Does Your School Matter?


We’re all told to work hard in school, so
that we can get into the best colleges or universities, and be successful. But, does
the school you choose actually matter? Take a look at these SAT scores for an average
school – which are out of 800, by the way. Those that have the highest SAT scores end
up representing over 50% of the people who get degrees at these schools, while the lowest
SAT scores only represent around 18% of the people who actually graduate. Not so surprising. But now let’s look at a top school, like
Harvard. Here, the students with the lowest SAT scores, are still smarter than the best
students at an average school. And yet, when we look at their rate of completion, it looks
awfully similar. The top students represent just over 50% of people who graduate, while
the lower SAT scores represent around 15% of people who actually graduate. Wait, what’s going on?? This phenomenon
is known as the Big Fish – Little Pond Effect. Simply put, we compare ourselves not globally,
but to our neighbours or people who are in the same boat as we are. As a result, students
at top schools compare themselves to their brilliant peers, and if you’re in the bottom
half of your class, you’re likely to have feelings of inadequacy. Even though compared
to the rest of the world you are at the top! Who do you think has a higher incidence of
suicide? People who live in developed countries that declare themselves as very happy, like
Switzerland, Denmark and Canada or those which describe themselves as unhappy, like Italy,
Greece, and Spain? The happy countries. If you’re depressed but everyone around you
is also unhappy, you may think of yourself as normal, as opposed to being stuck around people
who are happier than you. Similarly, if you’re very intelligent at
an elite school, you may end up being a little fish in a very big pond. And feeling as though
you’re at the bottom impacts your confidence and ultimately your motivation. Need more
statistics? 50% of US students in STEM programs drop out in the first or second year of school.
But for every 10 point decrease in the school’s average SAT score, degree completion rises
by 2%! Meaning, you’re much more likely to even get your degree if you don’t go
to your top pick. But who ends up being more successful in the
‘real world’? A study looking at publications produced by economists in their first six
years after graduation showed that top students in the 99th percentile – ie smarter than almost
every other person at the school – from the top 5 schools in America were producing an
impressive amount of publications. But those in the 75th percentile, still the top quarter
of best students, are publishing next to nothing. Essentially failures in their field. But if we now look at the best students from
the 30 worst schools, we see that they’re publishing more than those in the top quarter
of the best schools in the country! Clearly, your surroundings and peers matter. Now, of course, this doesn’t cover every
aspect of going to a top ranked school – including the fact that having a degree from one of
them can be a badge of honour, and may help you find a job more easily. But, that’s
if you ever even graduate. So when you’re applying for school, or even
at your new college, keep in mind that whether you go to the best or worst school, the formula
for success is mixed. Remember the importance of confidence in your abilities, and how being
a Big Fish in a little pond can sometimes be more important than your school itself. If you’re worried about doing your best
at school, you can check out our previous video on the 9 best scientific study tips
with link in the description. And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

100 thoughts on “Does Your School Matter?”

  1. Yes: employers and creditors look at school rather than education.

    Yes: some fall into the effect of self fulfilled prophecy. A sort of placebo effect that belief of prestige equals prestige.

    No: individual motivation and resources mean a higher education…there is no reason that community colleges cannot offer the same resources.

    No: theoretical knowledge only gets you so far. True education forms from experience gained on the job.

  2. This is so true. In HS, I was a friend of the smartest guys. Around them, I looked like a dumb student. Then, we all went to the same University. All of them chose one of the hardest programs. I went to another one (still challenging). In that program, my new mates considered me a genius. I even got an scholarship for academic excellence, I was part of the top 1% students. In the other hand, the best student in HS did not make to the the top 1% in his program.

  3. Went to community college and yes I'm a multi-millionaire – most of the people I competed against went to Harvard or Tuck blew them all away – went to the best community college in America KCC just a wonderful experience no loans great campus

  4. So in conclusion being the best or part of the best is important. Therefore if you are not part of it, means that you are stupid and need to lower your level.

  5. However the whole number of people who drop out does not actually mean people who quit college or university all together but rather change to a different major.

