Does it Actually Matter Where You Go to College?

We’ve all heard it - “I just want my kid to get into a good college.” What does that mean? Ivy League? Are the only successful people the ones who attend an Ivy League school? Of course not. Are the Ivy League schools the only good schools? Of course not. But sometimes our egos get in the way, and we let other people decide what the “best schools” are. One of my kids added an Ivy League to his list of colleges “just so I can say I got in.” That lasted about two weeks, until it was crunch time to apply and that one fell off the list. 

Here’s my take on it, and one we will talk a lot about in Bootcamp. A good college is the college that’s good for YOUR student. That, of course, takes more work to figure out than just Googling a list of “best colleges.” It takes understanding about your own kid and what he or she needs to be successful. Your student is taking an informed risk in choosing a school - there’s no other way to do it. As the parent, I suggest that your work is to do your best to figure out what will help your student grow into who they want to be, and that they are comfortable - but not too comfortable. What if they go there and are scared ALL the time? You certainly don’t want that. What if they go there and are NEVER scared? That’s not good either! What if they are ALWAYS at the end of the pack? ALWAYS at the front? You know what they need. The best school is the best school for them. That’s what we’re looking for.



In 1804, tuition to Brown University was $5 for the year and was called “The College of Rhode Island.” The school was renamed after Nicholas Brown made a $5,000 donation. It takes more donation today to name a park bench in the commons of a school - but when you do the math, that guy covered a LOT of tuition!

Want to think more about it?

For another perspective and ways in which some data shows how different demographics have different outcomes, take a look at this article from The Atlantic.

“ I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” - Lily Tomlin

Maria Capp