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Public School vs. Private School

  1. Apr 19, 2007 #1
    What is better in terms of quality of education, faculty, environment and seeking good jobs: A public school (funded by state) or a private school ?

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2007 #2
    Sometimes it will vary by country
  4. Apr 19, 2007 #3
    I think it depends on the student. I went to a public university, but I have friends who've gone to private universities (one is also a physics major). Both my friends and myself have had great educations. I've found that a public university is better for a person who is self-directed, whereas a private university is better for someone who prefers more individual attention. At a public university, you'll be in classes with 200+ other students, your discussion sections are taught by TAs, and it's hard to get noticed. But there are also a lot of research projects to get involved in. At a private university your professor will almost definitely get to know you by name. On the other hand, there's a smaller chance of getting involved in the latest physics research (not that private universities don't have research projects at all).

    But really, it all boils down to what you make of it. A good student can do well almost anywhere, and a bad student can likewise screw up no matter where he goes. Certainly you should go to whatever type of university better fits your personality (large vs. small setting). But I'm pretty convinced that your choice of university will not make or break your career.
  5. Apr 19, 2007 #4
    My question was regarding the difference between public and private schools in US.

    Thanks a lot for the info !!
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2007
  6. Apr 19, 2007 #5


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    What's the difference between public and private unis?

    There is no such distinction over here in Europe.
  7. Apr 19, 2007 #6
    20-30k per year in tuition ;)
  8. Apr 19, 2007 #7


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    nice :biggrin:
  9. Apr 19, 2007 #8
    Ahem; no; comprehensive private universities don't exist. I am not aware of any 'true' universities with multiple faculties conferring Bachelor's degrees that are private, certainly not in the UK and probably not elsewhere in europe either.
  10. Apr 19, 2007 #9


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    :confused: What question/statement was that in response to? :confused:
  11. Apr 19, 2007 #10
    Of the five universities in Western Australia, one is a private Catholic uni which mostly focuses on Arts, Med, Law and Theology.
    The others have also the cool stuff like engineering, Phys+Math, Chem dadadadadadada.....
    In terms of how good the unis are in general, the private one (I reckon) is third out of the 5.

    (Side note: Maybe if you take the average of public here (1+2+4+5)/4 =3, then you get that the public and private unis are equivalent in place!)
  12. Apr 19, 2007 #11
    Getting noticed and having professors know you by name has more to do with the size of the school (and specifically, department) than public/private. Public schools have more than just the vast State University and private schools have more than dinky CostAFortune Institute of Technology ;) But like arunma said, its what you make out of it. If you like what you see at a private school, go there. If you prefer what you see at the public school, go there. They're not going to hold your hand at either place.
  13. Apr 19, 2007 #12


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    there is such a wide avriety of public and oprivate schools in the US that quaklity cannot be measured by that feature alone. The very finest schools in terms of quality do tend to be private schools, i.e. Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, but some of the top schools are public ones, such as University of Michigan, Berkeley, UCLA.

    One difference is usually size, as private schools tend to be smaller, but the classes may be larger. E.g. I took a Spivak style honors calculus at Harvard in a class of 135, whereas at UGA this class has probably a dozen students.

    But even within the same school there are great variations in class size and quality of instruction. The class I took was large so that one outstanding professor could lecture to all the students. Other classes in math at the same school were small and taught by grad assistants.

    One other common difference is cost. Since they are not subsidized by the legislature, private schools are almost always more expensive tha public schools. And the price has little relation to the quality. Mediocre private schools cost almost as much as the outstanding world famous ones.

    The student bodies may also differ, since many public schools are more open to average students from the local area, hence may contain many more weak students, but some private schools enroll weak students too.

    A public school is more likely to have a large student body, more diverse with respect to academic ability, with more low achieving students, and more group activities, like big football teams.

    But an elite private school may be more diverse in terms of international representation, and talent, a place where one is more likely to meet a variety of new people. But there are also small insular private schools, particularly religious based ones, where there will be esentially no diversity at all.

    The primary universal feature is that private schools cost more.
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