Jump to content

What's with the ads?


Photo

Pros and cons of Ivies


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
15 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 creekland

creekland

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11399 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 05:40 AM

Can we do a thread where people (alumni, parents, "person on the street," anyone) can share their thoughts - pro and con - about Ivy League schools? I shared my thoughts in this thread:

http://www.welltrain...ad.php?t=196803

specifically with this:

I understand completely why there aren't more kids like he mentions applying. My middle son is likely to have the stats to be competitive and I doubt he will be applying either - though we aren't blue collar. The Ivies do not have a good "real life" reputation around these parts for undergrad. They are seen as snooty and out of touch with reality. Many employers (locally) will not hire people freshly graduated from them due to the belief (real or imagined) that they will bring the snootiness into the workplace and turn off the regular customers. One step down from Ivy and people ooh and ahh and hiring can happen quickly (still with interviews). Graduate level work is viewed 100% differently for some reason.

While stereotypes may or may not be true, real life is real. If my son wanted to break into the Ivy world we might consider letting him apply to one. Since he doesn't, it's better if he doesn't - for undergrad. He doesn't want the awe - or stigma - that accompanies the degree.

However, I was raised in a rural area. We lived in a city briefly (5 years) and then moved back to a rural area and absolutely love it here. I know my views are biased based on where I live and where I was raised. I read about all the Ivy wannabes on CC and am astounded that people feel so strongly about wanting to attend them. I don't want to put this thread there!

BUT... Yesterday my son was courted by Yale (similar to other colleges sending him info). It looked really interesting. He's also received Cornell and Princeton. He will likely have the stats to be competitive at those schools if he wanted to try to apply to them. He's not going to have oodles of ec as we don't live all that near civilization (no Math Olympiad, etc). We're homeschooling mostly because our high school doesn't even have as much as I would like to see educationally. He wants to either become a doctor or go into medical research.

I KNOW if he wanted to live rural and be an engineer, businessman, or other such job that having an Ivy Ed would hurt more than help. I'm not sure about the medical world - or even if he's going to want to stay rural once he's finished college.

Should I encourage him to consider the Ivies if he likes them? Or should I encourage him to keep with Vanderbilt, U of Rochester, and other such schools? I don't know. I'd love to read other people's thoughts - pros and cons - about the Ivies. I want some thoughts to mull over in my mind if anyone is willing to share. If I ask in my own circle I'm just going to hear the same things I've heard over and over (Ivies are good for academia or uppity city folks, but that's it).

#2 Bev in B'ville

Bev in B'ville

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 702 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 06:59 AM

I think local prejudices against Ivies and other top notch schools is just that, local.

I suppose that yes, a person could be discriminated against for their education and where they received it, and it can go both ways. In my dh's experience the education has opened more doors than closed them. The three companies he has worked for during our 20 years of marriage have all had policies that won't even let them interview people from colleges they deem unworthy (pretty much everything except the Ivies, and other colleges such as MIT, Georgia Tech, etc.) In other words, just having a degree from those places opened doors that wouldn't have otherwise been opened for him. Those firms actively recruit and send reps to job fairs at those schools where they wouldn't even consider candidates from other schools. Do I agree with these policies? No, but they are real life and the organizations have a right to do it. These organizations have all been top tier organizations with high starting salaries, signing bonuses, etc. So, yes, education and where it's obtained does make a difference and one should research their interests before choosing a college.

For example, in Veterinary studies, Colorado State U. is ranked #2 in the country. It's not an Ivy league school, but it garners a lot of respect in the field and will open doors for a person that perhaps won't be opened for someone from, say, University of Colorado. Knowing where you want to end up before choosing a college helps tremendously.

In my own experience, I found that getting into grad school is much easier if the undergraduate experience came from a prestigious school. I did not have an Ivie education, but I found once in grad school that I had worked twice as hard already as my Ivie league colleagues (jobs in the field, publications, etc.)

As always, just my $.02.

#3 Kathy in Richmond

Kathy in Richmond

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1885 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 08:47 AM

Well, I'm from rural NW Pennsylvania, so I hear what you're saying. I did my own undergraduate work in math and engineering at U Rochester, which was considered 'snooty' enough by most of my family and hometown. A full scholarship drew me there - hard to turn down - but I had to endure the comments for years about why I thought I was too good for the local PA state schools :-(

Now I have one kid who just graduated from MIT and another who is starting at Stanford in the fall (not Ivy, but similar). While I had an excellent education, I'd say that the opportunities available to my kids are incredible: motivated & serious classmates, advanced coursework, funding for research experiences, wonderful extracurriculars, faculty that takes a personal interest and mentors them, etc.

