The New York Times has a series they call Room for Debate, where they gather a few brilliant people and have them all answer the same question. The most recent one was "Does It Matter Where You Go to College?
", and the answer from everyone seemed to be definitively "Well ... it shouldn't matter for a million reasons, but in certain situations, it kinda does ..."
Very selective colleges spend larger amounts on the education of each student, thousands more, and there are much higher rates of graduation. Many of our nation's leaders went to the same handful of schools, which could be because of brand recognition. Human resources people and executives see a name of a school on a resume and reason that the person who went to that school has to be qualified, whereas the rest of us actually have to prove ourselves.
Kids who go to selective colleges, Ivy Leaguers and such, apparently have clear advantages if they go work on Wall Street, enter the fields of philosophy or medical research, or go on to get a masters or doctorate, so says the Times panel. But what about the rest of us who just want to work in jobs we can stand and spend the rest of our time pursuing things we're passionate but uneducated about?
As one of the debaters put it, "The key to success in college and beyond has more to do with what students do with their time during college than where they choose to attend." Basically, if you're motivated you can get a good education anywhere, and if you're lazy you'll probably still graduate, but you likely won't be able to put "go-getter" on your resume.
To those of you young enough to be considering the terrifying specter of where to go to college, know that it will only feel terrifying for a short time. Graduates of Ivy League schools may get in the door faster, but having got in so easily, they still have to prove themselves. No matter where you get into school, it'll be up to you to decide what to do with your time while there, and also up to you to determine what success you'll have after you graduate. The world has expanded so much that there is room for the feisty upstarts and the hoi polloi alike. Take it from me, a girl who went to an OK school for many years to become a therapist and is now a freelance writer. Your real education begins after college.
What do you think? Did you go to a "good" school or a nondescript school, and do you think it affected you post-graduation? Tell us in the comments!