Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Stanford Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Hardly anyone falls for advertising anymore. You undoubtedly know that you won’t get a washboard by strapping the Vibro Belt around your waist. Just as you know that wrinkle creme won’t bring back the flawless skin of your 20s.

Yet we still fall for all kinds of other scams.

Let’s look at education. Many of us still think Stanford is an outstanding school. After all, many of its graduates have become terribly successful. 

But does that mean Stanford is good?

Not necessarily. It could be that the school offers an average education, but does a good job of attracting the world’s finest students.

In fact, that’s pretty much all there’s to it. Many of the world’s revered schools aren’t necessarily first-rate, they just have a rigorous selection process. 

Stanford only accepts 4 out of every 100 applicants. The few students that make it through? They all have exceptionally high GPAs and SAT scores. Which means these gifted individuals would do well in life regardless of the school they went to.

We see a similar phenomenon in sports, it’s just more obvious.

Take basketball. 

In 2008 the average player in the NBA was 1,98 metres tall (6 ft 6).

Does this mean playing basketball makes you tall?

Of course not. The NBA simply weeds out people who aren’t right for high-level competition. And as it happens, tall people are almost always the best basketball players.

Because you know that height is largely determined by genetics, you won’t ever take up basketball in hopes of gaining a few inches.

But here’s the rub: if you could choose any education in the world, you’d probably pick the school with the most successful alumni thinking it’d make you successful.

And that’s a mistake. At least, if you believe that school will make you smarter.

Just like the NBA, Ivy League schools filter out talent rather than create it. So if you’re not gifted going in, you probably won’t be gifted going out.

Be careful of attributing success to the wrong thing. 

P.S. Having a degree from a renowned university will probably do more for your career than a piece of paper from the average university, but the ‘better’ school likely won’t give you a better education.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach