Are Ivy Leagues Overrated?

Hailey Schlotthauer, Staff Writer

If you’re a sophomore or junior, you received an email from Mr.Harding about the Suncoast Ivy League Fair this week. Schools like Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Mount Holyoke, Princeton, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, University of Pennsylvania, Yale, and Georgetown will all be there.  Different from a typical college fair, however,  this event is run by institutional alumni instead of admissions representatives. Some say that being able to talk to people who attended the school and know first hand what it takes to get in could potentially be an advantage over speaking to college admissions folks. 

With acceptance rates under 10%, competing with the best and brightest, Ivy League schools have always held a certain level of prestige. At any school, if you are top of your class you most likely are considering an Ivy.

“There’s an aspirational element to Ivy League style, and also a nostalgic element. After all, it represents that post-World War II period of American history that was full of both optimism and innocence,” says Forbes writer Blue Carreon in Do Ivy Leagues Still Matter. 

However, too much credit is given to these schools in regards to success. Naturally, these schools are solely made-up of students who have always had the drive to be the best of their ability, getting into an Ivy  just being one goal. These students have a certain aptitude, and would prosper in the workforce with or without the brand name of an Ivy. It is important to remember this same drive can be seen in students everywhere, not exclusive to Ivy students. Furthermore, attending an Ivy could be detrimental to your health.

So, what is it really like? Someone who can first hand give an honest perspective on the Ivy League lifestyle, the up’s and down’s, is Zack McCourt. You might have heard of Zack, he was the winner of the Dick Vitale Collegiate Tennis Tournament.

Last summer, Zack graduated from Princeton with a degree in engineering, whilst playing number one on the Princeton varsity tennis roster. Now, he is traveling around the world playing in different tournaments trying to build a ranking in professional tennis, simultaneously applying to more Ivys for graduate school. Personally, Zack knows what it is like to deal with the pressure and perks that comes with being a Princeton student.

“My advice to someone considering attending an Ivy would be this: don’t be so quick to judge yourself if and when you’re pulled out of your comfort zone; academically, athletically, extracurricularly, socially, you name it. Take risks and take advantage of the opportunities that are inherent of them, and take advantage of opportunities provided by the university. You may never have that chance again.

More than anything, college is a time to grow as a person, and you can’t grow very much without growing pains. Also, I would suggest making an informed decision to attend an Ivy, based on vast research of the school’s programs and its campus life. Know what you’re getting into. I do believe that the experience isn’t for everybody. Don’t just choose any Ivy because it’s an Ivy. With that being said, people who attend for the right reasons will – in all likelihood – thrive.”

Choosing an Ivy League school is a lifestyle, one that is not made for everyone. High school students who attend schools like Princeton were always the best during their four years of high school, accustomed to not just succeeding but surpassing expectations. They are often faced with a rude awakening when they realize their best is the conventional norm.

This seems to be the hardest adjustment with those students, having worked their whole high school career for one of these 6 schools only to realize they cannot “thrive.”

So, if you have decided the Ivy League is the best choice for you, are you ready for the challenge?