Real Or Hype?: The Ivy League

Nigus Getahun, Editor-In-Chief

With college applications finishing up, hundreds of thousands of students will have applied to Ivy League and other prestigious colleges this year, and for most, waiting for a response will be a dreadful process. With a price tag of over $60,000 per year and very low acceptance rates, it makes one wonder whether these colleges are even worth their hefty prices. Are they real or hype?

Top tier universities have seen quite a bit of controversy in recent years, including the “Varsity Blues” scandal and a Harvard lawsuit. Despite these incidents, every year top 20 schools like the Ivies, MIT, and Stanford see an overwhelming and increasing number of applicants. They are institutions that hold enormous power not only within the country, but also around the world. As a result of this prestige, they create an illusion that only the best of the best can get in. Because of this, a degree from one of these prestigious institutions is seen as a doorway to any part of the world.

Whether one is interested in going to a selective medical or law school, attending a premier graduate school, or going into banking or politics, a degree from an Ivy League school could serve as a key to many of those doors. According to a Business Insider report, Ivy League schools are the top feeders in the field of investment banking, and Harvard, Penn, Columbia and Cornell are among the top 10 target schools for Wall Street banker recruits. In addition, the top six universities with the most Rhodes Scholars are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Dartmouth, and Brown. The prestige and sway of these schools reaches across not only the country, but the pond as is revealed by the connection to Oxford.
Beyond the prestige, these schools hold one of the largest endowments of any colleges. Besides having a lot of money for research and resources, this means that they are able to give generous financial aid to their students. Colleges like Harvard, Columbia, Yale, and Princeton give a full ride to students whose family income is below sixty-thousand dollars. Seems shocking, but it makes sense when you realize that they earn over 10 billion in endowments every year.

Prestige matters and the value a degree from these schools hold is definitely real. There is no debate that someone who goes to a school like Harvard or Columbia will have a lot of networking opportunities, resources, and world class professors than someone who goes to a small liberal arts or state college. Education is always up to the individual, of course. How hard you work means a lot in school as it depends on how one is able to take opportunities and utilize the resources offered. Even so, a degree from an Ivy League is certainly valuable.

Final Conclusion: Real