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State Universities vs. Private Colleges–A Professor Reflects

During a recent visit to the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, I caught up with an old friend, Professor Bill Worden. He is now a professor of Spanish and director of graduate studies.

Bill was educated at elite private institutions in the Northeast (Dartmouth, Brown), but he teaches at a large, public university.

During our conversation he reflected upon his experience, and about his understanding about the quality of students at both kinds of educational institutions.

Mark Montgomery
College Consultant

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Reader Interactions


  1. Mark, Another great video interview — but it was too brief. Do you have more footage from your interview? Prof Worden was very engaging and I was left after 2 minutes wanting more. If I’m a bright kid in Alabama (or elsewhere in the south) what’s his perspective on whether I should apply to Bama, or Duke, or Vanderbilt or Dartmouth? What are the the tradeoffs between a public southern university and a private university (in the south or the ivy league)?

  2. Thanks, Matt. Always glad to leave my viewers wanting more…better than the alternative!

    One reason I didn’t get into the discussion about whether a “bright kid” should apply to particular schools is that the decision about what college to attend is highly personal and dependent on too many variables–making it really impossible to generalize. Of course, when given a specific set of circumstances and goals, I make it my job to make such recommendations to my clients and others. But without knowing the student’s profile and objectives, it’s almost impossible to generalize about “bright kids” (or others, for that matter). Should all bright kids consider UA? Probably not. Should all bright kids consider Dartmouth? Nope.

    I pride myself on tailoring my advice to the individual who asks for it. Generalizations, in my view, do more harm than good.

    Thanks for visiting again, Matt. Glad to have your comments and feedback.

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