Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Off the Ivy-League Track

A Fighter for Colleges That Have Everything but Status - New York Times

I have other things on my mind, but I ran into this article this morning which mentioned my own alma mater as a place that changes lives. I'm not sure if that was true of my school 20 years ago, but maybe it was. In many ways, it did change my life, but I don't think I took full advantage of all it had to offer. I certainly appreciated the close attention I usually got from faculty. I enjoyed the way my classes seemed to have connections to each other and that faculty enjoyed talking about (and understood!) these connections. Even though I felt kind of jaded about school by the time I was a senior and considered myself active only in the fringe groups (theater and writing and the newspaper) rather than being part of student government, I still feel a pretty close connection to the school. I have thought seriously about setting up a scholarship with them (for women in computer science, of course). And I've been generally impressed with the work they're doing. So maybe I can't pinpoint precise moments where my education there changed me, but I still value that education today and it still influences me in many ways.

I did apply to an Ivy League school and a big name school, but I got waitlisted at both places and eventually rejected. Though I was a bit disappointed, I think things turned out fine. As I think about where my kids might go to college, it's reassuring to know that smaller schools with lesser reputations might be a good choice for them. With all the hype and competition around here, it's hard not to be pressured to consider just the ivies and the big name schools. In many ways, shouldn't college change your life? Isn't that the whole point?