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Are Ivy Degrees Worth the Sacrifices?
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 05:00:58 PM)

ending their kids to elite universities is the dream of every Asian American parent. Or so it seems. And there is no shortage of young AA willing to oblige. As of 2000, Asian Americans made up 12-19% of the undergrad enrollments of the top-20 ivies.
     No one questions the prestige associated with ivy degrees. In fact, sneer critics, that's the only thing bought with the extra money. And even that, they add, is wearing thin in a nation in which he cultural center of gravity has shifted to California.
     It's true that investments in high ivy tuitions often don't show up in career earnings when compared with graduates of public universities of comparable student body profiles. But the criticisms run deeper than return on investment. Some Asian Americans who have attended ivy league colleges have come away regretting their decisions for other reasons.
     Foremost is the sense that the ivies are structured for the benefit of legatees, the progeny of blueblooded alumni. Comprising upwards of 40% of some ivies, the legatees are often exempted from stringent admissions standards. The result is that AA students with excellent credentials are the workhorses preserving the institutions' high academic reputations, thereby giving a free ride to undeserving legatees.
     Another common complaint is that the deck is stacked socially against Asian males in a system designed to preserve the princely status quo of the scions of WASP families. A disproportionate number of attractive AA females are admitted by the ivies, some have observed, while far fewer attractive AA males are admitted. This subtle bias, suspect critics, is implemented in the screening interviews used by most ivies.
     Then there's the Eurocentric worldview imposed by the courses. Not to mention the lousy weather, bland food and having to put up with locals hostile toward Asians. Contrast all this against the majority-ease lifestyles enjoyed by the AA in, say, the UC campuses.
     The bragging rights an ivy education affords parents, conclude critics, are far outweighed by the psychic and emotional sacrifices exacted from their kids.
     Does an ivy education provide rewards commensurate with the sacrifices? Or is it a trap for AA with overzealous parents with old-world views?

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WHAT YOU SAY

[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
To The carrot and others,
Look, your and others' view that it's just hard to get into Harvard, and not hard to graduate with a good GPA, is just plain wrong.
Grade inflation at Harvard is overrated, trust me. And if there was any to begin with, it's going away now with the college's curriculum review in progress. Don't you know that all the scrutiny in the media about supposed grade inflation is tremendously worrying to Harvard, which above all else carefully manages its reputation and public image?
Are there some concentrations where it's (relatively) easy to get an A? Sure, in the humanities and in the Core. But that kind of thing is endemic to the whole academic system. Ask anyone in the sciences (not just at Harvard) whether there's grade inflation, and see the response. Then ask anyone in the humanities. Humanities by their very nature are softly (qualitatively) graded, and this lends itself to relatively higher grades.
Regardless, Harvard students work hard. No question. Ask any Harvard student with straight A's if they coast and take it easy, and they'll kick your ass. There's a reason why we have the best grad school admission rates, and why there are always employers looking for Harvard students...we learn a heck of a lot from working hard and from each other.
Harvard has a lot of problems but grade inflation isn't one of them.
kam
   Tuesday, December 31, 2002 at 12:33:27 (PST)    [172.157.64.201]
There are only eight ivy schools that provide leadership training and peer learning environment through a four-year residential college / liberal arts education. In addition, there are little ivies such as Amherst, Williams, Swarthmore, Middlebury, Wesleyan, Haverford and Wellesley. There are Quasi-Ivy Schools such as MIT, Caltech, Stanford, Chicago, Duke, Northwestern, WUSTL, Georgetown, Rice, John Hopkins, Tufts which do not provide comparable residential college experience.

Top public universities such as Berkeley, Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin are wonderful schools for its residents.

For none residents during freshman year at these public universities, the cost are at $29,000+ a year and an Ivy school is at $36,000 +/-a year.

However, it will cost more to attend Berkeley for the remaining years for a none California resident. Berkeley dorm can only accommodate for freshman year. The annual rents for an off-campus apartment can easily cost another $10,000 a year.

Many high school graduates learn it quickly from their peers that those admitted to the elite schools is actually paying less than those attending out of state public universities.

If a youngster wants to be a MD or Lawyer (graduated from a top Medical or Law School), it is better in probability to attend an undergraduate college at Ivy or little Ivy schools.

Berkeley is number one public university and the statistics for matriculation to medical/law schools as reported by Berkeley is outstanding and can not be matched by other public universities. However, in year 2001, 87 Berkeley graduate applied Medical School at John Hopkins University, none was admitted.

These statistics can be examined from the following web-pages. Due to multiple applications, one should only read the matriculation column.

