

Spoonyi--I think your analysis is probably dead-on. Especially the risk-taking on the part of admissions, which my D adores, since it means the campus has LOTS of interesting people.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 12:15 am: Edit

Emerald--I will be on campus briefly on the 27th; will not have my cream-colored standard poodle with me (is everyone in Seattle a dog person?)... oh well, perhaps another time.) Do you ever go to Marymoor with your dog? I see LOTS of black labs every time I'm there.

Spoonyi--I think your analysis is probably dead-on. Especially the risk-taking on the part of admissions, which my D adores, since it means the campus has LOTS of interesting people.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 02:24 am: Edit

I haven't been to marymore with her for a long time. last time I went she was having joint issues ( she is 10 and has arthritis) and we were dismayed that it was difficult to get to the water without climbing over rocks. She is doing lots better since she has had thyroid medication, but I try and stay away from that whole area, usually go up to edmonds cause they have salt water off leash or else I just go to magnuson.
Not everyone is a dog person, but I am surprised at how many big dogs I see out walking her.
I think actually next time I will get a tad smaller dog although she is really sweet. She was bred for hunting and it took her about 4 years to settle down. I am looking forward to taking her to Reed, so many dogs there and Singha a golden retriver puppy is reportedly anxious to have a playmate. I just hope she doesnt decide to go swimming in the reed lake, yuck. We have a pond ( manmade) in our backyard that she thinks is quite the thing.

By Monydad (Monydad) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 03:43 pm: Edit

1) Reed: My daughter was initally interested, but between observations of her counselor & myself she was convinced to dismiss it early on. Counselor said when he visited it seemed like most students had some part of their body pierced, or hair of colors that do not occur in nature. I saw stats on the graduation rate, and concluded this was not the situation I wished for her. I prefer an environment where they want to help students succeed.

It's interesting, during her college hunt we encountered a number of schools that were obviously academic pressure-cookers, but also a number of equally or more prestigious schools that didn't seem to be, at least not nearly to the same extent. Any good school will be plenty tough enough anyway, why make it even tougher if you don't have to?

2 Alongfortheride:
Eloquently stated. I quite agree. It seems this perspective is not shared by quite a number of individuals who post on this board. Hence the obsession with precise rankings and the like.

3) Kreuger-Dale Study

This is the only study I've read about that makes any sense to me. They studied the results of individuals who actually had been admitted to schools of varying selectivity. To me this is the only data pool it makes sense to study. All the other studies I've seen referenced do not use a data pool of common admits, and therefore their results are of questionable relevance to me. The outcomes are different because the capabilities of the student pools were probably different in the first place, so big deal.

What are the problems with the Kreuger Dale study in your opinion, Anthony? Do any of these other studies that you say contradict Kreuger Dale use an equally relevant data pool- students who had been actually accepted to each type of institution? I haven't seen reference to any such other study up to this point. Please educate me.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 03:55 pm: Edit

What is the Krueger Dale study?

I think a lot of elite schools are easier than one would expect. I know someone who went to Princeton and said it was easier than his (public) HS. And of course, the running joke about Harvard is that the hardest thing is getting in, and the second hardest thing is flunking out.

By Monydad (Monydad) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 04:29 pm: Edit

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 04:33 pm: Edit

Part of the reason why elite schools may feel easier is that there is less hassle over course selection and scheduling than in high school; there is far less competition over 1/1000th of a point since being val or sal is irrelevant. It's right that it is hard to flunk out of Harvard (or Yale or Princeton or Stanford): there is a large support system devoted to helping students.

More important, the courseload is actually more manageable than in high school and there is not a lot of mandatory fluff. A normal college courseload is 4 courses per semester. Many CC student posters claim to be taking 6 APs, self-studying for several more and do enough ECs to count as full-time work. College is a sinecure in comparison.

By Mini (Mini) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 04:41 pm: Edit

I thought the most interesting part of the Krueger-Dale study was the last part: going to selective institutions either in either the 1,000 or 1,200 SAT range did not even get close to eliminate the income gap in the next generation between those whose families were low-income and those whose families were less so.

(After my high school, Williams, Oxford, and U. of Chicago were all a piece of cake. And I was only 125th in my high school class.)

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 05:38 pm: Edit

One of those millionaire books (Maybe, the Millionaire Next Door) states that the average millionaire in this country has an average SAT score below 1200.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 05:55 pm: Edit

Yeah, but keep in mind that:
1. recentering would have added 80-100 points to their SAT.
2. the most academically brilliant students are more likely to go into academia or R&D, which is not where one can make millions (even factoring in a Nobel prize ).

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 09:11 am: Edit

Marite - I understand what you're saying about the support system, but I think the little saying was coined as a way to make fun of Harvard's reputedly flagrant grade inflation (probably by MIT kids, lol).