Internships were available to my son from companies that only participate with a small group of engineering colleges. Right now he's in CA working at a company in the forefront of research in his branch of computer science, and making great money while doing his master's thesis project. He'll have all his loans paid off by the end of the summer and will have his master's degree paid for by the company, with a job waiting for him afterwards if he wants it. I'm not sure that he'd have fallen into something like that from a state school, but who really knows?

Another point in favor of these schools for my family is that the need-based aid is better than most. Both of my kids applied to several colleges, including state schools. MIT turned out to be the cheapest solution for my son, and Stanford the least expensive for my daughter. They came in *under* our EFC amount. In contrast, for my daughter, our state college would have been the most expensive (and loan-heavy) choice.

As for extracurriculars, my son had mainly math and computer olympiads, NLE, Eagle scout, a wide variety of church activities, and he worked at the local McDonalds. Just to note, he did the math and computer olympiads on his own; we tried to find like-minded homeschoolers to join us, but we weren't successful. Sometimes I had an outside proctor monitor his tests, and sometimes the local high school let him join in with their students. You don't really have to have a group to do these things, though it's much more fun! My dd did manage to get onto several regional math teams during her high school years, but it took a lot of looking and asking on her part to do so.

Anyway, just adding my 2 cents to Bev's...

~Kathy

#4 nykatie

nykatie

    Hive Mind Worker Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 59 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 09:55 AM

I went to an Ivy League school, and it did set me on a career track I wouldn't have been on otherwise (journalism internship out of school, this was). I would not say my classmates were impressive or particularly hardworking, or that I got a great education (I've learned more homeschooling my own kids). I would make a decision based on a very detailed evaluation of the experience your child is going to have there, and whether they will come out with a good education as you define that, rather than reputation or how you think the degree will be perceived. A lesser-labeled school is often better in fact because they need to try harder rather than draw students in who are looking for that label. On the other hand, if the Ivy is a great fit, someone who considers it "snooty" will be won over in the end by a well-trained, intelligent individual who walks humbly in the world.

#5 unity

unity

    Hive Mind Level 5 Worker: Forager Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 349 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 10:43 AM

I went to Harvard (undergrad) and Yale (PhD) and my husband went to MIT (undergrad and grad). I have NEVER regretted it or wished I had gone to a non-Ivy. I got an INCREDIBLE education and there is no way I have "learned more homeschooling my kids." I chose to forego a high-powered career but it was definitely there for me had I chosen it. Classmates of mine have done amazing things. My husband similarly had an outstanding education at MIT and I know that it was both the education and the contacts he made at MIT that have allowed him to have the career he wanted. Our classmates from college and grad school have been among the brightest, most inspirational, and most interesting people we have known.

The only possible downside I have experienced is what I think of as the "wow factor." IRL, I usually avoid mentioning where I went to school unless it's relevant. It can be a little awkward and annoying to experience the awe many people seem to feel.

But both my husband and I feel that our Ivy/MIT education was key to our intellectual formation and essential to his career trajectory. We are doing our best to prepare our kids for the brutally competitive admission process in the hopes that they can have opportunities similar to ours. Admission to Harvard in recent years has been under 10% of all applicants--and I can tell you that most of those applicants are bright, impressive kids. I do alumni interviews for Harvard and it's demoralizing every year to see rejection after rejection for my interviewees, even among the kids who impress me. (I'm hard to impress, too.)

I am honestly shocked to hear that someone would turn down, say, Yale for a local school simply because someone might think they were snobby someday. I can't speak for all the Ivies, but I think a Harvard, Yale, or MIT education would be an incredible gift for any young person.

#6 Gwen in VA

Gwen in VA

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2789 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 10:44 AM

just having a degree from those places opened doors that wouldn't have otherwise been opened for him.


:iagree:

Dh and I went to an "almost" Ivy league school, and my brother and several of dh's siblings went Ivy. I think Kathy of Richmond did a great job listing the many positives of Ivies and other high-prestige schools.

Random other thoughts --

1) Money. While Kathy is right that Ivies have lots of money and tend to give generous fin aid packages, a kid who is talented enough to get into an Ivy is likely to be a kid who can get a full-ride scholarship at a strong but not Ivy school. My son turned down U Chicago for a full-ride at a top-20 LAC. His bank balance appreciates the choice he made! College Confidential has all kinds of threads on "Should I attend Prestige College A or take a full-ride at Less-Prestigious College K?"

2) What type of career does your child envision? If he wants to stay local, he may be better off at a local school that provides local connections. If he wants research, he should definitely go to a school that can provide it!

