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What? No Valedictorian or Salutatorian?

Martha Scott
May 13, 2019

I went to my great nieces graduation Thursday. The student speakers were the Student Council President and the Class President (both girls BTW). Thought that odd. Looked in the program and no Valedictorian or Salutatorian were mentioned. And neither were recognized by the Principal. Odd.

They did have everyone who had an academic letter stand (and was amazed at the number who did stand -- started with one year and worked their way up to all four years of academic lettering and that was a lot of the kids).

So I asked great niece after -- where were the Salutatorian and Valedictorian. She explained that they didn't do that because it would "hurt" a kid's feelings if they were number 3 or 4 or 5. So they did the top 10%. (well, wonder if you were in the top 11% wouldn't your feelings be hurt because you didn't make the top 10?)

Great niece had a A+ average for all 4 years and she wasn't in the top 10!!!

So what difference is it that you come in number 3 or 4 or 5 or you come in number 16, 17 or 18?

Maybe I'm old school, but having a Salutatorian and Valedictorian is something to strive for academically. Is what they're doing like giving "participation" ribbons to all who come out for a sport rather than name a star athlete?

And is it the norm now? (We're a small family -- our last graduation was in 2001 so I understand things can change in 18 years)


Comments (99)

  • Chi

    "Chi, why do the kids have to get into a “good college” to succeed in life? Who puts that pressure on them?"

    As others have already mentioned, it's often the parents. There's also peer pressure to get into similar schools as friends. And some kids put the pressure on themselves - that was me in high school.

    I think as adults we have the life experience to realize that college is only one component of success, and not a mandatory one. I went to the U of Chicago and DH went to MIT and both of us feel that we could have succeeded and had a similar career path at any decent college, and we won't pressure our kids to attend top tier unless they truly want to. If they decide to go into the trades instead, we will fully support that as well.

  • Mrs. S

    There were 9 valedictorian speeches at his graduation.

    How do people sit through 9 student speeches? I was inching toward the escape route after 2 speeches.

  • Delilah66

    jmck - "My son was a solid B student...bottom 50% of his class. He could do better, he just wasn't all that into academics." The whole point is that he DID do better! He did what is best for HIM and so much more than many of us are able to do: have a direct effect on peoples' lives.

    Anglophilia, it's wonderful to hear of students who excel based on their own drive!

    Chi, "it's often the parents." Exactly. "I think as adults we have the life experience to realize that college is only one component of success, and not a mandatory one." True, then there's Anglophilia's DGS who is just self-motivated, without being pushed or relying on parents to push for him. Those students will be the true winners.

  • Feathers11

    I think as adults we have the life experience to realize that college is only one component of success, and not a mandatory one. I went to the U of Chicago and DH went to MIT and both of us feel that we could have succeeded and had a similar career path at any decent college, and we won't pressure our kids to attend top tier unless they truly want to. If they decide to go into the trades instead, we will fully support that as well.

    Yes, this, Chi. I know many young people on really innovative career paths who decided not to pursue a 4-year degree. I love talking with them--they're inspirational and hopeful, and, yes, they're working hard, too, in a competitive world. It's the rest of us who can't think outside of the box of a conventional academic path.

  • mtnrdredux_gw

    Anglo - Most high schools today will allow a student to re-take an exam multiple times.

    Really? That's so interesting. That is def not my DD's BS experience. And at the other's day school, it is new and not broadly applied. I *think* it is probably a good thing. I mean, if the purpose of school is to learn!

    It is fun to read your enthusiasm for your grandson, and the refreshing attitude of his parents. I say of kids "most parents deserve neither blame nor credit."

  • adellabedella_usa

    Students are allowed to retake an exam at my children's high school if they make below a 70. They are only allowed to pull the score up to a 70. Students under some sort of other plan with accommodations for a disability may be allowed more chances. I don't know about that.

  • Bestyears

    We have the same retest policy in our district, for grades 3 through 12. I was teaching at the time this was implemented, and think it's a wonderful teaching tool. I also love that they can't get above a 74 on the retest to keep it fair to the kids who worked their butts off for the original test. Most teachers require a student to first submit test corrections, and/or to attend a 're-teach' session. Rather than just walking away with, "Oh, well, I guess I just don't get fractions," the student walks away with an improved level of learning.

