Friday, December 17, 2010

Is Going to an Elite College Worth the Cost?

The New York Times reports:
As hundreds of thousands of students rush to fill out college applications to meet end-of-the-year deadlines, it might be worth asking them: Is where you spend the next four years of your life that important?

The sluggish economy and rising costs of college have only intensified questions about whether expensive, prestigious colleges make any difference. Do their graduates make more money? Get into better professional programs? Make better connections? And are they more satisfied with their lives, or at least with their work?

Many college guidance counselors will say find your own rainbow. But that can sound like pablum to even the most laid-back parent and student.

Answers to such questions cannot be found, typically, in the sort of data churned out annually in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which tend to focus on inputs like average SAT scores or college rejection rates. Handicappers shy away from collating such information partly because it can be hard to measure something like alumni satisfaction 5 to 10 years out. Moreover, in taking a yardstick to someone’s success, or quality of life, how much can be attributed to one’s alma mater, versus someone’s aptitude, intelligence and doggedness?
An article you should read.