If she's accepted to Harvard, she should go. End of story.
OT'ish: Michigan or Harvard?
I love and have 2 degrees from Michigan, but Harvard opens up way more doors.
If she can get accepted, go. As an undergrad, the same is true for Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. They are on another level.
If the question is: which school is better? Then I agree the answer is Harvard. If the question is which is the best for the money, then I'd say Michigan. If your family has plenty of money, then I guess it doesn't matter, but not every family can send their kid to whatever school they want regardless of cost.
In my opinion, people put too much emphasis on how important your undergrad school is. If his daughter is really that smart, she will have all of the same grad school options coming from Michigan as she'll have from Harvard and if she picks a degree that doesn't require grad school like engineering or business, then her options out of each school will be comparable.
I guess you hit on my poorly-worded point.
I'm not debating whether a Michigan degree is as good as a Harvard one. The debate is --- is a Michigan under-graduate degree at a third the cost better than a Harvard degree, when you factor in assumed debt, the networking opportunities, graduate school options, alumni advantages, etc. The total package.
It's not just as simple as Harvard>Michigan. Or maybe it is.
If you have unlimited money, it can be as simple as Harvard > Michigan if you want it to be, but as a dad who is saving for college (seemingly futily) I know that's rarely the case. If my sons are deciding between Stanford and UCLA or Berkeley, I'd be in the same boat as you.
I have friends from Michigan who either graduated from Ross and got incredible jobs on Wall Street, or who went to Harvard (and other equivalent schools) for med school and law school. Harvard is better than Michigan, but from an undergrad perspective, I think that difference is negligible.
The X factor here is if she does a her research and she really feels she'll be happier at Harvard. But no one on an Internet board can tell you anything about that.
Well, the debate on price depends on your income. Thanks to its ridiculous endowment, Harvard uses a sliding scale for tuition expenses for families making <$180,000 a year and below a certain threshold you go for free if you can get in.
If she gets in, she should go. Can always do grad school at Michigan if she wants.
I'm in law school at Yale, and professional/graduate programs have, as a rule, LESS generous financial aid than their undergraduate counterparts. Still, with the amount of grant and scholarship aid I've gotten, I'm paying roughly the same amount it would cost me to go to UMich Law (as an in-state student, no less).
Ivy financial aid is awesome for those of us in the 99%.
which would help make the Michigan undergrad more attractive, but there is a way to have the best of both worlds. A UM undergrad and then followed up with a Harvard MBA would be a wonderful mix with the MBA opening all the doors one would want. World class program.
Harvard's financial aid is so good that, depending on your income, it could very well be the cheaper option. If a student is admitted, the college will provide enough aid so that the student will be able to attend. It's that simple. For many families, this means a full ride.
I know that, but soooo many families fall into that group where they make too much to get aid but not enough to where 60k/year (plus travel and all the extras) isn't a huge a deal.
That 60k is basically like hospital prices. Very few people actually pay that. Harvard means it when they say that if you get admitted, they will make it financially possible for you to go.
As noted on the link I posted, by 2016 families with incomes $150k and less will have an expected parental contribution of 10% of their income or less. They don't say it directly, but that implies families with even higher incomes will get at least some help.
Besides, our speculating about it is a bit useless. The only way to find out is to get admitted and see what the final aid package is. It would be stupid to not apply based on the assumption that it is unaffordable. In my own experience, Harvard was the cheapest option, except for substantially lower tier schools. That's not to say it was easy on my parents or that I had no debt, but they are pretty good at working with you to make sure you can go there if you get in.
Besides, for people who live out-of-state, it's another ball game altogether. Out-of-state tuition at Michigan is quite pricey.
Well, I would absolutely recommend applying to any school you might be interested in. That way, if there are two you really like and you only get into one, problem solved. And it's hard to explore the financial aid before you get in. Then you can do your own cost-benefit analysis with actual dollars.
My posts above are of the assumption that the costs will be significantly different (as that's what the OP alluded to). If the costs are comparable, then it's just a matter of preference (which could still be either school for a variety of reasons).
Michigan is way down the list for ROI from where it usually ranks academically, both for in state (122) and out of state (186): http://www.payscale.com/college-education-value-2013 Whereas despite the cost Harvard (15), et al are still at the top. (Yale not as much.)
Bottom line: if she gets into Harvard, she should go.
I don't disagree with your advice in general, but I take the payscale data with a grain of salt.
It is difficult to control for the effects of grad/professional degrees (that is, say you went to Michigan for undergrad but got your MBA from Duke. Who gets the credit for your salary? Michigan or Duke?). To avoid this complication, the ROI calculations were made using ONLY alums who had stopped at the baccalaureate degree. People who got JDs, MBAs, MDs, MEng, MFAs, you name it--left out of the calculation. That is true at every school on the list. Thus, the ROI only really tells the story for a subset of graduates, and the more elite the school, the smaller and more skewed that subset may be.
This is rarely explained in articles which use the payscale data.
The upshot is, if you think you may pursue a grad degree someday, then the payscale ROI doesn't necessarily apply to you.
this is a hot topic of discussion in my household.