  6. Sometimes I regret having all honors classes at my high school, sure I was great in my private catholic elementary/ middle school, but in public high school where theres is 10x more competition sometimes I feel worse off than a lot of my peers who have some honors some standard (and the few extremely talented amazing bastards who do all ap/honor courses, god bless everyone who goes that far)

  7. Community college is either really stupid kids who take advantage of the system or incredibly determined intelligent people willing to do what it takes to reach their dreams

  8. What are you talking about? The 6 year graduation rate at Harvard is 97%. There's something wrong with your reasoning here. Maybe this really shows that the top third are more likely to major in STEM?

  9. I easily am the best at my school in all sections of my class, but I feel as if most people are already quite dumb here and that Even though I am best here , I won't stand a chance in the real world….what should i do? I wanna go to a more competetive school ….help me!!

  10. Most of my classmates are quite foolish and they are too stupid to understand basic things too…I am a good student but I have no friends with menality similar to my own…..What should I do? PLEASE HELP

  11. Im a poli sci major at Berkeley, and Im applying to Harvard law next year. I have a GPA of 3.93, I am fluent in 4 languages and have 3 years of experience as a legal assistant. I am part of the student government and two clubs.

    Honestly I dont think the average guy at a top school is any smarter. If youre in the top 10 of 20% at your “average” school you are more than likely to be smarter than the average, say, Stanford student. People’s main problem is to focus too much on others. Just stay focused and do the best YOU can do. Forget about others and you’ll be fine

    Wish me luck hehe. By the way, I transferred from a Community College in San Diego.

  12. My dad hasn't even completed high school has friends and connections all over the world, is smatter than most people i know and is really successful.You don't need a degree to get a great job or start a company you need a drive and a motivation to do something and to pursue your ideas

  13. ??? This video is complete horseshit. The more important details like earnings and whose better educated is completely left out. Also his video assumes all publications are equal, which is retardily incorrect.

  14. Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton are the same as a County College, just with a fancier name, and just cost more.

    You can still get degrees at a County College, and even the same degrees as those big collages. The only difference is, it costs less, and in some cases it’s actually easier.

    I live by a County Collage that costs $750 a semester. And to get a degree is Pharmacy or Physical Therapy, it only takes two years. Big time collages can cost thousands a semester, and it’ll take more stress, more work, and more time to achieve what you want.

  15. For anyone considering a community college, here's a few reasons why you SHOULD go: 1) You'll save a lot of money, especially if you don't know what you wanna do and you wanna experiment with different classes 2) They are generally closer to home and don't have on campus housing, saving you even more money 3) Some still have sports teams and mascots, meaning you still get a fun college experience! 4) It's a good transition step from highschool to university life 5) The classes are smaller and you can get a lot more one on one help 6) It's a community college so you will learn to work with all kinds of people; plenty of nontraditional students go to a community college 7) Plenty still offer financial aid and scholarships, meaning you can put those towards the university of your dreams! 8) A lot of community colleges offer two year programs which are PERFECT for people who want to get into the work force a lot quicker. …. I hope this helped some people who might be on the fence. Happy learning all ❤️

  16. FYI the publication rate comparison between HYPSM and low ranked schools is basically meaningless, as the journals that a student at a top school would submit to would be far more selective and prestigious, and far more difficult to publish in. Also, publishing one paper every 2 years, assuming that paper is substantive, certainly does not make one a “failure in his or her field”.

  17. Hello! I’m trying to create an environment where all community college students who want transfer to a Ivy League/4 year can collaborate and help each other. 🙂 Join us in this journey!
    https://discord.gg/kg3tYYw

  18. I'm currently at a UC and this is honestly how I'm feeling right now. I know I'm not stupid or the dumbest person here, but having so many super smart people around me that have so much more prior knowledge in aspects i'm barley being introduced to is super intimidating. I've been wanting to drop out because i feel that at my community college, I'll look for more opportunities such as intership and will be more motivated in my classes as opposed to being here where I look around and feel so unmotivated since I've already applied to many jobs or other things and feel unmotivated to continue because I know that there are way more qualified students out there that have experience. I'm still thinking about it, also it saves money

