January 12, 2005


As in the one that says "College" across it. Go read this, then this.

I have to say I'm with Smallholder on this one. It's unfortunate, but it's true. A Harvard grad---even if their rich daddy made the call to get them in---will have more and better opportunities in life than will the community college graduate. This isn't to discount hard work or making luck happen in your life or any of those other factors that designate where you will end up. But admission into a top-flight school automatically shoots you ahead in the queue.

I'm sorry for stating the truth.

This is not to say if you don't want to have the CEOship of a Fortune 500 company handed to you, but rather your goals are more---shall we say---realistically minded, a community college might just be the place where your fortunes are made. It could very well be the thing that puts you over the top.

It is, however, unrealistic to say that a community college will prepare you just as well for the CEOship of that Fortune 500 company as would Harvard.

I do not doubt that community colleges are getting better by the day. I know they are. They've been forced to get better. Why? Because four-year schools are pricing themselves out of the market. Hence they are moving in to provide a service to a market that has announced itself. While this is great, that's not the issue.

The issue is that it's a subjective judgment call that Harvard would provide a better start to a career than would a community college. Why do we make this subjective judgment? Because Harvard has cache, baby. It's Ivy. If you go there, you will network with the future great googly mooglies of America. You will get to know one another and if you're ever in need of anything they will help you out. It's all about making contacts, kids. The best people to know are at the better schools. They can do more stuff for you. The rich people know this, which is why they perform backflips to get their less-than-stellar kids into premier institutions, even if those institutions are pricing themselves out of the market and are making themselves less relevant by hiring wacky faculty. Until the entire paradigm changes, this is the way it will be.

If academics were all that mattered, well, the smart people would be ruling the world and as we can see they aren't. It's the networkers that rule. They may be smart, but it's their social skills and who they know that put them ahead.

Posted by Kathy at January 12, 2005 10:32 PM

Although I understand what you are saying, just getting your child into one of those premier institutions and paying the overpriced tuition does not guarantee that your child will graduate. Nor does it guarantee that they will meet the contacts that will move them up in the queue. A student has to have a good work ethic and want to be on top.
Many people from smaller universities and colleges can and have made it to the top without breaking the piggybank. And the right contacts can be made with a little elbow grease. An extreme case in point would be the LaserMonks at LaserMonks.com. A truly remarkable tale of being in the right place at the right time. Check it out and if it feels right, spread the word. Kitty

Posted by: sartracker at January 12, 2005 11:29 PM

Screw Harvard, screw the old boy network and screw that nut-job professor from the original story.

Wake up. You only got it half right regarding the community colleges advancing to fill a market need. The fact of the matter is that most of the major "liberal arts" schools simply can't prepare people for the real world anymore. Unless you are matriculating into a professional program (i.e. MBA, JD, MD or PhD) the major colleges can't compete anymore. There's too much wishy-washy, ivory tower fluff in the undergraduate curriculum to be useful. That is really why the community colleges and trade schools are advancing in the marketplace. My business degree from ISU is barely worth the paper it's printed on.

Until the entire paradigm changes, this is the way it will be.
Well, it's changing. With the current state of educational material available on the Internet, I can actually LEARN more 6 months than I could in a 4 year undergrad program. Plus, that knowledge has a much better chance to actually be relevant.

As for the networking issue, that's where you're right. There are ways to mitigate that, however. A Google search for "Social Networking Skills" returned 2,640,000 results. Welcome to the world that those of us without Ivy League pedigrees have created :-)

Posted by: MRN aka "The Husband" at January 13, 2005 08:00 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?