One of the side discussions is how skewed this may be by post grad, degrees offered (e.g., Ga Tech and Cal Tech), and professional employment rates and cost of living based pay scales in specific locations (i.e., if you go to school and live in San Fran or Boston or New York, you may have a much higher salary so it looks like a better ROI, but your cost of living is so much higher that it isn't).
The conclusion we came to is the ROI data is one more data point to consider. If I lived in Michigan, Michigan would be the number 1 choice for both. Here in NC it is UNC. Out of state tuition at Michigan creates huge ROI questions versus say Georgia Tech. I've way biased my middle son though, so we may have to navigate our way through that in a few years.
Agree with other posters though: if your kid makes Ivy, spend some serious time evaluating the needs based tuition program.
If your parents make less than $100k, Harvard, Yale and Princeton are basically free now. A few years ago. Congress threatened to tax endowments unless the schools started using them. If your parents make the average family income, it is cheaper to go to Harvard than instate EMU.
I say Harvard. You'll probably get more financial aid from there anyway so the cost should even out.
I went to Cornell and Michigan Law and I am very happy to have attended each of those schools, but at the end of the day, the value of your education is what you make out of it.
There are cases where the Harvard degree won't open any more doors than the UM degree or give an incremental benefit that isn't worth the cost of tuition.
I'm specifically thinking of engineering.
I've worked for NASA and DoD for 13 years, and rarely have encountered Ivy league graduates during my career. The ones I have encountered haven't had doors opened for them that weren't available to graduates at other top engineering schools.
If she's undecided or doesn't want engineering, than yeah Harvard. The opprotunities in business, public policy, or law are just too great and no university can compete with them. Especially if she wants to do something that might be constrained to a limited number of academic positions (ie theorhetical astrophysics or 15th centurary Irish lit). In those cases, having an Ivy league degree gives you the cache to land one of the few academic positions available.
But if she wants to do engineering, then UM.
I agree. If you want to do engineering I can't see a single benefit to Harvard.
I'm an engineer. Graduated UM in '94. I honestly don't think going to Harvard over Michigan would have done a damn thing for my career. In fact, it probably would have HURT my career, because I've actually worked with and for several other people that went to Michigan (mind yoiu this was not IN Michigan) but very few from Harvard or the other Ivy Leagues. More from Yale than most of the Ivys. So my Michigan background actually afforded me MORE networking opportunities than a Harvard background would have. Plus, at the compaines I worked for, a Michigan engineering degree was pretty much held in higher regard than a Harvard one.
So I agree with the poster above--anyone wanting to do engineering should pick UM over Harvard and not look back. Really, when it comes to engineering I don't think Harvard should even be considered. I think then, you should be asking UM vs MIT, Stanford, Cal Tech, Cal Berkeley etc.
In fact, in the latest US News ratings, Michigan is #7 in undergrad engineering programs. Which means that if you're in-state, it's a no-brainer.
But I realize that the question wasn't just about engineering.
To answer this question it seems we'd need to know her intended major and career aspirations. It's hard to say which is "better" without that information.
Either way, I hope she's fortunate enough to have to make a difficult choice between two great options.
12 and in 9th grade? Guessing a scholarship shouldn't be too hard to get. That being said, quality of life while IN college would be different. Can't say better or worse, but I would assume you can remove cost from your equation.
Ed White (Michigan Grad) was the first man to walk in space. Gemini 4 and Apollo 15 were all U of M crews.
I also read that Apollo 15 arranged a formation of rocks on the moon in the shape of a certain letter of the alphabet.
I was accepted to both schools. My parents knew about Michigan, and my mom is an alum. I didn't tell them about Harvard, because while I was an advanced student, I didn't think I would get it.
I stupidly decided to go to GMI, two fucking semesters before they announced the name change to Kettering and told my class we would be getting a diploma that said Kettering on it, unlike the classes ahead of us getting a diploma that had both names on it.
So, in the end, I chose very poorly on all fronts. If she can go for free, do Harvard. If cost becomes a huge issue, go with Michigan. Although I'm assuming from my time visiting as a high school student and then later as an adult while a friend did her post-PhD work there, that Harvard would be better suited to someone so young going to school.
You got into Harvard and Michigan and choose GMI (Kettering)? Seriously?
Even if GMI gave you a full ride, how do you turn down Harvard?
GMI gave me enough money to go that I couldn't turn it down. Due to family issues, the government said no to financial aid, even though I was living on a single income. I was out of state, so Michigan was around $25K/yr and Harvard was even more.
GMI was going to cost me about $6K/yr after financial aid and the job placement that I got when I enrolled. So five years at GMI would end up costing the same as one year at the other schools. Seeing how I was dead-set at the time on getting into automotive marketing, it seemed like the best choice.
With all do respect this seems like a terrible decision. If I was in that situation there is no doubt I would rule out GMI right away.
I'm glad I was able to not get sucked into six-figure debt because of college. Especially considering that I've realized in my 30's that I hated what I was doing and have gone back to school to be a teacher. If I had gone to Harvard of UofM I probably would have come to the same conclusion, but not been in a position financially to make a huge life change. So, while a degree from either of them would have been great, I can still apply to grad school.
I think this decision makes evident that both schools make a poor decision accepting you.
Glad to have your opinion.
Also, if your daughter is as smart as you paint her, college probably isn't going to cost her anything regardless of where she goes.
Harvard does not award merit-based aid.
