Why is Getting a Child Admitted to the Ivy League so Important to Some Parents?


Hint: Money- It is Like Winning the Lottery

Why am I passionate about my child attending an Ivy League college? Because I have seen the access, privileges and things that Ivy Leaguers can get.  And as a parent, it is my job to get the best for my child.  The Ivy League is a private club that few can get in, but once you are in, you can have access to better jobs, make more money, network with a certain group of people (other Ivy Leaguers who have gotten these benefits and are now powerful), get wined and dined by companies just looking to recruit Ivy League students. One reader sent in this story:

When I was a law student, I got into a program that assigned me to a prestigious internship with a federal judge. I personally did not attend a top law school, but the judge assigned to me was an alumnus of Ivy League schools and only hired clerks who attended prestigious schools. This is the case with most Federal judges; they all want the best. I was lucky that I was part of the program, so I was vouched by the program organizers. While in chambers, I was able to see that these Ivy League clerks had it all: federal clerkships, large bonuses as a result of the clerkship in the guaranteed jobs in large law firms eager to hire them. I did not have access to any of these perks because I was not part of the club. The other interns chosen by the judge who attended top law schools talked about the wining and dining by law firms. They attended several recruiting events a month. It is really a different world for Ivy Leaguers.

Lower-Tier Law Mom

Connections-Friendship and Beyond

Ivy Leaguers wish to connect with other elite graduates like themselves.  It’s like a private club. 


Ivy Leaguers get the best jobs.  Just look on LinkedIn and you will see that more often than not, the top financial, law and consulting firms employ Ivy League graduates.


People love to brag about having graduated from an Ivy League university.  It raises the esteem of a person to have been part of a prestigious college, and it opens doors.

Most Importantly: Money- It is Like Winning the Lottery

According to The Years that Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us, by Paul Tough, using research by Raj Chetty, the famous Harvard economist who utilized tax returns and college data, students who attend Ivy League and other elite colleges become very wealthy as adults. Ivy League plus graduates (of Ivy League schools plus Stanford, MIT, Duke and the University of Chicago) have a 1-in-5 chance of achieving the 1% by their mid-30s, making more than $630,000; at other elite schools, the chances are 1-in-11; at community colleges, the odds are only 1-in-300.  Imagine being in the 1% by your mid-thirties!  The Ivy League gives a student the confidence and motivation to become richer than they could ever imagine. This is what people dream of.

Want to make six-figures right out of college?

Attend these schools and major in the following, and you can make $100,000+ right out of college:

MIT—Economics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering

University of Pennsylvania—Nursing, computer science, Financial Management, Systems Engineering

Stanford University–Computer Science

Princeton University– Computer Science, Economics

Dartmouth– Computer Science, Economics

Cornell—Computer Science

Columbia- Computer Science

Yale—Computer and information Sciences

Harvard- Computer Science, Statistics

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Collegescorecard.ed.gov

Money Recruits Ivy League

True story: a mom friend who is a lawyer once volunteered at the local bar association and offered to mentor some students. She took two students from Columbia law school to lunch. It was no slice of pizza or a sandwich either, it was a hot pot all you can eat in Chinatown for $39 a person that the students said they wanted to go to. The Columbia students did not even thank her for lunch, no email, no text, nothing. The next time she saw them at the bar association, one of them looked at her awkwardly as he walked in late for his internship meeting at the association. Turns out the Columbia Law students are used to being wined and dined by firms eager to recruit them for jobs. They said that they get invited to receptions on a weekly basis, so they thought that the mom got money from the bar association to take them to lunch, even though she paid with her own money.

Why do Firms Recruit at Ivy Leagues Schools

Firms recruit from Ivy League schools because everyone wants the best, and since these schools were selective already, the perception is that the selection has been done for them.  The top jobs at big firms most often go to the graduates of Ivy League and other elite schools.  This also raises the prestige of the firm, so that the firm can sell to the client that so many graduates of elite firms will be handling the work.

