All across the country, hopeful high school seniors are waiting by the mailbox for an acceptance package from their favorite college. But more often than not, the dreaded one-page letter of academic grief will turn up, informing the student that while they did not get in, they have the college's "best wishes" or "warmest regards," whatever that means.
If you're a Sparkler who has recently been on the receiving end of one of these letters, don't fret. As this New York Times piece reports, it's less a reflection of your merit and more a sign of the times: top tier colleges are becoming more selective while the number of applicants is skyrocketing. But you know what? Not getting in to a famous college doesn't mean your future is any less bright. Here, we outline three reasons why non-Ivy education is a better option for today's graduates than ever before.
1. Because Tina Fey Said So
In our interview with comedy genius Tina Fey about her movie Admission, she gave some fantastic advice to applicants focused on the Ivy League. She said, "Do your best but also know that the result doesn't define your value as a person, or your future as an adult in the world. It does not define what you're going to be. As these [Ivy League] schools make a kind of genuine attempt at diversity, the kids that take the "old school" path get bumped out. Hopefully, that shuffling will make them more interesting people taking a more interesting path."
As usual, Fey's right on the money. Top tier colleges are great and all, but they can be somewhat cookie-cutter about their approach to educating the next generation. If you ask us, traveling for a year after high school will be just as transformative an educational experience as braving the fast-paced worlds of Princeton or Harvard, and will probably cost a lot less too! Which brings us to the next point...
2. Student Loans Will Make Your Cry all Over the Floor
Even if you get into a top tier college, there's no guarantee you will get a scholarship. Unless your parents have agreed to support you, this means taking out loans for ever-rising tuition. You've probably noticed these loans have been in the news a lot lately because interest rates are on the up. Some analysts believe this problem is so bad that the next economic crisis will be brought on by massive student debt. Skip the $50,000/year tuition at the top tiers, and get a college education for half the price at a public university or community college.
3. Community College Is Exactly Like the Show Community
Minus campus-wide paintball fights. And the construction of elaborate pillow/blanket forts. Annnnnnnnnd the whole splitting of timelines into seven alternate universes (though nobody can prove that dice-rolling doesn't have such an effect). Point is, community colleges and trade schools allow for a much greater diversity of students in terms of class, experience, background, and attitude. Ivy League freshmen are almost uniformly straight out of high school. Contrast that with smaller, off-the-grid institutions that mix recent high school grads with a huge range of personalities and ages. It's like a real life Tuesdays With Morrie, also on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays...
Are you hoping to go to an Ivy, or opting for something else?