Unfortunately you can't count on this - there a lot more really smart 9th graders than there are slots at Harvard. At that level most scholarships are in some fashion need-calculated.
FWIW I was also a grade-skipping (only one though) 12 year old 9th grader - ended up with 35 on my ACT, took tons of AP classes, and took differential equations at a community college while still in high school. I got into Michigan Engineering with a roughly 50% scholarship, but got turned down by MIT. Like I said, crapshoot. Being female would have helped with MIT, but probably not the case at Harvard.
Sorry to be a dose of cynicism, just wanted to add some perspective from someone who was a lot like you describe your girl when I was her age. You and her are both askin the right questions.
It does depend on what she wants to do and what she wants out of the experience. And, will she be seeking a professional degree after undergrad? If so, the correct answer might be "both".
Engineering or business? Michigan. Law or medicine? Harvard. Both Michigan and Harvard open a ton of doors and have excellent reputations among employers. Harvard probably opens a few "old boys clubs" that scoff at any non-ivy, though the relevance of that probably depends on her chosen field and where she wants to live after college.
Note that getting into Harvard is something of a crapshoot for a non-legacy regardless of academic scores, so it's good that she recognizes the value and quality of a Michigan education as well.
Very dependent on major/career aspirations/etc. Generally speaking, however, your final degree is the one that matters. If she is going to pursue med school / grad school / law / etc, Michigan is **probably** a better bet given the cost differential. If she is going to head to the workforce after undergrad, go to Harvard (but for engineering go to M). The exception to this logic is if her salary will be tied to her degree and not her qualifications (eg teacher, social worker). Then debt is a huge consideration. Of course, if she thinks she might meet her future husband in college, Harvard may be better in that respect as well (as far as average future earnings and social standing).
she doesn't sound like she's going to get her Mrs. degree.
For me, at least, going to college wasn't PURELY an academic decision, but also a life decision. Harvard is obviously a great school, but its in a big city, and Cambridge can be a little overwhelming. It really depends on what she wants to do academically too. If she has major aspirations, undergrad won't matter a ton since she'll assuredly be moving on to law school, med school, phd school etc. I think when the time comes, visit both, and she'll know. Most of us alums went to Ann Arbor the first timeand just felt IT. It's really not tangible, especially deciding between two GREAT academic institutions. Also, I give her kudos for not letting those gifts go to waste. I know many very intelligent kids who just didn't give a damn growing up. Great job keeping her fire going.
I think when the time comes, visit both, and she'll know. Most of us alums went to Ann Arbor the first time and just felt IT.
Faced with a similar dilemma I made what probably would seem to most people an odd choice of school, but I've never doubted it was right because I'd visited both and I knew where I wanted to be for the next four years.
I don't know whether it's possible to make that decision at 12, and I'm sure it isn't possible to make it without a visit. And I'm even more sure that a parent can't make the decision. Whatever she decides, go with it. She can't be wrong either way.
But it's still just the Michigan of the East
You cannot possibly beat Harvard's name, simply by its reputation it can afford an individual amazing opportunities. You're talking about a university that's over Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford. So, if I was in that situation I would have to put aside my biasness.
Having attended Michigan (and UNC-Chapel Hill) and now working at Harvard, let me insist: I love Michigan, and I am proud of my degree, but it's not close.
Also: Most of the ivies now offer financial aid packages that are really amazing. At Harvard, for example, if your family's income is less than $150K/year, you pay 10% of your income to attend. That will be less than Michigan even for an in-state student.
I can testify that this is true. My wife and I both graduated from Michigan. We live in-state. We make a decent middle-class living. When our son was accepted at both Harvard and Michigan, it was easy to do a price-comparison, and there is no comparison. Michigan was 15K more expensive/year than Harvard.
Well both were good enough for Ted Kaczynski
My opinion is that if she is that smart and that driven then regardless of where she goes, she will be successful. My chief concern would be where she fits best socially considering she's going to be so much younger than everyone else. As far as the money goes, my understanding from talking to Ivy League alumni, is that if you get into an Ivy League school, they make sure you can afford it.
+1000 to your first sentence. In almost any field, the top of the class at Michigan will be able to open just about any door they want.
Open more doors than the Michigan name, especially abroad.
1a) Harvard, Yale, Princeton
2) Any In-State school (You can skip #2 if money is no object)
3) Northwestern, Duke, Stanford, and the rest of the Ivy League
4) Any out-of-state Top 25 public school (UVA, UNC, Cal, Texas, UCLA)
5) Any out-of-state Big 10 school (other than "9")
6a) University of Religion (SMU, Baylor, BYU, Notre Dame, etc.) (if "higher" learning is so desired)
6b) Out-of-state "niche" private (Oberlein, Carnegie Melon, Oral Roberts, etc. )(#6 can be ranked higher if the "big school" experience is not saught)
8) Just start working for dad right out of High School
9) Sparty, Ohio State, Illinois
Their undergraduate engineering is ranked above Michigan's and they have the number three undergrad business school in the Big Ten.
Also it's obviously not an all-inclusive list, but I think you're missing a few from your 1a and 3 lists. USMA, USNA, USAFA, MIT, Caltech, Chicago for starters.
