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This is, I believe, one thing you can conclude from the well-known study by Dale and Krueger that showed that people who turned down elite college admissions ultimately did as well financially as people who accepted them: if you’re the sort of person who has the skills, drive and sophistication about the process to get into elite schools, you’re probably going to be successful in many aspects of life.
This isn’t right. Their research showed anyone who applied to an elite did as well as those who went. Whether they were admitted or rejected was irrelevant.
They find that school selectivity, measured by the average SAT score of the students at a school, doesn't pay off in a higher income over time. "Students who attended more selective colleges do not earn more than other students who were accepted and rejected by comparable schools but attended less selective colleges," the researchers write. They also find that the average SAT score of the schools students applied to but did not attend is a much stronger predictor of students' subsequent income than the average SAT score of the school students actually attended. They call this finding the "Spielberg Model" because the famed movie producer applied to USC and UCLA film schools only to be rejected, and attended Cal State Long Beach. Evidently, students' motivation, ambition, and desire to learn have a much stronger effect on their subsequent success than the average academic ability of their classmates.
Essentially, if you’ve got the right attributes, you’re not a lot more likely to be successful if you went to Harvard than if you went to your state flagship.
@theloniusmonk One of the best posts I've read on CC. Many of the things the top schools say they look for are more "brain age" appropriate for 22 year-olds, not 17 year-olds. Which is why admissions consultants, with their developed brains focused on one thing, can be so valuable in "steering" the kids. Which is another in a long line of reasons why the system is broken.