Tuesday, December 27, 2005

American Degree Programme @ Private Colleges

For students who have completed their SPM, there are obviously many (and often confusing) options available to the students. Most of the time, I would encourage students with good results to pursue their 'A' Levels, STPM or other equivalent courses and examinations before enrolling into universities. I have often voiced out against the fast-track commercial ploys of private colleges offering 3+0 or even the 3+1 degree programmes.

However, there is "another" route to further education which I have not dealt with, largely due to prior unfamiliarity with the "mechanics", that is pursuing the American Degree Programme through the local colleges. Thanks to a enlightening post on TinKosong by Chuah Shu Guan, readers (myself included) have now got a better idea of what it offers. Briefly:
The American Degree Program (ADP) is NOT a one-year pre-university course even though you can use your SPM cert to enroll in the program. Once you enter the program, you are already pursuing your degree, as the name of the program implies. An American degree takes approximately 4 years of full study to complete. I say approximately because the duration of which you will take to finish your undergraduate studies depends on how many subjects you plan to take in one academic year. If you take more subjects than the norm throughout the academic year, you would probably complete your degree faster, and vice versa.
Read the full article for a better idea of what ADP offers for students in Malaysia. Readers may also want to download a well-written ADP prospectus offered by Taylor's College on the programme to have a better understanding of the local programmes.

However, before readers decide that the above is a credible programme to be enrolling into after the SPM, I'll like to offer some words of caution with regards to the ADP. It is extremely important for prospective students (not just of the ADP programme, but any programme) to be aware of all the pros and cons with regards to the route to tertiary education which they choose to undertake. That way, any choice made will at least be done with eyes wide open.

But before I proceed to elaborate on the cons of the ADP, let me first put forward my basic assumptions in any of my "critiques". There is a common perception amongst Malaysians that everything "overseas" is better than "local". That means that any overseas degree is better than the ones obtained locally, whether with our public or private universities. What's more, many regard studying in the United States is the very best option, irrespective of the universities attended.

I would like to just categorically state that the above assumptions are absolute nonsense. The above only holds true at the perception level of employers who do not know any better, and these are typically not the large quality organisations or multinational corporations whom prospective graduates are often attracted to. I have conducted my fair share of interviews and received many many resumes, many of which are "graduates" from foreign universities. Most of the time, I'm absolutely unimpressed with the quality of the output from these foreign institutions, including those from the United States.

The reason is very simple. While the United States (US) hosts some of the top universities in the world, dominating some 30-40% of the top 200 universities by any rankings table, it also probably host some of the weakest and dodgiest institutions. Many of these colleges with nice sounding names are not any better (to be polite) than our own local universities.

This brings me back to my point with regards to the ADP offered by the local colleges in Malaysia. If one is to conduct a cursory overview of the US colleges which are "partners" of the ADP programme, many are not listed anywhere near the top 120 universities in the United States. Hence, while students might find that the list of universities accepting ADP students "extensive", the number of universities worthwhile gaining entry may be extremely limited.

As an example, lets review the list of 266 partner universities of Inti College which is largely similar to the other colleges offering the ADP - Taylor's College, Nilai College and Help University College.

Out of the 266 institutions listed, only 3 (1.1%) are in the Top 30 and another 7 (2.6%) in the Top 50. 23 (8.6%) institutions are ranked between 51st and 100th, while 11 (4.1%) ranked between 101 and 124. 5 (1.9%) are ranked Liberal Arts Colleges. A whopping 217 (81.6%) colleges are unranked and are mostly regarded as Tier 3 and Tier 4 schools. I have used the commonly cited U.S. News 2006 report on America's Best Colleges.

I've taken the liberty to provide the listing of colleges which are ranked in the Top 120 in the United States below.
  • Cornell University (13)
  • University of Virginia (23)
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) (25)

  • LeHigh University (32)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (34)
  • University of Illinois (Urbana Champaign) (42)
  • Tulane University (43)
  • University of Washington (45)
  • Pennsylvania State University (University Park) (48)
  • Syracuse University (50)

