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mcaggie

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Feb 2, 2022
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Maybe it's a dumb question for you all, but I want to hear your inputs to understand it. I am an immigrant, so I don't fully understand American culture. I see a lot of people are very excited when their kids to accept an athletic scholarship. I understand it's a great achievement. However, a lot of time the universities are not an academically great school. If the kids apply to other schools, they may get into an academically stronger school. What your thoughts on this? I am just curious and not meant to offend anyone. If I does, sorry about it. Thanks.
 

rlm's mom

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Aug 21, 2021
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A lot of NCAA teams are part of top academic schools. It depends on how important gymnastics vs academics is to a person, whether they would go for a better ranked gymnastics school or academic school. There are many other factors involved e.g. team atmosphere, location... I couldn't give an answer for my DD without knowing the options!
 

mcaggie

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Feb 2, 2022
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Thanks. For example, one gave up her UC Berkeley offer and went to Arkansas. For me, UC Berkeley is way better than Arkansas. It’s hard for me to understand this choice.

A lot of NCAA teams are part of top academic schools. It depends on how important gymnastics vs academics is to a person, whether they would go for a better ranked gymnastics school or academic school. There are many other factors involved e.g. team atmosphere, location... I couldn't give an answer for my DD without knowing the options!
 

mcaggie

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Feb 2, 2022
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About choosing better gymnastics school, most gymnasts have done with competition after college, but education will be with you the entire life. It’s hard to justify this choice for me.
 
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rlm's mom

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Aug 21, 2021
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I really know little about Universities, though I'll have to get into that soon enough. I see where you are coming from. It would definitely be a difficult decision for us. It would depend a lot on what major she wants to take and which one offers it/has the best success rate. I think she would lean towards Arkansas still as college gymnastics has been her goal for the last decade or more... if she had the opportunity to attend such a high-ranked school I think she would grab it!
 

skschlag

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Jul 19, 2011
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I have a little different take on it.

I did not go to a "top" college. Neither did my husband. We are doing great. No debt, great jobs, etc.

You do not have to attend a college that might be considered a "top" school in order to get a good education. IMO, you get out of college what you put into it.
 

NutterButter

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Jan 24, 2013
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For a lot of families and students, there is much more to the what-college-will-I-go-to besides going to an academically 'great' school. I mean, define great? What is best for one person may not be the best for another. My DD graduated towards the top of her high school graduating class but she didn't want to go to an R1 school. She wanted a smaller school. Her school still has a nationally ranked program for her major and it's rigorous, providing lots of hand-on real life experience, even if it's not what many would define as a 'great' school. Kids graduating from her degree program are getting into selective grad schools too. She chose a path that will still allow her to accomplish her goals even if the school is not 'great'. It's a great school for her.

Regarding athletes who turn down a 'great' school for lesser one. Much of the same applies. Perhaps Berkely wasn't as good of a fit for the athlete as Arkansas. Maybe she preferred the coaching staff and other athletes. Maybe getting into Berkeley was a 'stretch' and she would be more comfortable at Arkansas. Maybe Arkansas provides better academic supports to athletes than Berkeley? (And Arkansas is an R1 school anyways.) Would you rather your kid go to a school and be miserable or select a school where they are set up to thrive? Also, don't dismiss being a student athlete. They are a HIGHLY coveted group for employers.
 

NutterButter

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Jan 24, 2013
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I was too late to addthis but I also wanted to say that I get where you are coming from @mcaggie. I used to see things more like you do perhaps because my grandparents were immigrants and educational attainment was definitely a status symbol in my family/extended family. My generation (grandkids) didn't focus as much on a status school (except for my 3 cousins who also have a parent who is an immigrant). My cousins who are adults and opted for college are VERY successful in their fields regardless of how highly ranked their school was.
 

mcaggie

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Feb 2, 2022
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Thanks for the inputs. The different perspectives are what I am looking for. For me, I believe the academically stronger school have higher success rate since the students are better prepared. Obviously I mean if they are not a stretch for you. When I say stronger, it’s not necessary the school ranking, but more of the major ranking where you will be.
 

skschlag

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Thanks for the inputs. The different perspectives are what I am looking for. For me, I believe the academically stronger school have higher success rate since the students are better prepared. Obviously I mean if they are not a stretch for you. When I say stronger, it’s not necessary the school ranking, but more of the major ranking where you will be.

