When do elite colleges matter?

By College Advice
Elite colleges give practical advantages

Please read this article:


I’ve worked with the college bound since 2000.  I feel protective of young adults.  So, I feel the need to stop misinformation from spreading.  Of late, there have been more than a few prominent thinkers – Peter Thiel of Paypal fame  being the most well known – who have suggested skipping college.

Given my new subsidiary, Career Counseling Connecticut, and my focus on the New World of Work, I fully understand the arguments for getting work experience and skills.  Indeed, I often make the same arguments to some of my clients who are considering graduate school.  Moreover, for some of my parent-clients who have non-academic children, I urge – exhort – plead – for them to consider having their child enter the trades or learn a skill that won’t involve wasting thousands of dollars on a semester or two of tuition.

However… most of the high school students I work with from Southeastern, Connecticut, particularly along Shoreline, Connecticut are well suited for college and not well suited for any other post high school option (not counting gap years).

Thiel, for example, urges young people to forego college to start a business.  Thiel went to Stanford undergrad and Stanford Law School.   He’s also a genius – at least in the IQ sense – and I’m not using that term loosely.  For all his brainpower, he doesn’t seem to connect the fact that his academic pedigree was part of reason he secured venture capital, was able to convince other brilliant people to join his company, and could make his first big clients feel comfortable with PayPal.  Regardless of how brilliant he was at 18, it is highly unlikely that any investor would have given him millions, that super star programmers would choose to work for him or that any big corporation would be comfortable with a crazy concept like PayPal.  Why was he able to build such trust?  Because he went to Stanford!

With that said, I fully understand that the majority of professions do not require an elite college.  Indeed, I urge – exhort – plead with clients to consider less expensive schools if I know that the career path of my 17 year old student will likely not require an elite/expensive school.

In any event, focus on correct information.  The article above has data.  Follow the facts.