Are Ivy League Colleges Worth the Money?

Deciding on whether or not Ivy League colleges are worth the money tends to be a matter of perspective and personal preference. With that said, there are some concrete benefits and drawbacks that every potential applicant should consider prior to making a decision.

pros and cons of ivy league colleges

Ivy League Schools

With so many colleges to choose from, it's difficult to decide what aspects are the most important to you. Do you choose a college based on tuition? Graduation rate? Majors? Reputation? Many people stand by the belief that Ivy League schools like Harvard, Stanford and Brown are the gold standard of colleges. If you have a stellar GPA, you need to ask yourself, is an Ivy League university worth the money?

We've been fed the idea our whole life - an Ivy League degree brings prestige and guarantees a job after graduation. This may have been true in the past, but with the job market fluctuating greatly and job requirements varying from position to position, this trend may be changing. Before spending $75 on an application fee for one of these schools, consider the pros and cons.

Positives

The Crème de la Crème

Have you ever heard the saying that water seeks its own level? People are like water, and if you study and hang out with intelligent, hard-working people at an Ivy League school, it might just rub off. You may marry up, you may be asked to join clubs only offered to the rich or you may learn skills only the elite learn (fencing, anyone?).

Standing Out

Hitting the pavement is not part of job searches anymore. Most job openings are posted online or are heard about through a friend of a friend. Plus, depending on your desired avenue of employment, the economy isn't doing as well and jobs might be hard to find. When so many people apply to one job, an Ivy League degree can stand out like a beacon. It's true, the reputation is still there - it may be fading a bit, but it's a great thing to have a top-tier degree on your resume.

Networking

Ask anyone who went to an Ivy League school, they tend to stick together. Similar to water seeking its own level, people tend to chat up someone who went to the same college as them. Plus, networking is huge between fellow grads. A classic example of this is Mark Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook with his Harvard roommates. He isn't the only one: Larry Page and Sergey Brin teamed up at Stanford to form Google, and the same is true of Yahoo's Jerry Yang and David Filo. The list goes on and on.

Generous Financial Aid

Harvard University cost $60,659 for tuition, room and board for the 2015-2016 school year. However, Ivy League schools often have generous financial aid policies; for example, at both Harvard and Yale, families with incomes of less than $65,000 per year don't need to pay for their childrens' education. As of 2014, Yale notes that students don't usually take out loans; individuals with financial need receive scholarships and pay the remainder from their own incomes. At the national level, the average debt per borrower - 69% of seniors who graduated in 2014 - came to $28,950, according to the Project on Student Debt. Ivy league students may complete their degrees without incurring such high levels of debt.

Negatives

Low Acceptance Rates

No one likes to be rejected, and Ivy League schools reject applicants like marriage proposals on a first date. Even if you've worked hard your entire academic career and have a 3.9 GPA, it might not be good enough, given the strength of your competition. In fact, Yale University only accepted 6.3% of applicants, as of 2014. You may have done well in an Ivy League college, but your confidence could be shaken from the rejection.

Changing Trends

Certain changing trends in college education and elsewhere in the marketplace tend to dictate who or what matters, according to degree and experience levels. Students with Ivy League educations will have less control over hiring trends, while a greater prevalence is restored to the individual's work ethic and personality rather than where he or she received their respective degrees. Although this might be a negative, with regard to earning an Ivy League degree, it is becoming increasingly clear that what you do with it is much more important than anything else.

Now that you know the pros and cons of going to an Ivy league school, consider a public school. These public schools give you the most for your money.

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