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I don’t have much respect for the idea that being a “ Harvard Crimson or a Yalie” is any measure of high intellect or even basic intelligence.

Well, the schools are hard to get into unless you have a top 2% IQ, for what that’s worth. To many millenials (far more than my generation) acceptance into an Ivy is a goal and a lifetime accomplishment; there are reams of materials out there on how US high school students are overworking and overstressing because if they don’t get into an Ivy they’ll feel like a failure at age 18.

Then, if they go into law or Wall Street, that will all pay off. If they go into business, they’ll find rather quickly that they’re no smarter than the state school grads.

Many Ivy grads I know have admitted to me that the only thing hard about the Ivys is acceptance. Unless you’re in a storied program that has built a reputation for unusual student preparation over decades (Harvard Business or Harvard Law, for example) what goes on in the classroom isn’t going to be much different than what goes on in any other classroom.

My field is modern history and I studied at one of Russia’s most prestigious universities. Yet I have been schooled on the intricacies of Irish history by the head maintenance man at the university where I work, and he didn’t go to college at all. Some of the most insightful analysis I have read of American history comes from a carpenter from Oklahoma who you have probably encountered here on medium, who also didn’t go to college, and I have seen him schooling Harvard Crimson and Yalie types too.

Yep. Smartest man I ever met was my grandfather. He dropped out of high school during the Depression. Struggled until the 50’s, when he lied on a resume about both high school and college and scored a distributorship for a line of industrial lubrication systems. Without the resources to hire an engineer, he taught himself fluid dynamics, and ended up lecturing on that subject to doctoral — candidate engineers at a non-Ivy but very competitive state university near his place of business.

But even my old history mentor at college used to warn us to listen to what a person is saying; never mind what letters they have after their name.

Amen and amen. Statisticians have shown that neither educational institution nor estimated intelligence (IQ) are very well correlated to political success.

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