UC Berkeley graduate Medical School Matriculation Statistics

http://career.berkeley.edu/MedStats/19972001top20.stm

http://career.berkeley.edu/MedStats/19972001national.stm

UC Berkeley graduate Law School Matriculation Statistics

http://career.berkeley.edu/Law/lawStats.stm#school

http://career.berkeley.edu/Law/lawStats.stm#senior

Most of us came to this country as an engineer and are content with the quality of life. Those from China are within the top 0.01 percent of the Chinese in term of education.

It is wonderful to go to Berkeley if our son and daughter wants to be an engineer. It is perfect fine to go to any college.

However, in consideration of Asian as a group, we have to position more Asian for the leadership position by sending more our youngster to Ivy Schools. Probability prevails!
Asian American
   Friday, December 27, 2002 at 13:51:49 (PST)    [66.134.105.161]
hmmm...I did my research before I went off to college. Did I want to spend my whole life working to get a piece of paper saying I got a degree from an Ivy League School or did I want to enjoy life and get an extremely good education at a public school which is also WAY cheaper (debt free after graduation, thank you very much!)

The truth of the matter is that it really depends on your field of study. I'm an engineer. Does it really matter where I go? No, well kind of, but not in the way that one would naturally think.

The public school was the better choice for my careerwise. I went to a school held in high regards by the industries hiring from my field. Case in point, my friends and I didn't feel the recession until a years or so after my friends from another school did up in the northeast. I'm still talking my major here.
The way we felt the recession was in the fact that most people only got an average of 1 or 2 offers for jobs before graduation with 2 not receiving offers. They did get jobs by the next school session however, thanks to the reputation of the faculty of our department.

Well, I got off-topic. Anyways, I don't hold Ivy League School in any higher regards than others. If you want to go there and you get in, more power to you! Just don't expect me to pressure my kids into going there.

By the way, getting into Harvard is the hardest part. Getting out with an excellent GPA is a breeze.
The carrot
   Tuesday, October 22, 2002 at 09:43:00 (PDT)    [65.204.211.10]
An Ivy education is needed to get into the inner circles of management and the only real value of any degree is wheither it as made you any money from your career or enlighten you in your life endevours.

Besides it makes good wallpaper and show off rights to people you meet. They can give you some OOOH and HAAAA to you and then you can say that you did something not everyone did in their lives.

When you get old and sitting in your bed you can reflect back on your achievements. If you hook up with another IVY Leaguer you can also swap school and achievement stories to your hearts content and let them know that you are somebody, you are a Ivy leaguer!

Honestly how many of you Ivy Leaguer still hang on to your school as the only best time of your life? As the school you were in changes and gets old and gray and you still there trying to relive the old days when you were still young and learning?

Move on! Life is constant change and the most important thing to get after you graduate is constant employment with a sustainable living wage. You can graduate from a no named school and make a living or you can graduate from Harvard and be a bum. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you can support yourself in your lifetime with whatever means you have. A Degree from a well-known school is only a achievement in a point in time and not reflective of what you do today. What you do in the present now is more important than anything you do hence.
ISA
   Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 12:24:05 (PDT)    [199.174.227.56]
I sometimes wonder if the Asian stereotype of a status-obsessed, personality-less, anti-individualistic drone is so far from the truth. It seems that Asian families' burning desire for their children to go to schools like Harvard and Stanford is based more on securing bragging rights than it is based on some desire to contribute in a positive way to the community. Asian families tend to be guilty of this need to brag and show off more than others; and that's not enviable, it's kind of pathetic.
Student
my@address.com    Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 16:04:21 (PDT)    [128.12.141.108]
"ivy league" is not necessarily synonymous with an incomparable education. they are all different, and they don't rank 1-8 automatically in any college polls. i didn't go to princeton to make "connections". undoubtedly i did make those connections, but at 18, that was not my primary focus. i wanted to be challenged by those around me, faculty and friends alike. i wanted a great financial aid package. i wanted opportunities that i couldn't get elsewhere. i got everything i wanted in the school that i chose. post-graduation, there is definitely the ivy league "clout", but it should be icing on the cake, not the motivating factor for choosing the school. college, whatever college you attend, is a growing experience, comprised of so many different things... ivy league or no, mine was the right choice for me. and it had nothing to do with the term "ivy league." i hope your college experiences were/will be as rich and rewarding in friends, opportunities, and memories for you.
dee
   Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 16:00:41 (PDT)
"The reason to go to the Ivies is not the teaching which can stink."