    One of the most eye-opening experiences I had teaching was discovering that elementary students very quickly (2nd grade or earlier), decide that there are 'smart kids' and 'dumb kids.' Often they don't have parents at home who are making them do homework and prepare for tests, and they don't see the link between that and grades. Finally, After a third-grade boy said to me one day, when a student got a prize for memorizing her math facts, "Yeah, but Haley's good at math," I sat him down to talk. I found out he was very good, perhaps the best in the entire grade level, a true phenom during recess, at basketball. I got him talking about that and we worked our way around to how much he practiced. "Every day, Mrs. H! Every day!" I asked him if Haley was good at basketball. "Nah!" Big laugh. Then I asked him how much he supposed Haley practiced basketball. A few seconds later, he had figured it out. So we made a plan for him to study his math facts at home, and soon enough he was digging in the prize box too. I can't tell you how many times since then I've had similar discussions with kids. It is so obvious to adults, but it's heartbreaking to realize that a kid's take-away is not that he wasn't well-prepared, just that he's 'dumb,' I truly believe this is one of the most important things we don't talk about enough as teachers and as parents. I don't teach anymore but I still tutor, and when I ask my students how they did on a test we had prepared for, they are inclined to say, "It was easy!" Over the years, I've taught them to say, instead, "I was really well prepared!" and now they do it the first time I ask, LOL.

  • Mrs. S

    Interesting about the exam re-taking. I have never heard of that in our local public schools. It's a great idea, and I thought it up on my own, long ago, especially for math..... no wonder the smart kids in our public schools around where I live have a hard time getting a leg up over the private school kids. Sigh.

  • runninginplace

    Anyone who went to school X years ago (20+) and doesn't deal with high school age kids themselves simply has no clue what life is like for them these days. All those how-I-got-to-college stories that folks like to share about their prep or lack thereof are just from another long gone generation. You know how it goes "and my parents didn't ever say a word to me about college so I just applied on a whim and boom! off to Harvard I went". Usually followed by how ridiculous it is that kids are graduating with so much student debt because "I didn't take any loans and my parents never helped me, I just waitressed/lifeguarded/worked part time at the university library and paid all my tuition".

    In today's academic world, kids are slotted into as heavy an academic load as possible, as early as possible and then pressured to add even more load than is possible. Parents are pushing, and make no mistake-universities that are at all competitive in ranking absolutely are not interested in a so-so student with a great personality who joined some clubs. They are looking for the all star of all stars, and as the competition has intensified so has the level of achievement that applicants need to display. Many people don't realize that a college's ranking is heavily impacted by the academic profiles of each year's entering fall class. So there's incredible pressure for universities to only admit the kids whose 'numbers' (test scores, GPA etc) are as high as possible.

    As Mtn pointed out the move away from ranking top achievers is also driven by the increasingly severe mental issues that are coming out of that culture of intense pressure. I believe the latest stat is that 25% of first year college students are medicated with some type of psychotropic drug. Think about that, 1 in 4 are on meds to deal with ADD, depression, anxiety etc. That's HUGE. It points to the pathology of the environment they face in high school.

  • Louiseab Ibbotson

    Back in the Stone Age we had a Valedictorian but not the salutarian. Actually, I’ve never heard of that. But our valedictorian although a very great guy, seemed to be based on popularity rather than ability.

  • PRO

    Chi, I'm surprised that you and your husband don't feel you got more out of your educations. Univ of Chicago and MIT are two of the most intellectually rigorous schools in the country - always have been. I would have thought that you would have realized how you were stimulated to work harder with all those around you working hard, and would have found that contacts/connections made while there would have been a big advantage in your careers. That has certainly been true for my DD. She graduated from Cornell's Hotel School and it has served her well in her career.

    I often wonder if much of the student stress is not, in fact, a reflection of "parent stress" in high school and even in college. I first realized this when my own son was in 4th grade - mothers were stressing out if their son would be accepted to the brother school (co-ed at their school only through 4th grade, at that time). Every single big assignment - it was all they could talk about.