  • George Washington University (53)
  • University of Miami (55)
  • University of Georgia (58)
  • University of Pittsburgh (58)
  • University of Iowa (60)
  • Purdue University (60)
  • Rutgers, New Jersey (60)
  • Ohio State University (Columbus) (60)
  • Texas A&M University (60)
  • Stevens Institute of Technology (70)
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) (74)
  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (74)
  • Michigan State University (74)
  • Marquette University (85)
  • Iowa State University (85)
  • University of Missouri-Columbia (85)
  • University of Tennessee (85)
  • University of Tulsa (93)
  • Augustana College (94)
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln (97)
  • University of Kansas (97)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology (97)
  • Texas Christian University (97)

  • University of Massachusetts (Amherst) (104)
  • University of Dayton (104)
  • Drexel University (109)
  • University of South Carolina, Columbia (109)
  • University of Oklahoma (109)
  • University of Missouri-Rolla (109)
  • Northeastern University (115)
  • University of Oregon (115)
  • Washington State University (120)
  • University of Utah (120)
  • University of Kentucky (120)
Liberal Arts Colleges
  • Mount Hoyloke College (23)
  • St Olaf College (55)
  • Beloit College (60)
  • Knox College (73)
  • Gustavus Adolphus College (73)
Hence based on the above listing, in theory, if you were to perform well for your 2 years of ADP, one should be able to qualify for Cornell, Virginia or Michigan. However, it is likely to be useful for students to request for statistics of students qualifying for the Top 50 schools in the above list to obtain a better perspective on the success rates of the private colleges. For instance, students hoping to enter the top 20 universities in the US will not be helped by a college which was only able to send 1 student to Cornell in say, 3 years.

Furthermore, I'm always suspicious of a college which tries to cater towards students with such diverse abilities from Top 30 potential to Tier 3/4-type universities. If the bulk of the students were only able to qualify for a say, Tier 3 university, then it's unlikely that a top student will receive the extra attention and quality teaching necessary to take him to the next level and qualify for the top institutions.

In addition, if you are a top student and have high ambitions to enter the top universities of the world, the above ADP will not help you secure your places in the Ivy Leagues or other top institutions.

Even if you are not a top performing student, do take meticulous care to ensure that you do not choose a college or university which isn't any better than some of the local universities, for example those in Tier 3 or 4 in the US - unless of course, you are specifically interested in that institution.

Hence, on paper and prospectuses, the ADP sounds like a good programme and takes only 4 years to obtain your degree after your SPM. However, the truth is, much like the twinning programmes which I have provided my opinions earlier, students interested in the programme needs to be extremely selective. And once again, if you are a top performing student, you should be setting your ambitions higher and seek the route to qualify for the top universities in the United Kingdom and United States, instead of taking the easy route and settling for less.

Note: Once again, I'm expecting criticism that I'm too obsessed with rankings. So I'll reiterate here again, that it is my firm belief that while rankings are never going to be biblical truths, they do provide an essential guide to students to roughly gauge the quality of an institution. It is difficult for anyone to argue that a Tier 4 institution for example, is better than one ranked in the 50s.

27 comments:

Rajan R said...

Each university have its own transfer policy, and what would work for one university may not work for another. In addition to scoring well (well, at least maintaining the GPA above 3.0), you need to pick the right credits that would be transferable to the top universities. In theory, you can transfer to most universities - Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. But they are very unlikely to accept you for transfer.

In any case, picking a university that is low-ranking may not be as bad or worse than local universities. Remember, the style of American education is very different than Malaysia and thus it would mean it would be better for some. In the American system, you are only required to pick your major at the the second year. On the other hand you are required for local universities to pick not merely you major, but the area of specialization during application.

So in other words, going to an unranked university may not be categorically worse than going to, say, Kolej University Kejuruteraan Utara Malaysia.

For most interested in a liberal arts education yet not smart enough to get into institutions like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Middlebury and Williams where the applications are needs-blind towards international students, or others like Macalester and Carleton that are generous with financial aid, ADP is the only option.

While even Ghana has a liberal arts college (Ashesi), Malaysia, alas, doesn't have one. If you are like me, poor, not very bright, want liberal arts - you're screwed :-P

P.S. According to Jabatan Pendidikan Swasta's website, "Kelayakan SPM tidak boleh digunakan untuk syarat kemasukan ke program ijazah pertama." All colleges are required to have a 1+ year foundation program. It may not be as vigorous as A-Levels or STPM however it isn't straight after SPM.

Andrew said...

