Private colleges provide opportunities


by Alex Mowatt-Larsen
Eagle Editorial Board

Notre Dame. Vanderbilt. Duke.

All those schools are private colleges that make up a majority of the best institutes of higher learning in the nation, and rightly so.

Yes, you are often paying a ton more out of the pocketbook, but considering the gap between the value of the education you receive for your well-earned money, for many people it is well worth it.

While scrolling through the list of America’s Top Colleges by Forbes in 2011, the first public university mentioned outside of the military academies is the University of Virginia, ranked number 46.

Out of the top 100 ranked by Forbes, there are only eight public universities. So if you are looking for a top class university, public colleges do not provide a very extensive list.

In addition, none are in Texas which will most likely require a huge out of state tuition leaving you at around the same price as a private college.

A big reason private colleges as a whole are attractive to many students is because of the size or the location.

In a school such as UT Austin, you may be in a chemistry class freshman year with very easliy over 100 students in one lecture hall. The stories you hear of people having to watch the lecture on a small TV outside the room after being late always happen on public campuses, not private.

Private colleges have small class sizes where you truly get to know your professor, not a teacher’s assistant (TA).

Also, private colleges are diverse themselves, with some in small rural areas and others in bustling centers of business and commerce.

Not being restricted by ridiculous out-of-state tuition costs you can go to any private college you want, whether it is Colgate in upstate New York, Southwestern right outside Austin or Rice University right here in Houston.

A third reason why private colleges give a more valued education is that you are exposed to loads of better opportunities.

Private colleges boast excellent internships, study abroad programs and research opportunities that are unequaled in public colleges.

When you are competing against the 38,463 outstanding students at UT for a limited number of opportunities such as the ones listed above, your chances are very slim compared to a private college where, at times, there are more opportunities than students to take advantage of them.

That type of experience proves very important when applying for jobs after graduation.

In Texas, there are mainly two big public schools that give you the bang for you buck when it comes to a great undergraduate education. But due to the top 10 percent automatic acceptance rule, getting in to UT is almost as competitive as a school like Notre Dame for non top tens.

That leaves Texas A&M as the only option that is not incredibly selective. Depending on your preference, College Station may be too close to home for your liking or does not provide the programs you are looking for.

Along with these things, not everybody goes to graduate school.

Depending on your major and choice of profession, your bachelor’s degree could be essential to success. That means choosing a higher grade private school, and being unrestricted by state borders, is a better choice.

According to, only 9.5% Americans have even received a graduate degree, which is way more selective and expensive than a undergraduate degree, even at Yale or Harvard.

The bottom line is that private colleges, although expensive, are well worth the student debt you will have to pay off when you get your high-paying job right out of college because of it.