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Ivy League *expensive vs. good private or state school

  1. Sep 17, 2011 #1
    Hey everybody, I'm a high school senior about to apply to college and major in some science (anything from biochemistry to physics to math). Princeton University is my first choice, but it's going to be expensive for my family and me, especially considering I will most likely go to grad school (probably med school). Several people have told me that there really isn't a reason to go to an ivy for undergrad, that grad school is more important. This seems somewhat true, but I really like the atmosphere at Princeton. Going to say Mississippi State (I live in MS) just isn't as challenging as Princeton, and I want to be challenged and thrown out of my comfort zone. I also really like this program at Princeton: http://www.princeton.edu/integratedscience/.
    So what do you guys think? Is it really worth it to go to Princeton? Or should I just learn the same stuff at a cheaper university and focus on grad school?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2011 #2
    Just FYI, pretty much every top 10 school is going to give you a crapload of need based aid (some give full rides to everyone)

    Most private schools are going to as expensive, and way crappier.
  4. Sep 17, 2011 #3
    Two factors come to mind.
    1) The acceptance rate to medical school might be much better from Princeton that Mississippi State. You can probably get the rates from both of them.
    2) Princeton will give you access to equipment that a state school will not. My college room mate went from a state school to Yale and commented that the Chemistry department at the state school had an electron microscope and the freshman lab at Yale had twelve. Learning to use equipment can be extremely valuable in the sciences.
  5. Sep 17, 2011 #4
    @thomaslanny, yeah they give a lot of need based aid but what they're probably going to give us isn't really enough. We're in that income range where they don't want to give us a lot of aid but we can't afford to pay for four years of ivy education.
  6. Sep 17, 2011 #5
    I don't mean to be a downer, but you are asking this question 8 or 9 months too early.

    Apply to Princeton, apply to Mississippi state, and apply to a few other schools in between.

    Once you have your admission letters to all of these schools and know the details of the financial aid packages, ask again! :smile:
  7. Sep 17, 2011 #6
    It depends on wether you are going to medschool or a science gradschool, etc. They are very different things, and very different possibilities.

    Large state schools all have good research opportunities which will make it possible to get into a graduate school in the sciences, where acceptance is largely based on letters of recommendation from people you research with. I went to a top 10 graduate school in physics, and there were a few people who did undergrad in the ivies, but also plenty of people from large state schools (Illinois, Wisconsin-Madison,Michigan, etc). The key is to have an institution where you can get research experience- this is where small liberal arts colleges can be problematic (though some have excellent undergrad research, many do not).

    Medical school acceptance has a much larger academic component. Here is where going to the ivies can help you. My sister went to a top medical school, and more than half her class came from top tier schools (ivies, stanford, etc).
  8. Sep 17, 2011 #7
    There are many good schools that focus on STEM majors which can provide an intellectual atmosphere besides ivy league.
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