Did you see the recent Newsweek article on depression among college students? It claimed that the overwhelming majority of Harvard students have some sort of mental health problems, which you wouldn't expect to be the case if H did in fact have such a great support system for students (I think this was based on a survey by the student newspaper).

Don't get me wrong, I would have been quite happy for my D to attend H (assuming she could get in, lol), but that would have been mainly for the "street value" of a H degree more than the actual experience there.

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:04 am: Edit

DSTARK- Maybe you are correct that there aren't too many IVY grads on the west coast. There are probably plenty of Stanford,Pamona,Claremont Mckenna grads,etc. Why? IMHO as long as people from the upper middle class that graduated from private schools are in charge of hiring ,private school grads will find jobs more easily than public school grads. Obviously, I have also seen state /public school grads with connections get jobs also and my guess is that there are more well connected students at private schools than public. All of this is changing with the more inclusionary society we have today. I know of two grads from Middlebury one is 24 (makes over $150,000 a year and another is around 35 and makes over $300,000 a year. Both are bright and well connected. They did get their first interviews solely based on connections! I also know three recent grads (last three years): Conn. College ,Boston College and Northeastern U that cannot find a job at all in their chosen field. All three are not well connected and came from middle class backgrounds. These kids were the first to attend private colleges in their family.

My view of the working world goes like this:it is not the school/college that you graduated from, but rather what class you were born into.(upper- income over $300,000 or breeding (and a student can be born into one and maybe not possess the other) It is the connections,education,motivation and form of breeding (manners, etc)that determines often whether or not one will rise above the middle class. Sure they are plenty of exceptions to this rule, but in the final analysis I have found the above to be the common denominator of success.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:14 am: Edit

Actually, the vast majority of west coast college graduates went to a state university. Do the numbers: 22000 undergrads at UC Berkeley alone, vs 7000 for Stanford, which is far and away the largest private college on the west coast. You can argue for Ivy equivalents, but it's not the same, because the culture doesn't emphasize elitism and who your family is in anything like the same way it's done on the east coast.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:17 am: Edit

Songman, in a sea of 30 million plus people there aren't many Stanford grads, Pomona or Claremont grads, or grads from private colleges. Only on boards like this do I see people that actually think upper management jobs are filled primarily with private school kids.
The East Coast must be a very different place.
Edit: I see DMD77 beat me to the punch.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:34 am: Edit

There are different meanings to "support system." I was alluding primarily to academic support: writing center, tutors, etc... As I said, it's just as hard to flunk out of Princeton and Yale: just look at their retention and graduation rates. Anyway, Princeton seems to have the same kind of grade inflation as Harvard, hence the new rule limiting the percentage of As in a class to 1/3. The main difference has been in the awarding of honors below summa, which is much higher at Harvard than at Princeton.
As for the majority of Harvard students being depressed, I don't know how to interpret that study. It depends on what time of the year a sruvey is conducted (right before exams has ti be more stressful than at some other times of the year). I also would want to have comparison studies. It's hard to believe that Harvard students are more stressed than at MIT ("where students have no fun" according to one faculty member) or Chicago ("where fun comes to die" according to T-shirts) or Caltech, where a significant number of students who enter do not graduate.
Another concern I have with that study is that not all episodes of depression are atttributable to the college experience. Of course, the aim of the study was not to attribute stress to the college, but to survey how many students needed help and whether that help was fortcoming. In another thread, there was some discussion of colleges' attempts to weed out students who might need recourse to mental health services (The young woman who committed suicide at MIT had exhibited signs of stress prior to attending MIT).
It's astonishing to me how much stress parents put on their kids by divorcing as soon as their kid is in college. One freshman I know nearly flunked most of her courses at Harvard because she got caught in the middle of a very ugly divorce. All semester, she heard her mom's side of the story. The weekend before her papers and exams were due, her dad showed up to tell her his side of the story. She was too shy to tell her profs what had happened. Luckily, she confided in her tutor who was able to advocate for an extension on her papers.

By Tubby (Tubby) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:47 am: Edit


Where did you go to High school? must have been a tough one!! tubby

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:06 am: Edit

Well maybe you CA posters are correct, but I like a challenge! Not to be a wiseguy but, I just checked 7 companies (fortune 500) headquartered on the west coast and there were plenty of private school and IVY names listed with their top management. Mostly east coast schools and Stanford. Santa Clara Univ. I do not know? Is it public or private?

