"Newsweek ran a story detailing “prestige panic, the needless fear parents have that their children will be doomed to lifelong failure if they don't get a degree from a well-known university. Time published a cover story titled Who Needs Harvard? It looked at several students who actually turned down the Ivy League in favor of smaller schools or lesser-known ones, schools with better access to professors, more research opportunities or higher financial-aid offers. And they may have the right idea. Recent studies comparing Ivy League students with students who were accepted to the Ivies but opted to go elsewhere show that a diploma from Princeton or Yale has no real bearing on future earnings. The individual matters much more than the school.”
Be sure to look for the most recent edition
Students taking a year off prior to Harvard are doing what students from the U.K. do with their so-called “gap year.” Other countries have mandatory military service for varying periods of time. Regardless of why they took the year off or what they did, students are effusive in their praise. Many speak of their year away as a “life-altering” experience or a “turning point,” and most feel that its full value can never be measured and will pay dividends the rest of their lives. Many come to college with new visions of their academic plans, their extracurricular pursuits, the intangibles they hoped to gain in college, and the career possibilities they observed in their year away. Virtually all would do it again.