Skip to comments.Vanity - College Choice of a Previously-Homeschooled Student - Opinions Solicited
Posted on 04/06/2012 6:23:00 AM PDT by sitetest
I don't engage in vanities very often, but I thought this one might be interesting to some folks, and I wouldn't mind a little (courteous) input.
Some of you may remember that we homeschooled our two sons through eighth grade and then sent 'em off to a local Catholic high school. The older guy, who is registered here as swotsonofsitetest, graduates in June and will be off to college in the fall.
We're now coming to the end of the college application and admission process and it's decision time. I'm interested in folks opinions about that decision.
After eight years of homeschooling, he did very well in high school, received very high scores on the SAT and his SAT subject tests, may or may not be valedictorian this year, and has pretty good (although somewhat run-of-the-mill and not-terribly-exciting, it turns out) extracurriculars. Thus, he applied to some top schools and met with some success.
He applied to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Washington Univ in St. Louis, Univ of Virginia, Notre Dame and the Univ of Maryland, College Park. He plans to double-major in civil engineering (where the school has civil engineering, otherwise mechanical engineering) and classics.
He is quite the classicist, more of a language guy than a math and science guy, but that's only a relative measure. He's very, very good at math and science, just off the charts in language stuff.
After months of application process, filling out FAFSAs, Common Apps, IDOCs, etc., it comes down to: Waitlisted at Washington Univ in St. Louis; rejected outright at Yale and Princeton; accepted to UVA; Notre Dame; Univ of MD; Hopkins and Harvard.
Although UVA is a nice school, it doesn't quite light his fire. We don't expect much by way of financial aid (we live next door in Maryland, and UVA is kinda tight with aid to out-of-state residents). He visited Notre Dame and prefers not to go to a pseudo-Catholic school.
So, it's down to Maryland, Hopkins and Harvard.
Hopkins had been his favorite through the process. Great engineering school, great classics program, great campus feel for him (lots of nerdy kids having a blast studying their hearts out). He met one of the classics professors there and they quickly hit it off.
Maryland had been his "safe school." I hesitate to call it that, because Maryland is not the school it was when I was young (party school that took most folks with a pulse and respiration). Today, the median CR + M SAT of incoming freshmen is over 1300, much higher for their Honors College and school of engineering (to both of which he was accepted). So, I will say it is his safe school in a whisper.
Maryland has a great school of engineering. Their classics program is pretty good, but nowhere near what it is at Hopkins and Harvard.
Harvard, too, was a bit of a dark horse, for reasons with which many posters here would be familiar. But they have a decent engineering school and one of the top classics programs in the country. Plus, it's Harvard. As well, the folks just exude a happy, pleasant, non-bureaucratic competence. And have made him feel welcome and wanted. Which is something Hopkins has not done. However, they only have mechanical engineering, not civil.
Anyway, the money aspect is worth mentioning here. Hopkins is coming in with a decent financial aid package, but it leaves $22K to me to pay per year. Ouch. The loans that my son would need to take out are very modest - a total of $5K over four years. This all includes a modest amount of work study during the school year for my son.
Harvard came up with a substantially-better package - $16K per year to me. Which is nearly affordable, LOL. It includes no loans (unless I want to borrow what I'd owe them) and modest work study.
Maryland is offering a full merit scholarship including full tuition, room and board, books, and a small stipend for educational endeavors such as research, travel, conferences, etc.
So, what do you think? His original first choice with great engineering and classics for $22K per year with modest loans? Harvard (can't beat the brand name with a stick) with good, but not great engineering, phenomenal classics for $16K per year with no loans? Or Maryland, with great engineering, decent classics and, did I mention, absolutely FREE?
You need to talk to PieterCasparzen.
Excellent, excellent point. Thank you for reminding me.
You should strike up a conversation with achilles2000.
Here, you are talking about an undergraduate degree in civil engineering. I wouldn't call that a meal ticket, just the first step in earning a meal ticket.
Do you think an engineering company will be more impressed with an undergrad engineer degree from Harvard or one from MIT right up the street? Or GA Tech? Or Carnegie? or one of the military academies?
