Society sees Ivy League universities as the most prestigious schools. For years, I worked hard in school, sports, extracurriculars and community service in hopes of one day attending an Ivy League school. It wasn't easy getting rejection letters from them, but here are six reasons why I'm happy they weren't acceptances:
1. The money
Ivy league schools cost around $60,000 per year. While I would have been thrilled to have attended Brown, if I had been accepted with no financial aid it would've made no practical sense. Getting $200,000 in debt with no promise of a job is simply stupid.
2. Undergrad doesn't matter as much as grad school
While the experience of an Ivy and the connections made there would be valuable, it makes much more sense to spend the money/time as a graduate student. Not only will a strong graduate program benefit you more education wise, but if you have two degrees, anyone hiring is going to look more closely at the higher of the two.
3. Where you got your degree doesn't matter after your first couple of jobs
When there are many applicants for a job, employers definitely look for ways to weed out applicants, much like I imagine the Ivies select whom to accept. While having a fancy diploma may help you stand out momentarily, where you go to school doesn't matter after your first couple of jobs. Who you know and how hard you work will get you much farther than a piece of paper with a big name on it.
4. Going to a less competitive school allows me to shine brighter
Ivy League schools are made up of some of the smartest kids in the nation. In this kind of environment I definitely wouldn't be at the top of my class. Attending a less competitive school with an acceptance rate that has two digits will give me the opportunity to make more of my experience and take advantage of more programs -- because I won't be competing with as many people for what the school has to offer.
5. The pressure is lower at most non-Ivy schools
Ivy League schools are full of the best and brightest. The competition is high, and so is the stress level. Most people who are there have worked hard to be successful and want to stay with that trend. Many are valedictorians, and many aren't used to not being the best. That being said, the pressure is extremely high. I would much rather be in a competitive, but more relaxed environment where there are many who want to be successful, but the pressure isn't so high to the point that I'm unhappy.
6. Where you go to college doesn't define you
Although Ivies can get you great connections and opportunities, college does not define a person. Getting into an Ivy can be a huge self-esteem boost, but at the end of the day it's important to remember that thousands of applicants are aiming to gain so few spots. Those two thousand or so kids who get in are not guaranteed success and they're not the only people with the potential to be successful. Success is defined by how hard you work, and as someone who worked very hard for many years, I feel successful despite my rejections. That being said, college is only a couple of years of your life. Even if you go to the best one there is, you will eventually leave and move onto the real world, in which the stakes are higher and you are competing with everyone instead of the couple of thousand people you went to school with.
It's hard not to take rejection personally, but I believe that everything happens for a reason, and these six reasons assure me that despite my failure to be accepted to an Ivy League school, I still have my entire life ahead of me and endless opportunities to do something with my life.