I didn't go through the ADP programme, (studied at a umm..Tier-3/4 university in US as a freshman). However, I did a lot of research on the ADP, that perhaps can help someone. Keep in mind, this was done ~ 10 years ago, but I think they are still relevant today.

If you want to go to Cornell, Yale, Harvard, don't do the ADP. If you do research on how many credits get transferred from the likes of KDU, Inti, etc. when you go to really good colleges, the answer is: practically zero. In other words, you've just wasted time and money at the local college for nothing! If you think that you're good enough to enter the really good universities, go ahead and do STPM or A-levels and try your luck for a scholarship. A word of caution: You must be really good. Don't bother if you're not a straight-A student in SPM (I wasn't).

Essentially, if you're a top student (and poor), you have quite a few choices. You can either opt for Local public universities, local private universities, scholarships to US by US universities or other scholarships (JPA, Petronas, etc.) to anywhere else.

Non-top scorers, on the other hand, have fewer choices. If you would still like to study overseas (for whatever reason), the ADP is a good, cheaper alternative. Despite what Tony says, the education I received at my low-ranked university wasn't too bad. Rankings in the US are usually highly determined by how many % of the applicants get in, and a low-ranked university accepts almost everyone. That means that some of your classmates won't be too bright. However, there are generally a few in each class who will be as good, or better than you (despite the low ranking).

So, for non-top students (and poor, aren't we all? :) ) your choices are: local private universities, very very few scholarships to US or other college programs like ADP. Since private universities aren't too cheap nowadays anyway, if you'd like to experience another culture and have other non-academic reasons to study overseas, the ADP program is a good choice. Tony doesn't seem to cover the plight on the non-top student non-bumi's in his blog, but generally, the ADP is meant for these students.

Anonymous said...

I would like to offer some insights and personal experiences about ADP. I did ADP at Inti College for 5 semesters b4 transferring to US. I managed to transfer 70 credits (mostly basic requirements such as math, sciences, programming etc and gen ed such as economics, psychology etc, a total of 131 credits was required for graduation) to a university that was ranked 4th by U.S. News for the specific engineering major I was pursuing. It’s not my intention to brag but to point out that it is very much possible to get into a top university via ADP. I know of people from ADP who have transferred to top unis such as U of Mich (Ann Arbor), U of Illinois (UC) and Purdue University. U might conclude from the rankings provided above that these unis are not all that good since they are ranked 25th, 42nd and 60th respectively.

Well, looking at overall ranking can be misleading and frankly meaningless. To correctly gauge how good a uni is, one should look at the ranking for the area which one intends to pursue a degree in. For example, Harvard is 1st overall but 20th in engineering and Duke is 5th overall but 32nd in engineering. If u intend to pursue a degree in engineering, u are better off attending one of the 3 unis mentioned earlier (6th, 4th and 10th for engineering). Even better is to look at the ranking for a specific major, for example U of Mich is ranked 25th overall, 6th for engineering but 3rd for Aerospace Engineering. So if u’re planning on pursuing Aerospace Engineering, why should u care if U of Mich ranked 25th overall. The rankings provided by U.S News are very reliable and commonly regarded as the most comprehensive by both academics and industries in US. If u’re interested in ADP, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy of U.S News College Edition for more rankings, details on ranking methodology and general info about US tertiary education.

ADP is not considered a twinning program because it does not guarantee credit transfer to US unis. ADP basically offers courses base on the same system and syllabus as US unis. When transferring from ADP to a US uni, it is equivalent to applying to enter that university and requesting a credit transfer. Partner unis listed by the respective colleges represents unis which have previously accepted credit transfer from that college based either on track record or prior arrangement. Often times, not all credits can be transferred. For my case, all but 2 courses were transferred. Most local colleges offering ADP would provide lists of courses transferable to each partner uni. Since all courses are offered based on uni syllabus, it is essentially equivalent to starting a degree program straight out of SPM.

I believed that ADP is a very good option. I would not have been able to afford all 4 years in US but by transferring credits through ADP, I got a great education at half the cost.

jay

Anonymous said...

Kinda agree with Andrew above, especially those who are not so bright and cannot afford overseas.

This is sorta out of the title of this blog, but Tony I would be glad if you could enlighten the not so bright STPM graduates, possibly providing some guidance on the best path for such students?