Look at the ranking of civil engineering schools- where does Harvard rank?
Harvard connotes prestigious degrees in poli sci/int’l relations, law, medicine and rich legacies majoring in liberal arts. Is your son going to enjoy socially keeping up with the Harvard elites? Clam bakes at the Cape during weekend breaks?
AS for the snob factor,those employers who are impressed with the snob factor of a Harvard undergrad degree may look at his total family pedigree ...does yours measure up? Who do yo know? And then they hire some kid whose family they know, or know of, or whose Dad they went to Harvard with ..
In civil engineering, doesn't a meal ticket for life require a masters degree or more? Perhaps even a dual major
on the other hand, if he is or becomes hooked on “the classics”, then he'll need a PhD to teach and a rich sponsor to fund and “endowed” chair for job security
I had a boyfriend who graduated Penn State and went on to Harvard for his Masters in Middle East studies- great prestige. He ended up managing a Sears store in his hometown on Long Island. But he had some great professors at Harvard and got good grades in arabic!
Then he should get his engineering degree from MIT and take classics classes at Harvard!
I would have preferred Princeton so that he'd have been able to take classes with the estimable Robby George, but they told him to go fly a kite. Oh, well. Also, they have civil engineering, Harvard doesn't.
Fortunately for all lovers of things Yale, my son is not especially athletic. He loves the outdoors, riding his bike, doing lots of physical things, but any delusions of sports scholarships ended at the level of county (middle school) baseball, LOL.
He would have liked to have gone to Yale, in fact, he preferred it over Harvard, but again, only Harvard took him. And this after the Yale interviewer told him he was practically a shoo-in! Oh, well. If he goes Ivy, he'll have to console himself with a Harvard degree.
Baltimore's not a great place, but if you stay on campus, Hopkins is very safe. As well, even off campus, if you know where to venture and where not to venture, I don't think it's worse than other big cities. I live in Anne Arundel County, and have been in and out of Baltimore countless times in my life (not to say I particularly enjoyed it).
MIT, Georgia Tech and Carnegie have no classics programs. That's a deal-breaker.
The schools to which my son applied all had to meet certain criteria. Two of those criteria were that they had to each have a decent engineering program and a decent classics program.
Hopkins is one of the best compromises between the two - very good classics, very good engineering. Harvard falls down a bit on the engineering, but one of the saving graces is that Harvard students may take courses at MIT. And their classics program is better than Hopkins.
Maryland has really great engineering (probably not quite as good as Hopkins, though, at least not overall), but doesn't have anywhere near the classics program of the other two, but DOES have a fairly competent program. We know folks who have graduated from the program at undergrad and graduate levels.
Each school of the original eight to which he applied had both programs.
The school which was probably the best, with regard to these two specific criteria, was Princeton. But, they didn't accept him, so that's not a choice to be made.
“Is your son going to enjoy socially keeping up with the Harvard elites? Clam bakes at the Cape during weekend breaks?”
Sure. He's pretty flexible, cleans up well, and really likes clams.
“AS for the snob factor,...”
There is some certain amount of “snob factor” to which you're referring. But the majority of folks who go to Harvard are from more modest backgrounds. They're there because they scored really, really high on bunches of standardized tests, got really great grades in high school, and did a bunch of cool things outside the classroom.
To be sure, legacies and rich kids are overrepresented, when compared to the general population. But legacies are still limited to 10% of the incoming freshmen class (70% of legacies are rejected for admission), and the very well-off are less than a third.
“In civil engineering, doesn't a meal ticket for life require a masters degree or more?”
I don't think so. My brother did fine in his engineering career with a bachelors. My cousin became president of a large civil engineering firm in a large southern city with only a bachelors degree.
But not to worry, a masters degree is part of the plan, anyway.
Grove City College does not offer Classics (Greek and Latin).
A nearby church is one thing, a CSM program is another, but. GOOD CSM program is something else again.
A nearby church is one thing, a CSM program is another, but. GOOD CSM program is something else again.
