Does a prestigious college make any person better off in life?


#1

Hi, I go to a prestigious college, and I hate it. I want to quit and go to a much easier state college where I can get a degree and work on an internet business I want to create. My parents do not feel good about this. What should I do?


#2

Blessed Mother Teresa said (and I’m typing this from memory, so it’s a paraphrase), “If God puts you in the street, you serve Him from the street. If he puts you in a castle, you serve Him from the castle. You don’t put yourself on the street or in a castle. But wherever He puts you, you serve Him.”

I can’t tell you where or whether to go to college. All I can say is that you need to pray for His plan, His will for your life – and then trust that He will support you wherever He wants you. Believe me, I know how stressful college can feel at times (see my signature below), but whatever we do, we must do it for Christ. If God wants you at a prestigious college, love Him and serve Him there. If He wants you milking a cow in Iowa for the rest of your life, serve Him there.

Contrary to modern American opinion, this life is not about being happy and fulfilled. This life is about our sanctification and learning to love, adore, trust in, and draw close to God. If you follow His plan for your life, you will have the joy that our society is constantly selling, because loving, following, and drawing near to God will be your joy, regardless of where you are or what you are doing.

You will totally be in my prayers, dear one. You pray, too :thumbsup:

Gertie


#3

Be grateful for the opportunity that you have and work as hard as you can.

Dropping out of a “hard” college to do something easier is a very bad reason in my opinion. Part of the advantage of going to a good school is studying with other smart students, and being taught by people who are leaders in their fields.

You are struggling now because it’s hard, but if you quit I think you will just regret it. Plus it would set a bad precedent, what if running your own business will be hard? You have to get used to being able to cope and working hard.


#4

I would go to the good school for the degree. If worst comes to worst and things don’t work out the way you wanted it to, you can always fall back on a good degree.

Also, State schools aren’t a bad choice either. They are less expensive. School rankings are very political. It depends on how much money a school has and how much research it produces.:shrug:


#5

Schools get in you the door and open up opportunities. What you do with those opportunities is up to you.


#6

I think there are several things to consider here.

If you are wanting the financial support of your parents then you are probably going to have to agree to their terms.

Secondly, as was mentioned before, you can always serve God where you are.

Now to consider some other ideas…

It is my understanding that students who are ACCEPTED to prestigious universities tend to be successful no matter what sort of school they actually attend because those who are accepted are generally exceptional people.

The name of your school MAY open some doors for you if your university has a good reputation for your chosen field. But many schools have great local reputations even if they are not well known on a national/international level.

If you plan to enter a career field where who you know is important (such as politics or the entertainment industry) then where you attend may be more important than how well you do.

It’s not clear from your post if you are interested in a computer related degree, a business degree, or something else entirely. But if you are interested in computers and/or business then I would think that the curriculum is what you should be concerned with rather than either prestige or ease.


#7

If you are attending one of the following prestigious colleges/universities, stay put and don’t worry — they are all great institutions and their education is well worth the effort.

From the Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Education (Division of the Cardinal Newman Society). Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

Good luck, you are on the right track! :slight_smile:


#8

The short answer to your question is: Yes, a prestigious college does have a high probability of making you much better off in life, at least materially. Is it a guarantee? No, but it does help a lot.

I’ll give you some examples. Similar to you, I also graduated from a (very) prestigious college. My friends from college are all doing very well. Several of them are now attending highly ranked law schools like Stanford or Harvard, or excellent business schools, or well-regarded medical schools. Others are working for generous salaries. For instance, one of my friends graduated in the bottom 2% of his class. Immediately out of college he was hired for a job that paid him close to $70,000 a year, starting salary. That is not an uncommon occurrence where I attended college. (Obviously you should not aspire to be in the bottom 2% of your class, but I use that example merely to emphasize that the good fortune shines on everyone).

Furthermore, running your own business can be very difficult, and it is also riskier, because your livelihood rides on the ups and downs of the business. Being able to have a steady job may be less lucrative, but it also partially insures you against the effects of the sometimes-irrational behavior of consumers. Also (and I know health care is a sticky subject on this forum), big companies and good universities are much more likely to provide health insurance (or even health care) to their employees/students. Such corporations also might do 401K matching, or have some other retirement plans. Those may not be things you’re thinking about right now, but those are benefits that you will definitely want to have, especially down the road. If you run your own business, you will have to deal with all those issues yourself, and they can be very expensive.

