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Advantageous of private schools

  1. Mar 29, 2005 #1
    What is the difference between studying at private schools such as Stanford, MIT and studying at public schools such as one of the State Universities? Studying at such giant private schools is undoubtedly excellent for a student. What I want to know is that employer's point of view when he interview such two students from different schools. What do you think of the advantageous of studying at private schools over studying at public schools?
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  3. Mar 29, 2005 #2


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    Honestly I dont want to answer.. my answer may be wrong, it may be somewhat misleading, and it even may be totally unrelated to your question. But thats the answer I can come up with since i go to a private university..

    Edit: ok then. In private schools you usually either work harder and there is a competition among students which in real world translates to a more efficient worker, and there is a harder course load, which translates into a better, even if philosophical, understand of the subject. At some point in engineering school you realize that you will be learning for the rest of your life, and its no longer a problem for you - you simply dig up everything that you are interested in, and end up having most of your knowledge not from class rooms but from the library or the internet or some books you got on your free time. I went to a city college and had friends who went to a state college. For them it was usually about just getting by, sometimes getting by with good grades. No pun intended, sure you might end up knowing the material, but for general understanding and ability to contribute to the advancement of your subject you'll need passion for it, and passion comes from working hard on your problems, digging up the latest findings, talking to your professors about what ifs and how about's. At some point your psyche starts vibrating on same level and you are able to tap into some kinda collective unconscious on campus where you know you are a geek, and your fellow geeks are all downloading and uploading all the info into their brains around you. You wont necessarily learn it, but somehow somewhere you might have a 'philosophical' understand - the big picture concept - of how anything and everything works..

    I'm not sure if thats what I meant to say or whatnot.. :cool:
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2005
  4. Mar 29, 2005 #3
    you can mention your point of view frankly. Your ideas are warmly welcome. You don't need to care anybody here. Come on,man.
  5. Mar 29, 2005 #4
    well im not positive according to college level, but i know that private schooling is most often more benificial and of a higher quality than public| for instance from 2nd-8th grade i was enrolled in a private school and when i left to go to high school i realised how much better my education actualy was, most often it is the instructors are better, not so much the material, also alot of private colleges im sure can aqcuire more funding, thus newer labs for whatever field of study
  6. Mar 30, 2005 #5


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    There is a similar thread on this in this very section of PF titled "Do employers care where you went to school?". I suggest everyone interested in this line of discussion to read that thread.
  7. Mar 30, 2005 #6
    True, but I have my gripes with the competitive system (they are prone to making winners and losers based on status and placement etc). Sure, I might get a better education at a private school in terms of the ability to learn more advanced material, but that really isn't an option for me (cost considerations and all). At this point I don't feel that I have to compare myself to others in order to learn and understand the material; they may perhaps be better and quicker problem solvers and get higher scores on tests, but I will at least be able to comprehend the material and use it later.

    Yes, but that isn't necessarily true. I plan on going to a state university and I have a work ethic similar to yours, and I want to do more than just "get by." Sure, plenty of people that I know seem to fit your description, but there are exceptions here and there.

    That really depends more on the person it seems. I do this naturally, because my nature always questions the things that I do not understand. For instance in my calculus class, I make it a lot harder than it needs to be because I am compelled to know everything and anything about the particular subject being learned, and that tends to increase the difficulty factor (but it is gratifying to understand the material). It all seems to depend more on the individual philosophy towards learning the material rather than what university one attends.
  8. Mar 30, 2005 #7


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    Yes thats true. However a few points here:

    You will find more like minded people in a University setting like MIT, Stanford, etc, than any other place if you are looking for something like that.