...but I would also slot foreign schools in there somewhere too, maybe at 1c or 2a. With the rise in tuition of American schools, many foreign schools are surprisingly affordable. And it would be an exceptionally wise choice if the student has any interest whatsoever in learning a foreign language such as French, German, etc.
I hope your post is a joke.
Michigan isn't even the top public school in the country, let alone better than Berkley and UVA. This btw is coming from a proud UM grad.
Northwestern and Duke=UM
Michigan is great, and I am proud to have a degree from there, but sometimes people who know nothing other than Michigan have no clue.
My wife is a Duke Law grad. If you're not a top 3-5, than the rest of the T14 are basically interchangeable.
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.
Harvard has better academics, but there is not a huge gap in the quality of education for an undergrad degree. They are both part of the upper echelon of academia. Yes you can go to harvard undergrad then michigan grad school, but you can also go to Michigan undergrad then go to harvard grad school...Really what it comes down to is how hard your going to work. If your determined and get into both schools then you will excel at either place, which will pave the way to do what you want.
You're kidding right?
Have any of you been on campus at Harvard? YOu do realize Boston isn't that far away correct?
Michigan isn't cheaper...
You're clearly looking through the lens of a sports fan.
If you walk into a firm in New York City, they could care less that you went to Michigan. They see Yale, NYU, Princeton, and Harvard grads on the regular. Outside of the midwest, Michigan doesn't carry as big a stick as many make it out to.
As an undergrad, realistically, the biggest academic difference will likely be the quality of your fellow students, which will be better at Harvard. And that's nothing to scoff at. Professors? Yeah, they might be "better" at Harvard, but the sort of "better" that gets a professor hired at Harvard vs. Michigan is not necessarily relevant to an undergrad. Prestige and perceived quality, absolutely a difference - actual quality of education, in a way that affects a very good student? Much closer, close enough to be reasonably trumped by other factors.
When you talk about "firms that see Harvard grads on the regular" you're really talking about professional grads (and in particular business types and lawyers) - and in that case all that matters is where your MBA / Law Degree came from, not so much where your undergrad degree is from. And you can get into Harvard Law from Michigan (or get rejected from Harvard Law from Harvard).
If you're doing some other sort of grad school (e.g. a STEM field), your individual advising professor matters a lot more for the quality of your education than the actual school you're at.
To be honest, the pro-Ivy, anti-state school bias seems much more pronounced on the East Coast. Out west, they're obviously respected very highly but you don't get near as much of the "we only hire Ivies" attitude.
...while Michigan has great professors, the quality of professors at Harvard are ridiculous, especially the caliber of visiting professors from different industries and from around the world that come to teach AT Harvard. Additionally, for graduate schools, where there are comparable students one from Harvard, one from Michigan, they are taking Harvard most times. Also, I live and work on west coast...while Michigan is well respected, Ivy League candidates are preferred in many industries...the difference on the west coast is that Stanford candidates are considered at the same level as Ivy League candidates and USC grads are also highly sought after simply because USC alumni in SoCal are very powerful. Sorry for the generalizations...
Comparing reputation of professors depends on the field. Harvard does not have the edge in every discipline.
But unless you're a grad student doing research with them you're not gaining much of the benefit, because they're not teaching the classes. Big time research institutions like Harvard and Michigan have top faculty that are known for their studies and published work, not because they're great teachers benefitting students. If you're in a field where you get to work on projects with them, great. If you're just taking their class, who cares?
Harvard might open up more doors, but I wouldn't trade 4 years at Michigan for anything. If you work hard doors will fly open for someone with a Michigan degree. And I wouldn't trade the "college experience" at Michigan for anything.
There is something to be said for the college experience. The experience at a place like Harvard is much different than at Michigan. A place like Michigan has a lot more to offer in that regard...
How so? My wife went to UM undergrad and Duke for Law School. She loved both, and I'd even say that she liked Durham better. It is really nice to sit on your pation in December and enjoy a beer, can't do that in A2.
A2 has better athletic teams, Harvard has Boston right around the corner.
Grad school is totally different. When your in grad school your not looking for the undergrad experience. The undergrad experience that I'm talking about is partying, having fun, etc. I had some friends that went to different ivy's, uchicago, etc. They would be the first to say that they had way more fun when visiting their friends at Michigan and MSU. I understood what they meant the first time I visited them. Thats not to say they don't have fun and party, but it's definitely a much different scene(which some people do prefer).
I chose Michigan (in-state, with a large scholarship both times) over Harvard for both undergraduate and law schools. I'm not out of law school yet, but so far in life the undergrad choice was a great one.
I think feel is one of the most important things you can take into account when choosing a place to go to school. So much of life is about the relationships you develop, and you can learn much better in an environment where you are comfortable and feel supported. Now, she might definitely get that at Harvard; I thought it was really snooty and annoying, but that's a personal opinion.
My oldest daughter was in a similar situation. She started kindergarten early,at four then skipped 3rd grade, graduated from high school and started at MSU (that's another story) at 16. As your daughter gets into high school courses, encourage her to do AP classes. My daughter started college with 50 college credits. She could have graduated in 3 years, but she had a full ride scholarship for 4 years (National Merit Scholar), and we encouraged her to take her time. Part of me wanted to push her for selfish vicarious reasons, but she was able to mix in a few fluff classes along the way, and that worked out for her.
