There is always a danger in labeling ourselves, and that’s particularly true with high school boys and their university placement. It’s easy enough, when you reach a certain age, to put college acceptances in perspective. Most adults would agree that you can get a great education at almost any university; what’s important, of course, is finding the right match – the school that will challenge a student to really develop his talents and values.
But that’s an adult perspective. At 17 or 18, we are all a bit vulnerable, and I confess that at that age, I’d have sold my own brother down the river to get into Princeton. (I didn’t. Alas!)
Twenty years ago, I had a wonderful advisee who desperately wanted to get into Williams. He was devastated when he received the news that he had been wait-listed.
I remember my attempt at cheering him up failed miserably. “You got into Colgate. That is a terrific place. I couldn’t have pole-vaulted in there!”
To which Jeremy replied: “I went to a second rate prep school, and I’ll go to a second rate college. Someday, I’ll marry a second rate wife and have second rate kids.”