The Price of College Prestige-
Paying $125,000 for the chance that a rabbit will pop out of the hat.
The root definition of "Prestige" is Presto- suddenly as if by magic.
"Presto" represents the end of a successful magic act.
"Prestige" represents the beginning of the magic act.
Prestige is purposefully created to allure people to falsely believe there's some level of magic involved during the act.
Many colleges have mastered this creation over many years to their financial gain. To "prestigious" colleges, the "rabbit" is their diploma. They get parents to believe in the added value of the diploma; that the "rabbit" assures their child's success will be magically granted upon them...presto!
There is clearly a layer of cost associated with the perception of prestige, be it for colleges, homes, cars, restaurants, and other items.
For colleges, I estimate the cost of "prestige" to approximate $25,000 per year.
So I ask, does paying $100,000 more make for a better college experience and outcome?
Does paying $30,000 more for a car make for a better driving experience?
I don't think prestige makes for better college experiences and outcomes nor better cars. I think prestige often serves to satisfy people's egos and sense of status.
That doesn't work for me! There is no magic in college. Rather, the magic can only come from within the student. Success can be earned and attained. It can't be bought.
One of my roles is to turn the imaginary belief of college into a real sense of intention, driven by purpose and meaning; to understand the reality of its-
- Educational Opportunity
- Anticipated Experience
- Desired Outcome
- Real Value
Part of my responsibility to student-families is to get them away from chasing the notion of prestige. Why? Because it's a misleading variable for success.
What's real is that success and satisfaction is created by a student's mindset. It's driven by their willingness to be involved, engaged, responsible, and accountable in creating their unique path forward towards living the life they want for themselves.
I will use Syracuse University as my example.
Very few people include Syracuse in their initial thoughts about college. Rather, I frequently hear- Northeastern, Boston College, BU, NYU, Villanova, UVA, George Washington, Georgetown, and others.
What makes those colleges elite or prestigious, and not Syracuse?
It's not the success of its graduates. It's more associated with college rankings, acceptance rates, tuition cost, intensely pressured Early Decision enrollments, and fortified by an arrogant attitude.
It all serves to get parents to beg for their child's acceptance and their willingness to pay the full price. It's the strategic-hype of colleges that people buy into for the bragging rights that come with it.
Those bragging rights will soon cost $400,000 for a four-year degree at many colleges.
That's not what I look for in the college experience for my CollegeLogic students and their parents, and it's not what Syracuse University is all about.
I safely say that students attending Syracuse, and many other similar colleges, can gain an equivalent education, inspirational experience, and improved outcome (jobs) as students attending other so-called prestigious colleges. And the parents don't have to pay the extra 100K in hopes that a rabbit will pop out of the hat.
I work to get families to replace their belief in the hype with a clear perspective for the reality.