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Does choosing a private versus public college make that big of a difference?

The two main colleges I'm looking towards as I graduate are similar in most aspects except one; public versus private. Does this make a difference in the quality of education I'm receiving, or just the price? #college #privatecollege #public college #college-choice

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Arietta’s Answer

Hello Morgan,

The only major difference I can think of between attending a public school versus a private is the tuition and the likelihood to graduate debt-free. Other than that, many public schools can grant you the same opportunities a private school can especially in the corporate world.

Looking up the college you would like to attend and how it ranks in the program you would like to study might help you decide if going to a private college is worth it.

Hopefully the links below help you make an informed decision.

Arietta recommends the following next steps:

https://www.today.com/parenting-guides/guide-public-vs-private-colleges-t177454
https://www.petersons.com/blog/public-university-vs-private-college/#:~:text=The%20major%20difference%20between%20public,is%20tied%20to%20tuition%20prices.&text=Meanwhile%2C%20private%20colleges%20don't,on%20tuition%20and%20private%20contributions.
https://www.petersons.com/college-search.aspx
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Alonzo’s Answer

Danielle's answer is pretty spot on...it all depends. If you are comparing say a Cal State to say USC, there is a huge difference, not only in cost, but in the education provided. The major difference lies in the NETWORK. I think one aspect that private schools really pride themselves in is the network/alumni. Going to a private school gives students a sense of exclusivity and bondage with those who have gone through the same. It is apparent when reaching out to network with people who are not. For example, one of my buddies who is in Investment Banking would network like crazy, LinkedIn messages and phone calls. He would find it especially difficult to get responses from people who had gone to prestigious private schools. However, making a comparison to say UCLA and USC is really hard to find a difference in value offered from the two. Network is going to be phenomenal, education is going to be outstanding, and the alumni will be strong .

Hope that helps
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Sylvia’s Answer

I agree that it depends on the schools, and would add that it also depends on the career path you're exploring. In what I've seen, more often than not, a public school can provide the same opportunities as a private school.

To share my own personal experience, in my senior year of high school, I was very torn between going to Gonzaga and University of Oregon. At the last moment, I chose UO. I can't speak to what my experience would've been at Gonzaga, but at UO, I feel like I got everything out of college that I wanted to and I don't feel that I missed out on anything. In addition, for my personal career path (Accounting) I feel that for me, I started my career at the best possible place that I could have and I don't see what better opportunities Gonzaga could have provided. However, I definitely would have ended up with a LOT more debt.

Obviously everyone's situation is different, so what was right for me may not be what's right for you.

Good luck!
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Morgan! I think some differences are present between public and private in terms of opportunities in your future career. I would recommend to possibly research the schools and see what programs and mentorships they offer. However I also do think that a lot of responsibility and hard work does fall on the student as well. If you attend a private school for example that is more prestigious but also do not put in effort to work hard and succeed to the best of your abilities then it won't make as much a difference. I know of individuals who went to public universities -myself included- as well, saved more money tuition wise and also did well. It is definitely something to research and consider; definitely look into the colleges you are considering, their programs, their alumni and career networks, their campus settings, dorms, class sizes and of course tuition. You really won't be too certain the type of aid you will receive until FAFSA is filled out so don't be discouraged but also apply broadly and have good options to consider tuition wise because if you end up not being to receive the aid you needed for a private university then having a public university to fall back on will definitely be helpful!

I wish you the best!
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Lisa Bond’s Answer

Hi Morgan,
I've learned over the years that "perception is reality" and for some state schools are perceived as not as good as private schools. I don't find that to be true.

There are many things that you should consider as you're weighing a private vs public education: tuition, your major, graduation rate, number of people graduating with jobs from the school, class size, clubs/organizations, internships etc. Your goal of going to college is to find a position in your career area. Any school can get you there, but these other factors have to be considered because they also influence your final goal of starting your career.

Good luck!
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Danielle’s Answer

This would 100% depend on the colleges you are considering.

Ideally, private would provide better education for a higher cost. That is not always the case. Sometimes the price is the only difference.

You would really have to research the colleges individually and compare the specific ones you are looking at.
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