So we need to define success a little more. The title of the article is " It really is possible to find success without attending Harvard, Yale or any of the rest. Relax, take a deep breath and follow these 10 steps" The author starts a paragraph with "Very few of the most powerful people in America went to Yale" and "Very few of our heroes went to Princeton" then goes on to list very wealthy individuals. So I was defining success as the more wealthier, powerful(business wise that is ha!)people. I maintain that you would find, excluding entrepreneurs, that the IVY/private college 1st and 2nd tier out number the public institutions. Yes ,maybe this form of school discrimination or nepotism exists more on the east coast. You could be correct just based on the sheer numbers that due to the excellent reputation of the U of Cal system there are plenty of powerful, big boys and girls that graduated from a state school. Let's try a small sample. Give me the names of 10 major companies in California e.g. large employers,that are public firms and I will look up the school records of top management.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:19 am: Edit

I actually think this whole comparison is meaningless. If we take for granted that there are regional preferences in college selection and in location after college, then it comes as no surprise that people from the NE will mostly attend NE colleges and find jobs in the NE, and people from CA will attend CA colleges and find jobs in CA. The fact is that there is nothing comparable to the UC system in the NE. Berkeley should not be compared to UNH or UMass, but to Yale or Columbia or Harvard. Irvine, however, might be compared to a NE college below Ivy level. So instead of discussing whether someone successful went to a public university or an Ivy, it might make more sense to figure out which of the UC someone located on the West Coast attended and try to correlate that with success--that's assuming that we all agree to measure success in dollar terms. I, for one, use another yardstick.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:25 am: Edit

Songman, it is your game. I am sure you can find companies that have many private school people in upper management.
I stick by my post.
The East Coast must be one elite, screwed up place.

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:31 am: Edit

Marite- I agree it may be an east coast custom only. I only brought it up for the fun of it but have clearly witnessed in New York City and Boston that the top private schools still reign supreme. (for top management jobs that is) Sure we could take this discussion to an infinite point by arguing that most of the top school grads are also motivated as heck and therefore it is motivation not the school that gets the "foot in the door: etc, etc, etc. I know of many unemployed third tier privates and state/public school grads that are unemployed. Maybe because they outnumber the IVY and 1st and 2nd tier private school grads. My point is that success is more class related a topic which we beat to a pulp on another thread a few weeks back. Oh well....let's drop this one one cares,uh?

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:32 am: Edit

Dstark- Generally I would say you are correct. In certain circles the East Coast is one screwed up elite place.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:35 am: Edit

Songman, you should move.

By Monydad (Monydad) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:40 am: Edit

The East coast is certainly different from the part of the Midwest in which I now reside.

In the last three years, two of the valedictorians of my daughter's private school turned down Ivy League acceptances to attend the local state university. This state university is not one of those that has status like Berkeley or Michigan. It is, however, quite inexpensive for in-state residents, and supposedly a lot of fun.

In my local alumni group I've been told that this happens all the time. Many people out here just don't feel that it's worth it to spend the money to go to a college more costly, and further away, than the state university.

My sense is on the East coast a far lower percentage of people would make this same choice.

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:53 am: Edit

I agree MONYDAD- Many people I know shoot for the IVY's or 1st tier LAC's first. Yet, I do not live in an upper middle class town. Just middle class with maybe 10% in the upper range. Our family did make the decision to opt for a state school yet I am keenly aware of the school nepotism game that is played here in the east coast. We felt that in order for us to make such a high investment in a LAC it should be worth it in the end for our son. Given where he is at at this time: maturity level, etc., it made no sense at all financially. Clearly though if I was asked (assuming all else is equal) "who would succeed to a higher level and at a quicker rate, an IVY and LAC grad or a state/public school grad"? I would have to say honestly that the IVY and 1st tier LAC grad would. Of course this is a generalization. Sorry that is the way I feel from what I have witnessed in the working world on the east coast. All of this nonsense is changing though with the more inclusionary society that we have today.

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:56 am: Edit

Dstark-Don't want to move for now. My Dad and sister live in CA and I have heard enough that I think I will stay here for awhile. Even though there is a bit of a class system here.....there must be one in CA also. There must be towns where people are snooty,big time social climbers etc. People are people no matter where they

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:57 am: Edit


What I am trying to say is that in CA, it probably matters whether you went to Berkeley as opposed to Long Beach or Sacramento State just as it matters in the NE whether you went to HYP or Conn College or Skidmore. That, to me, is more meaningful than comparing Berkeley or UCLA to HYP. I have actually looked into Berkeley for my S. As a non-resident, his tuition would not be that much lower than if he were to attend HYP.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 12:00 pm: Edit

Well, it's not that I love snooty social climbers. Au contraire. But in my few forays into the heartland, and in conversations with people who emigrated from the midwest, I have noticed and heard about a certain frowning on doing anything that would make one stand out or seem show-offy. Everything has its drawbacks.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 12:02 pm: Edit

People are people no matter where they live.
Here though, there is less about where you go to college.
Then again my kids go to a public high school.
I try to avoid the people who believe in a class system.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 12:22 pm: Edit


You must live in a very different community from friends of ours who moved from a NYC suburb to a gated community in SoCal.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 12:33 pm: Edit

I don't live in a gated community and don't plan to ever move to one.
Nor Cal is different than So Cal.
There are snobs here.
It is more money related than anything else.
Marite, are you telling me your friends live in an area where what college you went to is important?

