Are the Ivies Overrated?

<p>My main question to the inhabitants of college confidential, do you think the Ivies are overrated. Sure you get good alumni networks and prestige name of the school, but other schools also have this. Is the education superb to other colleges, maybe in some areas but most likely not all. The student quality may be overall better as the atmosphere is more competitive but is all that competition healthy? </p>

<p>So what do you guys think?</p>

<p>Overrated? On these boards? Of course. There are people here–usually younger or less mature ones–who think Ivies are the greatest possible colleges, places where everybody is happy and brilliant all the time and where they issue you a unicorn at freshman orientation. No place is that. That said, all the Ivies are among the best schools in the country. (And HYP are the best.) There are many non-Ivies with similar ranks to any Ivies, fwiw, though: Duke and Dartmouth have the same rank this year, or the inclusion of S and M in HYPSM. And then it’s not like there’s a steep drop-off in quality outside that tier as you move from school #30 to school #31 or whatever. So yes, they’re really very good. But overrated? Here? Also yes.</p>

<p>LOL: Your question is a dbl edged sword. </p>

<p>I’m an alum of an HYP and I feel that outsiders (i.e. those w/o 1st hand experience attending or teaching at so-called high “prestige” colleges) both unduly venerate us and simultaneously denigrate us for being “overrated”.</p>

<p>Are they great schools? For many individuals YES. Are they the be-all and end-all? Absolutely NOT. Are their snobs and oafs who wave an Ivy banner around? Surely. Are their absolutely selfless, incredibly creative, salt-of-the-earth alumni? YES as well.</p>

<p>That’s why I cringe when 15 year olds whinge or take ID tags such as “IgottaBivy” as if only 8 colleges existed on the planet and everything else is a hellhole. But I also chafe when people make general assumptions of undue elitism or snobbery for top school alums.</p>

<p>Probably a higher concentration of ambitious, smart, creative people at Ivies and other top school than your average run-of-the-mill university, which doesn’t mean that there aren’t pockets of talented and smart and potentially successful peeps at these other schools, nor does it mean HYPSM don’t have their share of slackers (though often quite smart slackers) or boring students. </p>

<p>Basically, what exultationsy and T26E4 have more eloquently posted.</p>

<p>In addition, one of the benefits for middle class families at ivy league schools is the generous financial aid. Many students, including my own, are getting an ivy league education for less than the cost of their flagship state college. See:</p>

<p>H: [Harvard</a> College Admissions § Financial Aid](<a href=“http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/financial_aid/index.html]Harvard”>http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/financial_aid/index.html)
Y: [Financial</a> Aid | Yale College Admissions](<a href=“http://admissions.yale.edu/financial-aid]Financial”>http://admissions.yale.edu/financial-aid)
P: [Princeton</a> University | Who Qualifies for Aid?](<a href=“http://www.princeton.edu/admission/financialaid/how_it_works/who_qualifies/]Princeton”>http://www.princeton.edu/admission/financialaid/how_it_works/who_qualifies/)</p>

<p>Saying what everyone else has said, a slightly different way. Yes, they are overrated (at least on CC) compared to 20 or 30 other institutions that offer comparable benefits (or reasonable substitutes, with other advantages). But they (and their peers) are incredible institutions that have been built brick by brick over decades (centuries, for some) and offer marvelous opportunities – opportunities, not guarantees – to the students lucky enough to attend.</p>

<br>

<br>

<p>This is the best single-sentence summary of Ivy League colleges that I have ever read.</p>

<p>I will say this about the Ivies. If you’re looking to put together a great group to do a project, or start a company, or do something that requires a team of dedicated, smart, and creative people, the Ivies are not a bad place to be. For better or worse, the admissions committee has done the weeding/filtering for you. </p>

<p>If you want to do the same somewhere else, you’ll have to look harder to find those people. Again, they exist, and certainly doable, but you’ll waste more time in your team-building/search.</p>

<p>What do you guys think outside of this fourm and more in industry. I would think that they would be good for certain fields but not other such as maybe engineering. How are they looked in business, good, bad, doesn’t matter and is there a point in which that the name doesn’t matter, like after a phdnif they were undergrad. Feel free to refute or validate my claims.</p>

<br>

<br>

<p>In my experience of Harvard students they are far more cooperative with each other than they are competitive. The sense of competition many of them have is to compete against themselves, against their own expectations or prior performance, or against some idealized external standard of excellence.</p>

<p>^^ Meh. Whether you agree with the idea or not, last year even Harvard’s administration acknowledged that some of the incoming freshman needed to be more cooperative than competitive. See: [Harvard</a> College Introduces Pledge for Freshmen To Affirm Values | News | The Harvard Crimson](<a href=“http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/9/1/pledge-freshmen-students-harvard/]Harvard”>http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/9/1/pledge-freshmen-students-harvard/)</p>

