If you grew up in America, then you probably heard the term “Ivy League school” at some point or another. They have always had an air of sophistication, and the implication was that anyone who could get into such a school was really going places. Most people commonly assume that those who go to Ivy League schools are automatically going to be very successful once they graduate and can get any job that they want.
The term comes from the practice of planting ivy outside school walls during the 1800s. In fact, this was a common class activity for a few decades. The ivy would then grow up along the walls, giving and old world effect that made people think of academic excellence. Today, the eight Ivy League schools include Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania. As you can see, these are all private schools, with Harvard and Yale perhaps being the most prestigious universities in America.
For a couple of hundred years now these eight schools of higher learning have been revered as the best of the best in America. Perhaps even in the world. But what do they really offer, and are they truly immune to the problems plaguing today’s graduates?
In truth, one cannot deny the power in names alone. Just think about how you feel when someone says the graduated from one of these schools. You probably think they must be very smart and capable of doing great things. That’s how association works. However, studies have shown that graduates from these schools are just as likely to fail at getting a job within the first year of graduating as anyone else in the nation. While a Harvard graduate may have a better chance at an office job than, say, a graduate from the University of Arizona, that doesn’t mean they’re getting every job they apply for.
You also have to keep in mind that these are private colleges and thus cost that. Tack on their elite names, and you may even see a higher tuition bill than normal. Ultimately, you have to decide if the risk is worth it. Certainly, those who are accepted will do everything in their power to go. But before you sign the dotted student loan line, see how many grants and scholarships you can get. It may be difficult now, but you will be very grateful for them down the line.