I love state flagships. They tend to have similar attributes that lend themselves to an incredible college experience. Here are a few reasons why I recommend looking at them!
Campus-These schools often are set on stunning campuses. Think of the University of Colorado, the University of Virginia or the University of Delaware as examples. They have picturesque campuses with a collegiate feel.
Location-These universities tend to be in a large town or small city that provides a dynamic backdrop for the school. Think of Ann Arbor, MI, Burlington, VT or Athens, GA. These towns are adjacent to the campus and offer an array of options for a college student, from medical care to cultural events and shopping.
Majors-State flagships offer such a broad array of educational options that you can feel confident that if you enter with one major in mind and decide to change direction, there is a good chance that your school will provide options for your new path.
Admissions Threshold-One of the neat things about state flagships is that they provide first-rate educations in a dynamic environment with a manageable admissions threshold. Many of them are selective, but not impossible to gain acceptance. (One caveat here, of the 50 states, there are a few schools that are as selective as any in the country, Michigan, Texas, California, and Virginia are examples that are uber-selective)
Cost- The starting point for room/board/tuition at these schools is usually much less than a private school and many of them offer merit scholarships to out-of-state students. There are plenty of schools that offer tuition rates for out-of-state students that are substantially lower than private schools and with merit scholarships, might come close to the cost of your in-state flagship. Some of them, like the University of Utah or the University of Montana, make it possible to establish residency for in-state tuition.
Sports-State flagships often field sports teams that compete nationally and help create an esprit-de-corps on campus that facilitates a deep sense of community. Think about the University of Wisconson, Penn State or the University of Alabama.
Diversity-These schools create a level of diversity, ethnic, religious, racial and socioeconomic that is hard for a private school to replicate. At a state flagship, you will have exposure to people from all walks of life.
Richard Moll wrote a book in 1985 called Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s best public undergraduate colleges and universities, where he created a list of public colleges that offered an Ivy League-caliber education. The link below discusses the top “Public Ivies”. Enjoy!