Last week I was having breakfast with a friend of mine and the conversation rolled around to his two daughters, one of whom is a corporate mergers attorney and the other a nurse practitioner. Both of them are doing incredibly well in their chosen fields and are happy in their lives.
And yet, neither of them attended a highly ranked, brand-name college as undergraduates. Instead, they both went to small, liberal arts colleges where they stood out as academically talented students, took advantage of research opportunities and also benefitted from the mentorship of faculty.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve talked about the value of liberal arts colleges. Here’s two of the posts in case you missed them:
And since the media and too many parents obsess over brand name colleges as the only path to success in life, I knew I had to share this story.
Both daughters chose small, liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania – Messiah College and King’s College – and both received outstanding scholarships, one a full-ride, due to their academic strengths. With top grades and strong SAT scores, applicants to schools like this are highly coveted and will receive significant scholarships which can often cut a price-tag in half.
Because of their hard work and willingness to seek out opportunities, both daughters were recognized by professors and invited to participate in research. They were able to work closely with their professors and one of them was able to work through organic chemistry in her first semester because her professor was willing to spend the time with her until it clicked. Both were mentored by professors throughout their four years and were introduced to colleagues at other schools which helped lay the framework for summer research opportunities and graduate school – one to Yale and the other to law school at Boston University.
So while both of them ended up at highly ranked, brand name colleges, they did it when it mattered most – their terminal degree that helped place them in their professional field.
I have no doubt that if either or both of them started out at Boston University or Yale, their lives would have been drastically different. At these two schools, they wouldn’t have stood out among the pack of overachieving students who come from around the world. They wouldn’t have been mentored as closely and the research opportunities would not have been as plentiful. And they most definitely would not have saved the money they did.
But yet, they’re incredibly successful. They’re happy. They’re respected by their peers and doing challenging and rewarding work in their fields.
And it all started at two small liberal arts colleges who most people don’t even know exist. I only wish that more students and families would be as open-minded in their college search as my friend and his daughters were.
Regardless of where you go to college, it’s all about how you use the experience to launch you into your life. If you can save money, create impactful experiences by working closely with your professors and find success in your life, does the name of the school you attend really matter?
If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.