A closer look at elite universities

As spring comes closer, so does the cycle of seniors committing to colleges and juniors learning about possible matches of universities. There is a lot of social pressure and anxiety when it comes to choosing a school.

“I believe elite universities are meant for connections and they’re super expensive because of the social mobility gained from them. However, due to their costly tuition the reality is that a vast majority of the students that can attend come from a family with more money. This could be a problem as it adds onto the wealth disparity gaps and social gap,” said senior Traci Hinshaw.  

Elite universities are the private top ivy league universities. Some may even consider certain UCs, like UC Berkeley or UCLA, to be considered in this category as well.

Many prospective students see the appeal in these elite universities because of their pride. Being enrolled into an elite university means you have the reputation, power and even high level connections. However there is always a con: money.

When comparing tuition costs of Stanford– a very prominent private university– to the Chabot Community College–our local community college, there is a clear difference. For three quarters of tuition for a regular graduate at Stanford, with a total of eight to ten units, would total to about $35, 310. This ranges from $3,531 to $4,413 per unit. On the other hand it costs $46 per unit at Chabot. 

The cost of private universities is usually the biggest critique. Besides that, college and career counselor Allison Zuckerbrow explains that there are positives of both a community college and private universities. 

“There are some benefits to going to private colleges/universities because typically they are smaller and therefore will have smaller class size and more individual support and maybe more resources. There are definitely also benefits for students to go to a community college first and transfer, because the community colleges are also typically smaller class sizes than say CSU or UC. Community colleges also have support programs,” said Zuckerbrow.

CVHS alumni Devin Green attends Stanford and believes that he has found many benefits within his school.

“I do think private universities are worth the hype, if your goal is to actually take advantage of the opportunities the school offers. If you want to just get in, get a degree, and get out, then it’s definitely not worth the hype. If you instead want to do some pretty cool and impressive things in your field, learn from professors that are designing the curriculum for other schools, and have a great time in a supportive academic environment, then I would say the private university route is definitely worth the hype,” said Green.

Although it may seem ironic, I am planning on applying– hopefully attending– a private university, more specifically the University of Pacific. I have heard many good things about the school’s pharmacy program, which specifically peaked my interest. 

I acknowledge that cost is a big factor, but for me going to a school that has a great program for what I am passionate about is more important for me. I don’t know if in the future I will be hit in the back by student debt, but for now I am looking for a university to further my future.

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