No, it is not a joke. It is truth. And it shall be adhered to by all, independent of opinions or subjective experiences.
No, it is not a joke. It is truth. And it shall be adhered to by all, independent of opinions or subjective experiences.
And who says michigan isn't as good as UVA and Berkley? Arguing between UVA, Berkley, and Michigan is stupid. They are all great schools, so who cares. According to these rankings michigan is the 17th best in the world and the #1 public school in the US. But really who cares, the consensus is that Michigan is one of the best universities in the country.
I turned down an opportunity to play football at Princeton so that I could attend UM. No regrets. Go Blue!
...a good school and all...but for undergrad? Yeah, Harvard (or Yale, Princeton, etc) is definitely more prestigious. Those schools are much smaller and bring in a higher quality of classmate. Michigan, much as I love it, had it's share of knuckleheads amongst my classmates and those freshman incoming classes haven't exactly been getting any smaller.
Having said all of that, cost should be a major factor. Taking on large sums of loans (possibly 6 figures worth of debt or more) should make one very cautious of buying into that elite Harvard club. It's the wealthy classmates who are then able to get their feet-in-the-doors when it comes time for a prestigious, yet unpaid, internship. Whereas someone with a heavy student debt burden risks being left behind.
Grad school, of course, is a different beast.
Considering much of any Ivy class is made up of rich legacies, you're going to run into knuckleheads there as well.
I mean, our last two presidents went to Harvard and Yale, and chances are you consider at least one of them to be a knucklehead regardless of which side of the aisle you're on ;)
Politics is a whole nother discussion that ain't gonna fly here.
is because she will be attending college at a young age, it may be a good idea to have her closer to home so that she can better use her family support system.
Sounds like she's mature beyond her years. This should be a non-factor, as long as she's comfortable.
We're talking two years here anyway. At college, most people won't even notice unless you tell them.
inteligence. The question to ask is how is she doing socially at her grade level. If she is mostly interacting with same age kids, then she may not be ready. 12 year old girls do not have the same boyfriend issues as 16 year olds. I would wat to see how she manages and navigates this terrain. There will not be a lot of 16 year olds walking around Harvard.
The last thing you want is for her to crash and burn 800 miles away from any support.
College kids away at school have a whole lot more vices ( drinking / sex / drugs) to indulge. If she is not on equal footing socially, them she may get dragged into something for the wrong reasons.
As far as cost, most ivy leages have endowment scholarship programs that can assist the non-super rich. Getting in is the trick. She needs to have more than great grades to be accepted. She has to interview well, be an original thinker and show participation in organizational activities.
Just my 2 cents
If she's asking her dad specifically for a cost-benefit analysis of Harvard vs. Michigan at 12, that sounds mature beyond her years in a way that goes beyond just book-smart. And while the social aspect is important, an 18 year old can get into just as much trouble at college as a 16 year old - your advice, while good, is equally applicable regardless of 16-18. My point is, don't put a ceiling on a kid because "oh, they're 16, I don't want them going farther away than Michigan" unless you'd have exactly the same feeling at 18.
I certainly had some epiphanies between 16 and 18, but they were due to experience, not age per se. I'm saying this as someone who had just turned 17 when I graduated high school and did skip a grade while in school. I was always at least a full year, and usually two, years younger than most of my classmates in college, and honestly except as a piece of trivia and when I could legally go to bars it had effectively zero impact on my experience. It does matter which grades she skipped - I skipped a grade in elementary school and was well-integrated into my class by the time I got to high school and started thinking about colleges - but if she's still experiencing 4 years of high school I think that gets you most of that social experience. Now if you were skipping the last two years of high school and going straight to college - yeah I might worry about that more. Only the parent and child can know for sure obviously.
It is worth thinking about the social environments at Harvard and Michigan, which will obviously differ. Michigan is a big school and Harvard is in a big city, so it can be easy to get lost. But that size also offers the opportunity to find a niche of like-minded people. Finding that niche can yield a wonderful sense of community even within a huge campus.
This is the only reason I can think of to attend anywhere over Harvard. Harvard has managed to create a substantial gap between it and Yale/Princeton/Oxford and has left everyone else in the dust. The exposure to the other students for four years is easily worth the price and that's before you think about professors, the alumni network, or the cache of the Harvard name.