  19. I don't want to be a big fish in a little pond, sorry, but I'd rather work to improve myself by having people around me who are going to challenge me. Thanks for the info, though

  20. In the seventh grade my friends was in Algebra 1 when I was in 8 grade pre ap math and it made me really self conscious even though when I took out state wide test I scored in the top 2nd percentile against a bunch of 8th graders

  21. In the seventh grade my friends was in Algebra 1 when I was in 8 grade pre ap math and it made me really self conscious even though when I took out state wide test I scored in the top 2nd percentile against a bunch of 8th graders

  22. This is a great video on why we shouldnt have affirmative action, minorities who have lower test scores that are allowed to attend high level schools due to affermative action are more likely to drop out. Its better for the individual and the POC community as a whole to simply go to a school that suits their test level

  23. Regular schools are academically easier. Harvard and 4-yr research schools, at least most research schools, impose onerous GPA deflation policies. That's why you see higher grad rates for STEM majors at regular schools; it's specious. For example, I would bet my life on it, that a chemical-engineering tract at Harvard or MIT is harder than at say, Minnesota State. Non-research schools are what community colleges and most 4-yr state and private universities are. Secondly, certain academic departments, like business or computer science, at elite schools will get first dibs for internships, job offers at blue chip companies e.g. Goldman Sachs, Facebook, Google, etc. The no-name schools rarely get these opportunities. The elite schools get them because their professors, admin, etc. are in the same circle as the people who pull the strings of blue chip, white show law firms, prominent banking firms, and the like; these professors worked the private sector and are alumni of schools like H, Y, P…. Ya know, it's kinda like asking the obvious but stupid question, "why do all the hot chicks, jocks, and cool kids get invited to the cool parties, but the average kids don't?"

    There are perquisites to attending an elite school, if you can get into one. But, it's no guarantee that the job market will be auspicious for you afterwards….Just because you didn't attend an elite school for undergraduate education doesn't mean it's game over. You can thrive in the career world, or attend an elite school for graduate school. Many ways to look at it.

  24. For a bachelors degree it matters little where you got it. If you’re going to get a masters or ph d you can put more thought into it

  25. (BTW your high school pushes college on you bc they get money from it) so be smart and don’t feel bad about not going to college. You’ll just get so much stress and debt. Just join the marine corps and you’ll thank me later.

  26. Problem is the top students from the worst schools could actually go to Harvard or MIT but they are just poor and can’t afford it. They are just as smart if not smarter… good example is the movie “good will hunting”. Even if he is unrealistically smart he is poor so everyone would write him off as dumb as that isn’t the case

  27. I thought I was smart because as I was growing up, I lived in a place that was poor to middle income which abviously affected the quality of education that I received. Since I wasnt even stimulated enough, I was involved in many clubs and maintained good grades. Students looked to me for help and teachers respected me. Until I moved to a big city, quite affluent, which meant smart, mean kids. I was at the bottom and my confidence has suffered ever since. I got good grades at my old school so I was placed in honors classes when I transferred but they were a lot harder. And it was a lot of discussion which I had never done, only memorizing. I learned that having an open mind is being able to learn from your failures and people are assholes.

  28. Honestly whenever I see a better student it gives me a drive, a feeling of competition. I hate being the smartest person in the room, because I know it's not where I'm supposed to be.

  29. I hate where I live, my school is a joke for education and I don’t want crippling debt for the next two decades of my life, any suggestions?? I love nature and would love to be a park ranger someday at a national park

  30. College is a scam. You go for four years and go completely broke to get a mediocre job that will leave you with student loans for years and years and years. What is the point.