Also, if you’re interested in starting your own Internet business, why not start now? I had a friend in college who ran an Internet business on the side, in addition to pursuing his studies full time, and he was making over $100,000/year, just from that business. You currently are in a situation in life where you are not likely to end up on the street and starve (at least we hope your parents will not allow this to happen). So give it a go now, when your bread and butter does not depend on your success. See how it works for you, and if it blows up in your face, at least you’ll have your degree.

You also mentioned that you feel a state school will be easier. That is true. My friends who went to state schools, or even many other private schools, had a much easier time in college than I did, at least as far as classes were concerned. But remember, coming from a prestigious college, you do not have to do as well as your state-school counterpart in order to have good opportunities presented to you. That is to say, a person with a B- average coming from Princeton is going to have a lot more good opportunities presented to him than a person with a B- average coming from a state school. As my dad always reminded me when I was struggling in college, “It’s okay to be average at an above-average school.” If you go to a state school, you are going to have to really excel in order to receive the same opportunities as a person coming from a prestigious college.

Furthermore, one of the benefits of attending a prestigious college is the people that you get to meet. I met some really, really incredible people in college. Even though many magnificent people attend state colleges, they are not so utterly saturated with them as the really prestigious schools. Your classmates are probably very talented, and may even be willing to use their knowledge and their skills to aid you in your endeavors. For instance, since you’re interested in starting an Internet business, you probably have a much deeper pool of talent to draw from for help and advice where you are than you would have at a state school.

But now, coming full circle, back to what I hinted at in the beginning: A prestigious college will probably make you better off materially, but not necessarily spiritually. Though, I’m sure you knew that already. :wink: Your spiritual growth is a matter between you and God, and if you seek Him earnestly, He will bring elements into your life, regardless of what college you’re in, to help take you where you need to go.


#9

I don’t know really…

I’ve never been “smart enough” to attend a “prestigious college” (unless you consider Seton Hall to be prestigious?). I was raised by parents who believed that paying scads of money for a the name was utter stupidity if you’re not getting what you want out of your education (especially if it means graduating in debt!). I went to a school that taught the classes I was looking for, worked hard, and I managed to get a job in a related field about 2 months after graduating.

My husband on the other hand…well…he DOES have that kind of intelligence. Gifted child, MENSA, CTY…all that jazz. But due to finances, he went to the cheap state school where he was fortunate enough a free ride. For four years I watched him battle with an inferiority complex and no sense of life direction that I’ve never seen him deal with before because many of his gifted friends were doing amazing things at big name universities. This was compounded senior year when he failed to get enough money to go to graduate school. I remember him telling me he had never before felt so much like a failure. He had absolutely no sense of direction at all. Only thing left was to try and get a job.

Well…he graduated Summa Cum Laude with no student loans to pay off. He has a very good job (first and only one he applied for :rolleyes:) that he loves and is going places with it. I think…he’s kinda glad that it worked out like this in the end. He doesn’t talk about his college years the same way as he used to…I don’t think he has regrets anymore.

Part of it was how he was raised. His parents really emphasized academics and he felt he HAD to do things like go to a prestigious school and grad school to be a “success”. Now he has considerable doubt about this way of thinking because he got this far thanks to his skills and not because of the name of the school he attended. For an “average” person like me, it’s a bit of a “DUH!” moment. For someone like me it’s obvious his skills could take him anywhere! But it wasn’t obvious to him…

It’s your life. You figure out what makes you “better off” and then go for it even if the road may be a little harder.

Come to think of it…why do you hate your current school anyway? You’re not taking the right classes? You just want to get out of academia and land a job? Don’t feel like you fit in?


#10

If you’re ever looking for investment money for your business, then the college degree will matter. People don’t invest in startup businesses, they invest in people who have ideas and who seem to have the background to make those ideas happen.

Dropping out of a hard school to attend an easier school will be a red-flag for investors. I promise you. They will assume when the going gets tough, you’ll bail and their money will be gone.


