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Serviteur du seigneur

Why would one choose BYU over Harvard ?

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Harvard actually invited me to apply based on some test scores I got. (Note that they didn't say they would accept me, just urged me to apply.) Coming out of high school, I was a kid from Cowtown, WA, with no real idea that Harvard might be useful to me. It was famous, and obviously I had  heard of it, but I didn't see why it would be someplace I might like to go. Literally on the other side of the country, full of rich kids who thought they were better than anyone else, and surely it would cost me a fortune (because I was footing my own bill). As I recall, they wanted $50 or $100 just to process my application, which was a considerable sum of money for me and my family. Overall, Harvard held no appeal to me. I literally did not know (or much care) what I was missing. I was going to go to the University of Washington, but at the last minute my parents suggested BYU, so I applied there and went to Provo instead.

Best educational decision I ever made. Ever.

Not that going to Harvard would be a bad idea. But BYU is a special place. Yes, marrying someone of your faith is highly important, and BYU cannot possibly be overestimated in that department. But it's also vastly less expensive than Harvard. I realize Harvard gives out tons of scholarships. Guess what? BYU is still going to come in waaaaaaaay cheaper. And if you're a good enough student to be accepted at Harvard, you'll probably get at least a tuition scholarship offer from BYU, at which point your school expenses pretty much consist of books, food, and apartment.

If my child had the choice between e.g. Harvard Law School or BYU Law School, I would urge him to consider Harvard. It's a top law school, and getting a law degree from Harvard pretty much guarantees that you will be making big money immediately out of school, and much bigger money down the line (assuming you stay in law). Same with probably any other graduate school program. But undergrad? I would always urge my children to go to BYU, unless they really don't want to go to BYU or can't get in. (And if Harvard would take them but BYU wouldn't, it would not be because of scholastic difficulties, but more likely not being able to get the ecclesiastical endorsement—in which case I would be terrified for my child to go to almost any state or Ivy League school.)

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18 minutes ago, Vort said:

Literally on the other side of the country, full of rich kids who thought they were better than anyone else, and surely it would cost me a fortune (because I was footing my own bill).

Sounds similar to my reasons for not applying. Especially

18 minutes ago, Vort said:

full of rich kids who thought they were better than anyone else

If BYU honors program kids were full of themselves, as my brother's experience led me to believe they were, why would I want to go to the Ivy League, where it would probably be worse?

Plus, there is the family legacy factor of growing up dreaming of the day I would also go to BYU as my parents and their siblings had before me. I didn't, but that's another story and not relevant to this thread.

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BYU vs Harvard?

Easy answer:  Return on Investment

It's like buying a Ferrari vs a Honda

- if your objective is to go from A to B, a Honda will get you there as reliably as a Ferrari and you'll get a lot more for your money.

- if your objective is to race from A to B, your Ferrari will get you there faster than a Honda and dig a big hole in your pocket.

- if your objective is to get a good education among people of a specific religious practice, your Honda is the best place for that.

- if your objective is to show off to or gain erudite fraternity friends, your Ferrari will have the most influential people if you can get them to let you into their club.

etc. etc.

Before you choose a university - any post high-school education - you first have to know WHY you need college and pick the college that achieves that purpose that provides the biggest return on your investment.  A trade school or a direct apprenticeship might just be a better place where you can achieve that purpose.

 

Edited by anatess2

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Looking at earning potential, there is really no differentiator between Ivy league schools and other schools.  Harvard prestige is worth squat when it comes to making more money than the next college over.  It's just a prestige thing.   And instead of a 0% chance you'll be USA president, a Harvard degree gives you a 0.0000000000001% chance of becoming president.  

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Besides the already mentioned things: earning potential, tuition cost, and dating scene, there's a lot of other things that go into college selection.

Culture & location: do you like Provo culture in a mountain valley, or the huge city coastal city of Harvard?

Family: is there any relevant family or close friends in either area?

Individual programs and connections: what is your chosen field of study?  Which specific program is better and has better possible employment/internship connections?

 

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The older I get, the more comfortable in my profession I become, the more academic life becomes a distant memory, and the more I read the news—

The less impressed I am with Harvard.

Sure, as a Harvard grad you’ll have more doors open to you.  But they may not necessarily be doors you want to go down.

The Harvard alumni I’ve worked with are interesting folks—but their professional performance has tended to be solid-but-not-superlative.  They are not demi-gods, they don’t walk on water, and they haven’t been given the key to any particularly useful set of knowledge or skills that are closed to the rest of us.

