Are Ivies worth it?

by Kauser Adenwala


Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, Yale, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell are eight of the most prestigious universities in the world, notably known as the Ivy Leagues. With each Ivy’s tuition ranging from $40,000-$65,000 a year, financial aid and loans are discussed quite frequently. Not all Ivy students and their families can afford this expensive tuition, but at the same time, they do not qualify for financial aid. This is when the big question arises: is an Ivy League education worth it?

The answer is: it depends. There are so many factors related to attending an Ivy League school that it depends on the situation and the person. Whether someone that thrives off of competition (AKA you want to throw yourself into the jungle of geniuses) or not, they will soon realize that the Ivies are schools that tailor to only the best of the best. Only the students that are willing to handle the chaotic competition make it in the real world, which is supposedly the world of big business corporations and harsh realities. Some classmates will become competition, not friends.

And here is the thing: Ivies have been said to be “hand-holders,” for the students attending their schools. These students have been fed on a silver platter and some only care about the position, not the development of ideas. William Deresiewicz, a professor from Yale, shared his prospective on students studying at Ivy Leagues. He says, “I taught many wonderful young people during my years in the Ivy League—bright, thoughtful, creative kids whom it was a pleasure to talk with and learn from. But most of them seemed content to color within the lines that their education had marked out for them. Very few were passionate about ideas. Very few saw college as part of a larger project of intellectual discovery and development. Everyone dressed as if they were ready to be interviewed as a moment’s notice.” A survey of college freshman recently revealed that their emotional well-being has curtailed to their lowest level.


Also, the pressure at these prestigious schools is ridiculous. However, this does not necessarily apply to everyone – there are some students that are from the upper-class and are ambitious, hard-working, and intelligent. An Ivy can change a student’s life for the better, but there is a price to be paid for that. A person will have to fight for their happiness constantly. They are going to have a troublesome time finding "real" people, and are going to sleep very, very little. For someone who likes neutrality, an Ivy is not the place for them. If one relaxes even for one bit, they fall behind and it’s difficult to catch up. There’s no time to sit back and “find yourself.” So if that is what someone is looking for, these schools are not for them. If someone is destined for success, they can excel at many institutions. A college acceptance letter does not absolutely guarantee future greatness.


Ivies Are Worth It

Any student who has ever wanted to succeed and dream big has dreamed about attending an Ivy League school. After all, these schools are the big fish, notorious for higher education, the almighty. No matter who their future employer is, they have heard of or know of the Ivies. They’d have to live under a rock to not have heard of them.

As it turns out, 4 of the 8 Ivies were among the top 25 schools with the best ROI (Return on Investment). Newly established grads of Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth and UPenn earn an average starting salary of over $50,000, even in a stagnant economy, due in large part to well-paid opportunities in fields like finance and management consulting.  And the 30-year return-on-investment for those Ivy degrees? Upwards of $1.2 million, two times higher than that of the median ROI for schools on Payscale’s list — further justifying the expenditure. These schools simply cannot be overlooked on an application.

The degree is certainly and absolutely going to be worth it; an education can never be rendered worthless. However, not every graduate of an Ivy League school finds a job immediately; that would be too good to be true. But graduates of Ivy League schools have a better chance of finding a job than someone who did not go to as prestigious of a school as an Ivy League. On average, Ivies accept about 8% of the applicants, which means they accept every 8 students out of 100. The only schools that are in competition with the Ivies are Stanford, Amherst, Williams, Carnegie Mellon, MIT and small colleges that have acceptance rates ranging from 4% to 14%. If you graduate from an Ivy and do not have a job waiting for you, it’s almost shameful. Ivies have this reputation that seemingly deems them as utterly successful.


But if you have the fortitude to stay above the pressure that rides along with attending these Ivies, you will develop a crazy work ethic, be taught by world-class professors, and meet few genuine people of the many insincere. An Ivy’s reputation of higher education is distinguished and esteemed. These prominent schools are definitely worth it.