Is the Ivy League Worth It?

Many of my students felt a whole range of emotions this year: huge disappointments, and mammoth celebrations. The resounding lament I heard was: “why did I work so hard and do all the right things to go through a year that felt as exhausting and at times, a disempowering process to land here?” Wherever that here might be. 

Is the Ivy League prestige worth the grind? Is it necessary? Advisable? Healthy? Over thirty years of doing this has taught me that “we are exactly where we are supposed to be,” always. Whether you land at a school because you’re supposed to meet a lifelong mentor, friend, future partner, collaborator or spouse–the least of it that is going to matter is a college name. At 100K/year, almost impossible admissions odds, and the prospect of graduate school which will also cost money, it’s not worth it for our kids to spend the equivalent value of a very nice first home on 4 years of college. 

Here’s my personal and humble opinion: where your education ends is what matters. It ends with you and how satisfied and fulfilled you feel as you navigate life. Whether it’s graduate school, a start-up success, an invention, a happy family, a life of service…where your education ends is what matters–and how you grow through this process will be your measure of success…and your achievements–your legacy. 

My advice? Go where the money is. Go where they want you. Go where they see the value of your achievements and they support you because they have that much confidence in their desire to support your growth. Why did you work so hard? Because you always do, because it’s your job and because it’s earned you the validation of scholarships and titles, and opportunities for future academic, personal and professional expansion and growth. 

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