He can get his undergad degree with double major from Harvard then grad degree(s) if he stays with engineering from MIT. Friend of ours really hit the jackpot. Went to MIT for doctorate, but ended up after first year doing his actual study/research at Stanford.
I don’t think so.
You are facing an easy IQ test. Here’s a hint: the answer is neither “Maryland” nor “Hopkins”. ;-)
Your answers go a long way to confirming much of PieterCasparzen's rants.
Here's an easy IQ test for you. The single question is, "How do you persuade people of the merits of your arguments?" Hint: The answer isn't, “Insult their intelligence.”
I grew up and lived in Baltimore City for many, many years and graduated from HS there Western HS on Falls Road.
The area immediately around JHU is not all that bad compared to other areas (the area around Johns Hopkins Hospital is a different matter) or even Glen Burnie or Severna Park or Brooklyn Park :) , but its not totally safe either, as if any place is now days. I currently work in a small town in Lancaster County PA in the heart of Amish country and believe me, its not completely idyllic; there are drug problems, hold ups, muggings, armed robberies, home invasions, etc. If your kid has good common sense and some street smarts he should be fine where ever he decides to go to school.
I know people who graduated with engineering degrees from both MD and JHU both good schools for engineering. But Maryland has a well deserved reputation as a party school; not to say that all kids who go there are part of that scene or that it doesnt happen at JHU, but its something to consider.
Personally if Hopkins is offering a good package Id seriously consider it. An engineering degree or any degree for that matter from Hopkins opens a lot of doors and offers many post grad networking opportunities that a lot of schools cant quite match.
OK. He’s social.
In that case, you all need to investigate the crime and party stats, as well as the prevalence of club culture, if you haven’t already.
Are you investigating the reputations of the faculty or the library size and contents of the U of M? Or the ongoing research in his field of interest?
I have this theory that the size and contents of the library and the research ‘stable’ of projects/faculty indicate the strength of the program. If that’s satisfactory, as a student, you then can get what you want out of the education - and become the owner of your education and the institutional resources available to you for the time you partake. What you do with that is your own responsibility.
Having gone to my grad school during a period when it had become a party school, I was upset to wade through the beer bottles on the sidewalk. So, I grabbed myself a carrel and holed up in the library, went to conferences, made contacts and, in general, made a nuisance of myself to those profs who appeared to have a lot on the ball and projects going on. Access to unpublished dissertations and draft articles in magazines were key to my own work as I moved forward.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to live around the university. I think I would have had to become a black belt had that been true.
On the safety issue, you'll get no argument from me. I don't think Hopkins is much worse than a school in any other large city. And the on-campus security is frighteningly (and creepily) good.
“I know people who graduated with engineering degrees from both MD and JHU both good schools for engineering. But Maryland has a well deserved reputation as a ‘party school’; not to say that all kids who go there are part of that scene or that it doesnt happen at JHU, but its something to consider.”
When I was young, Maryland was possibly the single largest potential AA group in the world, with 40,000 drunks. I exaggerate. But not by much.
But it isn't really a party school anymore. It started working on this issue, and the related issue of its academic quality, within a few years of my own graduation from high school in 1978. By the mid-1980s, they were already doing many of the right things to become a better school.
It's a big place - 27,000 undergrads and another 10,000 or so grad students. I imagine the number of hard partiers still numbers in the few thousands.
But it just isn't that sort of place, overall, anymore. For one thing, it's academically a lot tougher than when I graduated high school. Median CR + M SAT is about 1325 for undergrads as a whole. For the Honors College, which comprises about 25% of incoming freshmen, it's about 1410.
As well, Hopkins ISN'T offering a good package, and Maryland would be free. Tuition. Room. Board. Books. Plus a stipend for “educational opportunities.” In fact, Hopkins is considerably more expensive for us than Harvard.
My son can understand taking FREE over Harvard, but is having a tough time understanding paying a PREMIUM not to go to Harvard, LOL.
“In that case, you all need to investigate the crime and party stats, as well as the prevalence of club culture, if you havent already.”
I don't think so.
By “social,” I mean that he's outgoing, gets along well with others, is often well-liked, is often selected as the group leader, has an easy manner. By “social,” I don't mean that he is a deviant.
