Choose Ivy Leagues! Or not….!
As students around the world enter their young adult stage of life, the conversation of where to go to University begins. For some, that means letting their parents dictate where they go to. For others, it means choosing where to go themselves and applying to go there. However, one of the biggest factors for many students is the question of status and whether or not the University of interest is considered an Ivy League. Beyond that, there remains the question of what their future income is after they graduate. It is believed that the more rigorous the University is, the higher ranked the University is, the higher pay that the student will have post-graduation.
In a survey done by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, they reported, in 2017, only 36.5% of the colleges they surveyed believe that SAT and ACT scores are considered important. Yet, among students and their parents, they highlight the importance of the standardized test scores of students.
As the United States has about 5000 Universities for students to choose from, students commonly limit themselves to the top 10%, 5%, or 1%. What many don’t realize is this means the top 500, 100, and 50 universities respectively. To maximize time and not focus too broadly, we focused on the Ivy League universities.
Using statistics released to the public by the United States Department of Education, we analyzed the average SAT scores and mean income four years after graduation for 6/8 of the Ivy League universities. Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania have been excluded from this a neither had any information regarding the aforementioned variables. As the SAT data used comes from 2012, the data shows the old SAT.
As the public is well aware, to get into these Universities is quite difficult due to a variety of factors. For example; GPA, High School Grades, Strength of Curriculum, SAT, Essays, are all different factors. However, many simply look at the acceptance rate of each University and compare it to their SAT. For example, as far as acceptance rate to SAT cumulative score ratio goes, Brown has a 9.3%:2150, Cornell has a 14.1%:1450, Dartmouth 10.5%:2190, Harvard 5.4%:2255, Princeton 6.5%:2255, and Yale 6.3%:2245. This shows that there is a moderate correlation between SAT scores and the acceptance rate of the University. However, there are still other aspects of the acceptance rate.
With Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, as the public is aware of, you must be in the top 1% of students to attend. Their acceptance rate closely correlates to their SAT scores, but even with the individual SAT scores – Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. So, what does this mean?
These are the divides of how each University’s average SAT score. As shown on the right, the aforementioned top three have a near perfect SAT, yet in the image below, it’s clear that this doesn’t necessarily mean your future income will be the greatest. For example, Princeton has practically a perfect SAT with their top 75% getting about a 790 in Reading and 800 in the other two categories. However, four years after graduation, on average, Princeton doesn’t hold the highest income. That goes to Harvard. Unsurprisingly, Yale and Princeton follow suit behind with Dartmouth and Cornell following after that.
For the most part, when looking at Universities, students often look through a very limited lens. Society tells them to go to University to get a degree and get rich. However, that severely impacts the decisions of many as that becomes what they focus on, losing out on a University they’ll enjoy going to and that makes it worth its value.
In an interview with a graduate student in Hong Kong, she said, “Finding a University that fits you is difficult, but finding one without the influence of our parents and peers is even harder. There’s an expectation that many of us will go to an Ivy League university, but I know someone who applied to all with a 4.0 and 1580 who got rejected by all. There are stories of people not going to University with stable jobs getting paid somewhere in the hundred thousand’s. A University degree doesn’t ensure anything later anymore. People can get paid and jobs through the internet now. The story and the game have changed. It’s not what it used to be and frankly, those in the generation above us don’t really know what the world has become.”
For those who have a perfect GPA and a near perfect standardized test score, an Ivy League University may be the right thing for you. However, for those who don’t, don’t force yourself. The point of University is to learn but to enjoy learning. If an extremely competitive University isn’t the best thing for you, then don’t do it. If it is, go for it. As previously mentioned, the top 10% consists of 400 to 500 Universities. That’s still a lot! For those applying, stand up for your education and your future. Choose where you want to go and what suits you best. This isn’t to say don’t apply to the Ivy’s, just to say don’t feel forced to. There are thousands of other Universities to pick from, don’t limit your options!
Do you feel better about your University selection process? Let us know!