3) Again, what kind of life does your child envision? If he goes to a college that draws its students from all over the country and all over the world and whose job placement office places people in companies all over the world, the child is both a) more likely to marry someone not from his hometown, and B) less likely to settle down in his hometown.

My favorite experience that shows the differences in regional appreciation of a college degree -- I graduated from MIT. The few times this fact has come up in conversation, people in VA have often looked blank. More than one person has commented, "Isn't that like Virginia Tech?" Obviously, anyone who would actually hire me for my engineering expertise (which after over 20 years is pretty nonexistent) would have heard of MIT. :D But it still amuses me that MIT "awareness" is highly regional and doesn't extend into parts of Virginia!

#7 Kathy in Richmond

Kathy in Richmond

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1885 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 10:52 AM

My favorite experience that shows the differences in regional appreciation of a college degree -- I graduated from MIT. The few times this fact has come up in conversation, people in VA have often looked blank. More than one person has commented, "Isn't that like Virginia Tech?" Obviously, anyone who would actually hire me for my engineering expertise (which after over 20 years is pretty nonexistent) would have heard of MIT. :D But it still amuses me that MIT "awareness" is highly regional and doesn't extend into parts of Virginia!


This makes me grin because it is SO true over here in Richmond, too:D

Kathy

#8 Nan in Mass

Nan in Mass

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 7643 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 12:08 PM

We have friends and family who went to ivies. And friends and family that went small private lacs. They definately had a different (better) experience with college. It doesn't hurt in the fields we know about. On the contrary - it is an advantage. We are in New England, though. I would be excited if one of my children were accepted, excited and wary. I would be happy about the broadening aspect of the international atmosphere. I would be wary about them marrying internationally or working internationally (only because they might then live an ocean or continent away from me), but that is something that might happen to my children anyway, the way things are going. I would worry that my children would come to put more value on material possessions than our family traditionally has, or learn to be too accepting of inside the box thinking or be too complacent about the status-quo. That, too, could happen anywhere. I would issue warnings about the richness of some of the students, and make sure the child wouldn't be unhappy about not being able to clothe themselves to blend in, or go out to eat as often, and wouldn't envy the truly enviable sorts of travel and vacations and toys some of their friends would take for granted. And I would warn against the shallowness and worldliness and emotional instability of some rich people. But I would warn against that, anyway, just as I also warn against the desperation and impoverished thinking and uneducatedness of some poor people. There are problems everywhere. The thing I would worry most about, I think, is whether mine could keep up academically without working so hard that they didn't get to take advantage of the extra curricular activities or funner academics or play with their intellectual friends.
-Nan

#9 Caroline

Caroline

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3850 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 01:59 PM

I don't have an Ivy League or almost Ivy League education. I know many people who do, though, and have worked with people who do. I live in suburban Atlanta and grew up in Maryland, in the DC suburbs.

I do not think going to an Ivy League school makes you snooty. If a rural engineering firm does not want to hire my child because she/he has a degree from an Ivy League school, well, I suppose that is the firm's loss. I believe that a degree from an Ivy or almost Ivy will help you far more than hurt you in the job market. My DH currently works with a number of MIT grads. They don't look down on him for his GA Tech Ph.D.

That said, I don't think we have the money to send our kids to an Ivy League or equivalent school. However, if one of them has his/her heart set on it, and is competitive, we will see what we can do.

#10 Halcyon

Halcyon

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10586 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 02:23 PM

I went to Yale undergrad, and it was without a doubt 4 of the best years of my life. I loved the teachers, the students, the intellectual atmosphere, the campus, and the overall vibe. It has also opened a lot of doors for me.

I think if it were affordable, choosing Yale would be great for many kids (can't compare to other Ivies)--a great educational experience, cultural experience and doesn't hurt when you're job hunting ;)

#11 cathmom

cathmom

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6599 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 04:03 PM

I wanted to go to Yale because my mother's family is from New Haven (going back to the 1640s). Then I saw New Haven and thought it was a slum. The ironic thing is that I ended up going to Rutgers-Camden, which is in even more of a slum!

I think Cornell might be a good fit for my dd, so I've been checking into it. I'm not sure she can get in though.

#12 unity

unity

    Hive Mind Level 5 Worker: Forager Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 349 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 04:10 PM

I wanted to go to Yale because my mother's family is from New Haven (going back to the 1640s). Then I saw New Haven and thought it was a slum.


I had the same reaction when I visited as a high schooler. When my application came in the mail, I just threw it away. Then, a few years later, I reconsidered Yale when it turned out to have one of the top French departments in the country. I chose to go there, in spite of what I considered the sluminess. However, I also found it to be a much nicer place to live than I was anticipating and they have spent millions gentrifying the city since I visited in high school.

