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Thread: OT: Please me settle a debate

  1. #1

    OT: Please me settle a debate

    My son was meeting with his high school counselor when he told her he wanted to attend Cal because it was the no 1 public university.

    The counselor (a UCLA undergrad and Rice grad) said the ranking was true just as long as he understood it was relative to graduate school - not undergraduate. Her point seemed to be that unless he was planning to go to graduate school at Cal which less than 1% of Cal undergrads do then don't limit his possibilities. There are other public universities including Virginia, Michigan, UCLA and Texas which are top ranked too.

    Is she correct? And where does that no 1 ranking come from?

    Edit: the title should read "Please help me settle a debate.

    My bad!
    Last edited by Letsroll; 10-05-2012 at 10:53 AM.

  2. #2
    Cal actually sends more undergrads to graduate school (masters, PhD, MD, MBA, etc...) than any other university in the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Letsroll View Post
    My son was meeting with his high school counselor when he told her he wanted to attend Cal because it was the no 1 public university.

    The counselor (a UCLA undergrad and Rice grad) said the ranking was true just as long as he understood it was relative to graduate school - not undergraduate. Her point seemed to be that unless he was planning to go to graduate school at Cal which less than 1% of Cal undergrads do then don't limit his possibilities. There are other public universities including Virginia, Michigan, UCLA and Texas which are top ranked too.

    Is she correct? And where does that no 1 ranking come from?

    Edit: the title should read "Please help me settle a debate.

    My bad!

  3. #3
    Rankings are based on a variety of factors. We are by far the #1 graduate school (public or private) by most criteria. While the "overall" rankings generally put Cal at the top, realistically, there is no such thing as a true #1. The counselor is correct that those other schools she mentioned (+UCSD as well) are also very highly ranked. It depends on what your son wants: smaller or larger classes? (Virginia is somewhat smaller than the others mentioned); which fields? (Cal is head and shoulders ahead of other public schools in engineering, physics, etc.) What else is important (probably going to have a better football experience at Michigan or Texas)? California v. going away? etc, etc.

  4. #4
    Besides your counselor being wrong, the public concept I think only really applies if the school you are applying to is in state, otherwise the cost difference is far less compared to private schools, so in essence the question and answer are not the right questions and answers for determining what school they should go to

  5. #5
    Well... Those others are top ranked, so she didn't lie. But the same applies to them. Without their grad programs, they are no where near the top. And ours stomp all of theirs.

    Don't pay attention to rankings. They're meaningless. Some rankings have us in the top 10, others, usually those which take into account class size, have us lower.

    Some people think small, nurturing environments are a better undergraduate fit. Those people would not rate us high. Some people think an extremely competitive, sink or swim education is a better cultivator of intellect and talent, we excel at that. Those people would rate us very high.

    Also, anyone here who has done grad work at an ivy or the like can attest to this, Cal alumni are battle tested. During grad school, I would constantly look around and think "you people would be sooooo disappointed with your grades at Cal".
    Last edited by socaliganbear; 10-05-2012 at 11:04 AM.

  6. #6
    Film is probably the only major that I would choose UCLA over Cal for.

  7. #7
    Rankings are pointless and don't really reflect the reputation of a school in the real world. For Cal, sometimes I've found it gets a lot of respect and sometimes less, primarily due to its being a large public university. I loved going to school at Cal but I will be trying to guide my kid (and future kid) to an elite private university. Even if not Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, some place like Cornell or Columbia would do just fine.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Letsroll View Post
    My son was meeting with his high school counselor when he told her he wanted to attend Cal because it was the no 1 public university.

    The counselor (a UCLA undergrad and Rice grad) said the ranking was true just as long as he understood it was relative to graduate school - not undergraduate. Her point seemed to be that unless he was planning to go to graduate school at Cal which less than 1% of Cal undergrads do then don't limit his possibilities. There are other public universities including Virginia, Michigan, UCLA and Texas which are top ranked too.

    Is she correct? And where does that no 1 ranking come from?

    Edit: the title should read "Please help me settle a debate.

    My bad!
    #1 public from US news definitely for UNDERGRAD. If it were for grad, it would be much much higher actually... as in top 5 in the world up there with harvard/stanford/etc.

    Now going to Virginia, Michigan, UNC, Texas, UCLA isn't going to hurt someone academically IMO, especially depending on the program. But for instance Cal has much better ties to the Bay Area if that's where someone wants to end up. And who wouldn't? If you want to kick it in Chicago for the rest of your life, Michigan/Wisconsin would/might have more pull than Cal. But in CA and the Bay Area, Cal has more pull.

