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College selection: considerations in favor of attending a large state school
Many students are trying to decide between attending an elite private research university (such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, University of Chicago), a large state school (such as UC Berkeley, University of Illinois, and University of Washington), or an elite private liberal arts college (such as Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Sarah Lawrence, Swarthmore, Reed). This page lists some considerations in favor of attending a large state school.
- Lower tuition (particularly if you are eligible for in-state tuition): In an era where college tuition is extremely high, this can be a critical factor, even after considering the potential for financial aid. (need to insert some numerical estimates)
- Easier to obtain admission: Standards for getting into large state schools are lower controlling for the quality of faculty and research facilities available (true?).
- Large class size means top students of comparable quality to top private research universities: The median student quality at top state schools is lower than at places like MIT. But the class sizes are bigger, and the top students at these schools are comparable in quality to top places such as MIT, Harvard, and Stanford.
- Research opportunities: Large state schools often house many different research labs and groups, creating several opportunities for undergraduates interested in research experience. The University of Washington, Seattle, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, are prime examples.
- Transfer within state university systems: Some state university systems, such as California, have a very high-quality flagship university (University of California, Berkeley) and a number of other universities of varying quality. There are well-established criteria for transfering as a sophomore or junior within the system.