If you haven't been there since back in the day, you may be pleasantly surprised with how nice the city is now.

#13 LizzyBee

LizzyBee

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6262 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 05:26 PM

Having grown up in a rural area, I totally get what you're saying. I remember a woman in our county who had a PhD and couldn't get a job because she was "overeducated." There was an attitude of disdain toward people who were members of the county's one small country club. The area hasn't changed at all since I moved away. Most people there still respect people who work with their hands while turning up their nose at people who have gone to college.

I KNOW if he wanted to live rural and be an engineer, businessman, or other such job that having an Ivy Ed would hurt more than help. I'm not sure about the medical world - or even if he's going to want to stay rural once he's finished college.


What if he doesn't want to live in a rural area? What if he thinks he wants to, but he changes his mind in ten years? One of the worst things my mom ever did to me was refuse to discuss my choice of college. I had to go to the same hosital school of nursing that my sisters went to even though I no longer even wanted to be a nurse. She said that after I finished nursing school, I could support myself if I wanted to go back to college to do something else. Never mind that I graduated from high school with straight A's, ranked #1 in my class, had good SAT scores, and probably could have gotten some great scholarship offers. All my mom thought about was that they couldn't afford to send me to a real college and she refused to even have a discussion about it. Oh, and I started nursing school but I quit after a year because I HATED it.

All that to say, please try to discuss your son's options in a neutral way and let him decide.

Edited by LizzyBee, 23 July 2010 - 07:09 PM.


#14 creekland

creekland

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11399 posts

Posted 23 July 2010 - 05:49 PM

Thanks a ton to all who replied and for keeping this an honest answer thread to an honest question. In general, I still don't think we're "Ivy" people as we're just, well, different. I treasure education, but not the prestige that can be involved with it. We're definitely more "worldly" in what I consider a good sense - my oldest is planning on living and working overseas (microfinance), so that's not an issue. But, we're also definitely not materialistic or "high job title" driven in spite of owning our own Engineering firm. My boys went many years before putting on a tie for anything (I love rural living!). They definitely won't be up to snuff on their social needs for an upper class (socially) school. We're also definitely not wealthy, and never will be. But... I do enjoy intellectual company even if that's relatively rare here in our rural area, so I can relate to those that list it as a positive.

All that said... I'm going to stay mum and neutral. Middle son arrived home today and discovered the Yale mailing... and promptly asked if it's one he ought to consider after he read it. I told him he was more than welcome to check into it and see if he thought it was a fit. He knows how to check the stats, etc, to see what his chances are. If it's on his list come spring (after he has his official PSAT score and a junior level ACT score - though his sophomore score puts him in their mid 50% range), then we'll visit.

I do firmly believe in letting them decide their lives even if it's not what I'd have chosen - that is - if we end up being able to afford it AND he gets in (should he decide to pursue that option). I'm still doubtful that his ecs will be competitive. Yes to church stuff, but not as much leadership there as older brother. Otherwise, he's been on the chess team (but not board 1), he's thinking of doing EMT Basic Training now that he's 16, maybe scuba, and probably shadowing at our local hospital. We'll see if other opportunities open up. Once his brother leaves he might step into more of a leadership role - who knows?

Thanks again for the thoughts.

#15 Nan in Mass

Nan in Mass

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 7643 posts

Posted 24 July 2010 - 07:45 AM

You know, I think you are worrying needlessly. I suspect that the atmosphere in the admissions office alone would show him the social skills he would be expected to have if he attended the school and help (force) him to think about whether or not he would be comfortable there. You would have to spend the money to make the visit, but it would be money well spent if it kept him from wondering/wishing the rest of his life whether he should have applied. Or if he is unphased by the formality, then you will know that he could benefit from all the good things the ivies have to offer.
-Nan

#16 Alice

Alice

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3146 posts

Posted 24 July 2010 - 08:23 AM

Dh went to Yale and I don't think he'd be what you'd consider an "Ivy" person. He grew up in Indiana in a very middle-class family. He is Asian, so he always says he felt a bit of an outsider just being Chinese in Indiana in the 70's....but he also really likes being the outsider or being different from the pack. It's become part of who it is.

He says that he really appreciates the education he got at Yale and the opportunities he had there. With our own kids he says that he's happy if they want to go there but would also be happy for them to go elsewhere. He thinks it probably opened some doors when he applied to grad school (he's an architect) but that after that in his career noone really cares where you went to college/grad school, it's more about how you do yoru job now. He also has said that although he really appreciated his education that he was able to do it with very minimal debt (a lot of financial aid, work study and some parent contribution). He doesn't think it would have been worth it for him if he'd ended up with massive debt.


What's with the ads?