You've heard of the Ivy League, right? Those impressive, elite colleges that feature in US movies with all the preppy students, tech geniuses, fraternities, and billion dollar endowment funds.
Legally Blonde featuring Reese Witherspoon kind of comes to mind here because it was somehow totally accurate depiction of Harvard Law School.
Harvard and the other Ivy Leagues are famous not just for their ivy-covered brick buildings, but also boasting of an alumnus of some of the highest paid, most proficient and top dogs in their field. Their names have become synonymous with the discipline they are best recognized for; such as Harvard and Law, and Princeton, known for engineering.
It is the dream of every parent and student that one day they will gain acceptance into such prestigious schools which will set them well on their path to success.
However, as we will come to find out, just because you have joined one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the nation, does not in any way mean that you will make it. The pressure and expectation that comes with being accepted into such high-end schools, coupled with the need to measure up can take a toll on a student.
This has caused many bright students who had an anticipated bright future to succumb to this weight, with some even opting to drop out completely. Here, are 20 common reasons why many Ivy League students drop out.
20 No New Or Ground-Breaking Research
Each year, billions of dollars are pumped into schools for the purpose of research; to find new, better and more innovative ways of doing things in fields such as medicine and technology. It is interesting to note, however, that a look at the ranking for the schools known for groundbreaking research, only one Ivy League school – Princeton – appears.
The others are farther down the pile and are not worth mention. This shows that as prestigious as they are, they do not focus as much on research and innovation as we are led to believe. Therefore, if one desires to major in research, these schools are not for them. (Source: BestCollegeReviews)
19 New Work Is Quickly Discredited
There is a professor from New York University who found himself on the receiving end of abject criticism when he wrote a book that purported that the universe has an internal logic of its own that drives matter from nonliving to living and from simple to complex. He was met by a barrage of snarky remarks, terming his work as shoddy.
What was interesting about this theory, is that he was not the first to suggest it. In fact, there were several Nobel winning scientists who had suggested this very same theory and had been saying it for quite some time.
This gives the idea that new work is not as easily accepted as we would like it to be. (Source: Chronicle)
18 Continuation Of The Rat Race Mentality
The common option for many students at Ivy leagues is to go into finance at prestigious institutions. The thinking is that it creates a prestigious environment and feel for the student. Imagine stating that you are learning Economics at Yale, there is a certain level of pride that this comes with. This forces many to rack up student loans paying for tuition so that they can associate themselves with these high-end schools.
The end result is that many students who came to college with the dreams of starting their own company, writing a book, or leading a world-changing venture are now vying for the best internships on Wall Street or in Boston so that they can pay their student loans while not pursuing what they truly want. (Source: NYTimes)
17 Little Time To Pursue What You Love
What would you do if someone gave you not just the freedom, but also the money to pursue what you are passionate about? Well, billionaire Peter Thiel has provided a way for that to happen. He gives 20 brilliant university students in America $100,000 to drop out of college and move to Silicon Valley to pursue their entrepreneurial passion for 2 years. He calls it the 20 under 20 Fellowship Initiative.
His argument is that their youth, passion and drive with his capital will lead to world-changing innovations rather than what colleges offer. Many colleges do not give bright and innovative students the opportunity and capital to churn their ideas into reality, rather opting for the traditional and over exhausted disciplines which only work to set up the students for debt. (Source: BigThing)
16 Dreams don't always make it
Ideally, college was seen as a place for elite students to launch themselves ahead towards their dreams. More than anything else, it was a means to an end for the elite student, equipping them to achieve what they had set in their hearts to. Students then spend four years in an institution they thought would help them reach their dreams, only to find their dreams gone by the time many graduate.
No longer do they want to launch that innovative new product, pursue that crazy idea, write that book of poetry, or launch that nonprofit. Now, they tell themselves, they must be realistic, and be grateful they can get a good paying job at a major firm. (Source: qz)
15 You Are Forced To Compromise To Stay Competitive
When they join college, students may get to take a class or two in a subject they are sincerely interested in, but once required classes are out of the way, the intense competition that many were able to avoid during high school finally kicks in. Now, these students are surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of students exactly like them — just as driven, just as hardworking, and just as determined to win.
