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View Poll Results: Which country would you as an 18 year old fluent in EN and FR study in ?
Switzerland 18 27.69%
United States 26 40.00%
United Kingdom 15 23.08%
Others 6 9.23%
Voters: 65. You may not vote on this poll

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  #41  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:14
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

one thing that just came to my mind is that if your soon to be student wants to experience both the Swiss and US college experience he/she could enroll in a Swiss degree program and then do a study abroad year in the US. I know for a fact that University of Zurich and University of Fribourg have study abroad programs. It would be a cost efficient way to gain US college experience without having to pay the high tuition cots of a full 4-year study. Just a thought.
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  #42  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:20
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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BTW, according to U.S. News rankings,
for engineering and technology:

1. MIT, USA
2. Stanford, USA
3. Berkeley, USA
4. Cambridge, England
5. Caltech, USA
6. Imperial College, London
7. University of Tokyo
8. ETHZ, Schweiz
9. National University of Singapore and Oxford (tie)
10.Tsinghua, China
18.Delft, Holland
31. EPFL, Suisse
35. Ecole Polytechnique, France
39. Aachen, Germany
US rankings are flawed, but so many of the studies are flawed. Many universities base the rankings on peer review.
undergrads at elite US universities do not get what they pay for. the universities lost Billions ( Harvard 8 Billion) in the stock market crash. they have to recoop those losses so they are doing it at the expense of undergrad students. In the first two years the students will cover general studies that they should have covered with AP's. they will be paying about 50K per year to be herded into massive core class auditoriums. They will be taught mainly by adjuncts or Masters students and will get very little contact time with highfalutin professors, whose main interest is to promote their book or get research work published.
They will be sleeping in cramped dorms - or not sleeping.
They may be paying 50 K a year which straps them to the college eating plan. they may eat in health hazard dining halls where there are roaches or mice
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/ny...epartment.html


I don't believe in the whole US 'University social experience' as being of primary importance. University education is supposed to enable a student to prepare for the job market. The best comparison for me is based on Return on Investment (ROI)



Compare with this:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...506372718.html
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  #43  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:26
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

My advice- CH for undergrad ( unless you get a good scholarship or get into one of the top Public State Colleges/Universities. Acceptance rate is comparable to elite schools nowadays as Americans look to save money.

Save your money for US Grad/PhD course
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  #44  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:28
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My advice- CH for undergrad ( unless you get a good scholarship or get into one of the top Public State Colleges/Universities. Acceptance rate is comparable to elite schools nowadays as Americans look to save money.

Save your money for US Grad/PhD course
Wouldn't any worthwhile PhD candidate get funding for their PhD?
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  #45  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:28
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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My kids both chose US universities, despite the cost.
I believe that it isn't the undergrad degree that counts, it is the masters/PhD. If you have the money to cover undergrad and grad level at top universities in the US then go for it. Statistics show that if you have the IQ and Scores to go to an elite US school but go to a non- elite US school, you will still earn the same. the exceptions are Black or Hispanic students and students who are first generation college bound. So it is the student that makes the university/ college, not vice versa.
If you are having to stretch financially/ take out loans, I would say stick to CH. save the money for grad school. In my experience there are more drugs in CH schools than US.
The grad degree is what counts but, if you do well in undergrad as I did, grad school can be a free or mostly-free ride. I got lucky and paid not a cent for tuition in my absurd number of years in US higher education. With a will, there's a way.

And...with regard to drugs, etc....I had my fair share of wild animal house years (I spent too many years in catholic school), hell, toga parties were all the rage and I was majoring in chemistry That being said, you can't give a kid common sense by handcuffing them to the kitchen table. The kids have to grow up sometime so you have to let them go and hope they don't make a mess of it and prepare to scoop up the mess if they do. Undergrad is supposed to be fun.
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  #46  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:30
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

Staying on that topic, Bloomberg in assocation with Businessweek published a Return on Investment chart for US colleges showing parents how much an average student will earn over the course of his/her life through the attainment of a degree from each given university. I think this chart illustrates one factor that needs to be considered, but should constitute the sole consideration of where to attend college.

http://www.businessweek.com/interact...A+buyer+beware
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  #47  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:30
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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There are no 'equivalents' to MIT. If your child is an engineering/science/IT nerd, don't think twice. I am married to someone who went to one of these institutions in another country billed as an '$country MIT' and who, when working with a throng of MIT folks, was never one of the club...what you are getting aside from the education is THE NETWORK. I kick myself fairly often for turning down the generous offer from MIT because my dumb 17yo self didn't get that it's not so much about the quality of the education, it's the powerful friends you make and the incredible amount of cred those three letters give your diploma. Few outside of Switzerland have any idea of Swiss institutions. If he/she is talented, don't settle.

