June 13, 2008

Where Do They Go from Here?

Justin Katz

Here's a question, which I present without insinuation in any direction: What can one glean from the fact that none of Tiverton High School's top 10 students are going to Ivy League colleges? Does it say something about the school system? About Ivy League schools? About the increasing difficulty of getting into top schools lately?

Here's a list of the higher-ed plans of the district's top 10, in order from top student down (taken from a Sakonnet Times article that is wisely not online):

  1. Chemical engineering at the University of Southern California
  2. Engineering at the University of Rhode Island
  3. Engineering at Northwestern University
  4. Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  5. Biology at Providence College
  6. Graphic design and music at the University of Tampa
  7. Bilingual speech pathology at Bridgewater State College
  8. Engineering at the University of Rhode Island
  9. Occupational therapy at Ithaca College
  10. Nursing at Northeastern University

I'm not a fawner for the Ivies by a long shot; indeed, I'd be impressed to see a top 10 student taking time away from college to learn a bit about being an adult and working. Perhaps the top 10 caliber schools have shifted a bit in the fifteen years since I graduated high school, but is there any significance, here?

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Maybe their grades, while top ten by Rhodey standards just weren't up to snuff for the good schools. God knows that nobody from RI decides to go to the University of Tampa for graphic design when one of the world's leading art schools is in downtown Providence.

Posted by: Greg at June 13, 2008 8:36 AM

Half of the top ten kids going to engineering schools is a real accomplishment - for the kids and THS.

Forget the ivies. America needs college grads that invent the future.

Bob W

Posted by: Bob W at June 13, 2008 8:56 AM

Plus, the ivies ain't cheap. Sure, they've really revamped the way tuition works, but at the same time someone has to go where they're comfortable. Maybe the Ivy cities just didn't appeal to those 10. The only way for sure would be to ask them if they applied to Ivy schools and did they get in.

I would love to know though how the RI school systems are looked at by top admissions offices.

Posted by: Patrick at June 13, 2008 9:34 AM

"How many people have told you that they hope your house burns down in the past week?" posted by Justin, June 6 '08

Shame on you Justin - and you wonder why Tiverton's residents react to you this way....

Posted by: WillP at June 13, 2008 9:38 AM

Shame on you, WillP, for your failure to read clearly and for implying that your misinterpretation excuses people's thoughts of damage to my home.

I could not have been more clear that I don't find a failure to attend an Ivy to be a negative comment on the student. There are several stories involving higher ed that may be a factor, here.

1. Ivies are increasingly expensive. Are they reaching the point that, in conjunction with a down economy, students choose to go elsewhere?
2. There are apparently record numbers of students applying to colleges. Are these students not getting in just because very few people from any given high school can get in?
3. And, yes, given poor reports of our schools' results, I do wonder how that factors in.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 13, 2008 10:24 AM

"Shame on you, WillP, for your failure to read clearly and for implying that your misinterpretation excuses people's thoughts of damage to my home."

Just to be clear here - I am NOT implying anything that would ever justify harming anything or anyone!

Posted by: WillP at June 13, 2008 10:32 AM

Their declared majors indicate that they are serious about careers after. Note that none have opted for gender/womens/minority studies or political 'science'. How many of them will return to RI?

As for the shot about good schools, there is an accreditation board, ABET, for engineering. The standards insure a certain level of competence at graduation. Hmmmm, could standards be a good thing? Wonder if the teachers unions have heard about this? Also, don't nursing and occupational therapy require licensure?

I have interviewed kids for Brown as an alum and the most difficult thing to deal with is that almost all who apply are well qualified. This past year, fewer than 1 in 7 were accepted. It says nothing about Tiverton that their top ten will go elsewhere. In fact your list doesn't indicate that any applied or were turned down.

Congratulations and best wishes to all of them.

Posted by: chuckR at June 13, 2008 10:39 AM

"The Ivy League is a football association." - John Silber

Posted by: rhody at June 13, 2008 3:11 PM

What's telling is that 7 of the 10 are going to school somewhere other than RI. This exponentially increases the likelyhood that they'll stay gone once they graduate. Especially given the extremely high in-demand nature of their chosen fields. These kids are going to make a LOT of money, and very little of it will be in RI, if any. Only 1 out of the half-dozen URI engineering alums I know is still here, so even they aren't safe.

No future burger-flipping English majors amongst Tiverton's best. Good on them for that at least.

Posted by: EMT at June 13, 2008 4:06 PM


No philosophy majors?

Then again, consider this:

The engineer asks ‘how can I build that?’ the scientist asks ‘how does it work?’ and the philosopher asks ‘do you want fries with that?'
Posted by: brassband at June 13, 2008 7:16 PM

Good to see NU on there. We really do have a lot of underrated programs there.

Posted by: george at June 14, 2008 8:08 PM
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