When you take ultracompetitive students and place them in an environment where they can compete for prestigious spots in the limited opportunities available, it’s no surprise what they do. Some go to extreme lengths just so they stay ahead of the pile and increase their chances of being noticed and selected. (Source: ZakSlayBack)
14 You Don't Build Anything More Than A Resume
When you go for a job interview and place your resume before your potential employers, indicating that you attended one of the most prestigious colleges in the country automatically gives you a competitive edge. In fact, Ivy League graduates have been noted to be among the highest earners. The only challenge with this is that with the current overcrowded market, unemployment rates have also been high.
The end result of this is that one may be forced to work outside of their field or start a venture of their own, and this is where the faults begin to show. Most graduates are taught to learn just enough to pass exams and buff up their resume at the expense of actually getting skills that would be helpful when the unexpected comes. This makes them ill-equipped to deal with actual issues that may arise in the marketplace. (Source: MoneyIsh)
13 You Lose Sight Of The Bigger Picture
Before Meghan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex, she starred in the role of Rachel Zane in the hit TV show Suits, a show which accurately postulated what a Harvard law student was to expect if they were hired at the Pearson Specter Litt law firm. You were forced to forgo every other aspect of your life and to be available to the law firm when needed.
This is the same for many students who join the Ivy League schools. They are taught to phase out of every other aspect of their lives for the purpose of growing their career to the heights seen in Suits. Career is everything and should be focused on at the expense of everything else.
12 There Is No Place For Creative Thinking
When a student is accepted into college, more often than not they are usually gifted in several areas, smart and have a full grasp on things like co-curricular and where they think they are headed. However, several semesters in and a trend is noticed. Most of them lose this creative edge to them, especially if the discipline they chose does not in any way nurture it.
They begin to focus on and worry about things like networking, social acceptance and become painfully insecure. They are not allowed the opportunity to think for themselves or table their ingenious ideas but are being forced into preconceived norms that leaves them anxious, timid and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose. (Source: NewRepublic)
11 Tuition Costs Continue To Soar
As exciting as the sound of being accepted into a prestigious school is, it still dangles on a knife edge; your ability to cough up the exorbitant amounts needed to finance your education. These schools stand at the top of the pile as the best of the best, and this makes them cost a pretty penny. As the economy continues to evolve, so does the price tag on tuition and other amenities continue to rise; causing a worried look to form on the faces of some students, more so those of humble backgrounds.
If a caregiver loses a job or is unable to sustain their stay at the school and the high price of books and tuition, they may be forced to drop out. (Source: TheDp)
10 It Does Not Prepare You For The Real World
When a student from a low-income home gets admitted into an Ivy League school, they are faced with one main challenge; balancing who they were before they were admitted and the new reality that they are about to be thrust into by virtue of their success. They struggle to reconcile what it means to go from being poor to being privileged because they may be the first from their families to join college.
They are not taught on how to navigate their new reality in respect to their past. Many feel an acute pressure to succeed. Many are conflicted about whether to go for a platinum paycheck or save the world and it can all be a bit too much. (Source: HechingReport)
9 They Over-Emphasize On Finance
An Ivy League education is often thought to be a ticket to future successes and their single digit admission rates show just how sought after a degree from their campuses can be. So what do undergraduates at the eight Ivy League schools like to study? Turns out, it's surprisingly similar no matter which school they attend.
At six of the eight schools, economics is the most popular major among students who graduated in 2016. With this being the gold mine for schools, they focus more of their resources on these two fields while keeping others at the periphery; even admitting more students in these two disciplines than any other. This does not encourage those who are not particularly interested in these fields. (Source: AOL)
8 They Offer Very Narrow Career Paths
When a student graduates from an Ivy League school after several years of molding, they are usually thrust into the job market with a lot of expectations on them. They are required to find a way to excel and climb to the very top of their discipline in an already crowded job market. There is only one problem with this, most of these graduates can only operate within a narrow spectrum.
