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Tired of so-called elite universities' obsession with yield, exclusivity and things that don't benefit you?  You are not alone -- and even better -- an alternative exists!

By Ben Feuer

As Jim Sleeper (an experienced commenter on the state of higher education) pointed out in his recent article, almost every year a graduate of an 'elite' institution like Harvard, Stanford or Columbia publishes an expose/tell-all about the teachers, the students, or both.  This year's model, William Deresiewicz, lovingly refers to his former charges (he taught in the Ivies for 25 years) as zombies and entitled little shits.

Maybe he has a point.  Maybe he's just trying to sell more books.  Maybe it's a little of both.  But if you are a 17 or 18 year old student trying to decide how to prepare not just for a great career, but a great life, you owe it to yourself to consider the alternatives.

The Washington Monthly has published a ranking of schools focused not on how elite or exclusive they are, but on how much good they do for their students and their surrounding communities.  For students prepared to see beyond the name brand, these schools offer excellent educations at more reasonable prices (particularly for in-state students) and can prepare you, in the whole life sense, to contribute to society.

If you are applying to Harvard, Princeton, or Yale and you get in, let's be honest.  You're probably going to attend Harvard, Princeton or Yale.  But the graduates of these elite schools are far outnumbered by the graduates of other schools -- state schools, liberal arts schools, and many others, including the top colleges on Washington Monthly's list.  If you attended any of these schools, it is in your own best interest (as well as the world's best interest) to trumpet what they do well and begin to level the playing field.

Case Western, UC Davis and Riverside, UT El Paso graduates -- wield your diplomas with pride, and let everybody know that in the rankings that really mattered -- you beat Harvard.

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