  31. I’m in high school and there’s three levels you can be in. You can be in locally developed which is the lowest level, you can be in college preparation, or university preparation. I’m in college preparation which mean my path is towards college. I get a lot of shit for not being in university preparation and I don’t get why people care. Most of the people who are in Uni prep aren’t even “smart” they all cheat on every test and when I ask them what they will do in Uni they are “I’ll figure it out but I have to get there no matter what” I feel like you should be in what ever level you feel
    Comfortable In and not be in a high level just because of what people might think. I rather be in college level getting straight As rather them Uni level struggling to to even pass with a 50%. I was really excited about going to college and than my mom and other people made me sad about it because I’m not going to Uni. I try to explain to them that it’s only a 2 year program and then I will be able to transfer to a Uni. But I try to focus on the future and remind my self one day I will have my dream job as long as I focus on what I want, need, think and not what other people are thinking. I will not be able to succeed when all I’m thinking about it is what people who don’t even contribute to my life think.
    One last thing, my guidance councillors are the worst. I recommend you make weekly or monthly appointment with you guidance councillor and Alway have a list of questions. They don’t thanks the initiative to check in on their students so you have to do it yourself. ✌🏽

  32. yo it doesn't matter. If you're an immigrant and you go to any school in America. It's likely it will be a breeze for you…especially If you are coming from British schooling system or something similar…like in the Caribbean where I'm from.

  33. Canada and Switzerland are also colder countries that get less sunlight than places like Spain or Italy, leading to higher rates of seasonal depression. That's a bit of a confounding variable

  34. It don't matter what university you get accepted into as a freshman. It only matters what university you graduate from.

  35. Idk what to do. I’m in a below average to average highschool with mixed levels of intelligence. Some smart, some dumb. There’s usually only a few people you can relate to academically. The only way you’ll be around a majority of smart people is being is the GAT class (equivalent to honors) but even then, because of the diversity you can’t specifically point a correct average so everyone is sort of random. I’ve learnt that it’s the people you surround yourself with and who will encourage you that will help you succeed

  36. What if you have Merit scholarship for full tuitions etc from States colleges but in regular private colleges(not Ivy leagues colleges) you give you Merit Scholarship which only covers a partial of tuitions & no room & board included. Which one would you choose since college is so expensive. Most private colleges my daughter got accepted to are around $69k to $80k but she got full scholarship to numerous States colleges.

  37. Go to college if you want to start your life out with a negative bank balance. I paid off my house before the age of 30 and I dropped out. Life is good.

  38. To be honest Ivy League schools are just filled with rich kids whose families have connections and money. These schools are a bad choice for those who believe it will get them a job with money and this can be the same for literally any university. It’s all the time education, the only difference is price. Yes, while you are best a degree from a “prestige” school you could very well but ending up in debt and entering a career with high competition. On the other hand you can get the same education for very much less and have little to no debt and work in an area where you live that has a high demand for jobs you seek.

  39. I mean im a little fish in a very very big pond but because i feel im horrible compared to them i study harder?

  40. A teacher once told me: “It doesn’t matter where you start. It matter where you end. You can go to Harvard and still can’t find stable job”

  41. When I was in middle school it was so stressful that I would actually cry because I didn't want to go back it was like a prison for me

  42. 1:52 do you mean with STEM students: the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics? Because I’m following that but in my country you can start at an age of 12 (I’m sorry for my bad English)

  43. I know a lot of successful and really brilliant people that got bad grades in high school, went to a community college, and transferred to a “non-elite” university. I work in the IT field, and these people that I know are either top-notch computer engineers or work in some sort of management position. It might be different for other jobs?

  44. Those company recruiters can't tell the difference between MIT and other diploma mills. My company just hired someone who graduated from a university ranked 3840th in the world.

  45. http://www.threelly.com/ Threelly uses state of the art A.I. to analyze videos for key insights: topics, scenes, people, sentiments, and much more.

  46. EVERYONE I just want to say that your IQ score, your GPA, and your Grade in your classes will NEVER show how smart you truly are. Never feel stupid or upset based on what those numbers show. Have an amazing day 🙂

  47. This is a big problem in Hong Kong. Students prepare for TSA and DSE(secondary school and college selecting exams) four years before they happen. Our tiger mums make us take classes for it and when TSA and DSE comes, a lot of presser is out on us. 🙁

  48. I came from a good expensive school and i have good grades too then just a few months ago i felt like all that did not matter all because I had a boss that completely hated me. She is THE ONLY ONE that did not like me. She did her best to kick me out but I know she got so many ideas from me , my work.

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