On the one hand, this frenzy to secure the imprimatur of an Ivy League institution is irrational, at least economically. In 2000, the National Center for Education Statistics, part of the federal Department of Education, examined the earnings of a group of college graduates five years after their graduation and concluded that the selectivity of their alma maters had had a minimal impact. A more important predictor of income was the person's undergraduate major.
now, they do go on to state that getting into a place like, say, goldman sachs, might have to do with going to dartmouth. i do not doubt it. but i'm tired of listening to people who think life is over if they don't get into Big Name U.
The person in the article was applying to U. Michigan - Ann Arbor, and said she wanted to be a doctor. And supposedly she changed her career choice because she wasn't accepted. I beg pardon? Your undergrad institution doesn't make you a doctor; you've got to go to med school for that. And you can learn premed stuff lots of places. Maybe it's a good thing she didn't get into UMich because if she wasn't willing to do the extra work that would be needed to distinguish one's self at a lesser school for med school, she shouldn't be a doctor. One thing I've noticed in common about doctors - they may not be smart, but they work =hard=. if you can't work hard, you can't be in medicine.
What is often missed in these "reverse discrimination" lawsuits is that there are demographic problems going on. during my parents' time, college was just beginning to be required for a professional career. Lots of these boomers did not go to college, and many had their kids at a later age than my parents did - when they had more money than my parents did. These parents are spending their dough on their kids, and they expect returns.
so now there are a bunch of teenagers with great educational backgrounds, but not much in particular to distinguish them, who have parents who expect them to go to an Ivy League school. Except there aren't more Ivies now than there were before, and there sure aren't enough spots to keep up with demand. Parents who went to the Ivies expect their kids to go there, and those who went to "tiers below" expect their kids to go there. mmhmm. Mix in the fact that there weren't many minority students there in the past generation, and the admissions office want a healthier percentage - you get a whole bunch of pissed-off people.
In any case, I always thought it was a bad idea to mix college and adolescence. I still say that the minimum age at college should be 21; if I ever started a college, that's what I'd do. Not that adolescence is over at 21 anymore (hell, it used to be over at 18 or earlier), but it would be good for kids to work for a few years, perhaps get an apt., before deciding on college. The number of people who went through inertia would be cut down.