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Will my life be so different (in a bad way) if I don't get into a top school?

rfav32rfav32 Posts: 304Registered User Member
edited November 2012 in Harvard University
I get really nervous about this. I feel if I don't my future will go an entirely different course and not for the better. Am I being too dramatic? Whether someone goes to UC Berkeley or Harvard will there lives in the long run differ that much? I know so many variables account into this, but what has been your experience? I know I and many others would choose Harvard over Berkeley (both are great IMO), but will it dramatically change a course of their lives? I am not trying to downplay Harvard at all I am sure it is an increedible school it just wrecks my nerves if my life really changes that much based on which school I go to. Help? Thank you in advance! Please reply especially if you have experience!
Post edited by rfav32 on

Replies to: Will my life be so different (in a bad way) if I don't get into a top school?

  • overachiever01overachiever01 Posts: 294Registered User Junior Member
    Of course not!

    It is the person that takes himself/herself to whatever place in life. A student from Harvard may not possess the same skills (or some other factor) as one from Berkeley. Will the prestige of Harvard help? To some extent, but you must consider other aspects like experience.

    Don't get caught up in the whole "ivy/elite" ideal. It just depends on how you take advantage of your resourses and the ambition you have for succeeding. Of course your life will be different if you go to one school over the other, but the difference is not necessarily negative.

    Hope this helps... and that you understand my perspective.
  • danstearnsdanstearns Posts: 334Registered User Member
    If you don't get into Harvard - it could be good, or could be bad.


    There was an old man in a village, very poor, but even kings were jealous of him because he had a beautiful white horse. Kings offered fabulous prices for the horse, but the man would say, "This horse is not a horse to me, he is a person, and how can you sell a person, a friend?" The man was poor, but he never sold the horse.

    One morning, he found that the horse was not in the stable. The whole village gathered and they said, "You foolish old man! We knew that some day the horse would be stolen. It would have been better to sell it. What a misfortune!" The old man said: "Don't go so far as to say that. Simply say what IS - that the horse is not in the stable is the fact; everything else is a judgment. Whether it is a misfortune or a blessing I don't know, because this is just a fragment."

    People laughed at the old man. They had always known that he was a little crazy.But after 15 days, suddenly one night the horse returned. He had not been stolen, He had escaped into the wild, and not only that, he brought back a dozen wild horses with him.

    Again the people gathered and they said, "Old man, you were right. This was not a misfortune, it has indeed proved to be a blessing." The old man said: "Again you are going too far." Just say what IS - that the horse is back. Who knows whether it is a blessing or not? It is only a fragment. You read a single word in a sentence - how can you judge the whole book?"

    This time the people could not say much, but inside they knew that he was wrong.The old man had an only son who started to train the wild horses, when just a week later he fell from a horse and his legs were broken. The people gathered and again they judged, saying, "Again you proved right. It was a misfortune. Your only son has lost the use of his legs, and in your old age he was your only support. Now you are poorer than ever.

    "The old man said, "You are obsessed with judgment. Don't go that far. Say only what IS - that my son has broken his legs. Nobody knows whether this is a misfortune or a blessing. Life comes in fragments and more is never given to you."

    It happened that after a few weeks the country went to war, and all the young men of the town were forcibly taken for the military. Only the old man's son was left, because he was crippled. The whole town was crying and weeping,because it was a losing fight and they knew most of the young people would never come back.

    They came to the old man and said, "You were right, old man- this has proved a blessing. Maybe your son is crippled, but he is still with you. Our sons are gone forever."The old man said again, "You go on and on judging. Nobody knows!
  • NewYork94NewYork94 Posts: 222Registered User Junior Member
    I honestly really love that story. One thing I really take away from it Is the message that people, regardless of the ups and downs, will always judge or add a slant/bias to a situation or event. That much will be permanent and constant. Even after reading this story and understanding the message, I doubt, largely because of human nature, that I will be able to remove all judgement and bias.
  • NewYork94NewYork94 Posts: 222Registered User Junior Member
    I guess the last part is the saddest part. You know the problem- and even the solution- and are simply incapable of implementing the solution solely because of who and what you are.
  • LooshinLooshin Posts: 113Registered User Junior Member
    Surely this is the worst place to ask, because people here are mainly Ivy League grads or Ivy League applicants?
  • gibbygibby Posts: 6,252Registered User Senior Member
    Jeffrey Brenzel, Dean of Yale Admissions, also teaches Philosophy, and he has written an epilogue to the college applications process that everyone should read, no matter what college you are applying to: Epilogue: After Colleges Accept You | Yale College Admissions

    "I think I may be able to offer you a few unconventional thoughts about admissions by pointing you down the road past the admissions process to the date when you will be holding admissions offers in your hands, whether from Yale or other great colleges.

    I say “other great colleges” for a reason. If you are in fact a realistic applicant for Yale, it is virtually certain that you are going to be admitted to a number of strong, quite selective colleges. After all, we are all looking for students like you, with talent, achievement, and high aspirations. If you happen to be in the midst of the application process right now, you may be anxious about where you will be admitted. You may feel as if everything depends on which colleges admit you, or whether a certain one does.

    After years of experience, however, here is what I know, virtually to the point of certainty: almost nothing depends on exactly which strong college admits you. Everything depends on what you decide to do once you get to a strong college, and how well prepared you are to take advantage of the infinite opportunities you will find there.
  • T26E4T26E4 Posts: 16,932Registered User Senior Member
    Getting my diploma 23 yrs ago from another Ivy, I can honestly say that if I'd rec'd the diploma from any of the other five schools that accepted me that what is important to me today -- family, profession, faith --would still be the same. In the same way, just stepping onto campus, i was immediately humbled by the excellence around me. Therefore, I also came to realize that a grad from another similar school -- even any school, I could easily find to imitate or admire. In my career in NFPs and govt, I've found that to be absolutely true.

    It's not the school -- it's the individual. Friend, the sooner you see that a diploma is simply a shallow label, the happier you'll become.

    You're not going to ask to see the diploma of your children's loving school teachers -- or from the nurses who will spend hours assisting your ailing parents or your spouse one day. Get some perspective.
  • sidelinessidelines Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
    This is College Confidential where we place an overabundance of importance on college. College is what you make of it. Harvard is great for many, but not all and there are many other great colleges and universities that offer a wealth of opportunity as well as an excellent education. If you are determined to make the best of whatever situation you end up in then you will be fine. If you lament not getting into the "perfect place" then you will miss out on some great chances. Good luck.
  • kwukwu Posts: 4,759Registered User Senior Member
    The discrepancy between Harvard and Berkeley at the undergraduate level is significant.

    If you're truly competitive for admission to Harvard, you're competitive for admission to Harvard's peers and very competitive for admission to institutions a step below Harvard. In this case, you're bound to end up at a "top school." Otherwise, there's a fatal flaw in your application that you've ignored.
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