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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Picking The Right College and College Tours

Interesting article by Thomas Sowell on College Admissions. The two major points from the article are:

1. If a student does well on the SAT's, they will get lots of big name colleges asking them to apply. The reason being that big name college rankings/prestige are based on the percentage who apply and are rejected (being selective is to be strived for - we must be good, because we only admitted 15% of those who applied - being the logic).

2. Larger Universities often for undergraduates do not do as good a teaching job as smaller colleges. Since at the larger universities, undergraduate, especially beginning classes, are often taught by teaching assistants or in huge auditoriums. The focus of the world class professors is research, since they are measured on that (publish or perish).

In California I have often said for undergraduate the Cal State do a great job, but for Master's UC's are much better. The example the author had was Harvey Mudd more students go on to get PhD's as a percentage, than at Cal Tech or MIT. Harvey Mudd is a part of the Claremont consortium that includes CMC and Pomona that are in most lists in the top ten. It also includes Claremont Graduate University (formerly known as Claremont Graduate College, but University sounds better) that includes a small MBA school that I went to with a long name - The Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management At Cal Poly, I only had one class, Biology, that was in a huge lecture hall for my undergraduate degree.

If you get a chance, take a college tour. Cal Tech has one my daughter went on where you got to see an actual class room and the dorms. There is a walking tour of the Claremont Colleges that shows you all the beautiful architecture (tour is be a local heritage association). It's important to choose a college that has the right culture. On the East Coast my daughter also went on tours of Harvard and MIT. The choir she belongs to went on a trip up to the Bay area and visited Stanford and Berkeley.

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