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 12:35 pm: Edit

Songman, I'll bite: check into the school backgrounds of what I think of as the quintessential west coast bank: Bank of America.

Santa Clara University is a mid-range private school in Santa Clara, CA, comparable to Notre Dame or BC in Catholicism but not in academics, where it is generally considered to be mid-range.

By Mini (Mini) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 12:49 pm: Edit

If you want either status or networking where I live, you better be a Husky or a Coug. Nothing else matters. The Ivy Leaguers move away and never come back, so they have no track record. Someone might be impressed for the first 3 minutes over a cup of coffee, but then it will simply be "what have you done for me lately", or "what could you do for me soon?"

I doubt 1 in 50 people have ever heard of Brown. For my alma mater, it might be 1 in 75. For Swarthmore, folks might ask if that's a country club or the new gated community out east of town.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 12:50 pm: Edit


No. Elitism and snobbism is alive and well in CA, too. As well, NE prep schools do very well by CA families, just as NE LACs and Ivies have lots of students from CA. But I also think that in CA, it matters whether one went to Berkeley or UCLA as opposed to CalState San Jose or something similar just as much as it matters on the East Coast whether someone went to HYP or to a second tier private college.
The presence of so many private colleges actually lets states starve higher education. In MA, the state spends more on prisons than on higher education.

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 12:59 pm: Edit

Bank of America(BAC) now identifies its headquarters as Charlotte, NC. In addition they also let go of many of the CA management team after the merger with Nations Bank, no? And to add insult to injury it is a mix of southern,east coast (Fleet Bank just merged with BAC,Gifford is the #1 person and he came from Fleet!) and older BAC mgt team. More difficult for them to carry out any regional nepotism under the mergers. But this is what I found:

Chairman- Princeton
Vice Chairman- Washington Univ,Westminster College
President- Georgia State,Stanford (exec program)
CFO- Loyola and Univ of West Florida
Risk Officer- No report
Chief Acctg officer- Hofstra Univ
Prez- Consumer- No report
Prez- consumer banking- Resigned- no report
Notheast Dir/ strategy- No report

On the board of directors I found : Auburn U,2 Harvards,Moorehouse,2 Washington University,Mercer University, and Georgia State

So maybe you found one that due to mergers it was harder for them to play the nepotism game? Most of the schools are private though no?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 01:02 pm: Edit

Marite, I think Cal spends more on prisons than higher education, too.
I had no idea where my friends of the last 10 years went to school until my daughter was a junior.
Then the college talk started.
I have no idea if Berkeley, UCLA, San Jose State matter, but I don't hire people.
Where my kid goes to school, 50 of the top 100 kids usually end up at UCS.
A few end up at IVYs or Stanford.
Almost nobody ends up at a East Coast LAC.
I think most people think LACs are too small and are looking for a bigger university experience.
The good private schools in Marin (Branson and Marin Academy) do send kids to both UCs and East Coast LACS.
Different mind set.

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 01:04 pm: Edit

But Santa Clara is private none the less. Would you say it is 2nd tier or a 1st tier private school?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 01:11 pm: Edit

Santa Clara is solid.
Below Pomona, Claremont.
Below most of the UCs.
Below most schools talked about on this board.
Students that go to private Catholic High Schools may feel differently.
I do know somebody almost as rich as God that went there.

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 01:25 pm: Edit

I would say that in cali Santa Clara is below pomo,claremont,UCB,UCLA,UCI, UCSD, stanford,caltech and usc.

If it had a doctoral program it would easily be ranked in the top 50 probably around where UCSB. I'd say it would be between UCSB and Pepperdine. It has some excellent programs. I personally think that it is a lot better than pepperdine or any other catholic school in cali. By far the best catholic school in cali, no contest. I'm pretty familiar with santa clara as i went to a jesuit h.s. where probably 25% of my class ended up going to scu.

btw I'm not an SCU troll, I actually go to Penn and never applied to SCU b/c i wanted to go back east.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 01:29 pm: Edit