I'm actually wondering if I'll have a similar choice to make. My kid is so advanced, that we're not sure how she'll be able to go to regular schools if she keeps progressing at this rate. She's reading at a first grade level at 2.5 years old, among other things. I never thought I'd think that about my kid.
is if she really wants to stay in the Midwest after she graduation and a big-time sports atmosphere is very important for her.
Otherwise, Harvard all the way. As someone else mentioned it probably won't even be that much more expensive than Michigan (aside from living expenses)
Of course, you have to get into both schools first to really have this discussion ;)
Sending a 16 year old girl off to college.
The sort of 16 year old who can get into Harvard is probably better off than the average 18-year old most high schools are churning out, regardless of gender.
Doesn't mean physical or emotional maturity. There's even a lot of physiological brain forming that occurs over those years. But what about socially? Most 18 year olds can't rest the pressures of peers, being in a sorority, etc. How does a 16 year old stand on equal footing?
Who does she date? Sexuality is a big part of college, a lot more so now than. When I was in school. Any classmate a 16 year old is with is close to statutory rape. She won't ever be old enough to ever go into a bar during her college years.
You're right most 18 year olds aren't really ready for the whole "Pregaming with Pat" atmosphere they're dropped into. And that's at Michigan. A like 16 year old isn't more ready.
And frankly, Harvard would be worse, because the social cliques and back-biting are far, far worse. Being smart isn't going to make them look any more highly on a 16 year old. If anything it'd create more resentment. The one thing people who have been to Harvard envy about Michigan is the camaraderie between students and grads. Where Harvard was cut-throat. It's games like these that a 16 year old is unable to handle equally with an "adult" and at best is at a disadvantage.
And yes, if she were a 16 year old boy at least a few of these things wouldn't be as bad. (It was hard enough to find women who didn't want older guys as a frshman; not too many probably want to be the one dating the 16 year old).
so hard to predict where one can get into, that it might not even be a debate. The issue might come down much more to like Michigan versus Chicago or Penn, in which case decide purely based on cost. I am going to Penn for grad school, and the undergrads there really don't knock my socks off. Maybe it opens more doors or something, but I think in the end it's a wash, and based much more upon what an individual student does during their time in school.
Undergradutate life at these two schools is very, very different. Why would you tell her to base her decision purely on cost?
(I'm not making a claim that life at one is better than the other. They're just different.)
the people I know who have gone to Chicago usually act really pretentious about having gone there, and I just don't see it. I was accepted there for grad school last year, and besides the high cost, everyone I have ever met from there was just pretentious beyond belief, and I just never got it.
Her desired area of study matters a lot. If it's engineering then obviously Michigan or MIT but for most other majors it'll be Harvard.
Once you're where you're working it won't really matter. Think about what's important. prestige? bragging rights? a name? Or what experiences and opportunities she wants. Just like any decision, check out the options and the right choice will become clear. You just need to figure out what the goal is and what you want. It's awesome that she will have great options and will undoubtedly be able to find a great path.
The gist of it was that what school you attend is an indicator of success, but individuals accepted to an elite school like Harvard who instead attended a very good but not elite school achieved the same level of success (as measured by income) as those who attended Harvard.
So there's a very good argument to be made that if your daughter is accepted to both Michigan and Harvard she would be just as successful if she attended Michigan.
Let me try to dig the article up.
Edit: here it is.
My son applied to Michigan, Harvard, and Stanford. Despite my wife and I being Michigan alumni, we both wanted him to go to either of the other 2 IF he got accepted.
It turned out to be a non-issue.
EDIT: He finished his first year in Ann Arbor and did exceptionally well. I are a proud papa.
My son just finished his Soph yr @ Ross and he could not in any way shape or form be happier!
Harvard is not strong in engineering. I also think that a self-motivated person who intends to attend grad school will probably be better off without being $100,000 in debt, since the top students at good (and not-so-good) universities will get into the top grad schools without going to Harvard or MIT. As an example, one person in the Chemistry graduate department at my current school, which is ranked ~6, went to Eastern Michigan for undergrad.
There are definite advantages to being a big shot at a lower-ranked school; professors will want you to do research for them, you'll be "the smart person", and you'll be able to focus more on getting a high GPA in your major. The trick is that you need that high GPA and some good involvement to really stand out.
