You probably have also read a good many articles about whether it really matters if your teen does or does not get into Ivy League schools.
Here at Breakthrough Test Prep, we make it our business to be straight with parents not only about SAT/ACT issues, but also about these larger questions that everyone confronts.
So, here’s our advice: we agree wholeheartedly that WHERE your teen ends up going – particularly true for the undergraduate years – likely will not determine WHO your son or daughter is or lock in their longer-term job prospects. The consensus is where your teen goes to graduate school is what really matters.
This debate has certainly continued for decades, and there are those out there who insist that only Ivy League credentials hold the key to success in life.
But there are also numerous examples demonstrating that the personal drive of the individual, what he or she does with the resources of any college, plays a huge role in determining where they end up down the line, in the job market and in life.
Frank Bruni, a New York Times columnist, devoted an entire book published in 2015. The title says it all: ‘Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be’
The book is full of extremely valuable advice, backed up by real life examples involving actual people.
Bruni says “Life is defined by little snags and big setbacks; success is determined by the ability to distinguish between the two and rebound from either. And there’s no single juncture, no one crossroads, on which everything hinges.”
That is huge. But Bruni also describes what he calls “….an obsession with the Ivies and other colleges of their perceived caliber…” and described as “madness” and “nonsense” a process in which a yes or no from an Ivy institution is seen as “an uncontestable harbinger of the successes or disappointments to come.”
An Internet search brings up many other articles that make the same point – that at least for the undergraduate years, WHERE your teen ends up going will in the longer-term have less significance than the fact that they do attend college somewhere.
Writing in Time in 2014, Michael Bernick referred to a 1999 study by two prominent economists comparing earnings of graduates of elite colleges with those who went to moderately selective schools.
The findings: earnings measured 20 years after graduation “differed little or not at all” with a larger follow-up study released in 2011 reaching a similar conclusion.
Again, all of these commentaries and studies are out there, along with other advice we strongly agree with here at Breakthrough, which is to do everything you can to avoid your son or daughter going into debt to finance an undergraduate education.