With the recent U.S. college admission scandal in the news, everybody has been talking about the “privilege” of attending an elite university. Some have argued that the real benefit of an Ivy League degree—for most people—has more to do with prestige signaling than the “education.” Entrepreneur and blogger Warren Meyer, a Princeton man, made an interesting observation recently about his own schooling:
When I think back on what I gained most in my education, I would list these three things first:
The ability to clearly define a problem — drawing a box around the system, defining inputs and outputs, etc
The ability to write (some examples on [my] blog notwithstanding)
The joy of learning — at last count I have completed about 85 Teaching Company courses of an average 36 lectures each and 13 Pimsleur language courses of 30 lessons each.
By the way, if I had to define my main privilege in all of this, Princeton would not be first, because in fact I really developed the three above in a great private high school my parents were able to afford.
We hear this over and over: how important high schools are in educational formation. In fact, many folks will tell you it’s more important where kids go to secondary school than where they go to university (in most cases). Similarly, high-school experiences are often more impactful than college ones when it comes to future life trajectories, simply because younger minds are more impressionable. Something to think about.