With the new school year fast approaching, we know that the admissions process has you increasingly inundated with information that ranges from valuable, to slightly overhyped, to just plain untrue. This month, we’re mythbusting! We’ll take a look at the biggest misconceptions about what it takes to get into schools that always seem to spread and cause quite a bit of confusion.
Perhaps the most pervasive myth buzzing over your head when you’re trying to pick a school is that the Ivy League is king. We believe that what’s more important than a certain name on your diploma is the return on the huge investment that you’ll be making to attend college—not to mention a plethora of other factors that make non-Ivies a better choice for certain students.
When we talk about a splurge on what we spend on something, there’s a huge difference between dropping cash on a new iPhone before your contract is up, and shelling out tens of thousands more on a school because of its reputation alone.
Our best advice: take a full ride at a great school like Indiana over struggling—and it will remain a struggle—to pay full-price at Princeton. We’re not just telling you to settle to save some coin, either: it’s actually proven that salaries for Ivy League graduates are not higher than those from other schools (or, in cases where students have made more, it’s still not enough to offset the extra tuition they paid).
We can’t reiterate enough: go to a school that gives money to their students.
Again, we’re not just being frugal here. We’ve pored over studies and crunched the numbers. For the most part, an Ivy League undergrad degree doesn’t get you far enough to justify its price tag. If you’re simply dying to get the Harvard-Yale-Columbia name on your resume, go to those schools for grad school (even then, Ivies matter more in fields like law and medicine, whereas an Ivy League MBA matters less.)
One thing the Ivy League has done well is get into your head—their importance is one of the most enduring, deep-seated beliefs that college applicants hold, especially those who have worked so hard their entire lives. We’d like to take you outside the box and expose you to schools that, maybe, you hadn’t thought about. When it comes to ROI, schools like Purdue, Pepperdine, UCal-Berkeley, and Texas A&M are underrated gems, especially in the math and science fields (see ROI chart below that explains how we calculate.)
One of our favorite resources is the book Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be by Frank Bruni, which explains in depth the world of fantastic possibilities outside the Ivy League that will maximize not only your ROI financially, but will give you an incredible, enriching, and fun college experience.