    It was a huge advantage for my children that my 2nd husband (their stepfather from ages 5 and 8) was a secondary school teacher. He fervently believed that a parent's role in homework was to provide a structured time for doing it, and during that time, make sure there were no distractions. We missed several years of prime time TV shows as we never had the TV on while they were doing their homework - we read in the same room. If they asked for help, we gave it, but our philosophy was we had already completed school and had no need to do it yet again. Homework was THEIR responsibility! These other mother's felt it was their own. I would have lost my mind if I'd done that for 12 years with each child!!!

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    Cornell's Hotel school is world renowned and pretty unique. I think it is not at all a fair comparison to a liberal arts major at another Ivy + .

  • Chi

    Anglo, I know a lot of people who feel the same way that I do. Personally, I believe university prestige helps with the first job out of college, but after that, it doesn't matter other than maybe a "oh that's a good school" in an interview. Being recruited can help start a career but it's not going to maintain a career.

    It also depends on career choice. I can see how your daughter would find a hotel school helpful in a hotel career. With the careers that DH and I chose, skill is the only thing that matters, and I don't believe our universities gave us skills that we couldn't aquire elsewhere. He's a programmer, and in that field they don't care if you went to MIT or dropped out of high school because it's all about what you can do.

    And I studied economics at U of C, which was very theoretical but not very practical. I graduated being able to do Lagrangians by hand but could barely use Excel or any other software programs. I'll let you guess which skill has been more useful in my analytics career. :)

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    PS about Anglo's homework stress point. I experienced that first hand. My parents micromanaged my homework, were always stressed about the next entrance exams, made for a very tough situation for me. I lived with my grandparents for one semester. They handled homework Anglo's way, my stress went down and grades skyrocketed.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)

    What does it matter? In the vast scheme of life? The only one who cares about needing a valedictorian once graduation passes is the valedictorian and/or their family. One may still go on to a productive life if they ranked 23rd or 223rd in their class. They completed the education, and that is what matters. Not that I'm siding with the school for worrying about hurting feelings. It's just such a small point. A blip. When your employer hires you it's not based on standing. Heck it's not even on GPA. Only which degree you obtained. It's done at that point, right? Finishing is all that counts.

  • Feathers11

    Purely anecdotal, but I know one young man who's never been a good "test-taker" and barely got by academically. He started working for a farm that grows organic vegetables for farmers markets and local restaurants. He works long, hard hours, but absolutely loves what he does and is fascinated with the growing process. He's done some research and planning, and is buying land in another state (with better tax advantages) to start his own organic farming operation, as well as to conduct research in agriculture. He never went to college.

    Another friend, who's an anesthesiologist, has a daughter who graduated from Brown with a degree in psychology (she was originally to follow in her father's footsteps but found the coursework too rigorous, so switched her major). She's working as a Starbucks barista.

    I know who I find more inspiring, hard-working, and intellectually stimulating. I think many people confuse ostentation with rigor.

  • mtnrdredux_gw

    We consider GPAs, and SAT scores as well, in hiring into IB training programs. And getting into those programs is, in finance, akin to getting into a grad school of sorts. It serves you well wherever you go.

    I think many employers consider GPAs for recent grads, especially now that they are easily obtained electronically,

  • Chi

    Yes, investment banking and consulting are areas where college choice can matter. I wasn't interested in either path but I remember the frenzy of my classmates trying to land one of the coveted positions with the top firms.

  • kathyg_in_mi

    DD was 3rd in her class. The valedictorian dropped out of college. The salutorian did not go to college. DD is now a pediatrician. It didn’t matter to us that she was #3. She went on to fulfill her dreams and that’s all we wanted. A # means nothing.

  • Mrs. S

    Well, I find it interesting that many folks here feel the "frenzy" to get into good schools is driven by parents. I'm not saying that's not true for some, but in my experience (so called high-performing public schools, but with many friends whose kids are in private schools), the parents aren't driving this at all. In fact, the few parents I know who have push-push-pushed their kids, it hasn't worked so well.

    But in my experience, the vast majority of parents aren't pushing much at all. They are surprised by the grades their kids bring home and shrug, mostly. In California, many kids just go to our huge state school system. Not a bad thing, I guess! Some have very good programs.