(In fairness, my perception of BYU has also been in a steady state of decline since I graduated.  @anatess2 speaks wisdom—figure out why you’re going to university [or if you even need a university education at all, given your future plans], and pick a program accordingly.)

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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40 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

(In fairness, my perception of BYU has also been in a steady state of decline since I graduated.

Last year we went to Provo for my son's graduation. He was preparing to move to Chicago for law school, so we had been talking about law for months, something I had previously had no real knowledge of (or interest in). I spent a couple of hours before his actual commencement ceremony in the HBLL doing some work. I found there a BYU Law School publication that seemed to have been printed for the occasion, which IIRC consisted of student summaries of law cases and their arguments why the cases should be decided a certain way. I eagerly made time to read this small publication to see what the BYU Law School was producing.

To my great dismay, I found the writing to be roughly on the level that I would expect in a freshman English course, certainly nothing that would garner better than a C in an undergrad senior English writing class. More likely a D or an F (which in BYU-speak is an E). Simple things, like punctuation, grammar, and complete sentences, were often fouled up. And it was not just one essay that contained such mistakes; it was common throughout. This spoke poorly not only of the individual students, but of the student editing and the faculty oversight of the project.

But what was far worse than the poor writing was the choice of what to defend and how to defend it. The papers were (again, IIRC) uniformly taking the politically correct side—pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, anti-free-assembly and speech, etc. I wish I could remember clearly. I probably should have kept the little publication instead of discarding it in disgust. But it was an eye-opening, sobering, and in a sense almost heartbreaking moment to realize that this dreck was a full-fledged BYU product, not merely amateurish but actively bad, in both a professional and, more dishearteningly, a moral sense.

I don't really understand how law schools work. I know that recruiting big-name faculty and getting connections to place your graduates in good (read: high-paying) positions is what gives law schools clout. I don't know if the Clark Law School needs to pay more to recruit better professors to achieve their goals, or maybe just needs to recruit better students. I really have no solutions, just criticisms, which is a good sign not to listen to me. But I was and am discouraged about that experience. If you can make me feel better, please do so. :(

Edited by Vort

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54 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

The older I get, the more comfortable in my profession I become, the more academic life becomes a distant memory, and the more I read the news—

The less impressed I am with Harvard.

Sure, as a Harvard grad you’ll have more doors open to you.  But they may not necessarily be doors you want to go down.

The Harvard alumni I’ve worked with are interesting folks—but their professional performance has tended to be solid-but-not-superlative.  They are not demi-gods, they don’t walk on water, and they haven’t been given the key to any particularly useful set of knowledge or skills that are closed to the rest of us.

(In fairness, my perception of BYU has also been in a steady state of decline since I graduated.  @anatess2 speaks wisdom—figure out why you’re going to university [or if you even need a university education at all, given your future plans], and pick a program accordingly.)

Any university education (and that would apply to any level, Bachelor's, Masters, Doctorate, even an Associates) in many instances is what you make of it.  Any degree can eventually be useful if the person can make it useful, and any degree can be useless if the individual does not use it for their advantage.

Different schools have different avenues open to them.  If one wants to practice certain forms of Law in Utah or the states near it, a school (such as BYU) I think may be more advantageous in those instances. 

If they want to go into areas of professional life centered around the the South, a school from the South may be a better option than Harvard.

Harvard opens many doors, but not ALL doors.  It is prestigious, but after a few years under their belt and having passed the bar, experience normally is more important (at least in my view) than what school someone went to.

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4 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

Harvard prestige is worth squat when it comes to making more money than the next college over. 

Exactly.

Outside elite circles that are getting smaller and smaller, no one really cares where you go to college except you and your mom.  This isn't 1954 where people would view you with awe if you graduated from Dartmouth or Yale. 

On the flip side, outside of Utah and LDS circles, BYU might not be that prestigious either, in fairness. 

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You'll get lots of "bottom-line" advice here. Another factor to consider is the four years of life each school offers. Does your student enjoy being stretched academically--even about faith? I suspect Harvard gets poor marks in religious communities because it is perceived as hostile to faith. On the other hand, there has to be something fascinating and wonderful about studying under some of the best professor along side some of the best students. Ironically, my 2nd child will begin her studies not too far away--at Gordon College (a rigorously Evangelical school Wenham, MA). For her, the rich study environment was important. However, after 13-years of public school experience in the irreligious Pacific Northwest, she was ready to be in a faith-encouraging environment. BYU is the Harvard of the LDS world. So, if a student is weary of defending faith all the time--tired of the seige, a pro-faith school makes sense. On the other hand, if life has mostly been about church and the community has been faith-supporting, some students might enjoy a few years of academically rich learning at a Harvard-like school. Nothing like a bit of challenge to strengthen one's faith--assuming the foundation is strong.  BTW, I believe Harvard maximizes fees at 10% of parents' annual income if it is under $180,000. I'm not certain on that, but it's enough to say look at net cost not retail.

