College applications have been sent and you are anxiously waiting for the results. You have been wanting to go to a prestigious university. The results come in and you are rejected despite your hard work and success. This feeling is common to many students as the acceptance rate to the Ivy league ranges from 5 to 14%! With advances in technology and online platforms such as Open Courseware from MIT, this begs the question whether or not going to a prestigious university is worth the cost and effort to get accepted.
In some aspects, getting an education from a major university can be worth it. If you are trying to pursue a research career, these universities have adequate funding, faculty, and resources. The faculty at the university will more likely be a major contributor in their field and more able to help you in their research career. Besides research careers, pursuing professional degrees such as the MBA can provide major networking opportunities. Many business and government leaders send their children to prestigious universities. As a result, you could potentially make connections that will help boost your career and get your foot in the door.
Despite the benefits to business professionals and researchers, in some cases an Ivy league degree may not be worth it at all. A cost-benefit analysis should be done. What salary is expected upon graduation? Would the loans taken out be burdensome upon graduation? With ever-increasing college-tuition, individuals are expected to pay more and more every year (as much as $40000 per year!). Though scholarships are given, they may not cover the entire cost or you may not be awarded one. When you pursue a degree in Engineering and the starting salary out of university ranges from $50000-80000, the loans are not worth the cost. At 5-6% interest you are looking at years of student loan payments! Instead if you attend a less prestigious university with the proper accreditation, you get the degree with much less debt. The debt you acquire attending a prestigious university may not be even worth it.
Depending on your goals, an Ivy league education may not even be worth it. If your goal is to get a job, this can be accomplished for much less at a state university. If you are worried about networking, you can do this on your own by calling up and reaching out to people in your industry. At university, you get out what you put in no matter where you attend. Instead of being upset at getting rejected, work hard to network with your peers. Talk to your professors about doing research with them. Apply to summer internships and co-op programs. Internships will give you the right experience industry is looking for. As a result, upon graduation, you will have a job in hand or at the very least some savings as a result of your work. Attending a university (prestigious or not) does not get you a job. No matter where you go, YOU make it happen!
Save yourself the hassle of applying and from major student loan debt and think about attending schools outside the Ivy League. It does not matter where you attend because it is up to YOU to make your own future.