Opinion: Is an elite college really your ticket to success?


If you go to a good college, then and only then, will you be successful. This is a common phrase every kid has heard at some point in their life. Within recent years, getting into college has become more competitive and difficult to get into as their average “requirements” keep increasing. But for many of us, if getting into schools like UCLA seem impossible, then applying to schools like Harvard seems inconceivable. To get into these top Ivy Leagues, it requires a different kind of rigor. Most, but not all, have to be top of their class, while taking the hardest subjects and AP classes, all while balancing extracurriculars. But even that is not enough for some students to make it.

Of course, going to schools like Harvard and Yale are major accomplishments that not many people can achieve and not to mention major bragging rights; but at what cost? Spending your entire high school life sacrificing sleep and and a social life just to achieve one goal may seem worth it at the time, but in the big scheme of things, it’s absurd. Nevermind getting into an Ivy League, but being able to handle the pressure there is another challenge. According to Forbes magazine, “…if you graduate in the middle or bottom half of your class, no matter how prestigious the school, you are less likely to be successful.” Many kids who may have been the “big fish” at their high school become small fish in the big leagues, since everyone there is capable of doing whatever you can do, if not more. It becomes harder to stand out and make a name for yourself.

This leads to kids becoming robots who only know how to ace tests and do homework. When they start falling behind and feeling anxious, they turn to alternatives such as cheating and using drugs just to stay in the game. Rather than actually learning the content, they try to remember information long enough for the next test date. If that continuously happens, they won’t have superior skills in the workforce that they worked so hard to get. In the real world, you won’t be given standardized testing and homework, so why put all this unnecessary strain on yourself now?

Along with that, going to an Ivy League doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be more successful or smarter than a kid who went to a UC or state school. There are many kids out there with degrees from an Ivy Leagues who are jobless, while hardworking students from lower-ranked schools have jobs. Another problem for many, is student loans. If you can’t find a job after college, then how are you going to pay back the tens of thousands of dollars you took out in loans? Just because you go to a state school compared to Stanford, that doesn’t mean you are receiving a bad education or are not capable of the same things if not more.

Today, people are obsessed with going to a brand name college, but for whom? Most of the time it’s for their parents, family friends, or even their own friends. This creates unhealthy competition in schools that doesn’t actually push you to your fullest potential, but rather leads to an array of completely different problems such as sleep deprivation.

Of course going to an elite school like Harvard is a major accomplishment and totally worth going to if you can handle the rigor (I mean even I would want to attend an ivy league in the future when I plan on getting an MBA), but that shouldn’t take away from schools that have less prestige. Going to a brand named college is not as important in comparison to what you do at that college. No matter where you go, as long as you make the best of it and do what you need to do to become successful, then that’s all that matters. It is essential to remember that while school is important, the experiences and memories you make as you go through life are equally important; because you never know when all those opportunities are gone.

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