Ivy Leagues: High cost, same quality

Story by Jessica Amaris, Staff Writer

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Throughout high school, most of us dreamed of them. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, or Columbia. Whichever your school choice, the idea of being someone who got into one of the best schools in the country was a glamorous thought. Though many dream of this, only about 6 percent will achieve it. As students getting started with our college education, we all aim to be the best and brightest. We want the most opportunities, best learning experiences, and aim to build valuable connections. Ivy Leagues claim that they can give you ALL of these, but you’ll pay at a high price. However, one has to question, just what makes these schools so desirable?

Ivy Leagues are given a lot of credit in this country, almost too much. While of course it is fact that these schools have more than enough money, to afford highly credible professors and strong education programs due to their outrageous tuition costs; they also create a biased view of being the only schools who hold the most intelligent students in the country, who are without a doubt guaranteed jobs. This is far from true.

In order for these Ivy Leagues to “find” the smartest out there, they expect a lot out of their potential students, even before they’re in the classroom. This begins with the application process. Most Ivy Leagues demand that students keep a perfect 4.0 all throughout high school, be involved in many extracurriculars (and probably hold a high status among those), and actively serve your community. According to About.com, Ivy Leagues range from 6% to 16% acceptance rates, while state schools range anywhere from 50% to 100%. This greatly prepares students to look good on paper, not necessarily gain anything from the experience. Students are expected to meet the demands of keeping a 4.0 GPA while managing all the extra “fluff” Ivy Leagues demand. This process alone is grueling and yes, rules out a lot of unmotivated people. However, there are those that do manage to impress the schools and these “best and brightest” students that do manage to meet all the demands of an Ivy League do not always chose to go there.

Ivy Leagues also like to pride themselves on the fact that they accept the best and the brightest, but not all the best and the brightest, accept them. With tuition being as high as $60,000 a year at some schools, the best and the brightest can’t always afford it. So where do these students go? To state schools and public universities!

Today’s prospective students may also fear if they don’t get into an Ivy League, their future is not as secure in the job market, and in this day and age, that’s a scary thought. However, this could not be further from the truth. According to a May 13, 2011 article in The Observer, a study showed “high achieving students are likely to have high earnings regardless of the schools they attend.”  Ivy Leagues do not guarantee success; it’s about how invested a student is in their education and what they choose to do to enhance it. The students who invest in their education by reaching out to the resources their school offers, taking the initiative to find their own career opportunities, and staying invested in their studies, will help improve their chances of a secured career, not necessarily the school in which they attended. In my eyes, Ivy Leagues can be like clothes, you pay for the name brand and not necessarily the quality.

Students should remember it’s not about where you go, it’s what you do. The smartest are those that chose to invest in their education in the schools they’re at, rather than simply rely on the name of the university to do it for them.

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