Maryland has very large libraries with lots of books and periodicals. In the millions. We know. My son has done research there on more than one occasion.
As well, Maryland's faculty are well above average in the quantity of per-member peer-reviewed research, and the school actually has its own peer-reviewed journal.
“I don’t mean that he is a deviant.”
By no means did I intend that. If he has been homeschooled, you have a watchful eye that won’t be there if he lives on campus. That’s all.
The campus culture is important.
Having seen the hangars on around various campuses, it is HE who would be at risk from those who do not have his best interests at heart. Such people and personalities can be hard to recognize if a person is unaccustomed to them.
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The keyword for the FREE REPUBLIC HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM is frhf.
Just curious, how did he get access while in high school? Lots of Universities don't allow access to people unless they are already affiliated with the program, or higher-ed faculty.
Also, you mentioned that the Hopkins prof had suggested starting your son with 5000-level courses (mixed grad/undergrad level) in Classics.
Purely nosy on my part -- I take it between the homeschool and Catholic high school he has mastered Latin and/or Greek?
His choice of school is not set in stone. He always has the option of transferring to another college if he doesn’t like where he starts and sometimes it’s actually easier to get where you want once you have a good start at another college.
However, starting out with a strong GPA is essential. Colleges tend to expect the first year GPA to not be so strong because kids are just getting used to college and don’t tend to do as well as they could the first semester or so. If he has a strong freshman fall semester, that will go far.
Exposure to the different courses required for his choice of major will give him an idea of whether or not he wants to pursue a particular career field. Two of my kids thought they wanted to do computer science but after the first semester, realized that that was not what they expected. My youngest was serious about biochem but landed in physics. What they want to do will change.
Since he’s undecided at this point (all my kids were sophomores before they knew what they wanted to be when they grew up) go the cheapest - or free - if you will. That way, he doesn’t end up wasting money simply trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life.
He also needs to plan out very carefully what courses to take in the event that he may transfer. Courses like calculus are pretty much the same everywhere and will count everywhere. With good planning, he can also double major. That requires being very careful in which liberal arts courses to take. He needs to take ones that will do double duty, fill the LA requirement for the engineer while being required for the major for the classics.
If he can do that, get a MA with 5 years of school on their dime, it's even more of a no brainer.
I would imagine any kid who can graduate from 5 years of college at 23 with both a bachelors AND masters would be pretty impressive to a prospective employer.
I do hear tell that Syracuse University has quite the theoretical physics program and while not Ivy league, is just one step below them in all areas.
However, it is NOT cheap and although it has quite a reputation as a party school, has quite a number of strong religious campus ministries. It's not hard to avoid all the liberal nuts there.
But then again, it is CNY. If he likes snow, there's no better place to be. If he doesn't, look somewhere else.
I think that the University of Maryland permits the general public to use their libraries.
“Purely nosy on my part — I take it between the homeschool and Catholic high school he has mastered Latin and/or Greek?”
He does pretty well with them. He taught himself the equivalent of high school Latin I in sixth and seventh grade. We gave him a couple of texts and Rosetta Stone, and he was on his own. In 8th grade, the high school he currently attends invited him to come take Latin II, to see if he liked the school. He went, took Latin II, got the highest grade in the class, and loved the school. So he was through AP Latin by sophomore year, and the Latin and Greek teachers have been doing independent study with him since. He took Latin VI for the National Latin Exam this year.
He started with Greek I as a freshman, and since there's nothing past Greek III at his school, again, he's doing independent study.
He's good with languages.
“His choice of school is not set in stone. He always has the option of transferring to another college if he doesnt like where he starts and sometimes its actually easier to get where you want once you have a good start at another college.”
Actually, his choice IS largely set in stone. If he chooses Harvard or Hopkins, and decides he would have liked to have gone to Maryland, instead, he will not have the opportunity to get back to Maryland with a full scholarship, including tuition, room, board, books, and an educational stipend.
