A recent issue of the New Yorker has an essay by Malcolm Gladwell about the values and value of a Ivy League education.
On the values side, he discusses how the admissions system at Harvard and other Ivy’s evolved over the 20th century, first as a way to keep the number of Jews in the student body down, into a current form that has as much to do with physical appearance, an outgoing personality and athletic ability as it does on intellectual or academic merit.
On the value side he talks about a new study that suggests that an Ivy League education, and the “connections” that come with them, may be worth less than many have previously thought. It looked at people who were accepted to Ivy League schools, and then compared those who attended the Ivy League schools to those that matriculated at a less prestigious institution. They found that among Ivy caliber students, attending Ivy League schools gave no measureable benefit with respect to earnings. The only students who benefitted were those from lower socio-economic classes.
He also explores other issues related to the branding of an Ivy League education.
I really liked this quote, but I suggest reading the whole article:
bq. The extraordinary emphasis the Ivy League places on admissions policies, though, makes it seem more like a modelling agency than like the Marine Corps