<p>Dingman said that the introduction of the pledge was motivated not by a specific incident, but by growing concerns that some Harvard students are not “thoughtful or considerate in their actions with their peers.”</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>One could argue that a school full of internally competitive people is naturally a competitive environment. I wouldn’t call Harvard “cutthroat” in the sense that people are explicitly looking to best one another at all costs. But if you throw a bunch of people together who are all used to being the best, it quite naturally produces an implicit competition. </p>

<p>Lots of friends, close friends even, go through four years at Harvard without having any idea what kind of grades/GPA each other has. Either grades aren’t that important to students at Harvard (ha!) to merit such a conversation, or an environment of implicit competition makes it inappropriate to share or solicit that information.</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>Speak for yourself.</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>I can’t speak for most industries but I know Government has a relative dearth of Ivy students.</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>not necessary, a lot of H students would get full merit scholarship at their flagship state college.</p>

<p>^^ I’m not sure what state you live in, but in my state all scholarships are based on need (not merit). And if your family makes between $65K and $150K, you don’t qualify for need.</p>

<p>gibby,</p>

<p>The University of Maryland, College Park, the state’s flagship university, offers a number of merit-based scholarships, ranging from small, partial scholarships for one or two years all the way up to the full Banneker/Key Scholarship, which includes tuition, room and board, and books, with guaranteed on-campus housing, all for four years. Even beyond the full Banneker/Key, there is a special scholarship that includes all that plus an educational stipend from which to draw for things like educational travel, attendance at academic conferences, and research.</p>

<p>There is no financial aid component to Maryland’s top scholarships.</p>

<p>While that may be true at College Park, other state schools, such as William & Mary use financial need when evaluating candidates for academic scholarships. Even though your stats may qualify you for merit aid, financial need is used to determine who receives the award.</p>

<p>Remember that most (not all–pace Dartmouth) of the Ivies are research universities. For some students that environment will make them thrive and grow beyond their imagining-- but for others-- equally as bright and capable–the impersonal aspects of such an environment would be devastatingly horrible. </p>

<p>For some students a great LAC provides the nurturing environment necessary for great success at college and beyond and for others they become claustrophobic.</p>

<p>For some a institute of technology has the concentration on the sciences that they crave for others the inability to have a breath of courses in many dispirit disciplines would be quite bad.</p>

<p>It all depends on the student who she or he is and what each want out of the collegiate experience. That will vary widely.</p>

<p>Most importantly – find that college or university that when you set foot on it you know in your gut that you have found “home.” You will rarely be wrong–and let USNWR be da$%ed.</p>

<p>gibby,</p>

<ol>
<li> William & Mary offers merit-based scholarships. They appear to be limited to in-state tuition and room and board rates, and thus, would be less interesting to out-of-state students, especially as you can’t “stack” the merit awards on top of financial aid. If you receive an academic scholarship that is greater than your financial aid award, you’ll only get the academic scholarship, and not any financial aid beyond it. But most (all?) universities do this to one degree or other. </li>
</ol>

<p>As well, financial aid is available to families with more than modest income, it’s just that it doesn’t apply to in-state families, because the in-state total cost of attendance tops out at something around $26K per year. For out-of-state residents - who are the folks who are affected by the limits on merit-based scholarships - families with income of over $100K per year will receive financial aid, although it’s modest.</p>

<ol>
<li> The poster mentioned flagship schools. William & Mary is not the flagship public university in Virginia. UVa is. UVa offers a variety of merit-based scholarships, including and up to the Jefferson Scholarship, their highest award. Here is what UVa says about the Jefferson Scholarship:</li>
</ol>

<p>“Each year approximately 35 students are awarded Jefferson Scholarships, with selection based entirely on merit.”</p>

<p>Flagship schools often build up and maintain their reputations, in part, by attracting the best and brightest students. To compete with top private (and other top public) schools, they are often very generous in terms of merit-based aid. My son received UNSOLICITED offers from ten or twelve flagship schools around the country offering a full scholarship with room and board. I’d be a little surprised if your children didn’t, too.</p>

<p>I know that in my son’s case, it would have been lots, lots cheaper to send him to our flagship school than to send him to Harvard. Harvard has made my son’s college affordable for me; our flagship would have made my son’s college absolutely free, as would any number of other flagship universities around the country.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>I haven’t done an exhaustive review of public flagship schools, but those I’ve checked out offer substantial merit scholarships. But even if these universities don’t all offer “full rides,” I imagine many, even most of the students at Harvard had experiences at least somewhat similar to my own son’s, and thus had offers from flagship schools for very generous merit-based scholarship packages.</p></li>
<li><p>Thus, the poster’s original assertion is correct: “…a lot of H students would get full merit scholarship at their flagship state college.”</p></li>
</ol>

<p>This is especially true if we count offers from other flagship schools, not just the school of each student’s state of residence.</p>

<p>HYP have so much money. It can make an enormous difference in financial aid, especially compared to other private universities. All that money also means amazing funding for student groups, travel fellowships, etc. Freely flowing money certainly “enriches” the educational experience.</p>