Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Assuming you have the choice, would you advise someone to go to a school where the rich and famous go, or to a school where the smart kids go?

Asked by wundayatta (58625points) June 6th, 2012

In my youth I had an opportunity to attend a public school in England for a year. Americans know these schools as private schools. I.e., you have to pay for them. This school wasn’t an Eton or other famous English boarding school, but it is always telling me now, when it wants my money, that it produces the most A-levels of any school in England.

Now I don’t know if anyone pays attention to that kind of thing in England. So my question is whether people value a “name” more than the numbers, or whether the name always reflects the numbers.

In the US, I know a number of people who attended Harvard and really didn’t like it. They were middle class people and they found Harvard to be too socially isolating. Of course, they didn’t have to go to the brand name Ivy Leagues schools. There are other schools that turn out large numbers of PhDs or engineers or who-knows-what. For that matter, there are also party schools like the University of Miami.

If you go to a school with the rich and famous, you have a chance of making social connections with them, or of being snubbed by them. If you get into a school where you have to be smart, you will probably get a good education, regardless of social connections.

How would you evaluate the relative importance of social connections vs education in your country? What schools represent each in your mind?

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14 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I value a school with progressive ideas. That doesn’t exist in the rich and famous schools and it doesn’t necessarily exist in the smart schools but if I had to choose, I’t tell them to go with the latter.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’d go to a university that expanded my thinking encouraged that within its student body.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If you’re smart, go to the smart school. If you’re not, go here .

mattbrowne's avatar

I would advise someone to go to a school where there’s a minimum amount of troublemakers and where the vast majority of students are eager to learn something. Rich or not. Smart or not so smart. Of course if the intelligence and knowledge levels vary too much, the good students become bored and the bad students become frustrated.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I would advise them to go to the school they can afford that is focused on education and not partying.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it’s good to go to a school people have heard of outside of the 2 hour drive across your state. One with a reputation of being at least a moderately good education. This way if you every move out of state, your resume won’t have HR wondering what and where that school is. I was speaking to a daughter of an acquaintance of mine and she will be going to a school in Alabama next year with a student body of about 2,000. I wondered out loud to someone else, “is that a Christian school?” She didn’t know and said she had never heard of it either. I can’t remember the name now. Probably the school is fine, but if she moves with her future husband to NY following his career, the employers up there will have no clue. But, she plans on majoring in Elementary Ed, so it probably would not make a difference in that degree.

As far as where the famous people go, or where the brilliant people go (sometimes the famous are brilliant (Mayim Bailik, Natalie Portman to name a few, but then they typically go to the brilliant schools) I would say it really depends on the major, and how the school is respected in the field. The smart schools have very good networking for specific professions.

Meanwhile, I went to Michigan State University (also known as Moo U). Well known for sports and partying. Some majors though it is top 1 or 2 in the nations. Packaging Engineering, Hospitality, very well known and respected for those.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Smart kids. Hands down.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If you’re a top 5% high school graduate then I can see applying for top 5% colleges specializing in whatever degrees you think you want to try for. For everyone else though, go where you can afford and where you’ll have the best chance of the result you want.

Sunny2's avatar

If you know you’re not as smart as the smartest kids in your school, go to the other one. If you are that smart, go with the smart kids. It will be a challenge that will reward you in many ways more important than being rich and famous.

lifeflame's avatar

In Hong Kong, name brands are valued more than an intelligent student body.

However, I think the purpose of education be for learning. It shouldn’t be for climbing a social ladder. I have friends who don’t even have a university degree, but are the most intelligent, creative, self-aware and sincere people I know.

So I would want my child to be at a place that helped nurtured his or her interests, is surrounded by peers and teachers that are passionate about their field of study. It’s great if the place has enough resources to help expand their opportunities (the fact that my college had a study abroad program in Poland meant I got to study with a dance company for a year, which completely changed my career track, for which I am forever grateful).

JLeslie's avatar

I have heard Harvard grads say the difficult part is getting in. That the education is very good of course, but that there are many many schools around the country that are good.

linguaphile's avatar

Smart school, no question. I’ve been living near Shattuck-St.Mary, a $35,000 a year boarding school, and know a few people who work there. They said the rich hockey players that go there are the worst students possible. They know they’ll be taken care of and are only there for sports training, so academics is a joke to them even though they have access to top-notch education, technology, teachers, etc. The scholarship kids, or the ones who are there for academics are much better students. They do have an amazing precision squad that’s been undefeated for 100 years.

wundayatta's avatar

Precision what?

linguaphile's avatar

Crack Squad/Precision Drill Team

Another video

Yes, crack some jokes about the Crack Squad but they really are something else. I’m pretty sure the kids with the most focus and commitment end up on this team.

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