Similarly, after having been admitted to Harvard and Hopkins, if he chooses Maryland, it will be very, very difficult to transfer to either one of these two schools, especially Harvard. Ninety-eight percent of matriculating freshmen at Harvard graduate from Harvard. There's just very little room for transfers.
“What they want to do will change.”
I think it's more likely he'll end up where he starts - engineering and classics. It's possible he might shift from civil to mechanical, but engineering is where it's at for him, in terms of a career. And classics is his avocation.
“Since hes undecided at this point (all my kids were sophomores before they knew what they wanted to be when they grew up) go the cheapest - or free - if you will.”
I'm not sure why you think he's undecided. He's quite decided - civil engineering and classics. Not one or the other, but both.
As well, if he didn't know in what field he wanted to major, I'd insist on Harvard, as it's the school with the best all-around reputation. No matter the field, no one is going to cast aspersions on a Harvard degree.
You're asking and I'm telling. I don't need to read any further to speak authoritatively.
Unless he is both astrally intelligent and utterly unable to physically qualify for military service, he needs to enlist now for at least two years to round off his ability to gain enough maturity to respond correctly to authority and develop leadership qualities, and have some money from it to pay most of further schooling.
If he only goes on learning how to go to school, when he is finished he will be entrapped in that system, and be as useful as teats on a boar hog, probably for the rest of his life.
Accept this opinion or reject it, but he is far past the stage when you ought to be making up his mind as to how to proceed. What's your problem that you need this FR community make up your mind?
With all truly sincere, concerned, and due respect --
Hopkins or Harvard.
Since Hopkins is the fave, let him go! You will see more of him as he will be closer.
Actually, in engineering, I'm not sure an MA is particularly useful. I know that at the baccalaureate level, Harvard has both an SB (BS - Harvard uses “SB” for Bachelor of Science and “AB” for Bachelor of Arts) and AB (BA) in engineering. The difference is that the SB, like BS degrees in engineering at most decent schools, is ABET-accredited, and thus, the graduate of such a program will be recognized as an engineer. This isn't so for the AB (BA) program.
Maryland's program provides a BS/MS after five years. These programs have become fairly common. Hopkins offers a BSCE (Bachelor of Civil Engineering)/MSCE in a five year program.
Harvard is a little confusing on how they present it, but I believe they have a similar program.
I think you son might become burned out if he studies both classics and engineering. In fact, based on my experiences at similar top schools, I predict that there is at least a 50 percent chance that:
1. He will not graduate with both degrees from Harvard or Hopkins or any similar school.
2. If he graduates with an engineering degree from Harvard, he will not have a career as an engineer. Most of my friends, and my brothers, and me, each with a degree from an engineering school at a top ranked university, do not work as engineers.
3. If he drops the engineering degree and keeps the classics degree, he will end up at law school. Everyone I knew with a classics degree (about 5 friends or so) went to law school.
You have a tough choice, but in our family we would lean towards the reputable state school with the assumption that graduate school is on the way (medical school, business school, law school, doctorate in a technical area).
Reading, now, from the oldest to the latest response, this is the first really wise recommendation I have seen up to this point.
(B. S. Eng'r, M. S., Ph. D., Post Doc; Member of Eng'r Staff - GE Semiconductor Products Dept.; Sr. Research Scientist -- E. I du Pont de Nemours, Electronics Div.; Hon. Disch. U. S, Army, Sgt. E-5 1962-- Infantry, MG Squad Leader)(now 75 years old & learning Koine Greek, 15 yrs exp. as computer technician)
Hillsdale College in Michigan, a no nonsense private Conservative place to educate your kids......
You can go with the big names, and they look good on resume's, but if 3/4 of the stuff they teach is crap, your kid will learn exactly that.
Corporate HR depts. utilize professional recruiters when searching for supervisory, managerial and executive personnel. The recruiters provide HR with resume's and HR then gives them to the dept. manager who is tasked with selecting candidates to fill the position he is looking for.
At that point in time, the manager will likely choose any resume's that show the applicant was a graduate of his own alma mater....So the University of Michigan manager will care less if your son graduated from Harvard or Maryland.......That's not saying the manager will only hire a grad from his university but rather the applicant from his university will have a slightly better chance in getting an interview than someone from another school........that's just the way it is.