The school system focuses on six main career paths for most of their students because they are said to be the most lucrative. This sets many up for failure because they can only focus on and seek employment within the field in which they were trained, without having the advantage of diversity. (Source: qz)
7 Overly Stressful Environment
The admissions process into these elite colleges can be very stressful, particularly for students who have put all their eggs in one basket. Just like other colleges, there are essays, standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT, and interviews to complete and remember that you are competing against the best of the best. When you pass over the admission hurdle, the pressure of actually being an Ivy League student can be much worse.
There's an expectation of Ivy League students to be the absolute best, even if it's just in your own head. When you're a big fish from a small pond and you become a small fish in a big pond, this can be taxing! (Source: qz)
6 Inability To Fit In
When you are a student of color, you may have been enrolled in an elite institution, one of the best in the nation, but the truth is that they hardly feel welcome. For many of these elite institutions, diversity is meant to create rich communities of culture, learning, and life-changing experiences. In 2017, Harvard was praised for admitting a majority nonwhite class.
However, in September, a black student at Cornell was harassed by other students in an attack the student claimed to be racially motivated. In 2012, The Harvard Crimson published a piece where the author compared students admitted through affirmative action to blind pilots. Such examples can cause a student of color to opt out of such institutions. (Source: CBSNews)
5 Unfair Competition
One common characteristic of some Ivy League schools is the continuation of their legacy. Fathers will bring their sons and daughters, say, to Yale because everyone in their generation had come. This is done to preserve the family tradition. These legacies also come with finely lined pockets which brings about the challenge of unfair competition.
Students whose fathers are bigwigs and can pull imaginary strings to get things done usually have an unfair advantage over those who don’t have such privilege. Therefore, when that gap continues to grow, some opt to drop out, citing the inability to match their more trust funded counterparts. (Source: TheCrimson)
4 They Are More Focused On Their Prestigious Reputation
When it comes to Ivy League institutions, only one thing trumps their desire for academic excellence, and this is their reputation. They are more focused on maintaining their stellar image to the outside world above all else as well as their Ivy League rankings. They are very concerned about what would put a dent in their prestigious image. They do not focus on nurturing academic talent, but inform their students that they need to; they provide resources but the student is expected to find them on their own.
They are so insistent on your maintaining their perfect and prestigious image but are in no way willing to help you. (Source: TownAndCountryMag)
3 No Personal Connections With The Teachers
The admission rate at these first-class institutions is usually high because everyone is scrambling to fit their children in, hoping that this will spearhead them into the best career or job path. Because of this, we find ourselves with the dilemma of very high student: teacher ratio.
When this ratio is too high, it disables the teacher to have a one on one kind of approach to teaching because they just don’t have the time. This lack of a personalized touch to teaching and the school administration leads to very demotivated students causing some to take the option of quitting.
2 Lack Of Balance Between Work And Play
The phrase goes that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, and it fits perfectly in this scenario. It is no secret that due to the high level of academic excellence that these institutions are known for, the workload that comes on the students is quite much.
This causes many, especially those who take a little more time to understand, to invest all of their leisure and free time to catch up with the rest of the class. This creates an imbalance in their lives; with the academic preferred over social and relational growth. Due to this imbalance, many will experience burn out and can cause them to quit.
1 They Are Not Sure About Their Major
A lot of college teachers notice two trends when it comes to student majors: either the major fails to meet the student’s expectations or, the major was not the student’s first choice. More often than not, when freshmen and sophomore students are asked concerning their majors when they introduce themselves at the beginning of the year, they respond that they are undecided.
In other settings, such as Dwight Morrow High School in New Jersey, the case is slightly different; here, 14 and 15-year-olds are virtually forced to pick a 4-year major during freshman year, with almost no room to find themselves first. This leads to a lot of frustration for the student. (Source: NYTimes)