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Rising Senior Night 2019

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For most students, the salary boost from going to a super-selective school is “generally indistinguishable from zero” after adjusting for student characteristics, such as test scores. In other words, if Mike and Drew have the same SAT scores and apply to the same colleges, but Mike gets into Harvard and Drew doesn’t, they can still expect to earn the same income throughout their careers. Despite Harvard’s international fame and energetic alumni outreach, somebody like Mike would not experience an observable “Harvard effect.”

Students who are solely chasing the 4.0 or 1600 and don’t show evidence of character, integrity, impact, and leadership will be passed over in favor of others. Think local or think global, but get involved and make a difference. You—and the world—will be better for it.

The secret of elite college admissions — the secret that became obvious to me during my time as an alumni interviewer — is that far more students deserve to attend these colleges than are ever admitted, and there is virtually no discernible difference between those who make it and the many more who just miss out.


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