There are many times STPM graduates that does not scores very well but above average (eg 2Bs 2Cs 1D kind of scores) cannot enter local public universities due to known reasons. Some even end up doing course in private colleges from ground zero.

In my batch (many years ago), we were misguided by a senior at UM and more than half of us ended up in private colleges (including myself). Some senior says go in first and switch course later, but this does not work everytime! I had a friend ended up going in first and tried to switch to a course he prefered but failed despite many years of attempt, he finally gave up and studied in a private university college (very sad).

2 of my classmates scores well, one scored 4As 1B, the other scored 3As 2Bs. They were interested to do Electrical Engineering so a senior at UM told them to put down all 5 choices Electrical Engineering in their UPU form. The better result one was successful in entering UM but the latter was offered to do Pure Science. He was very disappointed, tried to argue with the university but failed and end up in a private college. I'm not sure how he is doing now.

At the same time, another friend of mine who studied in another school (he scored 2Bs 1Cs 2D), he put down 1.Electrical UM, 2.Electrical USM 3.Comp Sc UM 4.Comp Sc USM 5. Pure Science UM. He was offered the 4th choice.

In my class at least half cannot enter local public universities despite of their results which was well above average. We were suprise even some who scores well cannot do the course they applied for. Tony, maybe you would have the right information on how the public universities select students and what range of points is suitable for what courses? If not the public universities, what other path is best for them if they cannot afford overseas? I believe scores like that is difficult to get scholarships, can you advice?

public U unwanted said...

"In my class at least half cannot enter local public universities despite of their results which was well above average. We were suprise even some who scores well cannot do the course they applied for.
"

For your info, most of the requirements to enter public U is just the minimum requirements to apply for all public U. For instance during my online application for public U last year(2004) using my STPM results, The medicine course offered in UKM only requires 3 Cs in science subjects as the minimum prerequisite to enrol for that course. But deep in my heart, with my results of 2Bs and 2Cs, it's impossible for me to put medicine UKM as my first choice. So I just skipped it.

My advice is, DON'T RELY ON MINIMUM REQUIREMENT to apply for public U. The UPU select the applicants at its whim and fancy.
Compared to matrics students with the similar scores, I think matrics grads are preferred by UPU rather than STPM grads. After all, 90% of matrics students are bumis.

Anonymous said...

How many of the people who come from Malaysia actually end up in the IVY league? as compared to the other Malaysians who end up in the average universities?

I am from a VERY average university and am currently a professor teaching in the US.

I did the ADP from Malaysia and I know for a fact that it works very well and saves you a bundle!!

90 to 95% of the 3000 universities and colleges in US accept the transfer credit. I can assure you this.

Anonymous said...

About 1 to 4 Malaysians get into each ivys each year actually. So, its actually quite a good number. Ivy leagues arent necessarily the best too - MIT and Stanford are of equal, while schools like Duke dont fare far behind.

The University of Virginia (UVa) is often dubbed as the public ivy too ( featured in US News & World Report 2006 Edition America's Best Colleges p 39 - 41). A lot of universities in the USA are really good, but then again, like every country ( maybe sans bolehland) there are mediocre ones too.

A famous commercialised college had claimed their students matriculated at various top schools, including ivys and all. I did some research, and only a small portion of their claims got vindicated ( thanks to Tony who pointed it out for me).

Nonetheless, I went to their open day, and had their counsellor promise me to email me statistics of the list of A level students who proceeded to US universities and the names of the unis. Till today I had yet to receive it.

For instance, students hoping to enter the top 20 universities in the US will not be helped by a college which was only able to send 1 student to Cornell in say, 3 years.

I think that is very much true. IMHO, for bright students who aim for top unis at the USA, INTEC or the normal A levels are wise choices.

-LYL

Tiara said...

Just one thing:

Rankings aren't everything.

(especially, as the first poster pointed out, in places like the US, where the education system is radically different. Putting together a world-ranking list is essentially comparing apples, oranges, and bananas on the same scale.)

Tony P said...

Hey,

Thanks to all readers for all the sensible comments. They will all add plenty of value to the above post I have made.

Not all opinions are the same, but that's the point. Interested readers will get to see the various opinions and hopefully be able to make a more informed decision.

