I had a wonderful lunch with a student who graduated from Madison Connecticut’s Daniel Hand High School about ten years ago. He had been an intern with The Learning Consultants and, as such, we have stayed in touch through the years. I met my young friend through our SAT class and, as such, I know a half-dozen of his friends since they all played lacrosse and were a vibrant bunch of students.
My young friend filled me in on our common acquaintances and made some general observations about his classmates. His conclusion: those who attended – what he called – “good” colleges have progressed with their lives and those that did not have failed to launch. He made clear that there are exceptions. But he noted that this was the single factor that he thought made a profound difference in the lives of his classmates.
Of course, there is correlation versus causation issues. Those who attended highly ranked colleges likely had the drive and abilities to succeed. It is not clear that the college caused their success. But as my young friend pointed out: “once you are in an environment where most of the kids are motivated, you can’t help but get more motivated.”
He noted, sadly, that many of his twentysomething classmates who attended mediocre colleges are living at home working dead end jobs.
I’m reading Daniel Pink’s new book When. Among other observations, Pink emphasizes how important good starts are to anything we do. Take the college process seriously and get your child a good start to adult life.