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Elite Prep Schools - Value of Alumni Network

MtnTrailXMtnTrailX Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
Putting academic considerations aside, which school alumni network do you consider more important - one of GLADCHEMMS, or one of HYPSM (or other famous university)?

When I lived in NYC and worked on Wall Street I was always amazed to observe how many alums of elite Prep Schools would don their school sweatshirts, play Football or Ultimate or Lacrosse on weekends or evenings in Central Park, and then grab a bite afterward. Or go out for drinks. Or tailgate. Or just hang out. Their social interactions seemed far more prevalent than those of undergrads from HYPSM (although in truth, the Princeton alums did seem to hang out together as well). One of my roommates was a HADES grad and he and his classmates were extremely tight.

I am a grad of a non-famous college who subsequently went on to HYP and Northwestern/UofC (cloaking my identity) for grad school degrees, and it has always struck me how incredibly close Prep School classmates and alums are. The products of Hotchkiss, Deerfield and PA I hung out with made me a little envious how they seemed to try and help and pull for one another, whereas my grad school peers always seemed to be a little competitive, often comparing their trajectories. My grad school alums sure weren't eagerly feeding us any info that would help us get ahead.

One of the biggest reasons I want my kids to go to a top Prep School: for the future ties that bind.


Replies to: Elite Prep Schools - Value of Alumni Network

  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 19,368 Senior Member
    "went on to HYP and Northwestern/UofC (cloaking my identity) for grad school degrees"

    Plenty of folks that fit any combo of those. Consider your identity cloaked. ;)

    IMO, elite prep school networking, for those who find it beneficial in life, is as much to do with an outgrowth of their social circles as it does with their having attended an elite prep school. I 'd be surprised if all grads of elite prep schools feel like they benefit in the same ways from a network of alumni.
  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom Registered User Posts: 4,801 Senior Member
    How deep the ties will also depend on how much investment in those ties a particular student makes. High school is a very formative time of life. The bonds developed there can run deep regardless of the type of school. My BFs from HS are still my BFs today though no one here would recognize our school. Until my 80-year-old mother moved to AZ two years ago to be near me, she had enjoyed a monthly luncheon with more than ten (!) of her high school chums who also do spontaneous things together. (Believe it or not, her elementary schools friends have an annual reunion; they are a long-lived bunch.)

    In a boarding environment, the students live together 24/7 which definitely adds to both the ease-of-making and depth of those bonds, so the unique structure of boarding (any BS) during an impressionable period of life can cement ties in a strong and permanent way. This is a by-product of living together (like family) rather than something unique to any acronym.

    And, like @doschicos stated, any individual student’s mileage may vary.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 4,582 Senior Member
    Most people I know who went to BS, acronym or not, have very good friendships that carry through life. Living together during such a formative period creates deep, strong bonds for many.

    Remember that a BS class is not that big, even at the larger schools, so a bond with BS friends is easily characterized as a bond with the school.

    And BS do have reunions and events to keep alumni connected (and donating). That makes it easy to stay connected or to reconnect with old friends.
  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 Registered User Posts: 841 Member
    Since I didn't go to BS, I cannot definitively comment. But I would say that in addition to the ties they make, students also gain something really important that carries through life. When they say I went to X BS or Y (HYPS), they easily gain entry into jobs and social circles that may be closed to others. They gain the confidence that comes with knowing you have had an excellent education. While intangible, these "connections" can make the difference in so many ways, years later.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 19,368 Senior Member
    "they easily gain entry into jobs"

    I'd say you might get a closer look but I would say easier entry might be a stretch unless you are connected in other ways as well (friend of connected parent, for example).

  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 3,284 Senior Member
    I feel torn. In one way, I wonder if those adults in their thirties and forties wearing prep school/High School alumni sweat shirts are wearing them as another way to separate themselves from other have-nots. It wreaks of snobbery.

    Still, when I was in New Orleans a fews years back, I was impressed when a big bus pulled up at Brennan's brunch and a couple dozen octogenarian's got out wearing their Andover sweat shirts. I sat there in awe wishing this kind of camaraderie for my children at the end of their hopefully well lived lives. Still, boarding school shouldn't be a club of sorts. Anything that divides us into haves and have nots is destructive in my opinion.

    I'll say again, sure we had celebrity daughters and sons and even a Kennedy at BS, but the value wasn't in networking so much as a good introduction as to the value of diversity. Having our students in a community of scholars who were setting out to gain knowledge to make the world a better place, and in a setting where it is encouraged to to help one another, recognizing that smartness knows no particular race or religion or SES, was really the benefit our students gained, not networking.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,249 Senior Member
    edited February 13
    I disagree completely: first the world has changed. Second, the super wealthy and socially elite still self segregate.. Third, each school has different cultures that embody this phenomenon. Hotchkiss, Deerfield, Choate come to mind. Exeter and Andover would eat their young (I think the cultures are dramatically different than they used to be at many schools)
  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 Registered User Posts: 632 Member
    Just an observation as an older parent....As I have shared with CC before, I have seen how strong the connections are for graduates of the all girls schools. Perhaps it seems greater for those of us in older generations? But there are a lot of structured mentoring and internship opportunities between alums and the current students at three of the schools I know. Ok kids, back in the 1970’s it really helped to have the support of women in careers that were not previously accessible to us. There were not as many options for schools, either. Having the support and advice of older women in traditionally male-dominated arenas was a huge benefit of attending these schools. There was a built in support system. I was envious of the Madeira girls I knew in college because they already had great internships in DC. It seems that there are more active alums and generational programming @ perhaps because of history and historical need for networking before prep schools were coed?

    Regarding the post above wondering about why may some older men may be nostalgic, have comraderie and wear their sweaters....I can only speak for my “Pops”. His group of boys lost several former classmates in WWII. I think this experience of having gone to war and lost classmates made them feel a closeness that led to yearly reunions- he said they helped each other out after the war to get jobs. Pops went to the funerals of his buddies @ but he was the last to go.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 4,582 Senior Member
    ^^ As we age, connections to our youth and the people we were then are meaningful. While there are many ways in which I have matured and am glad for it, I also kind of miss - and envy - my 19 year old self - so certain of opinions, confident, and optimistic about my future. Invincibility is great, and it's fun to be with friends who knew you when you were, if only in your own heads!

    As for jobs, a connection definitely can get you in the door, but then, you're on your own...
  • nynycasino1234nynycasino1234 Registered User Posts: 459 Member
    Way more than I can depress as a mortal. I do not have words to express it is so awesome.
  • nynycasino1234nynycasino1234 Registered User Posts: 459 Member
    not depress but express it, stupid auto correct
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