    I believe in supporting our kids' academic and college goals, and inspiring them to reach high. Of course the work is up to them! But if they need a tutor for math because our public high school forced them into a class with a crappy math teacher, then tutoring it is! And most of the high-achievers I know (friends of my kids) have parents who feel the same. It's not push-push-pushing, it's student driven, and the parents I know are thoughtful of making sure their kids have a social life and aren't overdoing academic things.

    For myself, I view the push toward top colleges as mostly driven by the U.S. News rankings. Just like ranking students in a class 1-350 doesn't say much, ranking colleges 1 by 1 in some kind of order doesn't mean much to me either, and yet, that list is so ubiquitous and so well known.

  • sas95

    Schools matter in legal practice, too. I went to a "top" college and law school. Did I get a better education than I could have gotten anywhere else? Probably not. Are there people who went to lower ranked schools that are more successful than I am? Too many to count. Are there people who I graduated with that just flamed out and did nothing much with their lives? Of course.

    But I don't think that going to a "name" school is worthless as some imply it is. What I have found is that if you go to certain schools, you get the "benefit of the doubt" in life. Potential employers, etc. assume you are smart until you prove yourself otherwise. It definitely opens doors that might be harder to open otherwise. You still have to perform at whatever you do, but the right schools are not bad things to have on your resume through life.

  • beaglesdoitbetter

    This thread is reminding me so much of why I absolutely hated school. I just felt like it was all about regurgitating what teachers wanted on stupid tests and learning so little that was useful in life, all to get into some great college and get some big fancy job.

    I was lucky school came easily to me b/c I was never interested in studying. I got OK grades but got into top schools, including one of the top 20 law schools, mainly because I excelled at standardized tests.

    I could've done a lot better in school if I went to class more and studied more, but I just hated the whole scene so much. And, looking back, it turned out I've been able to do a lot better creating a non-traditional career for myself than some of my friends who I graduated with who killed themselves studying to make perfect grades and who now work a zillion hours a week at big jobs.

    There was a saying they had in law school, A students become law professors, B students become judges and C students become millionaires. I think to some extent that's true. I don't know if being able to perform well in a school setting is necessarily a great predictor of intelligence, ability, or likely success. While in some professions I do think it's much easier to get hired if you have a specific college or grad school to put on your resume, although I'm not sure that's a good thing...

    I don't feel like I want to stress getting "good grades" w/ my soon-to-be kid so much as I'd like him to actually enjoy learning, which I never did in an academic setting. I'm hoping homeschooling will make that easier. And, honestly, I'd be a lot happier if he became an entrepreneur and did something really cool that he loved than if he got into an Ivy League school.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    Getting into top undergrad schools is EXTREMELY difficult and competitive. It's always been so but more these days (the past decade or a bit more), Does attending a Top 25 school matter? Yes, if the bachelors degree holder's desired next step is also one that's very competitive- being hired into a high paying or in-demand employer (like Wall Street, a hot tech company, other top finance area, or others, etc) or going into a top ranked and competitive graduate program or a top professional school (law, health science doctorates, top B-schools).

    Is a top school the only way to go? No, but the recruiters and screeners at the competitive places know that the "talent" is more numerous percentage wise and broader based among grads of the most competitive bachelors programs, than those coming from much larger numbers of a top state or lesser state school.

    How does it matter? Too many ways to count. If a young person wants to become a school teacher, an important but noncompetitive occupation hiring wise, it doesn't matter. If the young person thinks they want to law school, into a health profession, get a PhD in some field, then my own experience and observations say the undergraduate school matters a lot. My experience is based on my own personal experience, my experiences as an employer, and knowing people among the younger generations - colleagues, children of friends, friends of my kids, and my own kids. Dozens of examples. For those of you who think it doesn't matter, I'm going to guess you don't have a lot of personal experiences of these kinds.

    Yes, Bill Gates dropped out of college and is one of the richest people in the history of the world. The college he dropped out of was Harvard, so he was obviously very smart to begin with. Name 10 more in his situation with a similar back story. I don't think you'll be able to.

