Public vs Private Schools: Does it Matter?

July 25, 2014 in Alive Campus, Colleges

public vs private schools

When looking into schools, you may want to consider if you prefer a public state school, or a private school—or if you have no preference! Though every college or university is going to be similar in the fact that you will be attending classes on a new campus, the differences between public and private schools can be subtle but impactful.

First off: what is a public school, and what is a private school? A public university is funded by its respective state government, while a private university operates completely independently of the government, and is funded instead by endowments from alumni and other donors. This technically is the only dictionary-definition difference between the two.

But generally (and remember, this is all general—there are always exceptions!), private and public universities operate differently and provide a different sort of campus and lifestyle from the other.

Public universities are generally much cheaper. Tuition costs are often several times less at public schools than at private schools. Plus, if you attend a school in the state in which you live, your tuition is even less—in-state students get a cheaper tuition price tag than out-of-state students. On the other hand, private universities tend to offer more financial aid to students. Well-endowed private schools often have more money to throw out in the form of grants and scholarships than public schools.

Another factor to consider is that when applying for a school in your home state, your chances of being admitted increase. In-state students and their parents’ taxes go to public colleges, so these students get first priority in terms of admission. Of course, if you a student applying to an out-of-state public university, this doesn’t apply to you.

Private universities also often staff more esteemed professors, often have smaller class sizes, and offer more extra-curricular activities than public universities—though again, these are all generalizations!

Remember that there are a lot of common misconceptions regarding the differences between public and private institutions. Often, people assume that private universities are more prestigious, or look better on a resume—this is definitely not always the case. People also tend to think that private schools’ curriculums are more rigorous or intense than those at public schools—but again, public university students can attest that any acclaimed, professional college is going to be challenging, no matter where you go!

Ultimately, it is impossible to recommend one over the other. And realistically, there are too many nuances between schools to generate accurate, concrete statistics that measure the differences between public and private. When applying to colleges, I don’t advise any student to rule out one or the other. Instead, read up on schools you think you might be interested in, visit every school you can get to, and study up on what each individual school’s tuition is (as well as what their financial aid packages tend to look like.) In the end, these are the real factors in deciding on a school: whether it is financially realistic, whether the campus feels like home, and whether you feel a connection to the school.

Top 10 Things to Consider When Choosing a College

March 14, 2014 in Colleges

 When you’re busy filling out college applications, it can be overwhelming trying to decide on what matters to you the most about these colleges you might attend. Here are ten things that might help you make that big decision!

1. Size of the campus. Are you looking for a space small enough for everyone to know your name or are you searching for a bigger university? Be warned: sometimes with bigger campuses, you’ll end up getting crammed into gigantic lecture halls. If that isn’t the way you learn, steer clear!

2. Distance from home. I know, I know. You’re already looking forward to spreading your wings and making it on your own. But I was sincerely grateful that my parents talked me into limiting my options to colleges that were about an hour away from my house. Freshman year my floormates drove me crazy, to the point where I was driving home every weekend just to get some sleep! If you want to head across the country, go for it! Just realize that the unexpected can and will happen.

3. Is this school known for your major? Some schools have been well-known for certain majors or programs ever since they first opened their doors. Don’t let it discourage you if the institute you have your heart set on isn’t a top contender with your major of choice. But colleges that have had the time and funding to flood into their programs might be able to get you the advantage.

4. Career goals. Does you school have any contacts within businesses or local places where you might want to intern or someday work? What about the alumni? Where are they in life? Check out the school’s website and LinkedIn page to see if they’d be able to help you get into that organization you dream about working for.

5. Studying abroad! I know that The College of New Jersey encourages students of every major to study abroad. Getting a taste for another culture is an experience that can’t compare to anything else. Yet I’ve heard about universities that aren’t so ready to push students in that direction. If you want to have the option open to you, keep the college’s programs abroad in mind.

6. The area surrounding the college. Is it safe to leave your campus or will you need to stick near it? Are there opportunities for internships close to your school? Now that I’m an upperclassman I’m realizing how important it is to be able to drive to these opportunities when I might not have thought about that distance when I was making my decision on college.

7. Where are your friends going? Do you want to head to a school with people you’re already familiar with or do you want to start fresh, knowing nobody? This question can be tricky to answer because you need to always do what’s best for you, not for your friend.

8. Cost. Yes, I know, every college you’ve visited or thought about has probably spoken to you about financial aid, scholarships, and how much tuition is, but this is a big investment and you need to think seriously about how much debt you’ll be able to handle once you’re out of school.

9. What are the students on the campus like? Visit while school’s in session and see whether people on campus seem friendly. Talk with tour guides and browse the student center and visit the dining hall. Some campuses seem livelier and friendlier than others, so take your time exploring and seeing where you might fit in!

10. Can you picture yourself at that school? Are you having fun there? Then maybe that’s the college for you!

What do you want your campus to look like?

What do you want your campus to look like?