Santa Clara is 2nd tier private, recently up from 3rd tier. There is also a very defined pecking order among UCs. Cal than UCLA than UCSD than all the rest with Riverside being at the bottom. People hiring certainly know this order and how SJ State compares, etc. Is there less school snobbery on the W. Coast? No, it's just among different schools. It depends on the circle. At top private schools here elite colleges in the E. are every bit as popular as I found them to be in NY and CT. In CA few people are from here. Many, many of the private school kids are the children of parents who went to ivys and LACs. And as Marite mentioned, E. Coast prep schools are also popular in CA. It is the third most represented State at the NH school my daughter is going to. However, at a public HS my son attended, one of the top in the State, very few kids went to elite E. Coast schools. Each year, in a graduating class of 500, about a dozen go to Stanford, and then there are perhaps another dozen who go to elite E. Coast schools. The vast majority of the top students go to Berkeley or UCLA. I think this is for a few reasons. Pathetic college counseling leaving kids with little knowledge of schools outside of their backyard is probably the number one issue. A close second would be money. So much money is tied up in real estate for the average family that they don't feel they can pay what the private schools think they can. But the bottom line is that there is every bit as much of a pecking order among the schools people commonly choose from here. And anyone who lives in Silicon Valley knows that the bias towards hiring Stanford grads is enormous.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 02:37 pm: Edit

Marite, Songman, I guess we do have some people that believe in elitism, and hierarchies. Might as well stay where you are.
Mini, I know somebody that turned down Cornell, Berkeley, UCLA (I used to think these were pretty good schools) , and Reed to go to the Univ. of Washington.
She's very bright.
She just liked the school.
Maybe she will end up living there.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 04:22 pm: Edit

Songman: I'd forgotten about the merger with Nationsbank. So you're right--doesn't count. Although that list sure doesn't include many elite easterns.

I checked bios on another west coast company ( Gates (Harvard dropout), Ballmer (Harvard and Stanford), Allard (BU), Allchin (Stanford, UFlorida, Georgia Tech), Arbogast (UWaterloo), Bach (UNC, Stanford), Boyle (Creighton, BU)...
There's still a bunch to go. Mundie (Georgia Tech), Martinez (UPuerto Rico)... They list bios for several hundred people, so I just went with a few alphabetical people.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 05:22 pm: Edit

Fwiw, this year California is the second most represented state at Princeton.

I think Mathews is providing a badly needed corrective to all the insanity, but I still think there's a balance. Our state u. is rated #1 party school. Is it a sign of elitism not to want to go there? If so, even being a lifelong liberal (yes, I said it!) Democrat, I'll take elitism.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 07:25 pm: Edit

Dstark, Marin seems to me to be the most obvious wealth County in CA save for perhaps Orange. Even compared to Silicon Valley, the number of Porches per capita, the beautiful people so evident in designer duds in Tiburon....How has elitism here escaped you? Even my children commented on the obvious money there as compared to here when we were house shopping.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 07:51 pm: Edit

Aparent's comments remind me of an earlier discussion which suggested that in certain parts of the country, wealthy students go to the local university, brigning their BMWs with them. Local U may not be a top #50 school academically, but I'd conclude from those discussions that it probably has students every bit as affluent as those at HYP. I'll take HYP; at least, we know the academics at HYP are excellent and their reputation is not based on being party schools.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 07:55 pm: Edit

Mom101, The attitude is different.
It is possible to escape the thinking of your post of 1:29.
There is a large part of the population that loves the outdoors here. Mt. Tam, Stinson Beach, Point Reyes are free.
Most Tiburon people go to public schools.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 09:14 pm: Edit

I am amused by the number of people who think the large attendance of Californians at east coast schools is significant. Please remember that 1/10th of all Americans are Californians. It is not the case that 1/10th of all Ivy students are Californians. (Although, as far as I can tell, more than 10% of Stanford students are from CA.)

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 09:16 pm: Edit

DMD77, me too. We don't have a lot of math or stat majors on this board.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 09:37 pm: Edit

Sorry, where is anyone claiming that 1/10th of Californians attend East Coast schools? The fact remains that there are enough Californians who attend HYP to form a critical mass. Check the resumes of the folks involved in Saturday Night Live--a lot of them had their start at the Harvard Lampoon.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 09:48 pm: Edit

Californians love to stay in California. Witness Stanford being the number one choice of 80% of kids I've interviewed applying to my ivy over many years. But I'd be surprised if HYP don't have somewhere close to 10% Californians, the top prep schools in the East do. Dstark, I saw many more Porches than hiking boots on my trips to Tiburon and Belvedere. And private school numbers are no lower in Marin than the rest of CA--most kids in every county go to public schools. Seriously, the signs of wealth were musch more apparent to us than in the Valley.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 09:54 pm: Edit

Well, sure there are plenty of Californians at HYP. BUT most Californians, and most of the Western students, generally go to state schools. With 2.3 MILLION students in California public two and four year colleges ( and another 300 THOUSAND in private California schools, believe me, Californians in general could care less about a few Ivies or LACs.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:03 pm: Edit

Um, DMD and Dstark, sorry, but I do find laughing at others' thought processes to be a bit elitist, not to mention a few other things. Let me tell you that my initial response upon hearing that Cali was so highly represented at Princeton was, "Well, no kidding, it's a big state." But in the context of this thread, the fact acquired a different meaning for me. It became surprising, in light of the fact that some seemed to be claiming that Cali residents have no interest in our East Coast elitist institutions. So you see, I did have my thinking cap on after all. And it works pretty well, I find.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:08 pm: Edit

Aparent3, there is a different thought process in CA than nywhere else I've lived. The State is also a bigger mess than any place else I've lived. Enough said, but you've got to love the weather!

