One of the main factors at my school last year was that four women were trying to get into an American university whose name I forgot. I know it was private and their degrees were four to eight years long, meaning that they would be preparing to pay anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 dollars for their education.
Now, I didn’t even bother with American colleges because I just don’t like them all that much, and because I did not have the “Foreign student” average for them.
These four women, for reference, are the smartest people I know. They were passionate about their carriers, extremely hard working, and every single one of them got more than 1400 at the SATs, I got a 1250. Our school wasn’t Mexico’s best American school, not by a country mile, but they did offer an American high school diploma and the IB program.
Again, just for reference, the school that had the highest IB average in the world had about 41 out of 45. The only issue is that three of those women took chemistry with me, and lets just say my school was more focused on the humanities, and by that I mean that our curriculum for Chemistry was spottier than a CL seller.
I failed the IB because I didn’t pass chemistry, but all three of them passed the IB with about 35 points, the other woman was taking Biology and she also passed, with flying colors. I remember they had a weighted GPA of about 4.5.
So, six months have gone by, where are these women?
Not in that college.
One of them landed a college in Washington D.C. and is amazed how easy it is.
One of them landed a college in Pennsylvania, and isn’t having a bad time about it.
One of them entered Tec de Monterrey here in Mexico City (I know, it makes no sense) Its a private non-profit college, she already built her first robotic arm. As she passed her SATs with about 1500 she was admitted without an exam, something I could’ve chosen since the minimum for direct entry is 1200.
The last one hasn’t entered college.
Now, why didn’t these four brilliant people enter the college I am referring to? Well because they only allow one Mexican national per year, not per semester. Meaning that they were competing with students from better schools and from schools that were easier to skew grades in (its a common problem in Mexico)
But lets retake the third woman, the one studying Mechatronical engineering in ITESM. It is the most expensive private school in Mexico, they have international agreements with hundreds of schools, win competitions often, have expert teachers that work in their fields outside the college, and have a ridiculous amount of students going to work directly after graduating. I asked how many of their mechanical engineering students landed a job outside their field and they laughed at me saying “Esto no es Estados Unidos, joven” but for once it was a good thing.
Assuming she takes 10 semesters to finish her degree,which is a good amount for her degree, It will cost her about 1.1 million pesos. Also known as 60 thousand dollars: which is insane. Her group size is always about 10 students and had she wanted to she could’ve taken classes in english, I kid you not. She is not paying a scholarship either.
My college, the Iberoamerican University, has similar certifications to Tec, but its a bit cheaper and a lot larger (2,000 students vs 14,000), in Mexico scholarships are given based on socio-economic indicators that are a lot more sophisticated than in the US, so I wouldn’t be able to get one. It doesn’t mean its imposible, on the contrary, about half of my colleagues are brilliant men and women that have scholarships. Same rings true of Tec.
My beef with American schools comes from the price which I can’t fucking fathom: My university offers international certifications, and I could study an entire exchange year in colleges like Brown because they have an exchange agreement, if my average is of 8.2 or higher, I wouldn’t even pay Brown’s tuition, but Ibero’s. I have all the amenities an American college has, in fact, as projects I’ll probably end up building my own bicycle, my own drone, and my own suspension system. We end up getting a ridiculous amount of awards for our work in architecture and design too! One of my collegues just won 25 thousand pesos and he’s been in school for three months! Another person I know graduated directly into a full time job at IBM of Mexico, didn’t even study a STEM degree.
Why am I showing off so blatantly? Well, because again, that six figure number messes with me. Neither can I understand why it was such an arduous process for my friends to apply for American universities, let alone that they spent almost 1,000 dollars in extra exams, “physiological tests”, sending official grades signed over the mail, making essays and paying the application fee. The joke became that “American colleges are hard to get in, Mexican colleges are hard to stay in.” If your average drops under 7.5 in my college, well you’re given the boot.
Perhaps you’re a better student than me and think that paying 1 million pesos to graduate as an engineer is ridiculous, as many do. Well, then the only thing separating you from being in Mexico’s best college is a very hard admission exam. But no psychological tests, no ridiculous essays to see if you’re “right for us” or “right for this degree” no. Its a sheet of paper, if you ace it, you fucking ace it and you’re in a college where you pay virtually no money and has some of the most prestigious awards for medicine, architecture, engineering, law, literature, I could go on forever.
But its the elitism I suppose, because when I looked up UNAM, it was just Americans sounding off opinions about how much a degree could be worth from that university.
And I still can’t understand what an American college has that mine doesn’t, I’ll never know really, because I don’t care for them. If I take a year outside Mexico it will be straight across the US and into Canada!
I think it boils down to two questions:
Is Mexican education bad? Yes.
Is Mexican higher education, both public and private, bad? Not a fucking chance!