  • jmck_nc

    Just to clarify a bit on the point of parents pushing kids into AP, certain colleges etc. In my experience, some do this overtly and some don't even know they are doing it. Kids hear what the parents are talking about. They want their parents to be proud of them, pleased with them, etc. So sometimes kids strive for a path that would not be their choice if they truly had the ability at that age to make their own choice. Some do, many do not.

  • jmck_nc

    For those of you who think it doesn't matter, I'm going to guess you don't have a lot of personal experiences of these kinds. (Says sanctimonious Elmer). And I guess you don't know anyone with the grit to overcome an "inferior" undergraduate experience. Your loss.

    LOL, yep, we're all a bunch of dummies round these parts. Not sure why you keep slumming here. And I will not look at this thread again because I won't get into one of your "debates"/"justifications"/"lectures".

    Peace Out

  • Feathers11

    Just off the top of my head, I know a VP at Morgan Stanley in NYC, and a partner in a top-10 globally ranked law firm, both of whom went to a subpar state university in the midwest. The former only earned a bachelor's degree, and the latter went on to earn a JD at a law school ranked worse than 70th in the nation.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)

    To those who think "better schools" matter, do you know all the schools your coworkers attended? Your acquaintances? It's just not a topic people discuss.

  • Bunny

    I never knew unless I asked and it was only if we'd run out of everything else to talk about, or college days happened to come up in a conversation. Or if it was the Big Game (Cal vs Stanford). It just doesn't seem to be a thing where I live.

  • sas95

    I think it depends on where you live and what you do for a living. It is discussed somewhat in my circles, but it's not a big deal. Again, I think as an adult, the most benefit of having gone to a "better school" is not bragging to coworkers and acquaintances, but resume value. Which is real in certain areas and professions.

  • beaglesdoitbetter

    To those who think "better schools" matter, do you know all the schools your coworkers attended? Your acquaintances? It's just not a topic people discuss.

    I feel like certain people, from certain schools, really like to discuss it to the point of obnoxiousness -- but other than the 'Oh, well, when I was at Haaaarvard people"... I have no clue what schools people attended and nor do I care at all.

    Besides, who even knows any more which kids only got their degree because their parents paid $250K to get the school to pretend they played water polo. (Joke, but I do think there's a reasonably-sized contingent of people who got into big-name schools because of connections, donations, legacy, etc. who aren't really all that smart).

  • jill302

    This is a complicated topic. While I graduated more than 20 years ago, I do have children that graduated over the last 3 to 7 years. It is tough today. I do not envy the students that put crazy pressure on themselves or have parents that apply that type of pressure. The high school my kids attended did have a Valedictorian both years who was headed to a Ivy League school, the other student speaker was honored for community service. The school also has an award night a couple of nights before graduation where many students were honored for various academic achievements, and yes, they do have a sports award banquet. My daughter was actually lucky enough to be included in both of these award nights. While there may have been fierce competition for the Valedictorian spot I was not aware of it and never considered it a problem that a single student was honored. However while my daughter was in the top 10%, the top group was not posted you had to meet with your counselor to determine where you ended up. DD never had the desire to push for number one. She was dealing with some physical health issues and thought even if she made it a top tier Ivy school would be to stressful for her. My son has a learning disability and we were happy that he was accepted into a college that is well thought of in our region, he pushed very hard for this achievement. In conclusion I really do not have a problem with a valedictorian, but If a school chooses to handle graduation speeches another way that is okay too. Although I do not think “hurt feelings” should be the driver of the decision.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)

    By the way, I graduated in the top, Beta club, Honor Society, and work in academia. This is the conclusion I've come to with regard to the amount of pressure I sent my son's direction. He agrees. It matters a handful of years. He picked a school that caters to his major and his lifestyle. We think this is is what matters. Individually and collectively.

  • Bunny

    I'd be more likely to ask someone "Did you go to college?" not "Which college did you attend?" I don't care one way or another.

