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by R. Asmerom

As college admission deadlines roll around, so does the talk about how the top schools in the country are accepting less and less applicants because of the ever increasing number of candidates. The Ivy League schools are at the center of the discussion with schools like Harvard establishing record-breaking admission rates every year. Just last April, more than 30,000 students applied to the school, leading to a historically low admission rate of 6.9 percent for the Class of 2014.

With the competition getting stiffer and stiffer, many experts hope that college applicants and society in general would embrace the idea that a brand name school doesn’t define success. In a recent New York Times article, Martha O’Connell,  the executive director of Colleges That Change Lives, said that “the key to success in college and beyond has more to do with what students do with their time during college than where they choose to attend.”

The article went on to quote research from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which “found that students who applied to several elite schools but didn’t attend them — either because of rejection or by their own choice — are more likely to earn high incomes later than students who actually attended elite schools.”

Despite the statistics, Ivy League schools have a lure which is constantly reinforced by mass media and culture. Watch any TV family show and you’ll see one of the “smart” kids in the family striving to get into Harvard or Yale. Tell someone that you graduated from Princeton and you may get the “I’m impressed” look. These schools are iconic, for a reason, and their allure won’t be dismantled by facts so easily. It is something, however, that many past applicants, who experienced the sting of rejection, get over by their first semester of college, when they forgot about where they’re not and are immersed in where they are at.

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