Part of the decision needs to be based on what discipline she wants to go into. Yes, the Harvard name opens lots of doors, etc, but in a discipline like engineering, several state schools rank higher than most of the Ivies, including Harvard.
Cost is another factor. As someone else mentioned, schools like Harvard don't need to give out merit based scholarships, so no matter how high her grades or test scores, it's not going to make much of a difference. If you're like me, and you make too much to qualify for government grants but too little to just pay out of pocket, cost should be a factor. Also, if she is as smart as she sounds, is she really going to just stop with a bachelor's degree? A UM bachelor's and Harvard master's will save tens of thousands of dollars.
My daughter was accepted into 7 of the 8 grad schools she applied for (UPenn, I think was the one she didn't get into). She turned down Cornell and several other highly rated schools, now has a master's in ChemE and is on pace to get her PhD by age 25.
had so much money in scholarships that they were actually paid to go to Michigan. Michigan + profitable scholarship money > Harvard. At the end of the day, two went to Harvard and Yale for grad school anyway. The other one went to Michigan law.
If money plays into the descision, I think an important consideration has to be what your daughter wants to study. If she aspires for public interest or academia, then maybe minimizing the debt load should weigh more heavily when balancing all of the factors. If she aspires to go into business/finance/$$$, then I think Harvard would certainly open more doors in that setting. Just my two cents.
I've always thought that if you're a high school kid who grew up the State of Michigan and you get into UofM, there are no more than 5 or 6 schools in the country that it would make sense turning down UofM for. However, Harvard is definitely one of those schools. Hate to say it, but if she has the opportunity to go to Harvard, she should take it. Maybe she can come back to Michigan for medical school or her PhD or whatever. That way she can have the best of both worlds.
Agreed, however, the recruiting pitch my wife received from UM Law was "your from Michigan, you should know why you should come here", direct quote from the Dean. When she took her trips to Chicago Law and Duke Law, very different experience.
Knew the difference between "your" and "you're"...
Getting into colleges like Michigan and Harvard is a bitch these days. Michigan had 46,000+ applications for 4,000 spots. I'm sure Harvard is much more difficult. My kids are smart but don't go to a private High School that is a feeder to top colleges. Much like football recruiting, you just never know what is going to happen.
I think from a name perspective Harvard is superior. It's interesting to see all of the angst on site like college confidential about schools and ratings. For christ sake some components of life should not simply be about achievement. I'd advise my 12 year old daughter to give some thought about what is important to her and talk about life balance. Some people thrive on the challenge of being the best and some are consumed by it.
Mamby pamby words from a Ross grad no less.
I really enjoyed reading everyone's thoughtful opinions.
I went to Michigan and graduated from the undergrad business program and had access to the best firms in the world for a position out of school. I think certain programs (business and engineering for example) at Umich allow you to do whatever you want.
A few thoughts about schools:
1. My buddy from high school is a genius (perfect ACT, LSAT, and GMAT score). He went to Harvard twice and currently excels at a world class consulting firm (read McKinsey, BCG, etc.).
a.) When he started at Harvard for undergrad, I asked him what it was like studying with the smartest kids in the world. He said he didn't know; his roommates just cheated off him.
b.) My thought is that a third of kids at fancy schools belong to be there, a third are rich kids (legacies) that are smart enough to make it work, and a third are rich kids who can buy their way in
c.) The smartest kids / most successful people understand that it's just a house of cards and don't need a piece of paper to achieve their goals. I'd love to see the number of Fortune 1000 companies started by drop-outs of fancy schools.
Anyways, I always marveled how 18 / 19 year old kids thought their lives were over when they didn't get into the business school or when seniors didn't get into the law / medical program they had their hearts set on. If a small hiccup like a rejection from an academic program will derail your life---you wouldn't achieve your goals anyway.
Good luck, sounds like she doesn't need it. For my kids, I would stress going to a university where you can get really drunk before sporting events and also have world class academics. Very few places can have both, which is why I feel Michigan is so special.
While Harvard for undergrad is the gold standard, if she plans on getting an advanced degree, I believe that choice is far more important. That said, Harvard can certainly help her get into the best institutions for advanced degrees (places like, well, Harvard).
Also, some of this depends on her desired career/major. If she wants to be attorney or politician, finishing at Harvard Law is tought to beat. Same goes for medical.
But for business? An undergrad at Michigan with an MBA from Harvard, IMO, is more powerful than an undergrad from Harvard with a Michigan MBA. Of course, if your daughter is in either of those situations, she's going to be more than fine. And yes, the Harvard undergrad + Harvard MBA is probably the best, but not significantly better than U-M undergrad + Harvard MBA.
Also, it's not like Michigan is chopped liver. We are top ten in virtually every major category, and our grad programs provide plenty of open doors...but not as many as Harvard.
Being from the midwest I knew getting a degree from Michigan had a very strong reputation. It wasn't until I moved to New York that I heard a new nickname for Michigan that I really liked.
I'm positive I'm biased by my alma mater but unless your goal is to attent law school and work for the most exclusive law firm in NY I don't believe Harvard opens any door Michican can't.
edit: and Michigan's law school isn't shabby either
Someone should edit with their Wikipedia account.
