(In)famous Colleges

Ben Chao '19, Staff Writer

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Miami of Ohio. We’ve all heard of this college before, and in fact most of us will go there upon our graduation here at the upper campus, according to Naviance. The rest of us are either looking at other big schools and some small liberal arts, and even a few ambitious ones will look towards the Ivy League schools.

As students in 2018, we’d like to think that we have myriad options available to us regarding college and university and consider yourselves fortunate. Not all high schools will have the type of college counseling we receive. From the guidance to classes, what we have is something only found at a small enough school like ours or schools with this extent of emphasis on the college process. One of the numerous benefits we have is how many colleges we can be exposed to, not only the big and popular ones, but smaller and more obscure ones.

However, once again, most high schools, especially public high schools, fall into the idea that only the most selective and well-known schools are the only option for a successful career, and failure to be accepted will jeopardize their futures. From growing up in the public-school system, I could only hear people talking about very famous colleges such as Berkeley, Cornell, Tufts, Oberlin, and so on. According to U.S. News, University of California – Los Angeles, San Diego, and Berkeley were the colleges with the most applications last year. We’re in an age where all we can think of is standing out, yet by looking at these already commonly sought schools, we’re trying to fit in.

How come people only hear about a select few number of schools? Is it a scheme by the colleges? Or do we tell ourselves that smaller schools don’t have as many students with potential and big schools is the only place to aim for? Perhaps smaller liberal arts colleges do not want the publicity to only attract a specific body of students. What is the impact of all this?

To attempt to understand how much “success” college choice will bestow, economists Alan Kreuger and Stacy Berg Dale conducted a study, in 1999, following how “successful” college graduates from highly selective and drop outs to less selective colleges were twenty years later, and the results showed that the 19,000 subjects’ wages were not affect by college choice. Of course, there can be all kinds of other factors that would be useful to account for such as social class, ethnicity, and satisfaction with oneself, but when concerning how jobs will hire people, they are now more interested in one’s personality and capabilities, not their reputation or status necessarily.

However, college choice should still matter in terms of whether the enjoyableness of the experience and the courses and programs offered because what matters most is what you do and how you do it.

1 Comment

One Response to “(In)famous Colleges”

  1. Jennifer Beros on February 27th, 2018 3:23 pm

    Ben,

    I was so happy to see your article and read its message of encouraging people to consider colleges beyond the few that seem to have the biggest brands and widest name recognition. College is what students make of the experience, and the name of a school doesn’t provide any information about the experience that an individual student can have there. The US College Counseling Office appreciates your outlook on the college process!

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(In)famous Colleges