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/10/making-the-harvard-college-connection/

Edited by prisonchaplain

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57 minutes ago, Vort said:

I don't really understand how law schools work. I know that recruiting big-name faculty and getting connections to place your graduates in good (read: high-paying) positions is what gives law schools clout. I don't know if the Clark Law School needs to pay more to recruit better professors to achieve their goals, or maybe just needs to recruit better students. I really have no solutions, just criticisms, which is a good sign not to listen to me. But I was and am discouraged about that experience. If you can make me feel better, please do so. :(

I can’t speak as to the poor linguistic skills.  But politically/culturally—to give you an idea of the general academic situation in this country:  I understand that at your average law school, progressive faculty members outnumber conservatives by something like 8-9 to one.  BYU’s faculty is roughly evenly divided.  So you actually do see something like political balance.  The trouble, of course, is that the Church isn’t subsidizing BYU for the sake of its being balanced.  It’s supposed to actively promote goodness and liberty and righteousness, and to make no apologies about doing so.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I can’t speak as to the poor linguistic skills.  But politically/culturally—to give you an idea of the general academic situation in this country:  I understand that at your average law school, progressive faculty members outnumber conservatives by something like 8-9 to one.  BYU’s faculty is roughly evenly divided.  So you actually do see something like political balance.  The trouble, of course, is that the Church isn’t subsidizing BYU for the sake of its being balanced.  It’s supposed to actively promote goodness and liberty and righteousness, and to make no apologies about doing so.

Judging from recent BYU events... it seems like that balance has shifted.... of course, I'm just some lowly gal in Florida watching BYU off the internet.

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2 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Judging from recent BYU events... it seems like that balance has shifted.... of course, I'm just some lowly gal in Florida watching BYU off the internet.

I think you’re probably right to a great extent.  On the other hand, the internet does tend to shine light on BYU administrative tomfoolery that would have gone more-or-less under the public radar when I was there 20 years ago (I heard stories even then)—or 40 years ago, when Elder Packer was giving sermons to CES/BYU warning against elitist intellectualism and reminding them that they’d better remember where their bread is buttered.

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4 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I can’t speak as to the poor linguistic skills.  But politically/culturally—to give you an idea of the general academic situation in this country:  I understand that at your average law school, progressive faculty members outnumber conservatives by something like 8-9 to one.  BYU’s faculty is roughly evenly divided.  So you actually do see something like political balance.  The trouble, of course, is that the Church isn’t subsidizing BYU for the sake of its being balanced.  It’s supposed to actively promote goodness and liberty and righteousness, and to make no apologies about doing so.

 

2 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Judging from recent BYU events... it seems like that balance has shifted.... of course, I'm just some lowly gal in Florida watching BYU off the internet.

 

I know some consider me very liberal on these forums.  Compared to some faculty and staff at many universities, I'm actually rather conservative.  I suppose it falls upon what one considers conservative or liberal.  For those that consider me liberal, they'd probably consider some of the things and ways university professors and those who work at the universities extremely far to the left end. 

I would say that they may side slightly to the left, but most are not on the extremes of the liberal or conservative sides.  On the otherhand, the appearances of certain policies may seem extreme to some of the conservatives.  Part of this is due to Federal Funding, grants, and other money that the university and professors try to bring in.  You have to do full service to whoever controls the money if you want that money.  This affects policies and official positions at many of the universities.  It means that some political points which seem extreme to conservatives are items which the universities must accept and defend if they want certain money to come in.

Some of this may not affect BYU, but their professors are still competing for many of the same grants other professors are also vying to get.  This will undoubtedly have some sort of effect upon words and the ways some of them do things.  At times it may even affect the way some of them think occasionally.

I'd say that those in education (not just universities, most education including elementary and secondary) is left leaning these days.  I wouldn't put it FAR left yet, but I'd say it has a very liberal slant.  There are still many conservatives among the mix.

Of course, that depends on what you consider conservative, as I said, I'd be considered rather conservative today among my peers.

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But a question for those who have attended BYU, the dating is real ? what are the chances of really getting married ? Because thats one major pro of who going to the Y. Though i know its pretty easy to get married in BYU Idaho. Most get out with a family.

