(Closed) Private University vs Public University.

posted 4 years ago in College
  • poll: Which one would you recommend ?



  • Post # 2
    12 posts

    View original reply
    misscake :  I went to an out-of-state public university. When I was choosing schools, I personally felt that what would be best for me was to not only pick a school with a good academic record but also one that was larger and more diverse.

    Going to a university isn’t just about education. Experiences in early adulthood really shape who you become. If I had gone to a small private school with a bunch of students with backgrounds and interests similar to me, I don’t think I would have grown very much as a person. That being said, you can find private schools with wonderful experiences that will help you grow too. You just need to be careful that whatever school you choose will give you the experience that you’re looking for. Good luck!

    Post # 3
    1146 posts
    Bumble bee

    Ultimately I would focus more on what the particular school has to offer. Very generally, I find that public universities are bigger and have broader fields to choose from if you don’t know what you want to do. That and public universities are generally bigger in size; either a pro or con for you depending on what you like. I prefer smaller schools and smaller classes, so going private was a no brainer.

    I would pick a school based on what majors they offer and what class is offered in those specific majors. One of the advice I gave my younger cousins is pick a school with a few majors you’re interested in, since a lot of young people end up switching around the first two or so years.

    I would consider if you would prefer going to a big or small school, narrow down the courses/majors offered, tuition costs and city or country living. After that you should be able to narrow down a few choices that you could apply for. I don’t really think there is a definate way to determine if x university’s non-academic life is better than y’s. It’s all up to when you get there and how you put yourself out there.

    Post # 4
    454 posts
    Helper bee

    I went to two public universities. For undergrad, I chose the best school that I could afford. I had gotten into two better private schools that offered me little to no financial aid and were expensive to the point that I couldn’t justify the cost. The third best school I got into was a public school and one that I could afford so I went there.

    For grad school, I knew the real point for me was the recruiting opportunities. So I valued location over pretty much everything else because I knew where geographically I wanted to work and knew my industry essentially only recruits locally. After that, I prioritized cost. It just so happened that the school that offered me the best aid was also in the city that I wanted the most and happened to be a public school again. 

    Post # 5
    969 posts
    Busy bee

    This is gonna be brutally honest and I might come across as a snob but this was my experience so I wanted to share.

    I started out going to a top 50 private university for engineering. It was very competitive (read: high stress) and all of my classmates were motivated hard workers. Many of them ended up beginning startups together after school so the networking was pretty valuable. But it was $25k/year even with my scholarships and I ran out of loan options, not to mention went into debt that is crippling now that I’ve graduated despite my awesome job.

    When I ran out of money I transferred to a public college (ranked 300-something). We’re talking $4-6k a year which I thought was such a bargain. I was able to work my way through school because classes weren’t as difficult and college was actually affordable, which was AMAZING. But everything about the school was less nice than the private school. $20k less nice? Probably not, but it definitely put me at a disadvantage for job hunting. The teachers, advisors, and administrators were incompetent assholes who tried to trick you out of good grades instead of just teaching challenging material well. They cared more about their research than teaching. Many students were lazy and unmotivated. Many students failed classes more than once just because they didn’t do homework. I did find some peers who I worked well with, but getting paired up for group projects when you couldn’t pick your teammates was a nightmare.

    Also, the career services center was super lame. There just weren’t any high quality companies coming to our career fair, and kids were woefully unprepared in terms of resumes and internship experience. I graduated with 60 students in my major and about 4 have full time jobs in their field right now. This is for an in demand field! I ended up getting a job by flying to career fairs for national clubs, and my internship experience made up for the school name.

    My brother went to community college for 2 years to get his gen eds out of the way and is about to transfer to a highly ranked but expensive public school. This is 1000% the route I’d take if I did it again. I’ve taken some gen ed classes at community college as well and the teachers have been some of the kindest and most willing to help I’ve ever met, because many work in the industry and only teach as a part time job. Yes it kind of sucks to miss out on the college freshman experience and you’ll have to make friends again in the middle of your degree. But you’ll save a boatload of cash and can really invest your money in a college degree when it matters- aka for your more technical classes and for that fancy name on your diploma. Plus its a great way to get your GPA up so you can get into a school you might not have right out of high school. 

    Post # 6
    739 posts
    Busy bee

    I would imagine it really comes down to specific schools and specific programs rather than an overall one being better than the other. 

    Post # 7
    181 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: February 2016

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    whnlz :  seconded. It depends on a hundred other factors. Cost is also a major motivator. I didn’t apply for financial aid but in my state (home to a large, top 10 public university) most of my friends got better financial aid offers from private universities than from the big U. 

    Post # 8
    297 posts
    Helper bee

    My question is whether you’d get in-state tuition at the public university and what the cost differential would be. Even though I was also accepted into a prestigious private school, I went to a public university on a partial scholarship, and was consequently fortunate enough to graduate without student loans. I can’t tell you how much of a difference that has made for me starting out debt-free as a young adult compared to my peers who are almost all saddled with loans. It’s really, really significant. You should give a lot of thought to the cost question because it’ll really impact your life when you graduate. 