    Dont forget - college isnt all about education and good grades - its about friendships and contacts as well
  9. Mar 30, 2005 #8
    To remark on this statement, I do not know about private schools at the college or university level, but private schools at the high school level are pure BS. I strongly believe that a public school can have the same impact educationally on a child as a private school can. In my program, there is a kid who went to a private school (Applebee, one of the "best" in Canada). His tuition in high school was more than in University, ($10 000/semester). Now that he is in university, his first term average was a %54.0, while I, who came form a common public school, have an 87.3% average, and am on the Deans List. I don’t want to brag, but if you have interest in the field and in education, don’t bother with choosing which high school to go to, if you put in the time, you will learn just as much as you would in a private school, if not more. This is not to say that you will experience more, in a private school you will travel more and do things you wouldn’t do in a public school, but in the long run, it doesn’t matter. The first time I heard this was when I was in grade 8 and I was talking with my Guidance counselor about going to a good private school. He told me: "there’s no point in you getting up, taking the bus every mourning and coming home late just to go to that school, a public school will do just as well".

    At the university level, it can be different since private school probably has better access to equipment and research facilities. But this is not to say that Public Schools don’t have this as well.


  10. Mar 30, 2005 #9
    well then perhaps private schooling is merely better at the elementary and middle school level, I'm not sure about nationaly, but i know at my high school they stress the teachers to actualy teach by adjusting there pay grade on a scale on how many pass|but of course this also leads to grading on a curb and more flexibility with assignments. But for public schooling before high school i know that they more often do just basic comprehension tests to see if you just comprehended it, where as at my private school they tested very in depth to the subject at hand than basic comprehension tests which to my experiance are more often issued in public schooling so that they can pass and get the school more money from the government
  11. Mar 30, 2005 #10
    The simple answer is that you're both right. There are some very good public schools, and some very good private schools. I would say on average, a private high school is probably better than a public high school. However, talking about averages is kind of meaningless, since you need to compare the actual schools. For example, the public high schools Bronx High School or Scarsdale High School will be better than the average private Catholic school in some small hometown. And there are public high schools in poor areas which have scant resources, and thus are fairly abysmal.

    (This is using the US definitions of public and private, as opposed to the British).
  12. Mar 30, 2005 #11
    To just show closure, yes I agree with juvenal on his statement, that it does vary depending on if your in a big city with more revenue to throw to the school, compared to a small town that can barely afford to maintain its basic infrastructure
  13. Mar 30, 2005 #12
    I would say that good pubic schools are harder to find than good private schools but my point is, if you are a person who enjoys academics, it doesnt atter which one you go to, you will get the exact same out of both. I prefer public better than Private becuase I believe there is something a public school teaches a person. Private schools are full of rich kids with all kinds of money. Not to say that all of them are snobby, but they grow up with a different view on life, sometimes this view is very fantasy like. They think things will always work out for them, that finding a job is soo easy, that it doesnt matter if they failed a test. I dont know, thats what I've seen soo far in my experience.

    By the way, the school I went to was called Applewood Heights, and it is the most diverse school in the world. We had 208 countries reprisented, and it was a public school. My physics prof. told me when I was applying to Waterloo "ohh, dont worry, every year we clean up at Waterloo". And its true, we had 15 students go into the engineering and mathematics program, and every single one of them is reanked to 20% of their class, 8 are top 7%. It goes to show you that a crummy public school can kick any Private schools as when you have a pot of diversity and collaboration in your classes, unlike in a private school where 90% of the kids are white. (By the way, I am white, nothing against rich white kids)


  14. Mar 30, 2005 #13
    One real difference between private and public schools is the amount of personal care you recieve. I have friends that go to both public and private schools (I go to a public one myself) and the general concesus is that private schools treat you a little better. For example, private schools are generally more leniant about the amount of time you have to complete your major, and the requirements on how many units you need to take per semester. Public schools are government controlled so their main focus is to get you in and get you out to make room for the next class. Other little differences are the level of quality of housing and student centers, that is they might not be as "plush" in a public school. This makes some sense, after all you are paying up to four times as much money to go to a private school.

    As far as the educational differences. It depends on what schools you are talking about. But a fallacy would be to say that private schools are better than public as there are many counter-examples.
  15. Mar 30, 2005 #14
    In my knowledge, public school for the BS/BA, then a great public school or private school for the MS/MA/PhD.

