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9.09.2004

Which is more valuable: a Harvard education, or four Lexii? 

TMQ writes about a study that suggests that students of equal ability and motivation will turn out equally well (at least measured by post-graduation income) regardless of what colleges they attend. Matthew Yglesias (Harvard College '03, or is it '02?) comes to Harvard's defense, sort of. thinks that the proper lesson to draw from this study is that while it may not matter much which college a student attends, his list of acceptances and rejections is useful diagnostic information.

Yglesias is right, up to a point. Getting rejected by Michigan, Virginia or Wesleyan might be a sign that one isn't as hot as one originally thought, but being rejected by Harvard or MIT shouldn't be terribly discouraging, given that both schools reject around 90% of applicants nowadays.

After debating the value of highly selective colleges, Easterbrook gives his explanation for the improved quality of teaching at non-elite colleges over the last half-century. Well worth reading.

Here's an interesting observation: among the 25 "Gotta-Get-In" schools that Easterbrook lists, four are in California (Caltech, Pomona, Stanford, Cal-Berkeley), three are in the Midwest (Washington, Northwestern, Chicago) and one is in the South (Duke). The rest are all in the Northeast. Quite frankly, I think the Northeastern schools might be overrepresented here. (Who wants to pay more to go to a school with lousy weather that's stuck in the middle of nowhere when you could go to Virginia, UNC-Chapel Hill or Rice?)

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