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The world’s most prestigious universities

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Spring 2009

This is a writing by Cyd Madsen.

The most prestigious university in the world is the one you attend, and what you make of the experience. Universities gain their reputations through the achievements of their students, not by simply standing on a patch of land. Take away the student, and the most commonly thought of “prestigious” universities, such as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, UC Berkley, Cambridge, Oxford, USC, Stanford, and the smaller, more esoteric universities such as Rice, are nothing but buildings. Beautiful building in lovely surroundings, but they have no prestigious standing in academics. That comes from the student and what they make of their time and place.

Attempting to gain entrance into a university of prestige does not make for the most successful or well-rounded graduate. It makes for a very nice network of people who have made it into these institutions and graduated, which can be very helpful, but it is not always the best start of a distinguished career. Entrance into these schools requires a lot of sacrifice long before the college years are reached, and often the burden put on both the aspiring student and their families does not lead to an end result that fosters a focused, determined, and innovative member of the business and social worlds after graduation. Often their families are financially strained, and the students themselves exit their higher education with more debt than they can pay off before they’re in their mid-thirties. Students create the prestige of an academic institution. Do graduates deeply in debt constitute prestige? Do students who settle for jobs with higher pay but less opportunity for their potential to unfold constitute prestige? This writer would argue that they do not.

It’s ironic that some of the most accomplished individuals with the greatest impact on our culture never graduated college. Bill Gates didn’t finished college. Frank Lloyd Wright was certainly a man of stature, accomplishment and prestige, but he never finished college. Joseph Campbell, who has probably done more to shape the human mind in the latter part of the 20th Century, claimed that acquiring a graduate degree was a sign of cowardice, a fear of thinking for one’s own self, and a closing down of the mind by the rigid rules and regulations of university programs within higher education. Mark Twain said that we should never let our education get in the way of our learning. None of these people who helped shape our minds and culture graced the halls of a so-called prestigious university, other than the university of their own minds and the hallowed halls of their passion, drive, ambition, and intense focus on what they learned through the self-imposed discipline, which could be said to be the foundation of prestige.

Harvard could be called one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It is also one of the oldest, with a rich history. Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the founders of the American mind and character, and it was his speech to the graduating Divinity class of Harvard that perhaps best sums up the prestige of an education. He stood before the graduates and told them, much to the near swooning of administration, that they should forget everything they had learned during their time at Harvard and go out and experience the world. If anything they had been taught was true, they’d discover it for themselves.

Every student in every university has the same opportunity to go out and discover the truth of their education, and therein lies the prestige of a university-the independent graduate with a mind and social structure that allows for innovation and accomplishment. The more unencumbered by debt and crushing social, academic, and political dictates they are when they graduate, the greater their chances of becoming distinguished members of society and reflecting back on their university, whatever it was, wherever it was, and casting the light of prestige on the building they once doggedly walked through day after day, with their feet firmly planted on their own path.

Reflections of Blueroselady:
@~@ Students create the prestige of an academic institution. My students create the prestige of me as a teacher and motivator.
@~@ When I meet a school drop-out, I could quote Bill Gate and Frank Lloyd Wright to motivate him.
@~@ “It’s ironic that some of the most accomplished individuals with the greatest impact on our culture never graduated college.” Many great individuals have received outstanding education, and many drop-outs face face difficulties in advancing their lives. Please do not get me wrong, a degree from a prestigious university is not a passport to success. If you do not have an opportunity to attend a prestigious university, that is not the end of the world.
@~@ I think I have really attended prestigious U, but do I feel proud? Weird, I am feel even more humbled, most time I meet who are much better than me in one way or another, and many of them did not have an education opportunity like me. I must be grateful, must be more willing to share.

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Written by blueroselady

December 1, 2011 at 1:46 am

Posted in study

Tagged with , , ,

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