With that being said, you need to focus on the education your son is going to receive rather than the NAME of the university he decides to attend.
So in the grand scheme of career employment, it's not where you went to school but rather what you were taught.........
FWIW, I spent 25 years in HR at our manufacturing plant in Detroit then 9 more years at our corporate offices in Troy so I'm kinda aware of how these things work.
OK. I can see that where he starts pretty much determines it. Our financial situation allowed for transfers between colleges. My oldest two did graduate from their first choice. My youngest had every intention of sticking with her first choice but it did not really provide anything she found she was really interested in so she transferred after her first year.
I was thinking of his changing his mind more in terms of between the fields of engineering and I was under the impression that he was undecided about choosing between some engineering and the classics, as an either/or thing. A double major would be very impressive to grad schools.
My son is in engineering and it took him a year to get the flavor of all the fields to pick one. He ended up choosing telecommunications engineering because it was the field which was most likely to provide a job. There’s a general shortage of telecom engineering graduates compared to the other fields. His choice of degree has already landed him one internship already.
My youngest daughter was torn between math and science and art and photography. She’s great in both but what she did, with our encouragement, was choose the science/math related degree simply because it provides a better chance of being able to support herself with it. She can take the art/photography stuff as she wants and just do it as a hobby.
It was intended as a humor.
If he only goes on learning how to go to school, when he is finished he will be entrapped in that system, and be as useful as teats on a boar hog, probably for the rest of his life.
Homeschoolers tend to think for themselves. Their minds have not been programmed by the public school system. He will do fine just as my kids have without military service either, as he already knows how to educate himself.
Yes, there is learning how to tell profs what they want to hear for those courses for which it is necessary, but he will not necessarily be incapable of responding *properly* to authority without military service and I have no doubt that he will NOT be trapped by *the system*.
My son has a hard time with the idea of paying six grand a year more for Hopkins than Harvard, and having loans to boot.
As well, there are some scary aspects to each of these places. Maryland is huge. Harvard and Hopkins are really, really tough (Hopkins has a special reputation for grindingly difficult grading.).
Both Maryland and Harvard have gone out of their way to communicate that they'll do what they can to help my son succeed. It's that, "We got your back" feeling. We're just not feeling the love from Hopkins. It's probably between Harvard and Maryland.
“I think you son might become burned out if he studies both classics and engineering.”
Maybe. I kind of doubt it.
“2. If he graduates with an engineering degree from Harvard, he will not have a career as an engineer. Most of my friends, and my brothers, and me, each with a degree from an engineering school at a top ranked university, do not work as engineers.”
Is it that 1) you wound up with bigger and better (more exciting, or whatever) opportunities, 2) you decided you didn't want to work as engineers or 3) you couldn't find work as engineers?
My personal choice would be Maryland, but I grew up there, plus, it’s free.
Just curious. Had he checked into what those in the engineering field think of a degree from Harvard vs Maryland?
I’ve heard that within the engineering field, an engineering degree from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) actually goes further than an engineering degree from MIT.
MIT certainly has the better reputation but the person who made the statement found that RIT students had a better grasp of the practical, being able to apply it kind of ability and made better employees.
Those within the fields know the strengths and weaknesses of the different colleges and sometimes a lesser known smaller college can provide just as useful a degree as one from a big name university.
My kids also found that the size of the university is not really always relevant. The size of the department they’re in makes more of a difference because those are the people they will be spending most of their critical time with in pursuing their degree.
With regard to choice of majors, I'm kind of a mean dad. ;-)
I made him conduct a research project last summer, between his junior and senior year. He'd been very unsettled about things. That's not so bad - lots of kids go off to college with no idea in which field their going to major. But it was causing some anxiety. It didn't seem to me to be a productive attitude for his senior year.
As time has gone on, he's become increasingly firmer about his choices, especially as he continues to read about civil engineering.
He thought very long and very hard about what he might do with just a classics degree. He thought seriously about teaching, both on the high school and college level. He thought about careers in law or business (classics majors often go into these fields). None of those appealed.
