What Schools Are You Looking at? One Question Can Mean a Lot

Chigozirim Nwogu, Staff Writer

For a junior in high school, being asked if you’re looking at any colleges can make you break into a sweat. Invariably, there’s a pull to proudly respond with the name of a distinguished Ivy League or private university.

Brown. Columbia. Yale, are the expected responses. The questioner then nods their head in an approving manner as the young student smiles and thinks about their future in the hallowed halls of that institution.

However, the reality is that, in the deep recesses of the young mind lies feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. Can I really get into such a prestigious school?

Your mouth says one thing, but your mind says another. Contrary to what most people believe, an Ivy League education isn’t necessarily better than a public one.

According to Erin Goodnow at Affordable Colleges Online, “stats indicate that Ivy League graduates earn more on average than students who graduate from other schools.” However, people who were accepted to Ivy League schools, but chose a different school “averaged the same income as their Ivy counterparts.” In this case, success can be attributed to aptitude rather than alma mater. In the long run, it depends more on how well you do in school, what career path you pursue and your networking skills. Ivy League and private institutions can cost twice as much as public universities do, and do not guarantee a successful career and lifestyle in the future.

There are some public universities, known as the public ivies, that offer the same level of rigorous courses and academic opportunities that Ivy League schools do, but at a more reasonable price – especially if you are an in-state student. These 30 colleges, including the University of Maryland (College Park) and the University of Virginia, have superb educational programs but differ from their Ivy League counterparts in “their participation in intercollegiate sports” and granting of athletic scholarships, according to the Ivy League.

Despite the allure of the Ivies and their innate level of prestige, students should consider reaching academic success elsewhere in order to get a worthwhile education and still be financially secure.