Jay's comment that it'll be useful to review the individual subject rankings of the university as well (not just the overall rankings) is spot on.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

A little bit of background info about Ivy League since that term is often used when it comes to the subject of US tertiary education. The Ivy League is an athletics association, founded in 1954 comprising of eight universities; it is named after the ivy plants traditionally covering their buildings. The eight universities also happen to be among the oldest and most prestigious in US. The eight universities are Brown (15), Columbia (9), Cornell (13), Dartmouth (9), Harvard (1), Princeton (1), the University of Pennsylvania (4), and Yale (3). The numbers in brackets correspond to the 2006 overall ranking by U.S News. Below is a list of the more notable programs offered by the Ivy League schools:

* Brown's Medical School
* Columbia's Business School, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Law School, Columbia School of the Arts, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), School of Journalism, and Teachers College, Columbia University, and Mailman School of Public Health
* Cornell's College of Engineering, Law School, Johnson School of Management, Weill Medical College, NYS College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, NYS College of Veterinary Medicine, NYS School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and School of Hotel Administration
* Dartmouth's Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering
* Harvard's Business School, Kennedy School of Government, Law School, Medical School, and School of Education, Harvard School of Public Health
* Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and School of Architecture (Princeton maintains its undergraduate focus and does not have professional schools)
* Penn's Law School, School of Social Policy & Practice, School of Education, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Annenberg School for Communication, and The Wharton School
* Yale's Law School, School of Management, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, School of Art, School of Drama, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Music and School of Architecture, Yale School of Public Health.

Just because it’s an Ivy League school does not automatically mean that it’s the best choice no matter what major. If the major you intend to pursue is not among the programs listed above, you are better off going to a college which is known for the specific major. Computer Science for example, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford has the best program in US if not the world.

Trivia: All 4 founders of Yahoo and Google are from Stanford, 2 EE and 2 Comp Sci PhD candidates.

rational thinker said...

I once did a rigorous study on the entrance system of most top american universities. In fact, i was fortunated enough to be able to study in one of the top 'prep school' programme for American universities. Proudly to say, i even got admittance into some of the top universities mentioned here: michigan ann arbor, northwestern, carnegie mellon uni, to name a few. well that's slightly about my background (so i hope to indicate my following details/comments are not bullshit). My brother on the other hand is a true-bred of a ADP graduate, twinning from metropolitan college and subsequently graduating from a state uni in the USA.

my comments will be on two part:

1) ADP programme is - like the article hinted, a twinning programme. It allows universities to have a steady source of international students with acceptable level (to them). ADP is like franchising business, imaging your McDs and KFCs, where the parents company send the materials, co-curricula, (sometimes faculty members), managers etc to help the setup/operation of the franchise. [after all, education is a business!] Tony is absolutely right in pointing out that most of these universities often compromise their quality in order to gain that additional revenue stream. Some universities however do consider twinning programme in foreign countries as a source of scholars - and they WILL accept any top students from these programmes. [if u score A+ in all your ADP papers, i am sure many universities will be willing to take the student in, but might not accept all the credit transfer.] The ADP programme we have in local colleges are certainly differ from the actual universities' classes. we have local lecturers, smaller facilities, non-university environment. aLl said however, ADP does give Malaysians kids with some money, an opportunity to secure tertiary education.

On the issue on entry to Top universities, most AMerican universities expect some form of "high school equivalent" qualification to prove your abilities to study and graduate. For example, most top universities would accept outstanding high school graduates (12 yrs education) with high CGPA scores, SAT I and II scores, AP (advanced placement) tests etc. Top universities like cornell, mit harvard etc look heavily on non-academic excellence as well. You would need to write personal statement, indicates your exceptional abilities, etc. If you are SPM graduate from malaysia, then you might have some problem because SPM is only an 11 yrs education qualification. That's why when Tony mentioned STPM, he is right, STPM is indeed recognised in many universities as a good indicator of your academic abilities. For instance, University of California at Berkeley accepts STPM scores. What many Malaysians who eventually study in these top american universities are to do either 1 yr of prep school or 1yr of college studies (like ADP). During that year, students can also prepare their application (references etc) and official test scores (SAT/Toefl etc).

My advice to ppl who intends to study in the states - check out the university that you want to go to thoroughly. Google the net to see whether they have good reputation. SOmetimes you can find out alot from any malaysian students society members in that particular uni. It also helps to check out rankings such as US News/Princeton reviews.

