College confusion

While a high-status college admission confers a measure of status, it doesn’t automatically grant a great education.

Sometimes, a student gets both, but not always. Because learning is taken as much as given.

Along the way, many of us have conflated the status with the learning.

We’re also confused about the correlation between big college sports and the expected outputs of a university.

One symptom: We often say “good college” when we mean “famous college.”

And so, the college one goes to doesn’t tell us very much at all about what someone learned, or even about who they are. It merely demonstrates that when they were 18 years old, a combination of luck and signaling led to them being chosen (or not).

It’s not personal. And it’s not predictive. Unless we allow it to be.


[PS Just finished Lost and Wanted. A haunting novel, with physics. Recommended. The Analog series from Eliot Peper is simply terrific science fiction from the (very) near future–I loved all three. And Dare to Matter, from Jordan Kassalow, the founder of VisionSpring, is next up.]