All that being said, Harvard is a better choice than Michigan for most majors at the same cost, but standing out at either school is more important than the choice of school.
The author doesn't say where he's from but assuming he doesn't live on Hill or South U I wonder how important the distance issue is. If she lives in a U of M dorm and dad's in a Detroit, his ability to intervene before she makes bad choices will be limited no matter what. I do agree 16 is young to start college. Obviously, she could live at home and commute to Michigan but that's not really the college experience.
But I will say you can have a much better idea of what's going on and the way people are feeling and adapting when you're close. A lot of close in-state kids will go home for a weekend a month, maybe more early on, less later. And you can swing up for a visit of living indict ions, roommates, etc., and grab dinner too. You're right it won't prevent anything on a given night, but you can get a better sense of stressors if you're around.
Out of state, and unless you're loaded, you're dropping them off and seeing them again at Thanksgiving. It's a high tech world, but you can learn a lot more in person than on a phone or cam.
Distance can be an issue, often more for parents than the child. The OP doesn't say, but if this daughter is the only child, there is an empty nest dynamic that will likely come into play. For us, our 16 year old was the oldest of three, and she was over 1,000 miles away, and yes I only saw her during college breaks (my wife had a more flexible work schedule so flew out every once in awhile for a three or four day weekend, that the daughter sometimes ended up dreading). There was family within an hour's drive in case of some kind of emergency, which we never needed, and we also got to know her first roommate's parents. For anyone sending a kid more than a few hour's drive away to college, it's a good idea to develop a contact with some adult you can reach to check up on your child. We never had to use that, but it was nice to know there were people that could step in if need be. Socially, it was not that big of a deal, because my daughter had always been the youngest in her class. Someone did mention grad school and drinking, and that probably created the biggest problem for her because all the other students were of legal age to drink, and they would often plan to go out together, including on some of her recruiting trips. My daughter still went along, but just did not drink (she actually got her first exposure to drinking in bars during a summer study abroad class in England when she was 19).
The only thing, though, that I can think of that was different because of her age is that I signed a consent form granting her the right to make medical decisions for herself. Since she wasn't 18, we were told she would need parental consent for some medical procedures, and I had enough confidence in her ability to make those decisions for herself.
After further review I think the real question to ask in this debate is who has the best sandwiches?
She wants to go to Harvard? Then why are you asking? She should go to Harvard. As mentioned in the thread above, she'll have greater Financial Aid opportunities at Harvard than at Michigan. (i.e., if you make less than $150K, she'll get significant need based financial aid.) And if you make more than that, you should be able to pay the freight.
Now, if it was a toss up between Michigan and Harvard, it would depend on what program she wanted to go into, and let that guide the decision.
Now, if she wanted to go to Michigan, I'd recommend she go to Michigan, unless they didn't have the program she was interested in.
In my limited experience, it is the student body that varies most significantly between colleges. Michigan's student body was way above the student body at many other directional schools. I was appalled at the limitations in many graduates of lesser schools. But honestly, there were many times I rolled my eyes at how parochial and narrow minded many of my fellow Michigan students were. I wouldn't be surprised if the student body at Harvard is significantly brighter and more broad minded than Michigan students.
So if he has a family income of 175k, he'll have no problem paying 60k per year after taxes? I really disagree with that. That person would take home around 100k of that, and I'm sure they have more than 40k per year of non-college expenses.
I'll partially retract that. Having said that, it still seems possible that Harvard kicks in something in the way of financial aid, just not as much.
I'm really saying anything new, but that's never stopped me before. Here are the factors I'd consider:
1. Cost -- this is likely to be a wash given Harvard's financial aid though if one ended up being 15-20k more a year I would take that into account
2. Academics -- I would suspect that the quality of instruction is similar. Professors at both schools are among the elite in their fields. If she knew her major in advance it might worth investigating both schools programs though.
3. Prestige -- As has been noted, there's no question that Harvard's prestige trumps Michigan's. The name alone probably tips the balance. A Harvard resume will get a longer look than one from Michigan, and for the rest of her life people will remember where she went to school.
