I love being proven right by the likes of Malcolm Gladwell! Pass this along to your college guidance office.
When our son, Josh, was a rising junior in high school, we started looking at colleges. He was in the top 10% of his class at a very good independent school; knew he wanted to go into science; and was willing, even eager to leave California for college. I was interested in him getting some financial assistance since we are not wealthy and I did not want him/us to take on a lot of debt. We thought about the difference between going to an Ivy and going to a “next-tier” college. I felt the “next tier” was right for three reasons:
1. In any course of study, but particularly in science, if there are no graduate students, the undergrads get to work directly with the professors.
2. The future present value of any scholarship financial award he received would be enormous.
3. For any student who plans to go to graduate school, their goal should be to go to an undergrad school that is good enough to get them recognized when they apply for grad school, assuming they work their butt off and do well as an undergrad.
Josh went to Dickinson as a named scholar in biology; got to work with professors starting his first year; created his own research path…and is now doing his fully-funded PhD at Stanford.
This is EXACTLY what Malcolm Gladwell is talking about in this video. Every high school should show this to parents and rising juniors. The top student at almost ANY college has a brighter future than the non-top students at the elite schools. I am also going to re-post a blog I wrote more than a year ago about how the bell curve of human performance is just a lie. It also ties into Gladwell’s talk. Listen up, people, this is important stuff.