  • Michele
    I have three kids. My oldest daughter is busting her behind working and attending graduate school. To become a teacher. My younger daughter took a little while longer to get her degree (in Art Management), but is now working in a very established art gallery. My son just successfully finished his first year in college.
    No fancy colleges though. They were financially completely out of the question.
    I think the college scandal should make some people rethink their “you work hard you get what you deserve” stance as far as those schools are concerned. As if the only kids who attend are superior in some way. Frankly it has further tarnished my view of them.
    By the way, I also think that in the real world (the one I live in) there are all kinds of occurrences that will impact our lives besides working hard. You know, “the ins, the outs and the endless ‘what have yous’”.
  • Chi

    "No fancy colleges though. They were financially completely out of the question. "

    Unrelated to the topic at hand, but most of the top tier universities are basically free now for middle and lower income families! I hope families of talented students realize that it no longer takes $200k to go to an Ivy+. I remember my mom telling me not to bother applying to U of C because we couldn't afford it, but it was actually less expensive to attend there with their generous grants than the local state college.

    That being said, there are plenty of great colleges that are still very, very expensive with limited aid.

  • runninginplace

    "I feel like certain people, from certain schools, really like to discuss it to the point of obnoxiousness -- but other than the 'Oh, well, when I was at Haaaarvardpeople"... I have no clue what schools people attended and nor do I care at all."

    You must not be hanging out with many Harvard grads-they will usually say they 'went to school in Boston'. Tossing out the name of the school is known as the H bomb, and people either humble brag by not mentioning the name of the school or genuinely dislike the reaction when the H bomb drops ;).

    My best friend's son actually turned down acceptance to that school in Boston. To go to that school in Palo Alto LOL

  • Elmer J Fudd

    rob, I'm certain that many prominent and well respected professionals at your institution benefited at one or more points in their lives/careers from being able to have exceptional academic opportunities and experiences at top undergrad and then prominent professional schools and from doors that opened as a result. I've no doubt about it. All of them, no. Exceptions, of course. But citing the exceptions, as with the "I know someone" stories, is looking at the wrong end of the horse.

    chi is right, the very top private institutions all offer significant financial aid and needs-blind admission policies for undergrads. It can be much cheaper to go to a top private school than to go to a state college or university. And sometimes, it can be free.

    runninginplace, as someone who's long lived near a certain school in Palo Alto and interacted with many alums, my experience is that they're anything but quiet about it. Especially the B-school grads. I myself went to a Top-25 school with name recognition. Other than in job applications, it's never been something I mention if not asked.

  • patriceny

    I got my bachelor's at an Ivy League school. 2nd tier Ivy, not HYP.

    I did my masters at a huge public/ "state" school.

    To me, the difference is a lot about name recognition and public perception.

    I do think that a degree from a "top school" (however you want to define that) MAY open more doors for you. It may give you a small edge in a few areas, including the resume value noted upthread.

    Top schools tend to have rich endowments, and that can certainly enhance one's education in a variety of ways not readily apparent or easily quantifiable too. The state school I attended definitely felt "poor" to me in comparison to what I experienced as an undergrad. Shabbier research facilities, less cutting edge equipment, etc... I am in no way saying I didn't get a quality education - but I felt a difference.

  • beaglesdoitbetter

    That's funny runninginplace. I can think of dozens of people off the top of my head, especially from law school, who manage to work their Harvard experience into every conversation including within the first five minutes of meeting them. They never say they 'went to school at Harvard,' but it's more like "When I was at Harvard we XYZ."

  • eld6161

    While my two were not in the running for an Ivy, several close friends had children that were. One was the Valedictorian of her class, and she did not get into Yale, her first choice. She was devastated. Her dad thought that since she didn't get in there, then go to a more affordable lower ranked school.

    She chose Georgetown, and with that loans. I think that really bright kids that are super motivated want to be around like minded people.

    Fast forward: Her plan was to work in the literary field and then teach HS English. With the financial burden of loans she has wondered if it was worth it in the end.

    Her younger self would have been embarrassed to not attend a top tier school as in those years the local paper published each name with where they were going. Her older self would probably realize that she could still have achieved the same goal in a less expensive place.

    Yes there are pushy parents who want the bragging rights, but in this case it was all coming from the student.

