It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go to College

Vianie Merino, Writer

It is a common belief that attending Ivy League or elite schools is necessary for a student to receive the best education. They have a higher ranking, a lower acceptance rate, a better reputation, and maybe even a prettier campus. For several years, however, these students are faced with intense, expensive, and tedious work through a program they may not even pursue in the future. The issue with this is not that they became uninterested in a previous passion, but that they may have invested in the wrong college. Like David Allen’s article in CNN states, I believe that “happiness, purpose, power, wealth accumulation, adventure, knowledge, creative freedom, and expression” should be used as filtering devices when deciding where to attend, not reputation.


Throughout my entire high school career, I was told that what you get out of college, like most things, is determined by what you put into it. By this concept, it should not matter where, or even when, you attend college. There are obviously many occupations that do not require a college degree but there are even more that don’t require graduating from an elite private school. The choice, therefore, should be made, not on uncritical social pressures but, on a consideration of various personal criteria and concerns. Finances, for instance, is a large aspect of college that many fail to take seriously as they are accepting their admission. Jacques Steinberg’s article in The New York Times even states that “about 1 in 3 students who enroll in either a four-year or two-year college will probably transfer at some point.” This is most likely referring to the large majority of college students who grow unhappy with their first choice or have found an issue with attending there.


Understandably, a student may want to attend an elite college if their area of study is known to be taught well at that particular school. However, it is important to understand that all higher education facilities, both elite private and less-selective state schools, are designed to provide their students with the necessary education for success in each area of study. The “shared delusion” that William Stixrud addressed in his article, “It’s Time to Tell Your Kids It Doesn’t Matter Where They Go To College,” is that “if you don’t get into Harvard or Yale, you’ll never reach the c-suite.” Obviously there are benefits to attending an elite school, but there are tons of other ways to achieve a successful and fulfilling life, many of which are known yet ignored by eager high school students.