4. Social -- This is not about parties (though that's part of it), but the friendships and connections you'd make. Michigan has an impressive and diverse student body, but Harvard would be next level with kids from all over the country and the world a large portion of whom will be successful.
I would note that a Harvard degree doesn't guarantee anything. My cousin went there for undergrad and then to a tier 2 law school, and is doing fine but works at the kind of law firm that hires students from his law school.
The Michigan of the East.
(rationalize) this, as someone who did apply to a couple bigger name private schools, and get rejected, and has to endure a certain amount of smack talk from people who did go to those places is a bit of a football analogy. Say there is a situation where you go for a two-point conversion when you have a lead early in a game, instead of the easy money one point. If you miss, but still go on to win the game, no one really remembers that missed conversion. If for some reason you lose the game by a point at the last minute, then there will be hell to pay. In theory, if you are playing well all along, it won't come down to a missed two-point conversion, and as long as you win the game, who cares? It's the same with college choice. I really don't feel my undergraduate institution held me back from getting into the graduate school I would have gotten into anyway, but a big chunk of that was I got a fairly good GPA, and had some strong extracurriculars. As long as you get where you want to go, how you get there is less important.
Does she like football? Then the answer is clear.
I did my undergrad at UM and grad school at Harvard. My question for your daughter would be why do you want to go to Harvard? Prestige? friends? particular field or professors?
My sense is that if she is a motivated and inquisitive student, she would do equally well at both places, and then it boils down to other issues already mentioned: cost, distance, family, etc.
Try to get her to think about Princeton. Within the Ivy League, Princeton offers the best education for undergrads and offers the best financial aid. There is obviously a lot of time for the choice but I believe Princeton would be best for your child. just one guy's opinion
Harvard offers students opportunities that are unmatched in the U.S. except by, maybe, Stanford. I think there are four or five areas where Harvard's reputation drives an advantage over UM:
1. Faculty. Harvard gets the best researchers in their respective fields for a huge swath of subjects. These professors open amazing doors: many of my friends who attended Harvard College still keep in touch with professors, and more than a few had pretty amazing introductions that led to jobs, internships, etc. I liked many of my Michigan professors, but not many could get the Secretary of the Treasury on the phone to recommend me for an internship. I know Harvard people with that connection.
2. Alumni. Harvard's grads sit atop more Fortune 1000 companies than any other school, the sitting and past President had Harvard degrees (graduate, but the network still works), the Supreme Court is loaded with Harvard grads, etc. Again, MIchigan isn't bad, but it isn't Harvard in this respect.
3. Visitors. Everyone is willing to come to talk to Harvard students. When I was there getting my MBA, I crashed a session targeted at undergrads but open to the broader Harvard community. It was me, another grad student or two, and about a dozen undergrads in a room with David Axelrod for three hours just discussing how Obama's campaign worked. Simply incredible. And that stuff happens all the time. Happens at MIchigan too, but not with nearly the frequency.
4. Recruiting. Every high prestige organization, be it a business, NGO, governement agency, etc, that recruits at UM also recruits at Harvard, and there are some that go to Harvard but not UM. Two of my previous employers recruited at Harvard College but not UM until I forced a change.
5. Students. The best students go to Harvard in part to be around other incredible students.
I have degrees from both universities: BBA from UM and MBA from Harvard. UM can open almost every door Harvard does, but it is not as easy. The two schools, on the above five points, differ only in matter of degree: both have fantastic faculty, alumni, visitors and students, but Harvard's are "better" from the standpoint of opening access to other elite institutions. If you want to be a teacher, I'm not sure Harvard will offer you any huge advantage. If you want to be an entrpreneur, an academic, a politician (outside of the State of Michigan), a researcher, or work on Wall Street, there is a definite advantage to Harvard's connections. If you plan on matriculating immediately to a professional school, notably Medicine, Dentistry, Law, or Public Health, I think it is probably a push.
Michigan's greatest advantages, in my mind, are two: first, it is an incredible experience that gives you access to a much broader array of backgrounds along with a very fun college experience. Second, I don't think it is a terrible thing that Michigan is less competitive. Coming from Michigan, I think I very well could have been lost as a Harvard undergrad. Harvard is fiercly competitive, and the fact that you can ace the SAT is just table stakes. The undergrads there don't seem to enjoy it nearly as much (and I've had many Harvard College graduates tell me it wasn't fun). On the contrary, I LOVED my time at UM. I met my wife there, many of my closest friends there, got married there, and hope one day to retire there.
