Monday, August 12, 2019

Why Do Students Really Want to Go to Elitist Universities?

Harvard Yard
From the new book,  Cracks in the Ivory Tower: The Moral Mess of Higher Education
by Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness
During the class, Jason asks his students, Would you rather:
A. graduate from Georgetown with the Georgetown diploma but learn learn literally nothing the entire time you were here?

B. graduate from
East Podunk State College, but double your knowledge?

C. not graduate from any college, but triple your knowledge?

 For what it's worth five classes of elite students in their second week of college almost unanimously ranked A > B >C.
And this:
All things equal, the lower the University's acceptance rate the more prestigious it is. The U.S. News & World Report rankings explicitly reward universities for having low acceptance rates. This probably explains why Harvard and Yale will send admissions brochures to encourage applications from mediocre high school students with no chance of getting in. They want to trick the students into applying so they can reject them, thus ensuring that the school's maintain a low acceptance rate.



  1. Based on this, I'd say that the university system is doing a great job of satisfying the customer.

  2. Missing is option D:
    Graduate from a non-elite but academically challenging college quadrupling your knowledge.

    Of course barely anyone picks that one at it will be below C. These tend to be the schools that will find space for anyone who they think can graduate based on a variety of measures. The choice itself weeds out people who won't work and leads to a high acceptance rate.