Except for a small number of pages on Wikipedia that are "locked," anyone can edit any page.
...getting a college experience. I went to Ross full time MBA. There were many who had attended the prestigious Ivys for undergrad (including Harvard). I think most would say they enjoyed their Michigan experience better since they were able to have a true "American college experience". I would also say that most are more loyal to Michigan than their undergrad school. I think that says a lot.
A non-college experience? I don't know what the the "college experience" if Michigan means unless you mean D1 sports and a big Greek system. Harvard doesn't have those.
Harvard's own traditions, sporting and otherwise, are every bit as important and meaningful to its students as michigan's are to us. A much as I love love love Michigan sports, I would never propose trading "access to D1" over "most talented undergrad population, fast track to top grad schools, leave school debt-free" .
I've never posted before but love MGoBlog. Your post got me to respond. I am a grad of both U-M (LSA '84) and Harvard (Law '88). Happy to help if I can. In a nutshell, I love U of M, but anyone who can get into Harvard should go, period. The connections and overall experience are worth it, and there's just something about the "H-bomb", as my wife calls it. The name gives you instant credibility, rightly or wrongly.
That said, it's important for her to be happy where she goes and to be able to get the education she wants. If she's not comfortable at Harvard or it doesn't offer the program she wants, U of M is a great choice.
without someone posting this pic...?
While Harvard may open doors, it all depends on the major too. An elementary education degree will not be beneficial by any means from a Harvard as opposed to any other university.
I'm a firm believer that although a degree from an institution can vary the opportunities you're offered at the start of your career, ambition will far exceed the weight of any degree. My largest criteria factor that led me to choose Nebraska was the fact I could still get a quality education, but through scholarship and financial aid I will not need to take out student loans. Graduating debt free was a big deal to me.
All things said, my best friend is attending Penn and the opportunities offered by alumni to students and recent graduates far accelerates his ascension in ranks over a standard degree.
Do NOT assume that Harvard is more expensive. They have the greatest financial aid program in the world, including meeting 100% of financial need with scholarship NOT loan. Depending on your income it could be cheaper to go to Harvard.
Michigan is awesome but a completely different type of experience than Harvard. I have never regretted my decision to attend.
I am actually the chair of the alumni interviewing committee for the area and would be happy to answer any questions you have if you mail bensmomma at gmail
Money is not an issue with Ivy League schools. It's really shocking to me that people don't realize how much financial aid Ivy League schools give out. They get their money from billionaire graduates donating, not tuition, and they are happy to let people attend for very little. The only people who pay the sticker price are millionaires and legacies. As someone who looked at Ivy League schools in his college search last year, I was told lots about this by the schools themselves.
Ivy League schools (especially the best ones, i.e. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc) give out need-based aid to 90% of students. Not need based like "fill out the FAFSA and if you're below the poverty line we can give you some loans," like actually fair, need based aid in the form of grants. At every school I visited I was told that my family should not expect to pay more than 10% of their yearly income on tuition. For most people, this is fairly comparable to in-state tuition at Michigan. If it's something you find yourself strongly considering down the line, talk to the schools about it! Trust me, money is the one factor these schools do not want holding back applicants.
It's all cognitive dissonance. People who got rejected or know that they could never possibly attend an Ivy tend to assume that all those schools are full of legacies and they're too expensive to attend even if they did get in. This is especially prevalent at schools like Michigan, where virtually everyone either got rejected by a top tier Ivy or decided not to apply. The list of people who turn down top tier Ivies to go to Michigan is as vast as the list of people who turned down Michigan to go to MSU.
For something like engineering Michigan is a much better option. Also if she is planning on grad school (which she probably will considering how smart she is) raking up a lot of debt in undergrad should be avoided if possible.
So I guess there's not many College of Engineering folks around these boards. As an in-state kid there is no where else I would prefer to attend. For comparison's sake, I would find it incredibly hard to believe that MIT would have opened the door to research oppurtunities and job offers that were three times better than what I've gotten here. Yet the cost is three times as much. That coupled with the fact that Michigan is a lot more fun to attend than MIT really makes them easy to choose between for an in state kid.
Out of state would probably be a toss up between Illinois and Georgia Tech, based on tuition.
My brother is facing sort of the same situation next year, as he's starting to apply to colleges this summer. He's applying to Penn (both my parents are alums), and I think Harvard, but also applying to big state schools like Michigan, Texas, UNC, UVa, etc. He'd like to have the complete package for a school, like great academics, as well as great athletics, which only a handful of schools in America offer both simultaneously, Michigan obviously being one of them.
I hope he goes to Michigan. In fact, I think my whole family does. But I've told him before that if he gets into Harvard, he should go to Harvard. Michigan is a world-renowned institution, but Harvard, as far as academics are concerned, is just better. It will open more doors for you, and having the name of that school on your resume always gets you pushed to the top of the pile. Always. At the very least, you're getting an interview.
Maybe as far as business school comparisons go, Ross stacks up just as well, if not better than Wharton, but overall, Harvard is the better academic option. But it really depends on what the kid wants. Because if they want big athletic events, school spirit and all the rah-rah that comes with it, you'd really have to stop and think about going to Harvard, because you won't get any of that unless you're an avid crew fan.
And I don't think most kids are.......
