Elite schools have a claim on our imagination that may have outlived its usefulness. There are many stories about the mental anguish that high school students experience during the college admissions process. The pressure to get excellent grades and pad their resumes with many extracurricular activities has led to an epidemic of anxiety and depression.

Elite colleges have a hold on our imagination. If a college is mentioned in the media, it will undoubtedly be a select school, rarely a state university. There are, however, hundreds of colleges and universities in this country that also deliver a quality education.

Engineers can earn the same salary if they attend a state university or an elite college. Studies have shown there is not enough of a difference to justify a $30,000 to $40,000 increase in annual college expense.

We should not measure a college experience only by earning power, even though we would hope that a college degree would provide a better standard of living. Certainly, the research seems to indicate that if your son or daughter does not get into that elite college, their ability to make their way in the world is not going to be ruined. They will do just fine.

When asked, my advice is to relax and let the schools compete for your child. Many of the elite schools have ample endowments that will allow them to offer generous scholarships if they really want your child to attend.

Ivan G. Most, Sc.D., P.E.

Old Orchard Beach

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