    I was also lucky though because the public universities in my state are top notch, the college I went to is a “public ivy” so I wasn’t compromising much on the quality of the education. I recognize that there aren’t public universities of that caliber available everywhere. I loved the big state school college experience though! It was such a big place that there was really something available for everyone. I got to be on my college water ski team, which most people weren’t even aware we had, and ended up in two very unique majors that most schools wouldn’t have had, that set me up well for my career now. 

    Post # 9
    275 posts
    Helper bee

    Choose a school based on the program, not just public vs. private.


    I went to a small private university that is very highly ranked for my undergrad. I had a full ride, so I didn’t have the stress of paying 40k a year. The name looks good on a resume, and I got a ton of good experiences out of it. I did choose a small university because I was very, very shy, and I know that if I would have gone to a big uni, I would have felt very small & insignificant. I would not have grown out of my bubble like I did at my undergrad. This campus offered a huge variety of academic/funsies/etc groups that I joined and was very active in (biological honors groups, knitting group, belly dancing, band, environmental groups were all ones I joined).

    For my master’s, I went to a huge public uni that was also very highly ranked. That first semester sucked, not going to lie. I do not like large groups. It never seemed like my professors cared about the students, just research. Then I switched programs and felt a hella lot happier! But I’m very glad that I went to a larger uni later in life – I was a bit older and more confident in myself. I really truly don’t think I personally would have been able to handle it just the four years previous. Both unis look great on my resume, and I’m in a career I really enjoy. But I chose both based on the program, not necessarily the college itself (other than it was a certified uni, and well-regarded). 

    Post # 10
    1570 posts
    Bumble bee

    One word – MONEY.

    Post # 11
    204 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2017 - Edson Keith Mansion

    I went to a large in-state public university for undergrad. I absolutely LOVED it and graduated with no loans, then went to a private university for my graduate degree. It was a completely different experience in so many ways. Even with scholarships, I still graduated with debt, but that was not the biggest difference. There were 40,000 students at my undergrad. To meet with an advisor, you had to set up an appointment weeks in advance. I saw a counselor once with regards to applying to graduate school. I was very comfortable navigating through college on my own and advocating for my education. I chose my school because it is well ranked, well known, low cost, and very social (football!). In-state tuition in Florida is incredibly cheap, to the point where a lot of students who have pre-paid college funds or academic scholarships often get money back. I used the money I got back to pay for a sorority. I know that’s not necessarily the case for other states. 

    My graduate program had about 1,000 students total, and the campus was a few hours away from the undergraduate campus, so it truly felt like a small stand-alone school as opposed to the small graduate program of a school. You know most students, faculty, and administration that you see. I consider it a huge downside that there really is no way to avoid anyone at a campus of that size; some of my friends that lived near campus were wrapped up in the social drama and gossip that comes with not leaving the ‘bubble’ of an environment that small. An absolute positive was the support: I met with advisors many times to discuss scheduling options, career options, etc. They spent a lot of time working with me during my second year when my husband was applying to residency and preparing me for the possibility of moving and doing a ‘visiting year’ at another school. I’m currently studying for a big post-graduation exam, and my advisors are still reaching out to me to check in. My undergraduate has an alumni club in my current city, but the only time I hear from them is when they want donations. 🙂

    Post # 12
    10354 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

    View original reply
    misscake :  I chose private and I regret it. I could have had a full ride at a state school, but instead I chose prestige. Now that my student loan repayments have kicked in, I AM FULL OF RAGERTS!! Don’t get me wrong, it was a great school and I got a great education and opportunities because I went there, but ultimately I think I would have ended up in the same place (pursuing a PhD) that I am now; however, perhaps my school now wouldn’t be so prestigious (also private)… hard to say…

    Some tips:

    • Pick based on degree program (#1 – make sure it’s accredited!)
    • Pick based on amount of tuition vs. aid. 
    • Rule of thumb is that your student loan debt should not exceed 1 year annual salary in your chosen career field.
    • Pick based on degree placement percentages.
    Post # 13
    2619 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2016

    I went to an out of state public school.  I didn’t look at any private because I am in a STEM field, and no private schools in my area had a good program for me.

    Post # 14
    701 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    I went to a medium sized private university. My experience was fine. The class sizes were fairly small. The largest lecture I ever had to sit in was maybe 100-150 people. I had a number of classes with 15 or fewer students. I was always taught by a professor, and never had a class led by a TA. I did have professors that took extra time or interest in my success. I think the networking opportunities were fine, but probably not as good as what you get from a large public university. I had previously attended a very large public high school, my high school graduating class was over 1100 students, so when I attended a university with around 8000 undergrads it didn’t feel all that different.

    I mostly chose it based on ranking. I was also afraid of getting lost in the shuffle at a very large school–I thought I’d struggle more to make friends, or succeed academically if I was one of 80,000. However, my parents paid for my education…I think if I had to factor in the cost difference and pay for it myself, I would’ve likely chosen a public university.

    Post # 15
    4022 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: November 2014

    I went to a community college for my basic courses and then switched to a public university that is known for its education program. The specific program I went in to also had a record for 100% job placement within 6 months of graduation. I then went to a small private school for my Masters. I chose this school because they offered classes both online and face to face. I was already teaching when I went back to school, so the flexibility was important. 

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