Look for scholarships, etc. Besides, with the way the dollar is going, MIT will be cheap soon.
I think you are underestimating how well connected some of the professors at places like EPFL and ETHZ are.

In their particular field they are usually world renowned.
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  #48  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:38
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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US rankings are flawed, but so many of the studies are flawed. Many universities base the rankings on peer review.
undergrads at elite US universities do not get what they pay for. the universities lost Billions ( Harvard 8 Billion) in the stock market crash. they have to recoop those losses so they are doing it at the expense of undergrad students. In the first two years the students will cover general studies that they should have covered with AP's. they will be paying about 50K per year to be herded into massive core class auditoriums. They will be taught mainly by adjuncts or Masters students and will get very little contact time with highfalutin professors, whose main interest is to promote their book or get research work published.
They will be sleeping in cramped dorms - or not sleeping.
They may be paying 50 K a year which straps them to the college eating plan. they may eat in health hazard dining halls where there are roaches or mice
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/ny...epartment.html


I don't believe in the whole US 'University social experience' as being of primary importance. University education is supposed to enable a student to prepare for the job market. The best comparison for me is based on Return on Investment (ROI)



Compare with this:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...506372718.html
Really? You're worried about roaches and mice in dining halls in NYC? Is that the best you could do? It's NYC....

As for recruiters and state schools in this economy it all comes down to the fact that those kids are cheaper to hire. If you're good enough to get into MIT and graduate, you can ask for more and, if you get your graduate degree from MIT well, you can write your own ticket more or less.

The problem in the US is that so many mediocre middle-class kids were raised on the idea that if you paid enough money for a degree from an accredited institution of higher education that it would guarantee you a high-paying job who are now just beginning to figure out that, well, they're still mediocre only with a big debt after graduation that there's a backlash. The EU doesn't sugarcoat it for those who can't get into the competitive schools and, unfortunately, the kids in the US are learning the hard way. If you have to pay for your education in the US, you're either trying too hard or haven't tried hard enough.
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  #49  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:44
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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I think you are underestimating how well connected some of the professors at places like EPFL and ETHZ are.

In their particular field they are usually world renowned.
Depends on the discipline but, still, the professors aren't always what counts, it's the former, current and future students of the institution. MIT has an AMAZING group of IT alumnae. It's like finding the golden ticket if you're in my field. Sure, we all have many of the same colleagues and friends, etc. but more importantly, we didn't go to the same school together. In the US, this counts for a lot more than it does here. The network is the thing.
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  #50  
Old 06.06.2011, 00:49
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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As for recruiters and state schools in this economy it all comes down to the fact that those kids are cheaper to hire.
Not in my case. I graduated from a state school and was recruited by a buy-side firm and earned more than my colleagues at the time who attended Ivy League and private schools
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  #51  
Old 06.06.2011, 01:15
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Staying on that topic, Bloomberg in assocation with Businessweek published a Return on Investment chart for US colleges showing parents how much an average student will earn over the course of his/her life through the attainment of a degree from each given university. I think this chart illustrates one factor that needs to be considered, but should constitute the sole consideration of where to attend college.

http://www.businessweek.com/interact...A+buyer+beware
This study is flawed. It is by Payscale- should never have been featured by Bloomberg,
The figures are based on what those interviewed think they should be earning. Also it is supposed to represent earning potential of undergrads when those who were interviewed were actually those who had done grad courses.

The study was later taken up by the American Enterprise Insitute. (Both they and payscale are rightwing) who showed the flaws and that the ROI for state schools was far superior (scroll down to graph)

http://www.aei.org/outlook/100995



But the mother of all research and the most respected in this area are the Dale and Kruger studies:

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The notion that education pays and that better education pays better is taken for granted by almost everyone. For college professors like me, this is a very convenient idea, providing a high and growing demand for our services.
Unfortunately, the facts seem to disagree. A recent study by economists Stacy Dale and Alan Krueger showed that going to more selective colleges and universities makes little difference to future income once one accounts for the underlying ability of the student. Their work confirms other studies that find no financial benefit to attending top-tier schools.
And here it is the study that had the academic elites having panick attacks:

http://www.irs.princeton.edu/pubs/pdfs/563.pdf

Remember however that here we are referring to undergrads.

