When one thinks of an education abroad, a few names immediately come to mind. Harvard, MIT, Yale, LSE, Oxford and Cambridge probably feature on that list along with another half a dozen colleges.
Why is it that these names are remembered (by both parents and students alike) more frequently than others, especially since there are many other excellent institutions one can find abroad? Yes, they have fantastic faculty and alumni, and yes, their curriculum might be unparalleled, and perhaps the fact that their names constantly appear at the top of college rankings has something to do with it – but the fascination for these colleges goes beyond all of this.
There are many lesser-known institutions that are able boast of similar credentials, but somehow, attention seems to favour a select few. There are a multitude of reasons for this seemingly irrational preference of some over the others; the historical context of the college’s origins and early years, the number of years the university has been in existence, the famous alumni and the geographical location of the college are some reasons.
While not all of those arguments in favour of choosing the ‘big names’ might still be relevant today, there is still good reason for your child to study at these prestigious institutions. This leads us satisfactorily to the subject of this article’s debate – should the ‘brand power’ certain colleges possess have any bearing on where a student chooses to apply and eventually, attend?
What is the difference between a college and a university?
At the undergraduate level, these differ only by definition. A college is an institution that offers only undergraduate studies while a university
Know your Ivies!
While the Ivies today are known for being institutions of the highest calibre, the Ivy League is technically an athletic conference (not an academic one!) comprising eight private schools.
- Brown University
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Dartmouth College
- Harvard University
- Princeton University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Yale University
Some mistake Stanford for an Ivy although it isn’t one. The Ivies are all located in Northeast of the US, while Stanford is located on the West Coast
Some ‘non-Ivy’ big names
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Stanford University
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
- Duke University
- University of Chicago
- University of California, Berkeley
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Northwestern University
Top colleges /universities in the UK
- The London School of Economics (LSE)
- Imperial College, London