GRAND Magazine - May/June 2019 - 32

grand living

The real value of a college education
BY JIM WRIGHT AND JUDITH WRIGHT

W

hen the recent celebrity college
admissions cheating scandal
broke out, many people were
surprised or at least taken aback. Wealthy
celebrities paying off coaches and testtakers to vouch for their child's performance (and in some cases even taking
SATs for the student)? It sounded unfair,
elitist, and just plain wrong-especially the
athletic scholarships for non-athletes!
But the truth is, forms of "buying your
way into a great school" have been happening practically since the advent of
higher education. Most of us barely bat
an eye at the idea of someone donating
money to a college or reaching out to
our connections to pave the way for kids
or grandkids to attend our beloved alma
mater.
Was the shock of the college scandal
just because this type of buy-in was so
overt? It certainly felt a little more like bribery, especially when
the kids that got into the schools weren't even admitted under
the illusion of competency and performance.
One thing's for sure, the college scandal gave us all pause
to examine the value of formalized education versus life-long
learning. What's the real value of a college education?

Why we value prestige

The two of us, and especially Bob, admit that we're as guilty
as the next person when it comes to being impressed by

32 GRAND

MAY JUNE 2019

Princeton University

degrees from elite universities. The truth is, both of us have our
undergraduate and master's degrees from state universities
and our doctorates from a little-known school. Yet, in talking
about our graduate university, we often brag and boast about
our fellow faculty members who have degrees from Ivy League
schools.
There's a certain amount of clout - and, yes, prestige - that
comes along with a name like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, or
Stanford. Yet, both of us formed our foundational values and

higher-level critical thinking skills during our
time at humble state schools. The values
and thoughts that have driven innovation in
our organization and throughout our career
success came from those grit-building experiences during our years at state colleges.
So why do we buy into the hype like
everyone else? Socially we've all learned to
assign importance to titles, degrees, and the
names of certain elite schools. When someone says they're a "Doctor," we automatically
assign more weight to their opinions. As the
old joke goes: Do you know what they call
the guy who graduated last in his PhD program? "Doctor."
Not to say there isn't value in education
at elite schools - the value is in the fellow
students who elevate the level of discussion
and learning in classes and the occasional
cutting-edge faculty - but none of that
guarantees great learning, which is available
in a host of good schools with dedicated faculty and students.
Whether we're parents or grandparents, we need to offer
balance and perspective to help the younger generation discover what is valuable about getting an education and what
isn't. It's not about prestige - it's about experience. Experience
helps you build a remarkable life; prestige, on the other hand,
doesn't guarantee an amazing future. A formalized, institutional
education can contribute significantly to a prosperous life, but
there are many ways to have an outstanding education without
compromising your integrity.
Continued on next page


https://www.facebook.com/GRANDmagazine/ https://www.twitter.com/grandMmagazine https://www.nytimes.com/news-event/college-admissions-scandal https://www.nytimes.com/news-event/college-admissions-scandal https://www.wrightfoundation.org/learning-and-growing-the-assignment-way-of-living/ https://www.wrightfoundation.org/learning-and-growing-the-assignment-way-of-living/

GRAND Magazine - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - May/June 2019

Contents
GRAND Magazine - May/June 2019 - 1
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GRAND Magazine - May/June 2019 - Contents
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