Ivy League schools are known for their prestige and academic rigor. Many parents push their kids to get into Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Princeton. Every year, millions of people internationally apply to these schools, hoping to gain admission to these top tier schools. The question “are you attending/applying to an Ivy?” gets tossed around a lot in high schools nationwide, and is now a common conversation starter for juniors and seniors. However, with the high tuition fees and immense academic pressure, are they really worth it?
First and foremost, having an Ivy League degree in your resume can be much more appealing to employers compared to having a university degree (in certain industries). This gives an advantage to Ivy League school graduates when applying to jobs. For instance, according to the Wall Street Journal, “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%.” This is a significant difference in salary, all because of an Ivy League education background. College background is a big factor (in some industries) in determining whether an employer will hire someone, and can even be used as leverage in deciding a starting salary.
However, state and community colleges are much cheaper tuition wise. There are some exceptions to this, because Ivy schools offer a free full ride or half the cost in some financial cases. But for the majority of people, paying tuition for state and community colleges is much more cost effective for them, and thus they attend those schools. However, Ivy schools have huge endowments compared to state schools, and tend to be generous in financial aid. Additionally, some argue that you get many networking benefits at an Ivy League school, which could potentially affect your future job and salary, thus making the tuition a pointless thing to consider in the long run.
Ivy League schools present students with cutthroat environments, where everyone is your competition. If you were the big fish in a small pond at your high school, it’s the other way around at an Ivy League. It’s much harder to stand out at an Ivy, putting students in very high-stress situations. Clubs, classes- literally everything is a competition, regardless of its intent. “Oh, so there’s a recycling club on campus? I need to become president and start a recycling movement nationwide.” This constant mindset of having to be better than everyone at everything is detrimental to one’s mental health, and can be destructive in the future.
If you do apply or decide to attend an Ivy League school, know what you are getting into, because at the end of the day you are the one who determines your self-worth.
Photo by Abi Skipp