#11

Your parents are right. If they are willing to support you, studying harder and geting a more prestigious degree (and one where the course actually teaches you more if that’s the case) is worth more than making some money on the side. In fact, in retrospect, after finishing school, one tends to regret time not spent studying rather than time when one did actually study.

Besides, I can tell you degrees matter and it also matters where you got them from. Thankfully, these days real knowledge also matters, but that’s not a reason to loosen up on education. As long as you can take it, do it.


#12

Here goes nothing…

I am going to go the opposite way of everyone here and tell you what you probably want to hear. What school you go to has nothing to do with how successful you are after graduation. That is the case no matter what your definition of success is or how it is measured.

College is not even really a good indicator after the first 10 years of your career. I don’t have a degree yet, but I have a resume with work experience that overrides the education of others, and many times, I have come out on top in the interview process. Granted, I didn’t do that on my own. I am an Army veteran, and nowadays, that is valued more than a college degree. Having said that, if you are miserable where you are, then transfer.

http://site.despair.com/images/dpage/stupidity.jpg

Jokes aside, a degree is a degree. Unless you are in some sort of specialty program, there is nothing wrong with making sure that you don’t burn yourself out. Feel free to leave the prestige, and all the headaches that come with it, and find somewhere that doesn’t overburden you. You’ll be just fine.


#13

Not really. As long as your degree isn’t in “Tupac studies” it doesn’t really matter where you went.


#14

What makes you think the state college would be easier?

You could always do what I did, pay for school yourself and then you are free to make whatever decisions you want.


#15

Anacdotally.

I’ve looked at the freshman english and other baseline courses for college. Side by side, the EXACT same book

Top tier (Ivy league) over 90% of book, lecture and mandatory discussions, 20-30 writing assignments over 1 paragraph
Middle tier (excellent private school) 80% of book, short lecture with good discussion, 20- 25 writing assignments
Regular (excellent state school, private school) 70% of book, short lecture with some discussion (matches up with mid-tier if “honors”) 15-20 writing assigmnets
State college (everyone’s saftey net school) 60% of book, short lecture and a some remedial work, 15-20 writing assigments
Community college (esp “feeder” colleges) 35%-50% of textbook, short lecture and lots of remedial work, 3-10 assignment over a paragraph


#16

It can.

My son did an informational interview with a major investment firm. A question he asked was directly related to education…what was suggested, where was suggested, etc. The OWNER of the firm specifically said he looks at where they went to college. If it comes down to 2 equally qualified candidates, he will ALWAYS take the one from the more pretigious college or university.


#17

A prestigious college degree is not going to set you up for certain success after you graduate. That is what they promise, but in our current economic situation, that is not what happens.

Less than 20% of the class of 2009–of which I am a member–was employed upon graduation. I am still looking for a professional-track position, after having worked as a bank teller throughout my final year of school and a few months after graduation. What I am noticing after months of searching is that what employers care about is on-the-job experience in a particular field, NOT the college degree, or even really where that college degree came from. My GPA and honors from a top-20 school make no difference. Probably because I chose to study political science and theology while an undergrad, it’s hard for employers to make a quick connection between my background and the positions I’m applying for.

There’s a glut of highly-educated recent grads out there looking for employment with pretty much NO work experience to speak of–if you have the degree and the experience, you are highly marketable. Especially since you hate the prestigious college, save your parents some money, transfer, and be sure to build experience and your resume with the internet business. A little research online into statistics and current articles on the subject should help you convince them. The prestigious degree really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be–the only long-term potential benefit could be the alumni network, but you’ll honestly probably get the same thing from a well-regarded state school.


#18

It isn’t really possible to answer this question without more information. “Very prestigious” means different things to different people, and state schools differ widely. If you are thinking of dropping out of Vanderbilt to go to Ohio State I’d say go for it. If you’re thinking of leaving Yale to attend University of Delaware, I’d say it’s a terrible idea unless you are so unhappy you’re becoming clinically depressed.


#19

Well said… this is very good advice/insight.


#20

[quote=White_Tree;5579957
]materially
[/quote]

, but not necessarily spiritually. Though, I’m sure you knew that already. :wink: Your spiritual growth is a matter between you and God, and if you seek Him earnestly, He will bring elements into your life, regardless of what college you’re in, to help take you where you need to go.

Yes:yup:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.