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No. of Recommendations: 7
So... I'm a graduate of one of those "expensive private schools," though from the days when tuitions were a fraction of what they are today. And my mom before me, and my grandmother before that. (Grandma went to Northwestern in the 1920s, which always makes me smile -- my severe, disciplined, music-and-economics-double-major Grandma was in Chicago at the same time as Al Capone.) So I'm biased.

But here is an opposing view. A private college can be an excellent investment. It provides a number of things that other places don't, including access to some of the best teaching in the world, an environment that is entirely focused on learning (big state schools are driven by research money), sstudents who are genuinely excellent at learning, and a network of close-knit and well-connected alumni who often work in particular fields or areas of the country. If leveraged correctly, that can work out very well indeed.

I didn't know it at the time, and didn't play the game all that well, so didn't get the advantages of location and network. I absolutely did benefit from the mental and academic discipline that I was forced to learn. I went on to graduate school where I leveled up in mental and academic discipline again, but didn't do the two-more-levels-up that I would have needed to do to finish my PhD (in physics; got the master's and then a master's in industrial engineering instead).

I'm not saying any of this to change your mind, but to introduce a few new questions, ones that you can consider yourself, and ones that you might want to ask your young relatives:

- What is it that you hope to get out of your education?
- What are the schools you are considering the very best at?
- What if you find out that [career X] isn't exactly what you thought it was going to be? Are there good alternative paths?
- How much do you know about [their chosen major/career path]? Do you want some help setting up a day when you could shadow someone in that field?

Etc. It's not ALL about the money. It's about the cost-benefit analysis and whether this particular decision, given the likely outcomes, has the greatest expected value.

Also, consider the serenity prayer. It very much applies here: God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

ThyPeace, working on serenity, courage, and wisdom since 1904.
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