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Letsroll Letsroll is offline
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OT: Please me settle a debate - 10-05-2012, 10:51 AM

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.
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hanky1 hanky1 is online now
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10-05-2012, 10:56 AM

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!
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UrsaMajor UrsaMajor is offline
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10-05-2012, 10:58 AM

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.
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tommie317 tommie317 is online now
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10-05-2012, 10:58 AM

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
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socaliganbear socaliganbear is offline
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10-05-2012, 10:59 AM

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.
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SoCalBear323 SoCalBear323 is offline
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10-05-2012, 11:01 AM

Film is probably the only major that I would choose UCLA over Cal for.
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OskiMD OskiMD is offline
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10-05-2012, 11:31 AM

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.
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ColoradoBear1 ColoradoBear1 is offline
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10-05-2012, 11:49 AM

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'.
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SoCalBear323 SoCalBear323 is offline
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10-05-2012, 11:50 AM

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?
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socaliganbear socaliganbear is offline
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10-05-2012, 12:05 PM

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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.
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beelzebear beelzebear is offline
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10-05-2012, 12:16 PM

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.
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NYCGOBEARS NYCGOBEARS is online now
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10-05-2012, 12:36 PM

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.
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BearNIt BearNIt is offline
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How About World Rankings? - 10-05-2012, 12:42 PM

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.
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OskiMD OskiMD is offline
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10-05-2012, 12:48 PM

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.
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OskiMD OskiMD is offline
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10-05-2012, 12:50 PM

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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