It's so true. I know Columbia spends a lot of money attracting these top thinkers who've won this prize and that prize. They are top thinkers, but guess what? They can't teach for shzit. And they don't even care because they spend most of the time researching. Teaching and advising students become nuisances that get in the way of their real work.

You basically go to Ivies not for the obvious reason of getting an education, but for all the superficial reasons: to be inspired and compete with other intelligent students, to form connections, to have the brand name...

40% of undergrads at Columbia are legatees, the children of former students. Do they really deserve to be in there? The majority of all students are early-decision applicants. Did they deserve admission? Who knows. It certainly made the university look good by lowering their acceptance rate. But what is the point of creating artificial numbers except to look good?

It's really sad but that's how is. A lot of people are pampered from high school into college and high careers not because of talent but because of connections, money, and being born into the right environment. They kids that start off selling weed and fake IDs in private prep school (their records never show this because they are "good kids" from good, influential families that donate to the school; God forbid should their lives be destroyed)...they end up becoming WorldCom and Enron executives. It's never the Asians who work hard that climb the corporate ladder. They just end up at a dead end taking orders from above, even if they make good money.

The whole thing is a game, as is life, and Ivies play their due part in it.
Sean
   Sunday, August 25, 2002 at 08:44:33 (PDT)
To all

People in power are thrifty, selffish, and ignorant. They only see black and white, not shades of gray. Any school that you attend, whether an ivy league, private, or regional, people in power are like that. If you want to seriously get your college degree, beg and work hard. If that does not work, change a major or attend another school instead of trying to sue their asses for discrimination.
dsfbcbsijbdax
   Saturday, August 24, 2002 at 05:42:32 (PDT)
dsfbcbsijbdax,

What's wrong with a collge wanting to know if you had family members go there? If you did have family members/friends go to the college they can look up their records, and hopefully it will give you an edge over the competition, sort of a character reference. It's not "giving out a degree dishonestly". The applicant will still have to attend the college and earn the degree.
my opinion
   Thursday, August 22, 2002 at 09:06:14 (PDT)
When it comes to applying for colleges as an undergrad or a grad, the application SHOULD RULE OUT THIS Stupid question, "Do you have any relative(s) that are either a faculty member or a student that have attended in this institution before?" Somehow, I think that people in power are trying to cheat the public (all races, except their own people) into this kind of stupid ****. What I mean is, the people in power WHO HAD some relatives that attended their institution before, they will pass the others with a degree to the relatives' relative (I guess that is how you call it) dishonestly. I don't know why, but that has to exceptionally be ruled out.
dsfbcbsijbdax
   Wednesday, August 21, 2002 at 16:52:07 (PDT)
I'm probably echoing/reiterating what's been already said on this forum, but here's my own 2 cents on this topic;

Too many Korean (ditto for other Asian parents, I'm sure of) parents expect too much out of their kids, and sometimes I don't blame the parents seeing how much sacrifices they make to support/provide for their precious little ones. But, even if the kids do not make it to the Ivies, it's not the end of the world;
there are numerous schools that are just as good -- if not better than -- as the Ivy schools, the UC schools/several state schools on the East Coast being some of those "alternative/better" choices for all the reasons listed in the article. let's not forget some schools in the Midwest either.
It's what you get out of that really matters in the end, you know.

But, let's face the reality;
who's gonna turn down an Ivy education when have a choice, huh? Not many. Besides an Ivy education tends to open the door at least, and let's not forget all those Ivy league idiots who get the benefit of doubt when applying to professional/graduate schools compared to the state schoolers who have to be the absolute cream of the crop to even survive the intial screening process.

BTW, if you think an Ivy education is a pressure cooker/cut-throat, think again; it all depends on what you major in, you know. "wink wink"

The most manic depressed/bipolar people I've observed = non-Ivy leaguers...

Choose your major well, and breeze through/have a party at your Ivy school, my friends, with, hmm, someone mentioned Janet Reno type?

Ugh...what you do after graduation is your own concern...
One Korean Man
   Sunday, August 18, 2002 at 22:40:40 (PDT)
Gee, Caesar. I wonder what school you went to.

The reason to go to the Ivies is not the teaching which can stink. It is to be amongst talented people. And as a whole you'll find more talented and intelligent people in the Ivies. Which is not to say you won't find them elsewhere, just in much less quantity.
Grung
   Thursday, August 15, 2002 at 08:23:19 (PDT)
Commentary (KA),
Thanks alot for clearing that up. It's good to know there are asians out there who don't all think that white people are evil.
Political Observer
   Wednesday, August 14, 2002 at 09:56:21 (PDT)

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