Why do we love the Ivies so damn much?

<p>After being a poster here I have developed the impression that an Ivy League degree is necessary for success in the professional world, and the fields I want to go into. Don't get me wrong, I know that Ivy League is not necessary for actual success, but I can't get the bias out of my head. Why does America, and CC, think so godly of the Ivy League? Most of the successful people who I've worked with in business and government (political officials, CEOs, CFOs of Fortune 500 companies in the SF Bay Area) do not have Ivy bachelor's degrees, or even from a top 10 college. Statistically, an Ivy league degree does not denote any special professional advantage after a few years of graduation, when professional experience will take over on a resume. In fact, I've met a few Ivy League graduates, and the whole lot of them fell short of the super-smart/successful reputation American culture has bestowed upon them. But, I still cannot get the myth out of my head that the Ivies are the absolute best.</p>

<p>Because they are top tier education institutions. They are the best of the best ranking-wise. People want the best; therefore, they crave for ivy league schools.</p>

<p>It’s good marketing by the Ivys. It is the same reason people like Polo clothing. If it is hard to get, people perceive it to be better. If more people flock to it, it will attract even more crowds. Ivys admit many children of the rich and famous, many of whom may not be very smart.</p>


<p>Because they’re rich and prestigious and among the oldest colleges in the United States. Once they became selective, people began to perceive an Ivy League degree as a valuable and scarce resource, so their initial selectivity helped them become more selective. There are lots of prestigious colleges outside the Ivy League (Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Chicago, etc.) so I’ll assume you’re thinking of those too. </p>

<p>But keep in mind that people pick colleges for reasons other than their idea of how professionally successful they’ll be coming from that college. I don’t like the notion that universities exist solely for the purpose of conferring degrees (prestigious degrees or otherwise).</p>

<p>Because society says they’re the best.</p>

<p>Why does society say they’re the best?</p>

<p>Because they’re selective.</p>


<p>Beats me. </p>

<p>I don’t even want to go to an Ivy. Maybe for grad school. Maybe.</p>

<p>Yeah, but how did they become selective?</p>

<p>Two words: Asian parents</p>

<p>More applicants than seats available.</p>

<p>Yeah, but why does everyone want to apply there? Why does this random athletic conference appeal so much to Asian parents?</p>

<p>Until a few decades ago colleges weren’t particularly selective because not a lot of people went in the first place, and it was probably a lot more class-dependent than it is now whether someone went to college or not. So it’s sort of a mystery to me how the Ivy League schools came to be regarded as highly as they are, and why a bunch of random non-WASPs started wanting to go there after they realized they could.</p>

<p>Also, realize that most people don’t care all that much about Ivies. From what I can tell, a lot of people where I live wouldn’t feel particularly compelled to go to Harvard even if they could get in and afford it. It’s just not something people are concerned with.</p>

<p>Why are you asking so many rhetorical questions? :)</p>

<p>They’re not rhetorical exactly…I do want to know the answer.
I don’t think “we love them because they’re selective” is a good answer because it ends up being circular. We love them because they’re selective, and…they’re selective because we love them. How did it all start?</p>

<p>They’re some of the oldest colleges in America, so they’re well recognized and name brand. Everyone’s heard of Columbia, not everyone’s heard of Olin. Which would make a better engineer?</p>


<p>I don’t. I don’t want to go any. The only one I’d even look twice at is Columbia.</p>

<p>Success begets success. With histories longer than the United States, they’ve amassed tremendous resources
That attracts top minds that can conduct research they wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else. Top profs attract top students and its an ongoing cycle. Not all ivies are the same of course. HYP are tops and I’d put Stanford in the same class</p>

<p>I heard from someone that college ranking is more about appeal than actual stats…kinda like presidential elections. Basically the more appeal a college generates, the more popular it gets and the higher ranking it becomes. And I guess since the Ivies have been around for the longest, they were able to generate the most appeal? Cornell may have been able to become high ranked even though it was established later since it’s part of the Ivy League. People may have used the association fallacy to compare Cornell with the other Ivies.</p>

<p>^ Don’t quote me on that, though. I may have misinterpreted that/it may just be flat out wrong. just putting it out there</p>

<p>When you think about, these colleges have had the longest time to build up a reputation. That is why in the US v. Virginia case, the Supreme court said that creating a VMI for women would not fix the gender inequality issue. The court said the the women’s school could never match the mens’ in prestige (because the mens’ reputation has been built up over many, many years), and therefore, women were not being offered the same opportunities as men.</p>

<p>Secondly, they are all quite beautiful.</p>

<p>Thirdly, they were some of the first institutions to allow students to do what almost every student does today. This also has a lot to do with the fact ivy leagues have been around so much longer.</p>

<p>And why did they become so selective?
Because initially higher education was only for those who were fortunate enough to have a primary school education or those who wanted to become clergymen. These people were the few that could read and write, mostly because they had to for their jobs. You have to remember that when these colleges were founded, many people were illiterate. And the few that could actually read and write were the ones that went to school.</p>

<p>No idea, but I can answer the question for [modern/1st generation] Asian parents - esp. Korean parents, because I’m Korean lol. WARNING: long post is long.</p>

<p>In several major east-Asian countries (e.g. Japan, South Korea), college/wealth means everything. And yes, I do mean everything. If you’re born to wealthy parents, you don’t need to worry about college, but parents still send you to prestigious colleges to maintain the family pride or whatever. </p>

<p>Now, if you are not wealthy, you are pretty much screwed unless you either go to the top 4-5 universities in the country or Ivy League/Stanford/Berkeley in the US. It’s almost impossible to get a job otherwise, which leaves many repeating senior year until they get the test scores & grades required. Even then, with an amazing college degree in hand, it is still very hard to find a job. For example, in most cities of Korea it’s virtually impossible to find a job at a fast food chain without a college diploma. Furthermore, those who do not attend prestigious universities are virtually regarded as trash by most (or at least the more prominent portion) of society. </p>

<p>Now, most international Asians who are born&live in those Asian countries are only coming to the US for the prestige. These people go back to their mother countries after receiving an education, where they have a much easier time finding a job due to the prestige of the colleges. Notice I say most – not all. </p>

<p>The Asian parents who bring their children here to receive an education have that system drilled into their heads. They feel like prestige means everything because it does mean everything – in their home countries. (That and the pride. Bragging is fun!) </p>

<p>There’s also the matter of race/racism. It’s pretty much basic knowledge that Asians have a much harder time getting into prestigious universities in the US, and Asians may also have a harder time finding jobs as well. So the Asian mantra or w/e is often similar to, “You have to do 3+ times better than White people in order to succeed”. And if the people fail at finding a stable job in the US, their parents obviously want them to return to their home country… in which, due to the competitive nature, it’s extremely challenging to find a stable job unless you attended a prestigious college. (Or if you’re white, obviously, because holy racist suck-ups)</p>

<p>So, yeah. Uh. Did anyone read this? Also realize not all Asian parents/countries/cities are like mentioned.</p>

<p>@taenykiss I read it all…</p>

<p>@anime – ahahahaha congratulations. you just wasted 15 minutes of your life. xD</p>