That is definitely a perception that is out there, but I would disagree. THe most important part is that you are putting in the work and doing waht you need to do to be successful. That doesn't come because of the college you attend.
 
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NutterButter

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Jan 24, 2013
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Thanks for the inputs. The different perspectives are what I am looking for. For me, I believe the academically stronger school have higher success rate since the students are better prepared. Obviously I mean if they are not a stretch for you. When I say stronger, it’s not necessary the school ranking, but more of the major ranking where you will be.

This isn't always true though. For instance at R1 schools, freshman and sophomore classes are often taught by grad students. The opportunities for undergrads to get involved in research are slim because those opportunities go to the school's grad students. Smaller schools can provide more access to professors and research opportunities. Often 'great' schools have courses with 200+ students which isn't a great fit for all learners. Also, polytechnic schools in particular provide very hands-on learning and many of these programs are ranked among the best in the country.

My DD's school prides itself on being hands-on. She took core classes as a freshman that her counterparts at 'great' schools won't take until Jr/Sr year. Smaller schools can do a fine job preparing students for graduate school or the workforce by fine by specializing curriculum to real-life, hands-on experience that employers or grad schools seek.
 

gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
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Thanks. For example, one gave up her UC Berkeley offer and went to Arkansas. For me, UC Berkeley is way better than Arkansas. It’s hard for me to understand this choice.

Comparing colleges based on ranking (even major program ranking) is very simplistic. These rankings can be so easily manipulated. Students need to take everything into consideration and a big part of that is school fit for social purposes (size, activities, the physical look of the school, climate, etc), including what is the best fit for their sport, where they will spend a significant amount of time. You may feel UC Berkeley is better than Arkansas. Others would not.
 

gympoppop

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Feb 27, 2022
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Nobody has stated the obvious yet but $$$ may also play a big role. A full ride at Arkansas versus paying 65k in out of state tuition at Berkeley is a big difference. Also, undergrad school doesn’t really matter that much, where you do graduate work is much more important imo.
 

bookworm

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Nobody has stated the obvious yet but $$$ may also play a big role. A full ride at Arkansas versus paying 65k in out of state tuition at Berkeley is a big difference. Also, undergrad school doesn’t really matter that much, where you do graduate work is much more important imo.
I think that’s the unstated but obvious reason…. And if the family is saving $260K doing it , good for her .
 

mcaggie

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Feb 2, 2022
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The part I don’t understand is that she got a full ride at Berkeley first. Unless Arkansas gave additional money, the money is not the issue.
Nobody has stated the obvious yet but $$$ may also play a big role. A full ride at Arkansas versus paying 65k in out of state tuition at Berkeley is a big difference. Also, undergrad school doesn’t really matter that much, where you do graduate work is much more important imo.
 

ldw4mlo

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Feb 13, 2015
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You can get a great education at many colleges and universities. And once you begin working that matters more then where you went to school.

Any of my career moves, that I have the degree is important not where it’s from. But my work experience matters more.

My daughter will not be heading to school as an athlete. But when it comes to choosing schools. I’m sure she’ll have quite a few to choose from but it will come down to which is the best fit of the ones we can afford.
 

