You’ve got to use what you’ve got

Caroline Sacks was a pseudonym. I got really interested in this literature on what’s called relative deprivation. And so the question is if you’re choosing a college, do you want to go to the best college you can get into? Everyone says you should. But there’s reams and reams and reams of educational data to suggest, actually, that’s not a good strategy at all. With some exceptions, you shouldn’t go to the best school you can get into. You should go to the school where your chances of finishing in the top third of your class are greatest. The psychological costs of being at the bottom of any class, particularly if you’re in a competitive field like science, math or engineering, are so overwhelming that it’s too risky. If you really want to get a science degree, you should go somewhere where you can feel smart.

Malcom Gladwell

 10 years oldImage by quinn.anya on Flickr

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