Ivy League Graduates are on the Forbes list of Billionaires.

Seventy-one of the Forbes 400 billionaires for 2021 went to seven Ivy League schools: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth and UPenn.  Not surprisingly, Harvard is at the top of the list, which contributed more alumni on The Forbes 400 than any other university — with 15.  This excludes Harvard’s infamous dropouts: Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.  Fourteen graduates of The University of Pennsylvania were in the Forbes 400 in 2020. Yale and Stanford tied for top three with 12 graduates each.      

The 2021 Forbes 400 List of the Richest Americans: 12 Colleges with the Most Undergraduate Alumni

#1 Harvard University

Forbes 400 members: 15

#2 University of Pennsylvania

Forbes 400 members: 14

#3 (tie) Stanford University

Forbes 400 Members: 12

#3 (tie) Yale University

Forbes 400 Members: 12

#5 University of Southern California

Forbes 400 Members: 10

#6 Cornell University

Forbes 400 Members: 9

#7 Princeton University

Forbes 400 members: 8

#8  (tie) University of Michigan

Forbes 400 members: 7

#8 (tie) Columbia University

Forbes 400 members: 7

#10 University of California, Berkeley

Forbes 400 members: 6

#10 (tie) Dartmouth College

Forbes 400 members: 6

# 10 (tie) Duke University

Forbes 400 members 6

Ivy Leaguers Make Bank

The most highly paid jobs in the United States come from the following firms:




Law firms

These firms recruit from Ivy League and other elite colleges more often than from other colleges.  Then, there are the fintech companies, often started by Ivy League and Ivy Plus students, such as Stripe ($95 billion valuation, founded by Harvard and MIT students, processes credit cards for small businesses and large companies such as Zoom and Microsoft) and Robinhood ($11.1 billion valuation, started by Stanford student, more than 13 million users buy commission-free stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrencies on the app).

Ways to Get Rich

Here are some ways people get rich in the Ivy League

  • Job at a top firm

If you look on LinkedIn, you will see the school of each person’s account and the company where they work.  More often than not, the most prestigious companies have the most number of Ivy Leaguers.  There are at least four different types of companies where you can make lots of money right out of school: technology, finance, consulting and law firms.  These companies concentrate their recruiting at Ivy League universities most often.  Therefore, if you just get a job at a top firm, make the high salaries, save your money, max out the 401k and other retirement plans, you will do very well.

  • Start their own companies

Did you know Warby Parker was started by UPenn graduates?  The Ivy League is full people who have started innovative technology companies.  According to Forbes, in an analysis of 13,000 startup founders, Pitchbook added first-round funding between 2006 and the end of August 2019 by the startup founder’s university, 9 out of the 10 top schools for venture capital (VC) came from the United States’ Silicon Valley and Ivy League universities.  The colleges that boasted the most VC-backed startups are Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Harvard, University of Michigan, Tel Aviv, University of Texas and University of Illinois.  Stanford produced such companies as DoorDash and Snapchat.  Between 2012 and 2017, the following universities produced students with the most successful patent applications (indicator of innovation): Stanford, MIT, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, UNC Chapel Hill, KU Leuven (Belgium), University of Southern California, Cornell and Imperial College London (UK). 

  • Network with classmates and alum

Ivy Leaguers tend to trust other Ivy Leaguers, so they are more interested in networking with their fellow classmates and alumni.  When you are looking to start a company, or are seeking a job, you are more likely to be successful when reaching out to former classmates in the network.  Some places to network include LinkedIn and the Ivy Clubs, as well as alumni associations.  Money circulates amongst the rich with relationships and connections.

  • Marry a rich classmate

According to Forbes, the most number of billionaires come from the Ivy League, many of whom inherited family money.  Inheritance and marriage remain the top way that people become wealthy, and there is a large concentration of single wealthy individuals at Ivy League universities.  See next chapter for the full details.

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