Worth the hype?

Students discuss opinions on prestigious colleges

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Photo by Sasha Kek

Lachezar Todorov, sophomore student who is planning on attending a prestigious college, searches up the application process for John Hopkins University. “[Prestigious colleges are] very expensive but they have extremely qualified people, and their programs are proven from the years over of countless students,” Todorov said. “If you got a diploma from there, everyone’s going to want you, right? Prestigious colleges, it says in the name: prestige.”

Sasha Kek, Staff Writer

Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Oxford. With about 312,000 applications per year, Ivy League colleges are popular among teenagers according to ivycoach.com, however, such prestigious colleges are not the only options for students’ futures.

“I think that in reality, there’s a very little return on investment with prestigious colleges for finding jobs,” Will Greene, senior, said. “My brother dropped out of college and he has a really well-paying job now just because he had connections with people. It’s more about having connections with people because the whole reason you go to college and a lot of people forget this when they’re all caught up in the whole college search thing is to find a job because you need a degree to get a job.”

When searching for a college, Greene says “the most important factor for me was education and the best resources I can get to help pursue education, as well as cost,” so he chose to apply to Purdue and University of Illinois to pursue a career in aerospace engineering.

“A lot of reasons people want to go [to prestigious colleges] are just because they don’t really know what that means other than it’s ranked high,” Greene said. “When [students] choose these colleges, a lot of times it’s almost for bragging rights, but then they end up paying a ton of money doing really hard classes for multiple years, being super competitive with people, and end up getting the same job somebody would for going to Illinois State or something like that.”

Some students may choose to go to prestigious colleges “because they have the money [and] if you have the money, you have the opportunity,” Lachezar Todorov, sophomore who is planning on attending a prestigious college, says.

“I guess it’s how I’ve been taught to perceive it since middle school and going on, and it’s also how it’s seen in the jobs that I see from my parents and grandparents, especially in Europe,” Todorov said. “The better college you go to, the more prestige it has, the better chances you have of getting a higher job, higher pay, all that kind of stuff. If you have the opportunity to go to a prestigious college, you would take it, right?”

The prestige factor of a college “is in the eye of the beholder” according to Carl Krause, college counselor because some students “their state college [as] prestigious, but for others it has to be an Ivy League [college],” Krause said.

“I’m going to guess everybody applies to at least one [state or community college] because those are usually safer,” Krause said. “The highly selective [colleges] have such a low acceptance rate that I think everyone usually [applies to a college] that’s more of a solid “yes” than a highly selective that says “no” to over 90% of the applicants.”

Most students end up attending community colleges due to better prices and close proximity Krause says, but these are not the only factors that come into play when applying to colleges.

“I think there’s multiple factors [in choosing a college],” Krause said. “One of them has to be financial. One of them has to be academic fit because I don’t think some kids fit in in those selective universities. I think another is academic size, like can you sit in a classroom with 500 kids and learn effectively, or do you need a smaller environment? There [are] a lot of pieces to that fit model [when applying to colleges].”