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:09 pm: Edit

The first sentence of my daughter's prep school application essay: "I am only a Californian by virtue of my current address."

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:19 pm: Edit

Mom101, I never said Tiburon wasn't a wealthy place. I'm talking about attitude.
Attitude is mental. You can't see it by driving through. Maybe you drove right by me on the Tiburon bike path.
I never compared percentages of public school kids to private school kids in other communities.
Don't know those numbers.
I do know that a majority of Tiburon kids go to public schools.
DMD, yeah but hundreds of Californians go to the IVYs and Stanford every year. Hey, maybe a few thousand. Forget the millions, let's look at a few thousand. That is how I would define the state's college age population... by the few thousand. (I'm kidding).

By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:20 pm: Edit

Aparent4, I was joking.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:22 pm: Edit


Like Aparent, I was reacting to the statement that people on the West Coast have no interest in NE schools. Yeah, CA is a big state. And it has thousands of colleges. But there are plenty of people who like to come East. Some even post on CC.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:44 pm: Edit

Marite, I have to say, the vast majority of the kids I know who go East are kids of non native Californians. I've always believed that this is a simple result of real estate prices here. People have no disposable income and kids seem to have traveled far less here than their peers in other parts of the country. My kids, who have live in the East and Mid West as well as CA, will tell you how different their peers are in terms of knowledge of what's going on in the rest of the world. They are startled that their peers mostly want to go to Stanford, about 3 miles from our home.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:54 pm: Edit

I used the wrong turn of phrase when I wrote that the percentage of CA residents who matriculate at HYP is very high. What I meant is that the percentage of HYP students who come from CA is very high, which of course, allows for the fact that they still constitute an inifinitesimal fraction of the total CA population.

The Harvard website has a chart showing the geographical origins of its students. 15+% come from the West Coast; another 15+% from the South, 18+% from New England and nearly 27% from the Mid-Atlantic. I could not find similar stats from Princeton or Yale but I'm assuming they must be quite similar.

In the NE, not everyone is dying to go to HYP. People realize, that there is plenty of choice besides the Ivies.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 10:59 pm: Edit


I know two people based in CA who sent their kids to Andover and later to HYP. They are both well-traveled, so it would seem to support your argument. But I suspect that people in the NE also stay close to home. It's just that home in NE does not include the UC system. At the same time, it provides a vast array of choices besides the Ivies. For my S#1, Brown was the largest school he was willing to consider. The rest were all LACs.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:00 pm: Edit

Also see note at bottom

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:03 pm: Edit

Mom101, it's sad, because over the years I have known quite a few people who moved to California and thought rather gleefully that they had been liberated from paying for private universities because of the excellent state system there (unlike here). Amazing how things change. Not that ours have gotten any better! Didn't we have a thread a while ago on the underfunding of state u's?

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:12 pm: Edit

Barrons, that's an interesting link, but it doesn't surprise me. 1)State u's on the whole tend to be much larger than Ivies, so I'm not sure how to interpret the percentages; and 2) I think in a very few fields, such as investment banking as someone mentioned above (although I know a lot of very successful investment bankers and not one went to an Ivy), an Ivy degree might matter. For the most part, though, attendance at the Ivies, little Ivies, former Seven Sisters, etc., is about an eagerness to learn and explore a variety of things, many of which -- arts, music, scientific research, the life of the mind -- aren't particularly remunerative! I believe much of the historic financial advantage of attending these elite schools has been derived from the fact that those attending were, by virtue of birth and associations, already part of the old boys' club. Songman says something similar above.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:35 pm: Edit

Mom101 and Dstark:

Mini posted an excerpt from the Sacramento Bee about the ACLU suit concerning funding for public education. To me, the conditions that it describes are shocking. How widespread is the situation?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 11:47 pm: Edit

The condition at UCs is unfortunate. In Ca we've seen a decline in public education that is astounding. I'd like to see Mini's post, what thread is it on?