In answer to don't all worthwhile PhD students get funding? Most do but it doesn't cover enough. Scholarships are getting harder to come by. I think that most of the brilliant US undergrad students get hired before PhD. MIT is full of Indian and Chinese who fought to get here and will work their butts of for professors.

My husband interviews MIT, Brown etc, and State schools like Penn State, Michigan, he is not bowled over by students who can run models, he wants someone who has a solid practical grip of the basics well and has proven ingenuity. He himself was accepted to MIT and turned it down as he had other considerations.

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Depends on the discipline but, still, the professors aren't always what counts, it's the former, current and future students of the institution. MIT has an AMAZING group of IT alumnae. It's like finding the golden ticket if you're in my field. Sure, we all have many of the same colleagues and friends, etc. but more importantly, we didn't go to the same school together. In the US, this counts for a lot more than it does here. The network is the thing.
My husband had the golden MIT ticket then but turned it down. Now he interviews them instead. he is not swayed by the MIT alumni, though many are. If you are determined, hard-working, love what you do and are intelligent, you will make it.

The only thing for me is that I would find CH colleges very boring. the Swiss are mechanical, they think in a serialistic fashion, they need to combine convergent thinking skills with divergent thinking and take a more holistic view.
As if you cannot jump a stage i.e. you cannot study B unless you finished studying A.

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I think you are underestimating how well connected some of the professors at places like EPFL and ETHZ are.

In their particular field they are usually world renowned.
Give me the names of any EPFL or ETHZ professors whose work is a major influence on their field, who were not bought in from a US or UK university.

I don't know of any!

Last edited by MusicChick; 06.06.2011 at 13:43. Reason: Merging successive posts.
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  #52  
Old 06.06.2011, 08:38
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

When I was going to college, I had the choice between European schools and US schools. I decided that the opportunities and culture at some of the US schools was too much to turn down. I loved my undergrad years. They were massively hard work and torturous, but also some of the best years I've ever had. I grew up so much in those years, despite the massive cost that schools like that charge (though the need based scholarships are getting quite generous).

When it came time for grad school, I evaluated my position carefully. I wanted to move back to Europe, because of the culture and some of the opportunities here. I came to ETHZ, because many of my professors at my really good university came from there, and I totally respected them. And Zurich is just a great city to live in, IMO.

I think I did this in the right order. I got a first class education in both countries. I found the system a bit more suited to me in the US, but that's a preference thing. Plus the crazy dorm culture was I think a lot more fun when you are barely 18. I have a good job here in CH, because I went to a school that they respect and know. If I went back to the US, I'd have a degree from a school they respect and know and that'd help me get a good job there.

My overall tip is this:

Undergrad: find places that have the things you are interested in. Go visit the schools. If you can't go visit, because it's too far/expensive, there are loads of alumni from the big schools in Switzerland; email them. Hang out, go to a lecture, check out how the students live and study outside of lecture. Then go to the one you think is the coolest in terms of the academics and the people. That works great for undergrad.

Grad: find a good program that specializes in what you want. Find the best school that'll take you. Go there, because at this point you're older and don't need the crazy support system or you can find your own. If there's a school that'll give you money, definitely consider it.
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  #53  
Old 06.06.2011, 09:17
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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Wouldn't any worthwhile PhD candidate get funding for their PhD?
In the sciences, yes. Outside of that, probably not.
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Old 06.06.2011, 09:20
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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Give me the names of any EPFL or ETHZ professors whose work is a major influence on their field, who were not bought in from a US or UK university.

I don't know of any!
I do see what you're saying, though that's not an entirely fair assessment as from what I've hear, the ETHZ (and UZH for that matter) very, very rarely hire their own grads.

And for that matter, would it not be a benefit to be learning from the "Anglo-export" then? Would you not want to be where they're teaching, not so much where they came from?
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Old 06.06.2011, 09:32
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methinks thou dost protest overmuch.

