The Myth of the Ivy League doesn’t indict the schools themselves (there are plenty of graduates from highly selective colleges who have nothing but fond recollections of—and effusive praise for—their undergraduate experiences). But author Eileen Torrez, herself a graduate of an Ivy League school, is more concerned with the adverse effects that a relentless push to achieve can have on kids, and the fact that those effects are often only exacerbated once students join the coveted “best and brightest” in college.
“High standards are important. Aspirations can make the difference between a student floundering or reaching her full potential. The trouble with high-achieving students is that their broad range of abilities can crowd out the unique interests that drive individuals toward passionate, fulfilling lives. Students themselves can get caught in a praise-seeking trap, especially if they’re consistently rewarded for right answers rather than genuine interest or hard work. But just because a student has the perfect grades or a profile studded with stellar achievements doesn’t mean an elite university is the best place for them. If anything, it means the opposite: that they have the drive to succeed anywhere, and that if placed in an environment that suits them, they’ll be both happy and successful.”