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:02 am: Edit

I lived in NY for a number of years and the conditions of the inner city school there are abominable. It is no better where I live now either. Nor in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore, DC, all cities where I have seen kids struggle to learn in conditions that bring tears to my eyes. What a disgrace for this country!! We have feeder schools to prison and welfare. I cannot be as worried about the lower income families sending kids to select colleges when I see kids enroute to correctional institutes by the end of elementary school and where a kid is in danger at his school every day. The problem has to be addressed from the bottom level. Public school should be a sanctuary in a child's life not an ordeal, and somehow we do not think it is a priority.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:16 am: Edit

It really is pretty unbelievable what we've allowed to happen. I sit in classes hearing it explained in so many different ways--one more pathetic than the next. We have a higher high school drop out rate than we did 20 years ago! Our kids know less math and science than kids know in many third world countries. Danger in schools of all SES levels. Unreal.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:33 am: Edit

Marite, I was waiting for you to fix your phrase.
I looked at Mini's link.
I guess it shows where society's priorities are.
Doesn't speak well of us Californians.
Building casinos all over the state to help solve our problems doesn't make sense to me either.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 09:04 am: Edit

To get back to the point I was trying to make:

I have lived in Philadelphia, Boston, and the Pacific NW (with a very brief sojourn of a couple of years in the CA Bay Area). The West simply does not have the emphasis on family and educational pedigree that you see in the East. The first question you get in Boston is usually "oh, your last name is XX, are you related to YY," where YY is preferably someone off the Mayflower. In the West--both CA and the PNW--the first question on meeting someone is usually "where do you work?" and "what do you do?" Who your family is really doesn't matter is you personally haven't done anything.

In keeping with this attitude of "what have you done?", employers care much more about actual experience and what a student KNOWS than the actual name on the degree. (In general: I have encountered those people who are in awe of the MIT degree, but what they say is "you must have had to work really hard" (in general) vs. what I heard in the east: "you must be really smart.")

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 09:17 am: Edit

I agree with Dmd's statement about the importance of educational pedigree on the East Coast (I too spent a few years on the west coast). I have a friend who graduated from Harvard 40 years ago, and she says that is still what impresses people the most -- not what she has done with her life since then, but the fact that she went to Harvard undergrad and HLS. Kind of sad, but true.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 10:48 am: Edit

Native Californians seem to me to have the same awe of Stanford that the rest of the world reserves for Harvard. I've always thought it was sort of interesting because Stanford wasn't that great of a school 25 years ago and the UCs were really good then. Our local newspaper profiles validictorians from local high schools. An E. Coast ivy or LAC is rare and Stanford is standard.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:14 am: Edit


Well, Stanford is really impressive. I looked up the rankings for the graduate departments in the fields that are of interest to my S. They are all in the top 3. I sang the praises of first-rate academics, great weather, laid-back students to my S. But he just announced the other day that he likes changing weather and actually enjoys snow. He'll go to a local Stanford information session but I don't know whether he'll want to apply.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:19 am: Edit

Marite -- my D also was not interested in Stanford, although for partly different reasons. Its classics offerings were quite poor in comparison w/comparable East coast schools. But when we visited the school (spring of senior year when we happened to be in the neighborhood, just for fun), she said she did not like it anyway (I did -- I was ready to retire there, lol) because it didn't have the college feel she was looking for -- she wanted something more urban.

By Mom2003 (Mom2003) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit

My son claims he is going to Stanford because Swarthmore is too hard and Berkeley is too full of intense people. He is ready for a laid back life after a very intense high school. I hope he will be proven wrong and will actually end up working .... I think he is too young to retire.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:11 pm: Edit

Stanford is laid back. Many choose the B school over Harvard's for it's 4 day week and outdoor classes. It's a fantastic education though and a beautiful place to spend 4 years. Beware, many, like myself, choose not to leave.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:14 pm: Edit

Stanford can't be that laidback and still be an excellent school!

In certain ways, Stanford is similar to MIT. The humanities profs are absolutely first-rate, but there is not enough depth to the offerings in their departments.
One young man I know matriculated at USC. His parents immediately sold their house on the East Coast and moved to CA (they have family there, too). I would not mind moving to SF, but I doubt I'd be tempted by Palo Alto.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:17 pm: Edit

Parts of SF and most of Marin are way better places to live than Palo Alto.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:18 pm: Edit

>>I have a friend who graduated from Harvard 40 years ago, and she says that is still what impresses people the most -- not what she has done with her life since then, but the fact that she went to Harvard undergrad and HLS.>>

I read Conan O'Brien's Class Day speech of 2000 to my S. It nearly made him decide not to consider Harvard. It's a very funny speech. The funniest section is the one "And you went to Harvard?"

