Ivy League Colleges: What You Need to Know

Seniors in high school all hear the same question: What college are you going to? Some dread the question and some revel in it. It can lead to bragging rights or condemn the conversation to an awkward silence. People may ask what college you’re going to, but what they really want to know how good that college is.

When someone thinks of a “good” college, they think Ivy League and the quintessential college experience. But those who have been through the college application process know that even though Ivies are perceived to be “the best,” they are not the best for everyone. People are individuals. This means everyone has individual needs, goals, and desires. Clearly, one college—whether it may be the best in the nation, or not—won’t be the right fit for everyone.

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It would be idiotic to assume that one college that someone deems “the best” should also be deemed the best to all others. In Loren Pope’s book Looking Beyond the Ivy League, Pope warns students of “designer college syndrome,” namely, solely applying to famous colleges. This method will never end well—she says students should apply to a college because it’s the right fit for them, not because of its ranking on a list created by adults who rate colleges with an eye of standardization. And just because a school is called an Ivy League doesn’t mean it has the top programs. The University of Missouri, with an eighty-one percent acceptance rate, has the number one ranked journalism program in the United States. This is ranked higher than Columbia University’s program, an Ivy League, with an acceptance rate of approximately seven percent.

For those of you attending Ivies…don’t be too discouraged. According to USA Today, the lowest median starting salary on average of a graduate from an Ivy League college is thirty-two percent higher than a non-Ivy League, liberal arts school. Ivy League schools do have a multitude of benefits—just many that relate to reputation. Harvard grad and author of Harvard Schmarvard Jay Matthews says, “A college, like a new suit, has to fit.

I don’t care if it is number one on the U.S. News & World Report list and has an endowment of $20 billion. If it doesn’t offer the courses and activities that feed your soul, it’s no good.”