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34 minutes ago, Serviteur du seigneur said:

But a question for those who have attended BYU, the dating is real ? what are the chances of really getting married ? Because thats one major pro of who going to the Y. Though i know its pretty easy to get married in BYU Idaho. Most get out with a family.

Hmmm, several thoughts on this. (note, I am not a student at BYU).

First - Don't go to college to get married.  It's a good way to focus on things that will have you flunk out of college.  If you want to think more about marriage than studies, go to a less demanding college.  There are many community colleges and other universities that are not as demanding in Utah (and some that are just as demanding if not more).

Second - with that out of the way...several decades ago the marriage rates at BYU (what is now BYU Provo) were pretty abysmal.  In the mid 90s it was not terrible, but I think around 40% were married by their senior years. I think the stats in the late 90s were around 17% of girls who were at BYU got married and 33% of guys with the percentage again near the 40% overall.  That threw me for a loop because that indicated more men were getting married than girls.  I looked at the UVSC/UVSU/UVU stats of the time period and a MASSIVE amount of them were getting married.  It must have been guys marrying the local girls and girls from that university that pumped up the rates for guys.  (Edit: another possibility is that the girls dropped out and got married the summer after they dropped out, but the guys they married stayed in school, thus the girls stopped going after they left, but the guys continued who they married).

Note...this was ONLY for those getting married while at BYU...many may have gotten married AFTER they left BYU.

At the time, this was lower in regards to those getting married than a LOT of the universities around the nation...part of the Church or not.  Many universities and colleges in Utah had better chances of people marrying.

A few years later you saw a massive jump (which could be the way they took the numbers or any other thing) and upwards of 50% or more were married upon graduation.  That still means that 1 out of 2 in general were not married upon graduating BYU, but it is near 40% better than the national average.

More recently, in 2015 it had fallen again to lower than 40% to around 35% as a whole for seniors being married at BYU.

BYU marriage statistics reflect US trends and attitudes

Quote

The percentage of married BYU seniors has gone down from about 42 percent in fall 1996 to 36 percent in fall 2015. These statistics reflect similar trends revealed in U.S. Census information, which shows that more and more Americans are choosing to marry later in life or not marry at all.

Marriage may be a  stronger possibility at BYU than some universities outside the Utah sphere of regional influence, but I'm not sure that going there is a sure bet that one WILL get married.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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20 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

Hmmm, several thoughts on this. (note, I am not a student at BYU).

First - Don't go to college to get married.  It's a good way to focus on things that will have you flunk out of college.  If you want to think more about marriage than studies, go to a less demanding college.  There are many community colleges and other universities that are not as demanding in Utah (and some that are just as demanding if not more).

Second - with that out of the way...several decades ago the marriage rates at BYU (what is now BYU Provo) were pretty abysmal.  In the mid 90s it was not terrible, but I think around 40% were married by their senior years. I think the stats in the late 90s were around 17% of girls who were at BYU got married and 33% of guys with the percentage again near the 40% overall.  That threw me for a loop because that indicated more men were getting married than girls.  I looked at the UVSC/UVSU/UVU stats of the time period and a MASSIVE amount of them were getting married.  It must have been guys marrying the local girls and girls from that university that pumped up the rates for guys.  (Edit: another possibility is that the girls dropped out and got married the summer after they dropped out, but the guys they married stayed in school, thus the girls stopped going after they left, but the guys continued who they married).

Note...this was ONLY for those getting married while at BYU...many may have gotten married AFTER they left BYU.

At the time, this was lower in regards to those getting married than a LOT of the universities around the nation...part of the Church or not.  Many universities and colleges in Utah had better chances of people marrying.

A few years later you saw a massive jump (which could be the way they took the numbers or any other thing) and upwards of 50% or more were married upon graduation.  That still means that 1 out of 2 in general were not married upon graduating BYU, but it is near 40% better than the national average.

More recently, in 2015 it had fallen again to lower than 40% to around 35% as a whole for seniors being married at BYU.

BYU marriage statistics reflect US trends and attitudes

Marriage may be a  stronger possibility at BYU than some universities outside the Utah sphere of regional influence, but I'm not sure that going there is a sure bet that one WILL get married.

I have to confess i thought these stats were a little higher than the presented. I wonder what would be the marriage stats upon graduation in BYU idaho. A lot of friends of mine easily married in less than a year there.

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Just now, Serviteur du seigneur said:

I have to confess i thought these stats were a little higher than the presented. I wonder what would be the marriage stats upon graduation in BYU idaho. A lot of friends of mine easily married in less than a year there.