    Paying for OOS schools is a different animal so there's that. You can't beat #1 public and even the now inflated tuition. But for sure everyone fits differently at different schools. If your son is a total douche bag, he would like UCLA better (just kidding, but it is fUCLA week), if he's normal and gets into UCLA and not Cal, that's a damn opportunity as well.

    I'm of the opinion that a lot of good students can essentially get the same educations at a number of the top public schools... but some offer better social life or community or whatever. We all know Berkeley is unique in some ways, but it's a campus with fairly dense populations of students of all types. Something a lot of the UC's miss out on due to their more commuter nature. Lots of top college towns offer great experiences too, even though the degree is rated 'lower'.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by OskiMD View Post
    Rankings are pointless and don't really reflect the reputation of a school in the real world. For Cal, sometimes I've found it gets a lot of respect and sometimes less, primarily due to its being a large public university. I loved going to school at Cal but I will be trying to guide my kid (and future kid) to an elite private university. Even if not Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, some place like Cornell or Columbia would do just fine.
    Would you prefer your kid go to Dartmouth over Cal?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalBear323 View Post
    Would you prefer your kid go to Dartmouth over Cal?
    There are only three Ivy League schools that hold a candle to Cal. The rest are inferior is almost every measure, save individual attention.

    However, Cal really is not for everyone. And it's definitely not the place it was 20 or 30 years ago. If my kid, as bright as he/she may be, needed tons of resources, tutoring, support, etc to get good grades, I would not push him/her to attend Cal. Life would be pretty miserable, and college should be fun. That said, I wouldn't waste my money on a glorified boarding school like Darmouth or even Brown. In California alone, there are better private schools than over 75% of the Ivies.

  11. #11
    While rankings aren't going away and have some basis, it's a bad reason to pick a school. There's also a lot of fishy business by schools going on related to ranking. Any way, given Cal is a fine, fine institution with a international reputation that pales to NO ONE, going there because it's a good school and Dad went there is as good as any other reasoning. BTW, I thought I'd go to UCLA but ended up at Cal, just like Dad.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by socaliganbear View Post
    There are only three Ivy League schools that hold a candle to Cal. The rest are inferior is almost every measure, save individual attention.

    However, Cal really is not for everyone. And it's definitely not the place it was 20 or 30 years ago. If my kid, as bright as he/she may be, needed tons of resources, tutoring, support, etc to get good grades, I would not push him/her to attend Cal. Life would be pretty miserable, and college should be fun. That said, I wouldn't waste my money on a glorified boarding school like Darmouth or even Brown. In California alone, there are better private schools than over 75% of the Ivies.
    I would say four Ivies are comparable ( arguably superior )
    Columbia
    Princeton
    Harvard
    Yale

    As far as international reputations go, everyone has heard of the other top notch public schools (Michigan, Virginia, UCLA, etc.) but Cal is a notch above and occupies the same rarified air as the top Ivies. With all of that being said, matching a student's personality and temperament to the right school is important. The brightest kid at Chico State is probably as smart as the brightest kid at Cal. It's just a matter of which environment is beat for them and the kinds of opportunities they want.

  13. #13

    How About World Rankings?

    Recent ranking this week showed Cal as #9 ranked university in the world.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19798897

    TIMES HIGHER'S TOP 20

    California Institute of Technology
    Oxford (joint 2nd)
    Stanford (joint 2nd)
    Harvard
    MIT
    Princeton
    Cambridge
    Imperial College
    California, Berkeley
    Chicago
    Yale
    ETH Zurich
    California, Los Angeles
    Columbia
    Pennsylvania
    Johns Hopkins
    UCL
    Cornell
    Northwestern
    Michigan
    Last edited by BearNIt; 10-05-2012 at 12:55 PM.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalBear323 View Post
    Would you prefer your kid go to Dartmouth over Cal?
    That's a good question. Probably not. All those Dartmouth kids have Harvard-Yale-Princeton envy like crazy. Conan O'Brien teased them about it at the commencement speech he gave a couple years back.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmDYXaaT9sA (at 06:56)
    Last edited by OskiMD; 10-05-2012 at 01:09 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by NYCGOBEARS View Post
    As far as international reputations go, everyone has heard of the other top notch public schools (Michigan, Virginia, UCLA, etc.) but Cal is a notch above and occupies the same rarified air as the top Ivies.
    I believe that UVa doesn't have much reputation internationally.

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