As someone who went to a fairly established Ivy League school (Cornell), I can say that it’s like buying a Chanel bag.
Do you need it? No.
Is it better than a cheap bag? Not much.
Do you like the aesthetic quality and “allure”? Yeah, it’s pretty good.
Is it worth going into debt to buy one? Up to you.
I do believe that if you want to be a researcher, a big school can provide many facilities and opportunities you can’t get elsewhere.
And I, one of the “deviants” who actually visited EVERY SINGLE BUILDING on the Cornell campus, can say that it is a treasure trove for scholars everywhere.
They have a freaking particle accelerator built deep underground for nuclear experiments. They have a giant observatory with a telescope. Their history department has a small museum that collects ancient artefacts from around the world. And this is only scratching the surface.
An online coding bootcamp might get someone a job at Google and promise a gigantic return, but it can’t replace the rich scientific heritage that can only come from decades of collective effort from thousands of pioneers. And I say that as an early pioneer in online education who worked at Udacity and used to voraciously take online courses even in 2011-2012 when nobody had ever taken one.
I will also never, ever, ever give a PENNY in free “donations” to Cornell regardless of how often they get in my inbox asking me for one. Imagine the gall to ask a student for a donation after you’ve already squeezed every penny he had, while you spend your BILLIONS of endowment on buying up real estate like an asset holding company.
These Ivy League institutions are glorified funds, and centers of insane economic corruption. The top brass at these schools (especially the “Presidents”) spend all their time running around with a golden cup asking rich people for money.
All we can do is to look at the situation objectively and be realistic – see them as luxury brands, and don’t expect them to be noble centers of wisdom and knowledge. Come in knowing full well what you’re getting into.
I had a very rewarding experience, and tried to make the most of it. But it came at a cost. I did my math, and took the risk. But everyone’s math is different.