I love running through Central Park and hearing "Go Blue!" when people see my block M shirt.
As for financial aid... if you (the parent(s)) make less than, say, $50K/year, both schools are close to free. If you make between $50 and $150K, Harvard is likely to be cheaper, net of financial aid. If you make more than $150K, you can probably swing either option.
As so many people have said, it all depends on what you want out of the experience.
This was exceptionally well-written and conceived. Great points through and through.
In my field, Michigan's PhD program is ranked substantially higher than Harvard's, and they still do at least as well as we do on the job market. There are plenty of people in the world who went to Ivy League schools and think that people who went to public schools just cannot compete. (We had a professor visit from Penn who made a remark about all the "cute little state school kids" around campus.) The actual educational facts don't matter to those people, and those people run an awful lot of organizations in this country.
In light of that, I'd say a lot depends on what your kid's ambitions are. If she cares about recognition at the top of her field, the Harvard brand will help a lot more than any state school can. (Of course, if she has a strong aversion to the pompous and self-satisfied, a state school might be ok, and Michigan's one of the very best.)
Thanks... happy to provide more detailed perspectives or put you in touch with some Harvard College grads that you could talk to.
But there is also one more point that I think summarizes the whole of my previous points: the person matters much more than the college. A really interesting study (see summary and link to original here: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/revisiting-the-value-of-elite-colleges/) shows that it is not the college you attend, but rather the aspirations you have that seem to drive "success" in life, at least as measured by earnings and other quantifiable metrics.
Harvard will open so many more doors that would otherwise have to be pried open. However, there's no way the name of a school on a piece of paper is going to stop someone who has the drive and the intelligence to become something special. I've known guys who went to Ivy league schools just because they could, and then I've known guys who went elsewhere because they actually wanted to. I'll let you guess which ones more often than not have become more sucessful thus far...
Anyone on this site have plain ol' regular kids and attended a plain ol' regular school? Anyone here ever play any high school football let alone college ball?
Yes, ask open ended questions next time :-)
Really??? Your daughter would be fortunate to go to either school, but this is a no brainer. That being said, if you are able to get into Harvard and you want sports...go to Stanford.
Harvard. It offers latent benefits as well, such as:
A slacker with a Harvard degree is perceived as unchallenged.
A slacker with most other degrees is perceived as lazy.
An eccentric with a Harvard degree is perceived as a hidden genius.
An eccentric with most other degrees is perceived as a weirdo.
The list could go on and on...
And to quote the great P.J. O'Rourke:
"Good schools are worthile for the enormous amount of spare time you'll have when you aren't studying. And you never have to study at a good school because it's so impressive to say 'I flunked out of Harvard.' But if you say 'I got straight A's at Wayne State,' who cares?
Use that spare time to get romance out of your system by being wildly promiscuous."
Sister was choosing between NYU and Michigan. I laid out everything I loved about Ann Arbor, but could I blame her for choosing NYU? Absolutely not.
Granted...either way, I am not footing the bill.
Tell her she'll lose you for life if she chooses NYU because if she does, you'll have nothing in common. You're obviously a huge sports fan to be on this site, and I have never met a single NYU grad who gave a flying fart about any sport or team save maybe the obligatory Yankees.
A hard decision. Harvard has slightly better academics, but Michigan has a better atmosphere (Sporting events, extracurriculars, etc) and is much cheaper. Your looking at 260k for harvard vs michigan which will be about 100k for 4 years assuming no sholarship( if she were to get a scholarship then that number would be even less.) If money is no issue at all then there would probably be a edge to harvard, however, if money is a thing to even somewhat think about then Michigan is the place to go. We are extremely fortunate to have a great in state school(even more fortunate that this great in state school is also great at sports!).
Come on...I am very proud of my Michigan degree...and while I was admitted to every school I applied to...I had no chance of getting into Harvard. Harvard is one of the finest academic institutions in the world. You should also research the annual salaries of Harvard grads v. Michigan grads...while u pay more...you make more. You go to Harvard undergrad...then you can come back to Michigan for graduate school.