Lurker

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Jan 22, 2022
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The part I don’t understand is that she got a full ride at Berkeley first. Unless Arkansas gave additional money, the money is not the issue.
As others have mentioned it's more than just a schools ranking. Overall ranking doesn't apply to every school within the University. Depending on major the "better" school may not be as good. Scholarships aren't guaranteed for 4 years. What would happen if you lost the scholarship? Location may also be a factor. I played soccer but chose the school I did because it was in state so the money they were offering was actually more percentage wise, as a senior in HS I thought I wanted to do aerospace engineering, switched to mechanical which would have opened my initial choices. Additionally choosing a school only a 2 hour drive away meant my parents could attend all of my home games.
 

doublestrike

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Jun 16, 2018
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Thanks. For example, one gave up her UC Berkeley offer and went to Arkansas. For me, UC Berkeley is way better than Arkansas. It’s hard for me to understand this choice.
Cal is the more prestigious academic school and it's a more competitive gym program at the moment. You are competing in the classroom against some of the brightest minds in the country, it's not an easy road for someone who is not athlete, add in the time being a D-1 athlete, it would be tough for the average student. Their practice facilities are probably the worst in D-1, their vault runway is an upstairs balcony and it's short. There's no pit. It's also off campus and pretty far from most academic buildings. It's a testament to their coaching staff they recruit and compete so well. Then they are 30 minutes from San Francisco, and big city atmosphere. The flip side re Arkansas is their coaching staff is seen as very approachable, and up and coming. Their line-ups would be easier to make and academics are more manageable. Their practice facilities are considerably nicer. Fayetteville is a nice college town, but not as urban. The schools are so diametrically opposed, it will depend on the person. Some may be bored in Fayetteville, others might feel safer being away from the Bay Area rat race. It sounds like you're talking about Leah Smith--she did not have a full ride offer from Cal, but had full ride offers from UW and Arkansas. She ultimately went to Arkansas to be closer to home and from all accounts, it was the right choice for her.
 

Faith

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Aug 17, 2011
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For my dd, there’s a few things at play.

She is likely to be lucky enough to have a choice. She’s talking to Ivies, liberal arts colleges, navy (!) and a few others.

Firstly is her sporting goals. She intends to continue competing elite, aiming at international level. The choice of programmes offering that level, who will allow her to continue representing her country (we are not US), becomes much smaller.

Secondly is academics. While an Ivy is obviously very prestigious, she is worried that balancing such a high standard of academics and sport may be too much. She’d rather take a more relaxed academic programme so she can get a good education and reach her sporting goals, rather than try and spread herself too thinly and not manage to do her best in either.

Thirdly so far a lot of choosing a college on a sporting scholarship depends on things like do you click with the coach, do they offer the courses you want to do, do you want to live in x place for 4 years, is it a campus, what is the accommodation like etc.

Dd did really click with one of the Ivy coaches and was all set to visit this year. A change of head coach and she wasn’t getting the same vibe, and didn’t feel their goals aligned in the same way. They still want her, but she doesn't think the new coach will work for her.

It isn’t quite as straightforward as finding the best, it’s the “best fit” for each athlete.
 

mcaggie

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Feb 2, 2022
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Cal is the more prestigious academic school and it's a more competitive gym program at the moment. You are competing in the classroom against some of the brightest minds in the country, it's not an easy road for someone who is not athlete, add in the time being a D-1 athlete, it would be tough for the average student. Their practice facilities are probably the worst in D-1, their vault runway is an upstairs balcony and it's short. There's no pit. It's also off campus and pretty far from most academic buildings. It's a testament to their coaching staff they recruit and compete so well. Then they are 30 minutes from San Francisco, and big city atmosphere. The flip side re Arkansas is their coaching staff is seen as very approachable, and up and coming. Their line-ups would be easier to make and academics are more manageable. Their practice facilities are considerably nicer. Fayetteville is a nice college town, but not as urban. The schools are so diametrically opposed, it will depend on the person. Some may be bored in Fayetteville, others might feel safer being away from the Bay Area rat race. It sounds like you're talking about Leah Smith--she did not have a full ride offer from Cal, but had full ride offers from UW and Arkansas. She ultimately went to Arkansas to be closer to home and from all accounts, it was the right choice for her.
Thanks for the insights. You are really familiar with these colleges.
 
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