But he still loves classics.
As well, in part because of credits garnered from AP exams, and in part because of the curricular flexibility at the target schools, he should be able to accomplish both majors without too much extra difficulty.
Then go Harvard! But if he really, really wants Hopkins, let him go...it is his life.
I went to a SUNY school on a full scholarship for bio, gently knudged there by parents who knew I would get the regents scholarship. I disliked the school and it wasn’t intellectually rewarding aside from my science & math courses which might as well have been autotutorial (organic chem actually was autotutorial but you had to pass each chapter with an A in the lab exam.) Sometimes saving money is not all it is cracked up to be.
I understood the intent, but I also understood the final effect.
“Just curious. Had he checked into what those in the engineering field think of a degree from Harvard vs Maryland?”
Yes. But frankly, views here have been all over the map. Your post demonstrates that. I'm sure there are folks who think RIT is better for engineering than MIT, but I just don't actually know anyone like that. LOL.
My brother, who has been an engineer for nearly 40 years, thinks I'm mildly insane to pay for Harvard. Maryland, yes. Harvard, no.
My cousin, who ran a large civil engineering firm for years, went to Georgia Tech. Great, great school for engineering. One of the best.
The problem is, with classics as a non-negotiable part of the package, Georgia Tech is out. No classics program. At all. So are a lot of other really great engineering schools.
Final effect? Let’s see...I took the time to write two posts that were obviously intended to be helpful, and then I wrote one in jest with a wink. You might consider whether your reaction is appropriate.
I appreciate your previous posts.
It's clear that you don't appreciate how you came off in the next one.
It also seems that you may not appreciate how much you look like the mirror image of the folks who are rabidly anti-Harvard or even anti-Ivy (or anti-elite anything). Like the poster to whom I directed you.
At this point, I'm a little turned off by the more absolutist views that don't appear to see that the final decision doesn't seem so straightforward to my son and his family.
Yeah, engineering and non-engineering interests and abilities just don’t very often come as part of the same package.
That's very true. I think that's part of why he got into Harvard and why Maryland gave him their top scholarship - both schools noted his dual interests in personal communications with him.
I think that's also why Hopkins has been a little disappointing - the classics people loved him, and wanted him to go all-classics, the engineering folks liked him, too, but were a little nonplussed by the classics stuff.
The funny thing is, I can see how each interest is really just part of the continuum of the same person, the single personality.
Your son's "quandry" is that he's trying to decide between three excellent choices: no matter where he goes, he will have to try, and try hard, to get a bad education.
All three schools will look very good to potential employers.
All three schools will enable him to get a major in the Classics; Hopkins has spoken of starting him with graduate-level courses.
All of the schools will act as a sufficient springboard to a Master's or PhD: Maryland and Hopkins in fact will give him a Master's in five years. Not bad.
The question to my mind, if you will bear my "sententiousnessosity," is threefold:
1) Which will give him the best undergraduate experience (friends, lifestyle, overall "feel" and atmosphere, accessibility of professors instead of TAs, ability to change emphasis within engineering, or major?)
2) Which is the best in terms of
i) absolute cost
ii) cost-to-benefit ratio
3) What does he want to do with his life? "Hands-on" engineer, climb the corporate ladder, start his own business? For hands-on I'd rank Maryland, then Hopkins, then Harvard; for climb-the-ladder Harvard would give an initial advantage, but corporate politics or other factors could negate this; for catapult-into-corner-office it's Harvard; Harvard would give "man in the street" cred for his own business, but within the engineering community, it'd be Maryland, unless he wants to work for a "Beltway Bandit" in which case both Maryland and Hopkins would be good -- the whole local thing.
His MBA-style decision tree will have to weight the probability of each of these factors and their relative importance.
As Zasu said in The Lion King:
(sighs) "Simba...Good Luck."
Then John Hopkins
If you don't wish to read it, go to the last paragraph of the article and click on the hyperlink for something written by an Ivy League grad about the advantages of attendance at Yale...though I assume it applies to Harvard as well.
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