"From a thoughtful essay by William Deresiewicz:
An elite education ... makes you incapable of talking to people who aren't like you. Elite schools pride themselves on their diversity, but that diversity is almost entirely a matter of ethnicity and race. With respect to class, these schools are largely - indeed increasingly - homogeneous. ... My education taught me to believe that people who didn't go to an Ivy League or equivalent school weren't worth talking to, regardless of their class. ... Elite universities ... select for and develop one form of intelligence: the analytic. ... social intelligence and emotional intelligence and creative ability, to name just three other forms, are not distributed preferentially among the educational elite. ... There are due dates and attendance requirements at places like Yale, but no one takes them very seriously. ... Students ... get an endless string of second chances. Not so at places like Cleveland State. ..
An elite education gives you the chance to be rich - which is, after all, what we're talking about - but it takes away the chance not to be. ... [If they] pursue a riskier or less lucrative course after graduation ... [elite students] tend to give up more quickly than others. .. a couple of graduate students ... were talking about trying to write poetry, how friends of theirs from college called it quits within a year or two while people they know from less prestigious schools are still at it. ...
The final and most damning disadvantage of an elite education: that it is profoundly anti-intellectual. ... Being an intellectual is not the same as being smart. Being an intellectual means more than doing your homework. ... They are products of a system that rarely asked them to think about something bigger than the next assignment. ... Being an intellectual means, first of all, being passionate about ideas - and not just for the duration of a semester, for the sake of pleasing the teacher, or for getting a good grade. ... Students at Yale and Columbia ... have seemed content to color within the lines that their education had marked out for them. Only a small minority have seen their education as part of a larger intellectual journey, have approached the work of the mind with a pilgrim soul. ... Places like Yale are simply not set up to help students ask the big questions.
My experience confirms all of this. The sort of risk-taking, soul-searching, and success-sacrifice that is required for (but hardly guarantees) truly great intellectual achievement is not much rewarded in our current elite education system."
What do you think?