I often hear from some parents in my college admissions seminars or who call my firm inquiring about our service: “It doesn’t really matter if you attend an Ivy League school” or “it doesn’t make a difference if you attend an Ivy League school” and finally, “its all about the fit; it doesn’t matter where you go to college”. I even hear from many of my peer independent educational consultants, public high school guidance counselors and private school college counselors (who are not Ivy League undergraduate alumni) that it really doesn’t matter if that a student should applies to the Ivies or attends the Ivies. I even hear from parents whose children have applied to the Ivies (after they have taken 9 AP courses, received tutoring in order to achieve near-perfect SAT scores and written that perceived awesome essay) that it does really matter. Really?
As an Ivy-trained physician-scientist, prior to entering the admissions advisory field 22 years ago, I like to corroborate and validate my professional recommendations and advice with meaningful studies and reports, and real data that have linear correlations.
Year after year, thousands of students apply for coveted spots and are rejected (see my blog on rejection rates). There must be a reason or reasons why each year one reads the following statistic 30,000 students applying for 2,000 spots, or why there is an uptick in the number of international applicants to Ivy Leagues schools.
So let’s review the reasons why your child should apply to the Ivies:
- A study in the journal, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, confirms parental suspicions that the best route to a top job is to attend an Ivy League school. According to Dr. Lauren Rivera, the author of the study, “Elite professional service employers rely more on academic pedigree more than any other factor. Where you went to school rather than what you did there makes the difference”.
- PayScale Inc., an online provider of global compensation data, in a survey demonstrated that an Ivy League diploma is still worth its price of admission and tuition. An Ivy League education makes a job candidate stand out, even before a recruiter talks to them! The median starting salary for Ivy Leaguers is 32% higher than that of liberal-arts college graduates and at 10 or more years into graduates’ working lives, the spread is 34%.
- “Because of the bitter competition for premium salaries, elite educational credentials are often a precondition for even landing a job interview. With so many applicants for every vacancy, many consulting firms and investment banks, for example, now consider only candidates from a short list of top-ranked schools. Degrees from elite schools clearly open doors. For example, more than 40 percent of the 2007 graduating class at Princeton landed one of the most highly sought prizes: a position in the lucrative financial services industry.” Dr. Robert H. Frank
- According to a U.S. Department of Education report, the median annual earnings for an Ivy League graduate 10 years after starting amount to well over $70,000 a year. For graduates of all other schools, the median is around $34,000. But things get really interesting at the top end of the income spectrum. The top 10 percent of Ivy League grads are earning $200,000 or more ten years after starting school. The top earners of other schools, on the other hand, earn $70,000.
- Top 20 universities producing billionaires is dominated by blue-chip, elite U.S. institutions. Billionaires are likely to have attended some of the traditionally most prestigious universities. Top universities have become the place where “global players gather”. (Educational insights from an annual profile of the uber-rich – Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census.)
- Business Insider’s “The 48 best colleges in the Northeast” – 2015: Of the top 10 colleges, the 8 Ivy League colleges/universities were on the list.
- Wall Street Journal article: “In Producing Presidents, Ivies Still Have It”. Ivy League colleges are the top U.S. President-producing schools.
- Globally, extreme wealth is closely connected to elite education. “The economic sectors where the very wealthy are most closely connected to elite education are hedge funds, venture capital, the internet, law and finance. Those fields may require greater smarts, better training and stronger elite social connections.” – Wealth X Study
- “Elite firms hire from elite universities” from “Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs” by Lauren A. Rivera.
- The Economist has established that there is a direct correlation between education, the inheritance of privilege and class. According to an extensive report in The Economist: “For those at the top of the pile, moving straight from the best universities into the best jobs, the potential rewards are greater.”
The next time you are out and about and you see decals that have an Ivy League university, or a parent with sweatshirt that states: ” Ivy League school Mom” ask yourself does it really matter?
Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs. The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges, Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college: College Transfer Admissions Advisors.