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undergrads at elite US universities do not get what they pay for.
As someone who went to an 'elite US university' and then and 'elite US graduate school', I can say this is absolute bollocks. There's a reason why it's difficult to get into the elite universities there. There's a reason why there are so many Indians and Chinese and Europeans and Africans at MIT (and other places) : quality, not the 'party atmosphere'.

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the universities lost Billions ( Harvard 8 Billion) in the stock market crash.
they have to recoop those losses so they are doing it at the expense of undergrad students.
This, of course, has nothing to do with education quality and completely ignores the fact that prices have been rising faster than inflation since I was in university. Oh, and that's 'recoup'.

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In the first two years the students will cover general studies that they should have covered with AP's.
Comparing university core classes at 'elite US universities' to high school AP classes is so laughable it's not even funny. There is a world of difference. I had plenty of supposed 'AP' students in my classes that were also very much challenged by both the subject matter and the work load.

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they will be paying about 50K per year to be herded into massive core class auditoriums. They will be taught mainly by adjuncts or Masters students and will get very little contact time with highfalutin professors, whose main interest is to promote their book or get research work published.
Then you're not at an elite university. My core classes included Nobel Prize winners.

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They will be sleeping in cramped dorms - or not sleeping.
As opposed to sharing a crappy apartment with six other people? Have you seen the new dorm rooms lately and all the new facilities that students get because they expect them? I should have been so lucky.

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They may be paying 50 K a year which straps them to the college eating plan.
This is extremely dependent on the university and is very often only a requirement for the first year of study.

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they may eat in health hazard dining halls where there are roaches or mice
Yeah, I've never had any intestinal problems in sunny old Switzerland where everyone wears a hairnet and handles food with gloves and they never sell anything past the 'use by' date.

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I don't believe in the whole US 'University social experience' as being of primary importance. University education is supposed to enable a student to prepare for the job market. The best comparison for me is based on Return on Investment (ROI)
Spoken like a banker or a hedge fund manager. The true connoiseur of a liberal arts education. Ask any Harvard/Princeton graduate on Wall St what they felt their ROI was on the social connections they developed at university.

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My husband had the golden MIT ticket then but turned it down. Now he interviews them instead. he is not swayed by the MIT alumni, though many are. If you are determined, hard-working, love what you do and are intelligent, you will make it.
This is true, but the MIT undergrads are an amazing group. For sheer numbers of crazy intellingent techies, it's hard to beat. A lot of them go on to found their own companies. It's almost a compulsion with them. Almost every single undergrad I knew there their dream was to have their own company not work for someone else. That may be why you aren't amazed by who you are interviewing, most of them are out there with their own companies hiring state school graduates.

For your bright eye'd high school graduate - the commencement address they should have received, not the one they actually heard:

http://philalawyer.net/wp-content/up...1/Address2.pdf

Last edited by MusicChick; 06.06.2011 at 13:46. Reason: Merging successive posts.
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  #56  
Old 06.06.2011, 12:07
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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As someone who went to an 'elite US university' and then and 'elite US graduate school', I can say this is absolute bollocks. There's a reason why it's difficult to get into the elite universities there. There's a reason why there are so many Indians and Chinese and Europeans and Africans at MIT (and other places) : quality, not the 'party atmosphere'.
For someone who claims to have said quality, I am surprised you are falling for hoppy's trolling. Maybe ignoring some things is a social skill my cheap state university prepared me for...
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Old 06.06.2011, 12:29
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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For someone who claims to have said quality, I am surprised you are falling for hoppy's trolling. Maybe ignoring some things is a social skill my cheap state university prepared me for...
I suppose I could sit back and let bad advice find it's own level. But then I'd be trespassing on the territory of right-wing talk radio....
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Old 06.06.2011, 13:07
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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As for drugs/violence on university campuses, I guess I am coming from the mindset of someone used to living in a university town, where every year kids do dumb things like obliterating themselves and dying in trunks of cars, crashing through greenhouse roofs, and making nuisances of themselves by pissing on people's lawns, etc.
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Is that behavior a function of their education or how they were raised?