My conclusion is: ADP is a good alternative if the college has good reputation and faculty members. ADP partner universities might not be top of the world, but they do offer the opportunity to study overseas for a short period of time (the life experience that counts). ADP is not a backdoor entry, it's just another entry method to the ever commercialized american universities. Ultimately, you re a smart and have good grades - it's probably best to figure out how to enrol in a prep programme. In fact, if you re really lucky, u might get scholarship from government bodies - this would be the best option as these govt bodies have access to top prep programmes and universities.

rational thinker said...

hi. there are a lot of malaysians in ivy leagues uni as far as i know. sometimes there can be up to 10-15 ppl in each uni. Ivy leagues uni in the states does exult the same aura as with Oxford and Cambridge, Uni of Tokyo, Uni of Beijing and Tianjin, Uni of Malaya, National Singapore UNi etc...i.e. some of the oldest (presumbly best) in their country.

there are certainly other better unis in different areas. No one university can be the top in every field (law of scarcity resource & opportuniy cost dictate so).

Anonymous said...

how much do you pay for the two years in the states? im uk student can i do two years in malaysia and two years in the states and pay 35000 rm for the lot ;) heres hoping.

Anonymous said...

Well, I did the American Degree Programme in Inti College for 4 semesters. And now, i'm pursuing my degree in one of the university in the States.

Well, you can go to to the prestiguous university in US such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton by yourself provided you have enough money and you are totally outstanding. American education system is quite different from the malaysian. Don't think you get straight A's in the exam, always score full mark in your examination, you can straight go to Harvard, Yale... the Ivy League they look for certain personal qualities of a student other than academic performance.

One may see that once in a while very few students are offered the scholarship to Harvard.. but i would say, that is pretty difficult.

However, if one dreams of going US. I would say ADP offers a very good option for the students to pursue their study in the States. Well, they may not straight go into the Ivy League...
But don't be so ingorant and just only look into the ranking. The experience of oversea exposure is much more interesting than the ranking.

Well, if you still want to stick to Ivy League. I know there are some students who are studying in Ivy League and they've taken the ADP before. Normally, students study in Ivy League for their master degree. ADP serves as the stepping stone for them to the undergraduate degree, then they have the chance to take scholarship for their master degree.

My advice is, if you want to go US and doing ADP, please do research on which universy you want to go. somestimes, the overall ranking for the college is not important, but you may need to notice the ranking of the certain majors offered by the college.

Let's say, if you want to do computer science, well, Harvard is not a good choice if you manage to get into though Harvard is considered as top college in US. its ranking in computer science is bad.

Anonymous said...

As a current Malaysian undergraduate student in the US, I have a few short comments.

Recently, Harvard and Yale started offering all students (including international students) financial aid if they are offered admittance. Most middle class Malaysians will qualify as the very poor in the US (because of exchange rate) so if you are admitted, you will automatically get a generous financial aid package. So, funds should not be a barrier for entry into Harvard and Yale, in my opinion.

Other schools like Duke and Stanford offer merit scholarships to the top international students that they accept. Mind you this is very limited (maybe 20 awardees every year). Wesleyan also offers full scholarship for 1-2 international students each year.

Therefore, in the US at least, if you are good enough, you will be able to gain admittance into the top colleges and will be significantly helped financially. US colleges and universities are big on admitting people without regard to financial need and love to boast that they have poor but bright students among them.

With regard to not choosing Harvard if you want to do comp science, well I think that is just crap. No offense really but which employer is going to dig through ranking books to see which colleges are at the top of which area? Fair enough, if you have to choose between MIT and Harvard for an engineering program, you may want to choose MIT because it's a name brand. But if I were to choose between Harvard and other less known school, I would choose Harvard. Getting into a good school indicates that you are of a certain quality to get there in the first place, and what if you decide to switch your major half way? You can always count on a name brand school to gain some recognition from an employer but you cannot really do the same with a less known school.

Just my thoughts.

stalker said...

hey, the latest anonymous before me, how long have you been in US???

Well, you mentioned that Harvard and Yale are offering financial aid.. Is that for undergraduate or graduate study???