If she can go to Harvard she could probably go to Stanford. They've put themselves into a position to make this century their own.
Stanford is the academics of Harvard with the culture of the Pac 12.
One of the greatest learning experiences in life is deciding what you really want, as opposed to what other people want for you. So her figuring that out is key. I have two good high school friends who both went to Harvard. One loved it, and went on to Harvard Law School and is very successful today. The other, who was the valedictorian of our class and ridiculously smart, ended up transferring to Amherst after freshman year. I don't know why she chose Harvard to begin with, but it wasn't the place for her, and certainly not because she couldn't hack it. So......this will be a great learning, maturing experience for your daughter!
if you go to Harvard, but come out a boring, depressed, and/or burned-out genius, it may open great doors but not be that great for her.
At Michigan, I thought I got a great education (obviously not quiet Harvard level) but also gained a lot of interpersonal skills that, honestly, help a ton in my career. Plus, I just had a lot of fun at Michigan going to football games, hockey games, etc. I'm not sure I would be any more successful now if I had gone to a Harvard or MIT
Like people say, the degree only opens the door initially. Once you're in, degree doesn't matter. There are thousands of Michigan alums doing better than Harvard alums and likewise, there are thousands of guys with GEDs or 2-year degrees doing better than Michigan alums.
I chose Michigan over Columbia for undergraduate and am very happy with my choice. My best friend chose Columbia over Michigan (and Stanford) and he is very happy with his choice. I imagine that if either of us had gotten into Harvard we'd have gone there.
You go to Harvard dummy. They don't sell shirts in Cambridge that say Michigan the Harvard of the (mid)west!
Don't they call Harvard "the Michigan of the east"?
You've got plenty of good observations about cost, reputation, networking, prestige already, so I won't expand on those.
A mega-university with ~43,000 students and ~27,000 undergrads is likely to be a bit overwhelming for even the savviest 16-year old.
~20,000 students total and ~7,000 undergrads, not so much.
Michigan has as many freshmen as Harvard has undergrads.
Everything else being equal, I'd recommend Harvard for a 16-year old freshman for that reason alone.
Of course, you could enroll in the Residential College (which I did) or one of the other learning communities here.
It kind of goes both ways. In Ann Arbor, you feel like the whole town revolves around you as a college student. In Cambridge, you're in the huge Boston area and it's a little different.
Michigan fergodsakes. Excelling at a top school like UM will give her plenty of similar opportunities that Harvard would but she gets to experience a much better lifestyle!
If her choice is Michigan or Harvard, that's a great "problem" to have.
It's up to personal preference. A Harvard degree carries somewhat more prestige but also is more expensive and you lose some aspects of the college experience you get here, like big-time sports. If you're a Michigan resident, going to Harvard means being a lot farther away from your family, though the Boston area is pretty attractive for young adults.
One thing she should be aware of is that Ivy League admissions are pretty much a crapshoot - they have way too many qualified applicants for available spots - so you have to be careful about putting all your hopes and dreams into getting in one.
My wife and I are both Michigan grads and my son is a huge Michigan fan. We live out of state, so UM tuition is not much less than Harvard. My son got into both as well as many other very good schools. I, without hesitation, told him to go to Harvard as did my wife. It was his decision and he picked Harvard. I love UM, but I think that the number of doors opened by going to Harvard is significant. He starts at Harvard this fall.
She should go to Michigan so that later on, she isn't afraid to admit where she went to school.
You can debate all of these factors forever--cost, connections made, opportunities afforded, grad school connections, "the name," etc. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that she choose the school at which she is the most comfortable. She's got to be happy with the place she'll spend 4 years, and has got to like her fellow students. At elite universities like those she's considering, she'll learn as much from her peers as in the classrooms. You have to choose the school that's the best fit. Period.
go with Michigan. I do not think the extra $20-$30K that you would have to dish out for Harvard is worth it. For graduate school, perhaps, but for undergrad, naahh. If she does well at Michigan, does well on her standardized exam (MCAT, LSAT, etc.), she will be extremely competitive as far as grad schools go, or the job market if that is her path. Admissions to graduate/professional programs/internships/fellowships these days are much more about the name/reputation of the undergrad institution. Now, a Michigan grad with a 3.2 is obviously not going to be as competitive as a Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton, but a Michigan grad with solid grades and test scores will be just as competitive, imo. I am of the opinion that for undergrad, you should save your money, go to you respective public university, work your tail off, do well, and you'll have no problem with grad schools. I know plenty of people that went to Cal States, the UCs (not including Berkeley and UCLA), U of Texas, UNC, UVA, that got in to some of the best med schools, law schools, Ph.D. programs, grad programs in architecture, MBAs. They just kicked ass in undergrad, did well on their respective tests, had some extra curriculars, and did just fine.
Harvard is NOT more expensive than Michigan for many/most people, and is sometimes cheaper, due to the advantageous financial aid
I would be interested to know if there are Harvard grads that say they wish they would've gone elsewhere, Michigan specifically.
I have a friend that is a rising Junior at Harvard, and I have gotten the impression that the experience a student has at Harvard is what he or she makes of it. If you want a "traditional" American college experience at Harvard I'm sure you can party your butt off and graduate. That being said, I think at less rigorous schools you can study 100 hours a week and be miserable. To me, it pretty much depends on the individual, at least to a certain extent.