To Prospects of Life and an Alive Campus Farewell

February 5, 2014 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges, Events, Health, Infographics, Love, Reviews, Sports, Style, Tech, Travel

Hello Camper,

Aim and shoot for beyond the stars…

Alive Campus provides an awesome experience for individuals receiving and sharing information about their colleges. It provides an avenue for incoming freshmen, transfers and overall prospects to view an institution in light of the person-student. It is better than a commercial about an institution that attempts to sell the environment to the student. Still- the able, productive and willing student will learn to use an institution as a useful platform: Students excelling in academics and sports will be able to promote their selves through the institution or their merits for their personal reasons. College may be an expensive or inexpensive experience but SallieMae is always willing to assist the educational process toward their profitable return.

Every collegiate institution will vary by academia, cultures, privatization, religions, regulations and traditions. My attendance from Lock Haven University to Centenary College has been a fulfilling and tremendous rollercoaster of experience. El Torro and Kingda Ka in a blizzard cannot compare with my college tumbling experience. After completing then paying for one class and test I will have the opportunity to graduate from Centenary College in May, elated.

It has been a great experience writing for Alive Campus. It will no longer be my place to discuss Centenary College’s environment as I improve away from it. I do have bits of advice for individuals seeking to attend an institution or transfer from an institution. The future is changing dramatically with the variety of institutions available; chiropractic, culinary, dog training, masseuse, music and etc. type of schools exist for individuals seeking a particular career path of growth.

Do not rush any decision about the future. If you feel an inclination toward a different direction for your life then find the avenues prospering in the direction of your inclination. If you are unsure about attending a large university then attend a community college to save money and receive half (or more) of the credits at a four year college. You will have enough time to think and prepare financially for the future ahead of you without risking valuable time especially since community colleges are very affordable avenues. The one class I am taking at Centenary is more than my co-worker’s semester tuition at a community college.

Don’t let others make decisions about your life either: If they’re not offering financial backing and a place in their home with their advice about your future then take their advice like an open wound with a grain of salt; take careful thought thinking about the next steps in your future. Don’t rush your life. Advice is another option to think about especially when various walks of life will have advice readily available for a variety of purposes. Be patient thinking about decisions, and even more patient making those decisions, to enhance your life in the long run.

I hope the future progresses well for every individual!

It will progress well if you take your time for its true value.

Time is not money: It is your life.

Onward and Upward,

Kevin Dufresne

Thank you Radek Janowski and Alive Campers for being amazing and useful!

Easy State or Out-of-State

June 28, 2013 in Alive Campus, Colleges

Tough Choice?

Tough Choice?

When choosing which college you’re going to attend, there are many things that come into play such as academics, price, athletics, notability, and, yes, location. The location of your school is equally important as choosing the right school…why?  Let’s dive in and found out.

Whether you choose to attend college in-state or out of state, you’re making a big decision. First of all, you shouldn’t choose an out-of-state school simply because you want to move as far away from home as possible. Simply going to college brings about the independence and the freedom you were most likely looking for anyway. Secondly, you should look at the college holistically. Does it offer the program you’re looking for? How good is that school in that particular program? Can you picture yourself being there? If you said yes to any of those questions, then I think you should at least consider out-of-state. Lastly, do it for yourself. Don’t let people force you into leaving or staying. This is about you and where YOU will be spending the next 4 years of your life, so listen to your inner voice. As long as you can afford it and you’re not going against your parent’s rules, then consider that option.

Although I do favor out-of-state, there are some aspects of being on your own you should consider. As for me, I chose to go to college in California, which is definitely a bit different than growing up in Texas. After making that decision, here are a few lessons I have learned along the way:

  1. Understand that going to college away from home means going into a new environment. I know that sounds obvious, but there may be many times that you’ll be confused as to why things in that state are handled a certain way. Being in a new environment means meeting people who think and act differently than you because of how they were raised.  Most have not had the same experiences as you and may respond differently to things that happen. So, recognize those differences and adjust accordingly.
  2. You’re really on your own. That means no break from college/campus life.  While some students may be able to go home for the weekend and get a home-cooked meal, you’ll still be eating campus/dorm food. (and no free laundry either…)
  3. You’re going to get home sick every once in a while – it’s normal. Just remember why you chose to attend that school and stay motivated. The good always outweighs the bad.

But enough sour talk, here are some reasons that your SHOULD choose to go out-of-state for college:

  1. You’ll become even more independent. I see independence as a good thing. You learn how life works because now you’re living away from home and have to rely solely on yourself.
  2. You’re free! Well, figuratively speaking of course (..there’s still the DPS, school board, and Residential Advisors). Being “free” means officially living out of state and on your own. Although you should enjoy it, don’t go too crazy.  Always be careful and make wise decisions.
  3. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and about the world around you. Not only will you become more self-reliant, but you will also see the world differently. You’re no longer living at home with your parents. You have your own identity. But, because you do view the world according to how you were raised, you are now forced to see things through a a different lens, in a new city, and with new people.
  4. Last but not least, you’ll be a stronger person because of it. It’s definitely easier to attend college in or around the same place you grew up. But, it’s much harder to start over in a new environment without knowing a single person in your new city. So, bravo to you.

Overall, I believe taking the leap of faith and choosing to immerse yourself in a new environment is worth it…so GO FOR IT!

But again, it’s your choice… In State or Out-of-State