Do Prestigious Colleges Matter? 

Jieden Fenderson, Staff Writer

For many, staying up late, completing assignments or studying for tests is quite normal. The pressure to grind for good grades and to make it into a high-ranking school is something many people go through, especially in our high performing school district. With the addition of nagging parents, this heavy load of expectations makes it hard for some to live a healthy lifestyle. However, are prestigious schools all that they are made out to be? It may depend on what a person decides to do, or what they see best fitted for them.  

First off, elite colleges are the most selective and prestigious colleges in the country. When people think of elite colleges, they think of Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale, as well as highly acclaimed schools like MIT or the University of Chicago. These schools are becoming increasingly difficult to get into every year because of how many people are working hard and applying. People push to get into prestigious colleges for their names. It is a common conception that going to a good school brings with it a good career and a successful life. There are some benefits and disadvantages of prestigious schools. 

Prestigious schools tend to have better resources available to students that could help them learn and succeed. According to “Elite colleges have access to alumni, building networks, references, job leads, etc. These can lead to a better start for a career. You also get access to specialists who can help with an internship or a full-time job.” Aside from building networks, you are surrounded by other intelligent capable students who can influence a person in a positive way. 

The biggest downside to prestigious schools is cost. Cost can counteract all the benefits as a student has to pay tuition, books, basic living needs, and so on. It is not surprising that connection and wealth can correlate with the chances of getting into an elite school. 

Overall, is a prestigious school right for you? Well, according to The Atlantic it depends on what you major in: “Business majors at the most prestigious schools may benefit from better internship opportunities and more robust networks than their peers at lower-ranked schools. And sciences may involve more standardized major requirements, meaning that the core competencies taught are essentially the same no matter where a student winds up. That can mean that for many careers, majors trump alma mater when it comes to earnings.” Business majors will benefit more from elite schools because it builds connections early on and looks flashy, but for students of engineering and sciences, the prestige of the school is not as important since the principles are generally the same. Our own University of Washington offers a good medical and computer science program that could be a good local choice school for people majoring in that field. According to Arizona State University, “Students often put prestigious colleges as their spot on where they want to go. However, students must ask themselves what they are pursuing. An elite college doesn’t automatically make it a person’s best choice. There’s a tendency to focus on getting in rather than on all the pieces that come with a higher education experience, including programs, affordability and opportunities. What these students should be looking for in a college is fit.”  

Looking at what people in our school think about prestigious schools, junior Sanjit Puturi wants to be a flight pilot and if not that, he would like to be a computer scientist. Puturi believes that grades are important, but he says, “I want to say grades or a good college mean success, but it honestly doesn’t matter. You can be successful by going to community college. There’s a lot of people out there who are successful who didn’t go to college or straight up dropped out of high school. Nowadays there’s more opportunities to earn more money.” When asked about whether students in this school get good grades for personal achievement or prestige, he says that “I think it’s more of a prestige thing at least at our school. People are so competitive that they don’t want to be looked down upon by their peers.” 

Freshman Ayla Lee wants to pursue an education in medicine or business after high school. When asked what the line is between studying hard and overworking, she says “Pushing yourself more but enough for you to handle. Because you shouldn’t push yourself so hard to which you’re dropping dead.” 

Out of all the people interviewed, all of them said that they would rather go to a lesser-known school with a better curriculum than a more well-known school with a worse curriculum.  

So, is it worth working hard to go to a well-known school? Well, the answer is what you see fit is for you. Visit schools, be active, and try different things. Going to college can be scary but can also be very rewarding.