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:24 pm: Edit

Many E. Coast people who mover here are sorely dissapointed. The weather is only good for so much. There just isn't the feeling of community. I'm headed to NYC today to scout places as my son has only one year left of school here and my daughter, headed to the E. Coast for school, swares she'll never live in CA again. I looked in Marin and SF, but CA attitudes still prevail and the budget woes are going to keep things ugly here for years to come.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:28 pm: Edit

Mom101, you have mentioned you are considering moving in the near future.
Marin and SF are definitely California.
I have heard from east coast people the same thing about a lack of community feel on the west coast.
Where are you getting your PHD?
If you don't want to answer these questions that's OK. I'm curious.
Marite, how many kids do you have?
I know you have one that is high school age.
Do you have college aged kids and where did they decide to go?
Happy with their experiences?

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 01:29 pm: Edit


2 kids. S#1 just graduated from Wesleyan. He got a great education. S#2 is looking at schools right now. He has to go to a university with grad departments in math and physics, so it eliminates LACs. He also prefers not to go to large universities, so it eliminates some that are top notch such as Berkeley, Michigan, Wisconsin. And now he says he likes snow. So what's left? Yeah, HYPM, and probably Chicago if he does not object to the Core curriculum. Cornell is another possibility, though it would actually be cheaper to fly out to SF than to get to Cornell, especially since USAirways has just announced drastic cutbacks in service.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 01:38 pm: Edit

HPYM, Cornell and Chicago are not bad choices.
I have heard many good things about Wesleyan.
I used to be in touch with a Wesleyan grad that loved the school. His daughter goes there now and also loves the school last I heard.
What is son #1 doing now?

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 02:50 pm: Edit

Right now, he's thinking about grad school. He'll probably work for a bit, though.

There are many good things about Wesleyan and about LACs. But size matters; in this case, it was the small size and the somewhat limited offerings. My S was kept out of some courses that would have provided a better fit for him. On one occasion, the registration system kept him from enrolling despite the fact that he logged into the system as soon as he could. In another case, he changed his mind after pre-registration when he realized the course would be more advanced than he would be comfortable. Sure enough, he struggled in that course. I also thought that the lack of TAs was sometimes a drawback. A few of his classes had 40+ students, making discussion awkward, if not impossible.In the two classes he was shut out of, again, having TAs and sections would have allowed the profs to let in more students.
But these issues aside, he got a great education.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:04 pm: Edit

Marite, I like to read about the good and the bad so thanks for the post.
And overall, the experience was great.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:10 pm: Edit

That's interesting Marite, I've heard that Wesleyan has had some budget woes in the past, do you think that impacted your son's experience, ie, we can't add a section of this popular class because we don't have enough profs, so we'll just have 40+ students?
40 is a lot in a discussion based class, especially at those prices - was this a frosh or foundation course?
My husband and I have really pushed the importance of small class size - we went to a moderate size state Uni, but a third tier that had very small class sizes, and that made a real difference in our education. I realize that basic science courses will have larger classes, but not the discussion/humanities classes.

By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:31 pm: Edit

Dstark said: Marite, Songman, I guess we do have some people that believe in elitism, and hierarchies. Might as well stay where you are.

What are you saying? Did I say I believe in elitism? I believe that I said or implied that it exists. Generally in the form of corporate nepotism. The one area where I have witnessed it firsthand. And I am staying put in MA. I love it here despite the elitism,snobbery Ivy league school nonsense ,etc.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:35 pm: Edit

I was referring to Mom101's post at 01:29, Tuesday.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:36 pm: Edit

Wesleyan is in the middle of a fundraising campaign which, I believe, is quite successful. It has added some professorships in the sciences. At Commencement, I read up on new tenures, and they seemed all very impressive.

I don't think that financial concerns had an effect on my S's experience. Anywhere one goes, there will be some classes that are more popular than others. In a LAC, which, by definition does not have graduate student TAs, this can be an issue, as my S found. I doubt that a university would hire another prof specializing in, say, French history, just because the course in modern French history is oversubscribed (it does not happen in large universities either). Nor can universities predict demand. A couple of years ago, right after 9/11, I met someone who taught at a community college. She is a specialist in Middle Eastern studies. She told me that, overnight, her class had ballooned from a couple dozens students to 125. She could not limit class size and had no TA. She had not yet figured out how she would handle assignments.

Actually, my S's frosh seminar was great. He loved it. Lots of readings, and lots of class discussion. He also had quite a few classes that were well under 20. As for his being shut out of some classes because of the preregistration system, this may be peculiar to Wesleyan. My S should have tried to discover more about the classes before signing up instead of afterwards, I suppose. I don't know how easily available syllabi are at the time of preregistration.

By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:50 pm: Edit

oh could not find that post?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 03:53 pm: Edit

01:29 PM August 24.

By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 04:31 pm: Edit

DSTARK- I think the key to Mom's post is that she said "In some circles"...I can vouch that in some circles in Boston/NE it is the same. They will turn their nose up at you if your kid is not attending a HYP or 1st/2nd Tier private college.

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