Slightly off topic...but risk-taking isn't about caving in to peer pressure. For me, it's about seeking out adventure and relishing new experiences, among other things. A good quality when not mixed with drugs/alcohol and a bad idea.
I see those as a rite of passage. Vandalism isnt cool, having lived and studied in a university town for 4 years, you get the occasional twats who go a bit far but most of the antics that students get up to are really harmless - I still laugh about some of them whenever I take a trip down memory lane. They will get bored of those freshie activities very soon (doesnt help that most universities dont count first year grades towards your final degree grading) and start getting serious in their second year and ultimately graduate with 2:1, even first class degrees landing respectable jobs

It boils down the work ethic that parents have instilled in them and how prepared they are to deal with peer pressure, but you'd have to let them find their own feet and discover who they are.
They will thrive regardless of which country they go to school in. From personal experience, we partied hard but worked hard as well. Given another chance to do it, I will choose to go down the same route all over again - although in another discipline rather than listening to my parents.

Ultimately, it depends on what your son wants to do a degree in - pick a university that is renowned for that and go for it.
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Last edited by MusicChick; 06.06.2011 at 13:24. Reason: fixed a quote
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Old 06.06.2011, 13:41
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

I'm currently a student (masters) at uni in St.Gallen, and completed my bachelors in the UK.

The 'student life' here is very different. There are no high level sports teams at the uni (although, admittedly, a lot of recreational sports) and the overall feeling is that extracurriculars are at a much lower and less intensive level than at top UK institutions. I think this comes from having a bit less pressure to pad out the CV with a ton of impressive extracurriculars (it seems that most students get a good job on the reputation of the uni alone). Furthermore, many of the students go home at the weekend, something which I found very hard to understand at first. I think it's just the different attitudes to 'going to uni/college', which for me was very much about moving out and become independent, which just doesn't seem to be the mentality here.

The academics here I find good, but not at such a demanding level as where i studied in the UK. There is a lot of focus on learning by heart, and in some exams feels a little bit like taking school exams. You do, however, get much more class-time here than in the UK, and in that respect the lectures are probably more useful, as the pace is a bit slower, and you are more likely to actually follow what's going on. However, it also takes away the very independent aspects of studying that arts/social science courses in the UK require.

Overall, I'm glad I did it in the way I did (UK bachelors, CH masters) however, I 'only' paid £3k a year for my UK education, which compared to what it will cost from next year, or in the US, was a bit of a bargain. I think it's quite hard to make an overall comparison of the systems without narrowing it down to a exactly which institutions you are considering. I obviously can only compare the two unis where I have studied, and my conclusion may well have been very different had I studied elsewhere in the UK/CH.
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Old 06.06.2011, 14:10
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Re: If you were 18 would you want to attend university in CH or the U.S.?

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It boils down the work ethic that parents have instilled in them and how prepared they are to deal with peer pressure, but you'd have to let them find their own feet and discover who they are.
They will thrive regardless of which country they go to school in. From personal experience, we partied hard but worked hard as well. Given another chance to do it, I will choose to go down the same route all over again - although in another discipline rather than listening to my parents.
I agree with this. I would go probably even further and say, if your kids give you a reason for you to really worry about them flaking out (drugs, silly stunts, wild parties, Daytona style) then I would think twice before sending them to school. It is not the institution that will make them grow up. It's them. Again, we do have parents who worry too much and their kids just turn out fab, the parents just watch too many American Pie movies.

But if you kids lack the appreciation, or 100% top notch grades to prove to you their career is important to them, not to make you happy only, then send them off to the real world, to work, for a year or two, in the field they want to study. Back home you can get accepted to a university and immediately can take off a year to work first. If my kids showed some signs of not possibly respecting the investments we were doing for their future career and life, then I would think twice before sending them off to a prestigious school. I worked then study to cut down the load parents did for me and bros, and it was obvious students who worked first did much better than kids who went from highschool straight to university. It's not always this way, no. But I could care less for parties, didn't want distractions. Student life is important, but so is already working while studying and getting ahead this way was actually good for me. Actually, I found all the partying and what is seen as student life really annoyingly boring , made up for it afterwards with different projects and bands, when school was over.

I think if OP is worried about distractions, it does not matter where one studies, there are opportunities everywhere. It's about how mature her/his kids are. At least you can somewhat supervise and help out, in the exam cram period, or see for yourself if your kiddo is involved in some kinds of mess.

If none of this is a real concern, then just let go of them and they will love you for this later. I'd send my kids abroad if they spent their lives here. Unless they already showed some independence of thinking etc etc. I feel it gets a little too robotic here.
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