My boss went to Harvard, but worked in Ann Arbor, and he always seemed jealous of how Michigan students and grads were competitive, but supported each other, but at Harvard everyone was trying to be the best at the expense of their classmates. He missed having the same camaraderie.
Posting for a friend who is too lazy to get an account.
"I went to undergrad at Michigan, and I'm now in a PhD program at Harvard, which involves me teaching undergrads.
Kinda seems like a lot of these comments are pure speculation, so let me weigh in.
The dumbest kids at Harvard are smarter than the dumbest kids at Michigan. The smartest kids at Harvard are not smarter than the smartest kids at Michigan. So yeah, the kids you meet at Harvard will on the whole be smarter and ultimately more successful than your peers at Michigan, but the latter is largely a result of the totally irrational value placed on a Harvard undergrad degree by people who just don't know any better.
I feel qualified to say this -- the quality of instruction is absolutely not better at Harvard, and in many cases, it's worse, given that faculty are under much greater research pressure and have much less incentive to pay attention to their undergrads.
If your daughter absolutely knows that she wants to go into finance or consulting, she should go to Harvard. If she has any other interests, she's probably better off avoiding the grade-grubbing hoop-jumping conformists that mostly populate Harvard.
If Harvard has taught me anything, it's that you can't underestimate how much college would absolutely suck without a good football or basketball team."
The students you get will really depend on the program. In my undergrad major (religion), you did not see a lot of the behavior you describe
The dumbest kids at Harvard are smarter than the dumbest kids at Michigan. The smartest kids at Harvard are not smarter than the smartest kids at Michigan. So yeah, the kids you meet at Harvard will on the whole be smarter and ultimately more successful than your peers at Michigan, but the latter is largely a result of the totally irrational value placed on a Harvard undergrad degree by people who just don't know any better
I definitely believe this. I remember at orientation at U-M when they asked how many students scored a perfect 1600 on their SAT, and many hands went up. They then asked how many people had a 4.0 in high school, and even more hands went up. Because we have room to admit a lot more students, the average student here might be marginally less accomplished than the average Ivy Leaguer, but the cream of the crop here can stack up with anybody.
I guess it's a good problem to have.
Michigan is a great top 10 brand, but Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton open doors like none other. It also depends on what she wants to study.
Definitely schools like Harvard can open doors, but let's not forget that they can close some doors too. Just like there is a presumption in many circles that a Harvard grad is smarter than a UM grad, so too are there presumptions about snobbishness or potential job satisfaction.
On one of my job interviews, I was told why with my Big 10 degree (grad school Purdue), I wouldn't like the job. The interviewer spent the first 10 minutes listing off "problems" with the institution I was applying to. In a round about way, he was telling me I wouldn't get the job because they were convinced I would just use it as a stepping stone to something better.
Well there are always hiring issues like that. That's similar to some guys not wanting to hire someone that's smarter than them. The good news is that in all of those situations you really don't want to work for idiots like that. So in the end its a win win. Bbottom line is the prestigious degree will open more right doors and as you described maybe even close the wrong ones.
Maybe it's just me but while Harvard may open doors from a financial perspective, most if not all those folks I have met who graduated from Harvard have been pompous a-holes. While I have met some like that from UM, it's in the minority. I guess if it all depends on what makes you happy. For me, I was accepted to both schools but I wanted to be part of the GO BLUE tradition and that meant more to me than financial happiness. I can't remember the last time I saw a Harvard grad wearing their Crimson around town and saying Go Crimson to a fellow alum. Seriously, does money really bring happiness?
seriously, does money really bring happiness?
give me half a mill and I'll get back to you ASAP
your happiness is only worth "half a mill"? For me, I'd rather see UM win National Championships then get "half a mill". You are clearly not about being better like your tag line says.
...and that makes me happy...so I guess the answer is yes. And your generalization of Harvard grads sounds very familiar to MSU generalizations of UM grad.
Isn't the goal here what makes your childern happy? Selfish.
Ari Gold says Harvard first and then Michigan after undergrad
watched a lot of Michigan alums kick the snot out of Ivy League alums in NYC kickball leagues, so...
If she's interested in medicine then she should look for the school with the highest average gpa for biology, chem, or gen sciences students and go to that school. The easier the better... that way she can do a bunch of stuff with her free time and actually have a life outside of the classroom. No school is going to teach you anything special that'll help you do better on the MCAT. That doesn't mean she should go to a crappy school though, there's a bunch of top tier school with grade inflation.
One of the hardest things to do is measure the true educational value of a university or college. The vast majority of all college rankings are heavily skewed in one form or fashion by differences in input. That is, if much higher quality students go to a college and then have more successful careers afterwards, is it because of the added value bestowed by their education or because they were better walking in the door? There is no doubt that Harvard has incoming students with higher academic achievement coming in the door than Michigan does. Comparing ROI, or number of famous alumni, or other such metrics between the two schools becomes very difficult. The closest test you could perform would be to randomly assign identical twins to various schools and then look at their careers 40 years later. You would still need a very large N (100+) between the schools to deal with all the other factors (choice of major, life events, etc.) but it might give some way to consider the true educational value of the school.