    Personally, I am doing my BS and MS at the same school, then PhD at a private school after I have real-world experience.
  16. Apr 5, 2005 #15


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    As everyone agrees it is hard to generalize, but we are trying to anyway. As to eprsonal treatment I found somewhat the opposite of the observation above when exploring where tos end my kids. I.e. in private schools locally, everyone was treated the same, as the democratic philosophy of the schools prevented recognizing that some kids are brighter than others. In public schools that is blatantly obvious so some of them separate out the brighter kids for special programs, not always available in private schools.

    Although private schools often had better teachers and a more supportoive environment overall, the cost was enormously out of whack with the relative academic value. I.e. with the cost at zero at a public school and good academics if you look for it, as opposed to cost in the range of $10,000 or up per year in private high school and marginally better although more uniform academics, you really have to be highly in favor of private instruction to think it is worth it.

    The main feature that decided me was safety. They had trouble in public school with kids bringing weapons to school, and that did not happen in private school. I.e. if a private school kid steps out of line they can ask him to leave much easier than in public school. So in the end I sacrificed big time financially to send my kids where they would not get stabbed, and would be also taught somewhat better.

    The difference for college is much bigger. Just compare the course descriptions at a school like Stanford or Harvard with those at a big state school. Those major private schools are like graduate schools at other places.

    E.g. in math at a big state school most kids will take a typical calc course like one from Thomas or Stewart, while at a school like Stanford the brightest kids are more likely to get a course from Apostol.

    On the other hand not all private colleges are the same in quality but they all cost almost the same. So at the college level, you pay a huge premium to go to even a mediocre private school, while a top quality school like Stanford is a much better bargain for almost the same money.

    Now again, at some state schools, they have an honors program, and if you get in the section that is taught from Spivak or Apostol, they will be happier to have you there and will try to treat you better than at Stanford.

    The biggest difference is in the depth of the talent pool in the student body, and in the level of standards allowed by the school. I.e. at top private schools, students are brighter and harder working on average, and the professors are allowed to expect top performance from them. Students are also more inspired to achieve highly by their peers.

    At state schools, the professors have to accomodfate more average students and cannot afford to flunk everyone out just because they do not want to work hard, so the student with a good work ethic has to look harder to find a suitable course to take.

    None of this prevents hard working students from getting superb training at public schools if they try hard enough. Excellent students come from everywhere and excellent teachers are found everywhere, but the density of them is higher at the best private schools in general.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2005
  17. Apr 8, 2005 #16
    Whether Private or Public will depend on you. You should ask yourself what are you looking for. From my experience, Public school has infinite resources for basically anything, thousands of student groups, every possible type of research/project, millions of recruiters, professors ranging from unknown to Nobel prize winners, and of course, cheap price. On the other hand, Private school has very limited resources. Private school however seems to care more about you, as opposed to public school where professors are mostly concerned about their works (or just think about teaching 500 kids at the same time---you simply can't pay attention to most of them even if you try). In private school, you will probably get a chance to talk to your professors on a regular basis, while in public school, your professors are probably out of town or too busy, so you end up talking to TAs way more often than you ever wanted to. I feel like I am just implying that most public schools are big and private schools are small (in size).
  18. Apr 8, 2005 #17


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    Again I found just the opposite. At harvard for example, the elite honors "Spivak" calculus course had over a hundred students and was taught in a large lecture hall in the chem building at 9am on saturday.

    At University of Georgia, the Spivak calculus class has about 10 students, and everyone knows the professor and everyone else.

    In my experience the large versus small class size question depends on whether you are at a research university or a teaching college. Although most if not all teaching colleges are private, certainly not all private schools are teaching colleges, or have small classes.
  19. Apr 13, 2005 #18


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    well iver heard that universities prefer you to got to a public school as people get better teaching and motivating at private schools. so if a university would prefer to have an A grade student from a public school as it shows that they are clever and have worked hard and are self motivated. but i would say that because i go to a public school. And you cant rely on teachers to even teach you the basics in some subjects, so if i do well in them then its beacuse ive worked hard, not because of the good teaching.
  20. Apr 13, 2005 #19


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    and at the moment im most concerned with getting into a good university.
  21. Apr 13, 2005 #20


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    I would say that professors care more about what level of accomlishment you have achieved, rather than how many obstacles you overcame to do so, but that is a plus.
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