“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
The College Admissions Scandal
By now you’ve heard about the test-taking scandal, oops <giggle> which one? For once we’re not reading or hearing about how the high-stakes, your-job-is-on-the-line, your-school-will-close, your-life-is-ruined testing in a K-12 school caused people to collapse under the pressure and break the testing rules states lay down about the Spring ordeal students and others undergo.
This time it’s about parents who bribed test proctors and university athletic officials to gain admission to a prestigious university through changing SAT or ACT test scores or by pretending that someone’s child was an athletic recruit.
While millions of words have been written in the last twenty-four hours about how the scandal reveals the inequity in college admissions with many noticing how legitimate athletic recruits face lower standards, how many lackluster scholars get in as a legacy because their family makes a sizable donation to the school, and how wealthy parents are able to afford the testing coaches that have a demonstrable effect on raising SAT/ACT scores, few have questioned the premise that the brand of an elite university like Harvard, Yale, or USC is worth the money.
It’s not. Here’s a helpful hint to the wealthy: save your money. If you’re not part of the club (Harvard connections are very useful in life but only if your family has had those connections before you got there), going to an elite university is not going to gain your child membership.
What’s in a name? Not much. The rose does not consist of the name, but of the quality of the program offered. After all, roses come in many colors. A red rose is not useful for a course of study which involves yellow ones.
Parents, teens: first decide upon what your interests are. Then, look for a college whose strengths are in those areas. You may be surprised how strong and well-regarded are the programs at your state universities and other colleges.
The value of a college’s education lies upon the strength of its programs. The world is far too large to be swayed by a mere name. After a few years, no one cares anymore. It’s what a person does with the education that enhances their value to future employers and life prospects.
Affordability matters. Look for institutions that will not require taking on student loans that will total more than a mortgage.
Demographics matter. Look for a campus with diversity. One rife with opportunities to try new things, to break out of one’s bubble, and to see how different people live their lives.
As the college years will also be the first place young adults will experience serious love affairs, make sure the college offers what interests the student has.
Choose carefully and wisely. The name means nothing in comparison to what the college offers in academics and experience. After all, consider the skunk cabbage. It moves upward in the early Spring because of its ability to melt the ice and frozen ground above it.
Isn’t that what all parents are after? Upward mobility for their children? The skunk cabbage may not have the name, but it has the capacity to deliver that.
So do the many, many universities and colleges that don’t possess elite status. Check one out.