Without looking it up, I think from what I hear it is SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER at BYU Idaho than at BYU Provo.

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1 hour ago, Serviteur du seigneur said:

But a question for those who have attended BYU, the dating is real ? what are the chances of really getting married ? Because thats one major pro of who going to the Y. Though i know its pretty easy to get married in BYU Idaho. Most get out with a family.

Maybe my own story might give some perspective:  I grew up in California.  Both parents were LDS but neither had gone to BYU.  Their preference was for us kids to go to community college locally for a couple years, then transfer to a four-year state college.  My oldest brother happened to apply to BYU and got accepted, so off he went; and a couple other siblings did the same.  By the time I was going through the process—I had enough connections with BYU that it didn’t feel foreign, but it was also enough of a novelty to be interesting.  I also wanted the experience of being in a Mormon-dense society.  I didn’t really expect to get married at BYU; none of my siblings had.  I expected to return to California after graduating, do some kind of grad school, and find a wife there (if I ever got married at all).

As luck would have it, I met my wife at BYU the semester I came back from my mission; we were married a year and a half later, and I graduated a few months after that.  She’s a Utah girl and consequently, we’ve built our life in Utah.  I have childhood friends who never left California, and married people they’d grown up with.  I have other childhood church friends who, once our high school church group sort of dissolved, didn’t make it a point to connect with the YSA/institute groups in their area; they drifted away from the church and married non-members or didn’t marry at all.

My takeaway from all this (your mileage may vary) is as follows:  if you’re in a place where Church membership tracks the national average (say, 2% of the population); you can probably find a good and active LDS spouse in your region. (That’s probably more so it you’re a male, simply due to the proportion of single males versus single females in the church.)  Certainly there will be more eligible LDS singles in Utah, and if you go there you may find yourself getting married sooner than you otherwise would.  But the downside is that the dating pool there (especially at BYU) is drawn from all over the country and your mate may not be willing to accompany you back to your home state; so you may end up settling down in a region far from where you grew up and without a lot of contact with your own extended family.

On the BYU-Idaho thing:  I have a sister who went there when it was still Ricks.  My perception (and this may be antiquated or otherwise unfair) is that since Ricks was ”only” a two-year college, the more academically minded/driven LDS kids tended to opt for BYU-Provo.  So there was a different atmosphere at Provo versus Ricks—the kids up at Ricks were motivated more by social, religious, and/or generalized quality-of-life considerations than by academic or career planning; and would be less likely to delay marriage for the sake of education or career considerations.  I suspect that the cultural difference might still remain as a sort of legacy, even though Ricks/BYU-Idaho by now has been offering a number of four-year programs for many years.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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I went to BYU many years ago. Growing up in "the mission field," it was the only place I wanted to go. I spend high school seeing a lot things that I didn't want to see anymore - I wanted a place where people were trying to live by gospel standards.

Overall, I loved BYU. I did get annoyed by the end with some of the superficial restrictions in the honor code (no beards?). But like anything if you focus on irritations and annoyances, they grow larger; whereas if you focus on all your blessings and the wonderful things around you, you will be happier and more grateful.

I got an excellent education at BYU, met countless wonderful people, had innumerable great experiences that I would never have had at a secular university. I'm sure if I had gone to somewhere else it could have been great in other ways. But looking back, I would make the same choice again without hesitation.

Edited by tesuji

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On 4/10/2020 at 12:42 AM, Serviteur du seigneur said:

Just want to know the thoughts of the brethren on this. I ve been involved in such discussions and we decided it was mostly because it's easier to get married at the Y. What y'all think ?

#1 > Tuition

#2 > Depends on your decided major. Harvard may not offer the best degree course in the field you want to study, or may not even have the major.

#3 > Better looking girls/boys 🤣

#4 > Atmosphere - Although I have not been on Harvard campus I would assume it is like other universities. There is a stark difference of spirit that surrounds BYU.

#5 > As BYU majority are members of the Church, definitely easier to choose an eternal companion

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2 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

#3 > Better looking girls/boys 🤣

True, dat. #1 in the nation, in fact.

https://www.businessinsider.com/colleges-students-both-hot-and-smart-2014-3

https://www.collegemagazine.com/top-10-colleges-with-remarkable-women-2019/

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On 4/12/2020 at 12:07 AM, Vort said:

Girls from utah and rexburg are really pretty. To me, they resemble nordic girls. That is much more impressive in rexburg, it seems like all girls came straight outta sweden.

Edited by Serviteur du seigneur

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