  • Feathers11

    Attending Georgetown with the intention of working in the literary field and then teaching HS English is simply a poor investment decision. That's like buying the most expensive house in the neighborhood. Of course, young adults change their minds and switch majors all the time... but no matter what you can afford or how academically prepared a child is or the name/rep of the institution, there are some really dumb financial decisions to be had out there.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    " Her dad thought that since she didn't get in there, then go to a more affordable lower ranked school. "

    Cost isn't necessarily proportional to reputation and as before, it can be cheaper for a family to send a kid to a top school with generous endowment and scholarship sources than to even a state school. And a lot of middlin' private schools are as expensive as much better ones, definitely not a good way to spend money.

    " Attending Georgetown with the intention of working in the literary field and then teaching HS English is simply a poor investment decision. "

    Not every college choice for every family is an investment decision but I understand the sentiment. If Georgetown (a terrific school, I know a few alums) was unaffordable for the family, then it was perhaps a poor choice for that reason alone.

    A classic example of paying too much for education for too little ROI are the people who go to culinary schools. Paying $30K-$60K or more for programs that qualify the graduate for a job that pays something less than $20/hour makes no sense. Many other similar examples, even like drama or art programs at mainstream schools, can be found. There's nothing wrong with pursuing a dream, but apprenticeship programs or jumping in feet first may be a better approach than having a degree in a field that doesn't require or respect degrees.

  • mtnrdredux_gw

    I tend to agree that most people think it is not cool to name drop your school. It's kind of like being a big donor. It's very gauche to disclose it; and it will probably become known anyway.

    In re the cost, the more elite the school the less cost matters. Most if not all Ivys truly separate the admission process from the FA process. Yes, you have some Dev-A people but that is a handful. It is the next tier of liberal art schools where they tend to be more need-aware.

    As for the scandal, it is telling that a number of them appeared to be attending and performing, AFAIK.

    As far as ROI, i believe that at some (all?) schools in Canada, tuition varies with the major. That seems logical to me.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)

    elmer, the converse is also true. Many bright candidates from non-ivy league schools come in to this place and I see that it wasn't necessary fro them to have attended Harvard, Yale, or their ilk. I'm not saying good schools are bad. I'm saying they're not the only route that is acceptable and/or preferred.

  • eld6161

    I agree Rob333. But.....the EXPERIENCE in college does matter to many. In the case I mentioned, my friend's daughter wanted to be in a place of like minded people.

    My two graduate HS in 2005 and 2007. We are in an upscale town where where the graduates to to college matters. After going trough the process with DD1 who was very bright and encouraged to apply to only top tiered schools and got into all of them, only to discover that this was NOT the place for her. We did not follow the advice of the guidance counselor with DD2 and her experience was better and perfectly suited for her.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)

    I totally agree eld! It's the school for which one is best suited looking at lifestyle, personality, etc. It's not necessary to end up in the top tier in order to succeed in life or to be considered for high profile careers.


    elmer, stop putting obscure words in my mouth. Your interpretation is off, but that's on you, not me.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    rob, you're suggesting that higher education does not have as one objective (of many) to prepare young and growing humans for opportunities and success in their later lives? You'll find few to agree with that. Then why bother?

    eld, I think you're mixing together different things. Just as the process finding of one's mate doesn't involve an impossible search for the one perfect one (because any of many can be suitable), the process of choosing a college/university doesn't involve trying to figure out which is the one and only right choice. Contrast that with - some schools have more resources, provide more personal opportunities and experiences, have programs that are more prominent or better regarded, etc., than others. There are differences among what's offered, that may or may not make a difference to the individual and may or may not make a difference in their next step. Even if on the front-nd few know what that next step may be, better to provide flexibility and options

  • 4kids4us

    “I tend to agree that most people think it is not cool to name drop your school. It's kind of like being a big donor.”

    So funny, today I was driving behind a guy with personalized NY plates that said PENN 97 and my first thought was, hmm, a bit full of himself! OTOH, plenty of people of college stickers on their cars so I shouldn’t rush to judge.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    Bless his heart ^^^^^

  • Michele
    4kids! Your mention of bumper stickers reminded me of my sister’s best friend from high school. (Still friends to this day). They attended CUNY, Queens College together. She obtained a Columbia bumper sticker for her car. They are ten years older than I am. I must have been around 10. I distinctly remember thinking how ridiculous I thought that was

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