I want to thank everybody who weighed in on my last post:
I think everyone was in agreement (yeah!) that the young man, who enjoyed a great freshman year at Washington University in St. Louis, should NOT be forced to transfer to Cornell University. My visitors shared all sorts of excellent reasons for why the young man should sit tight. If you haven’t already, I’d urge you to read the comments.
When the dad emailed me earlier this week about his desire to make his son to attend the school through Cornell’s appalling deferred admission option, I knew this would provide provocative blog fodder. (Here is a New York Times’ article from 2011 about Cornell’s practice.)
I told the dad that he would get a lot of thoughtful feedback from parents who visit my blog. And that’s exactly what happened.
One reason why I was eager to share this dad’s email is because I think it illustrates quite effectively how the Ivy League mystique has turned the brain of some highly educated, wealthy parents into mush. Lacking any kind of self-awareness, they train their focus on getting their children into one of the eight Ivy League schools.
I feel for bright kids whose parents, in seeking bragging rights, have been riding them for years as they demand perfection inside and outside the classroom. Growing up with overbearing parents can be hell.
The Ivy League Mystique
The dad seems to think that Cornell is a better school simply because the institution is in the Ivy League. Actually, the Ivy League athletic conference. You and I know this is crazy, but there are parents who consider this gospel.
As a group, students with Ivy League degrees do enjoy greater income, but that’s not because of the Ivies, but the pedigree of the graduates. Ivy League grads are primarily the children of wealthy, educated parents and that provides the advantage. Studies have shown that the only students who do greatly benefit from an Ivy League degree are low-income and first-generation students.
A pair of authoritative studies should have put to rest the myth that grads with Ivy League degrees fare better than other equally bright Americans. Here are two previous posts that I’ve written about this topic for my own blog and The New York Times:
A recent Gallup/Purdue survey concluded that where you attend college isn’t nearly as important at your happiness and well-being as the experiences that you have at whatever institution that you end up at. Here is the post that I wrote last month about the survey:
Has the Dad’s Opinion Changed?
I thought you’d be interested to hear whether the dad has made a decision after reading all the comments. I heard from him yesterday after he had perused them. Here is what I asked him:
I’m curious if your son will be able to stay at Wash U? I do hope so!
Here’s the dad’s response:
I expect so. Like I said, my heart says let him stay. Your readers are leading my head in that direction, too.
I was stunned that the dad still wasn’t totally committed to letting his son stay at Wash U. Where you surprised?
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