I've checked into the MBA programme in the top universities before (like harvard, northwestern, chicago...), they offer scholarship... but i think is not the full scholarship....
they may cover half...and we have to pay half for that...even it's the half, some middle-class families in Malaysia have to work for years to pay that tuition fee.

well, you think that the ranking in certain majors is not important compared with the overall ranking.
But If you really get into Harvard and choose a bad major...well, in the first place, you don't get that kind of quality of the education...Employers may look into which university you graduate from, but how about if you can get into the company, receive the high salary, and actually you can't work??? you don't have certain knowledge???

A good university is always the dream of many. I have to admit I dream of getting into Harvard...But
if I do computer science, if i do medicine, Harvard seems not to be the goal of me.

okay, that's just my thought.

Anonymous said...

My advice is ( Don't go to the states under the ADP programme just for the sake of prestige ). If you really want to go to the states, aim for the best. If not, why don't you just enrol into any other universities which are on par with so-called Tier3/tier4 universities in the USA. I.e : NUS,ANU,MONASH,MELBOURNE

Anonymous said...

1st I would like to share this link
2005 USNEWs complete ranking. Maybe helpful to others.
http://ansipen.com/rank/sortbymajor.html

Jia Fu said...

I share the sentiments in the reply by Alain Chong:
http://educationmalaysia.blogspot.com/2006/04/american-degree-programme-response.html

I'm also surprise by the number of logical fallacies and unsupported assumptions in this blog:

1. The use of U.S. News Ranking as the only factor in determining the qualities of universities. The author also failed to mention how some universities are more specialized in certain areas, thus having lower "general" rankings do not discount their qualities. Not to mention that the U.S. News Ranking was used without any credit/consent.

2. I have no idea how the author jumped to the conclusion that some U.S. universities might not be as good as Malaysian Universities, when there is no single word describing how well Malaysian Universities fare in comparisons. It is assumed that some Malaysian Universities rank much higher, but there is not any kind of supporting information.

3. Just because the persons who hold American university degrees interviewed by you are not impressive, does it mean all other U.S. university degree holders are unimpressive? No information of what area/industry you are in, no statistics, no objective judgment -- the author is telling people to believe him because he says so.

4. The author also has not thought of how competitive some top U.S. universities are when he said some college was only able to send 1 student to Cornell in every 3 years. It doesn't just depend alone on the quality of ADP program. It depends too on the quality of Malaysian high school leavers, and what fraction of the good students are going to U.S., the number of foreign students the particular U.S. university is taking, etc

5. And then the author chose to ignore why some very good students had to choose ADP instead of applying directly to the U.S. universities -- that's right, the cost!

6. Should I go on?

This is at best a personal opinion, yet the author tries very hard to sound as if it is serious and useful enough to be published in a website titled "Education in Malaysia". Its central piece is that not all the listed 266 partner universities are on the same par. That is very true. But the author used it to draw some unsupported (to the extent of erroneous conclusions. But of course, Malaysian education always teach us all not to think critically.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to transfer to the UK instead of US?

Anonymous said...

I have a question. Im staying in malaysia and Im an SPM candidate this year and I want to go to engineering universities like MIT. Based on your opinion and experiences, here in Malaysia, which college should I go to and what should i take as in ADP or A Levels? Would really appreciate your answer.

Anonymous said...

Hello there. I have just finished the 2010 SPM and is currently waiting for the results in 2011. I want to pursue in biomedical science and biotechnology. Should I take the ADP or A levels? I am really interested in studying in the US and hopefully in one of the top universities. I am not a genius, but I would call myself above average than other normal students. I hope you would answer and help me on this as I am clueless at what I am supposed to do. Thanks

Anonymous said...

hi there, is the degree obtained by doing ADP recognized in malaysia?

Davis said...

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Syed Emir Ashman said...

This post is missing some of the more prestigious universities that private colleges such as Taylor's have sent. Such as New York University, Boston University, Columbia University,Brown University, Stanford University and University of Pennsylvania. This universities definitely occupy the top 50 schools in the US, and some are in the Top 10.

Sameer Ehasn Ahmed said...

Hi there,
I wanted to know like if I finished my 2 year here in Malaysia. Can I take a gap year before I am transferred to U.S. for the next to year? Please help me.

Ong Kar Jin said...

It should be possible but it varies from college to college. You should be able to defer a year provided you inform and have permission of the US college you are going to.