A reader pointed out to me that the juxtaposition of the post “I am fine” and the post “Revisiting the Value of Elite Colleges” 1960s to 1980s …”
causes an interesting tension.

What are the stresses put on the psyches of students who strive for admission to the elites when they get on campus, how do they handle them, what is the price paid as a student and after graduation, and is it worth it?

The ‘comments’ sections of both posts have produced some very interesting insights.

If you haven’t been following them, read through and see for your self. If you want to add your own observations from your own experience, please join in.

The FaceBook extension of the Williams College site asked the same questions of readers. The responses with names edited out are below under ‘more’.

Ed Note: It would appear that Facebook can have a life of its own in addition to its site. Any volunteers?

I believe that a collection of personal anecdotal experiences may be of value to those charged with campus life at Williams.

Resp 1 Here’s what bothers me about articles like this — yes, of course we all go to college with thoughts of making a living someday, but we also go to college to get (presumably) the best education we can. Something these kinds of articles NEVER discuss is the advantages that the so-called “elite” colleges provide in terms of peers. Yes, Williams has brilliant and top notch professors and administrators, but just as important (and perhaps even more important) are the fellow-students. I learned as much from my peers as I did from professors, if not more — our discussions in class, around the dinner table, late at night as we contemplated the meaning of life (as only earnest liberal arts students can do!) WHen people ask me why spend the money on an “elite” college, I tell them because you are surrounded by brilliant people who push you to be your best and brightest self every minute of every day . . . and that’s something you never lose at any point in your life.

Resp 2 I’m someone who has chosen a career in public interest so obviously I’m choosing (quite happily I might add) to make probably about 1/10 of what I”m worth on the open market, so earning power is not my motivation. But had I chosen to go a more conventional route, my time at Williams, most particularly because of the peers that always pushed me to be my best and brightest self, would have paid off a million times over.
February 22 at 7:16am · 9 people

Resp 3 I agree with Judy. I relished both the intellectual challenge and the freeing sense of humility gained from being in the presence of people whose gifts and skills often exceeded mine.
February 22 at 7:30am · 3 people

Resp 4 – Well said!! I couldn’t agree more. The true “value” in the Williams experience was the community. Almost every large group I’ve been part of since suffers in comparison to the consistent brilliance of my peers at Williams. I remember many more things learned outside of the classroom vs knowledge gleaned solely from professors.
February 22 at 7:33am · 1 person

Resp 5 Exactly. The framing of the question is all wrong. I certainly have had the choice of making a good deal of money, and could credit Williams with that. But much more importantly, I had an outstanding, truly searching, intellectual experience. It was a privilege.
February 22 at 7:45am

Resp 6 ‎. i made some great friendships at williams..great experience before arriving in this nyc jungle..
February 22 at 9:59am

Resp 7 If a Williams alum calls, the response from another alum is always to be helpful. Priceless.
February 22 at 7:00pm

Resp 8 Future earning potential is important, but it is far from dispositive on the value of a college education, especially a liberal arts education. I would be very surprised if many Williams alums picked the College based on how much they would earn after graduating. I know I didn’t.
February 22 at 7:21pm

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