Ivy League Elitism


By Viviane Nguyen

Ivy Leagues have a reputation for pretentiousness. While the alumni calls it “school spirit”, the school pride may be out of hand.

Seniors understand the unwritten hierarchy of college education more than anyone. Discrimination over whether or not your first-choice school is Tier One, private, or branded an Ivy League is pervasive. Those who choose to attend one of the other 4,000 colleges and universities are left criticized by the elite as unintelligent. This academic hierarchy is illustrated by the disdainful comments given to those who are going to less-well known universities. At the top of the pyramid, Ivy Leaguers are able to boast their school spirit over their designer-label college. This superior reputation has corrupted the some of the minds who have attended.

This elitist attitude that Ivy League graduates assume is discouraging to those attending college at lesser-known colleges and those trying to apply to an Ivy League. Those interested in breaking into the Ivy League world have to overcome academic discrimination to prove themselves to the Ivy Leagues.

A personal friend of mine, Student* struggled against this academic elitism to try and showcase herself as an equal to an Ivy League. Student endured backlash from  her assigned interviewer, an Ivy League graduate (Mr. IvyLeague*), over a scheduling conflict through email. The conversation started out respectful and professional but quickly escalated from there.

Through a series of emails, Mr. IvyLeague operated a counterattack because Student did not reply quickly due to extenuating circumstances and couldn’t schedule a time for the interview soon enough.

“So you are saying 8 or more days until our interview? Given I’ve beeb [sic] waiting for 5 days for your date that works,”  Mr. IvyLeague said, “take a look at my resume again if you are confused about whose time is more valuable….”

Quickly his patience for her reply became nonexistent as he sent a slew of more emails ridden with incoherent statements and misspelled words to emphasize his uncensored dissatisfaction.

“I’m really a bit confused. I’m an international executive who loves [IvyLeague*] with all his heart. You are a student. You decided to respond to me 11 Days after I first contacted you, ” Mr. IvyLeague said, “For some reason you have an issue. I’m really trying to understand why your time is so scarce…As the Class of 19–* ‘s Secretary (i.e. President), Candidate for the AYA Board of Govenorgesand [sic] powerful Alum going YAY YAY YAY Houston, I’m confused).”

As confused as we were with his illogical message, the other messages did not get any less confusing or grammatically erroneous as Mr. IvyLeague continued in an inappropriate manner to express his uncalled-for rage at Student.

“I got a standard email from him and replied four days later. Mistake 1. However, he seemed fine with it. He didn’t remark on it at all. Then he said I could set the date, so I picked one that worked for me, as he said I could. Mistake 2. Apparently, saying things are fine doesn’t mean that things are actually fine. He then sent me 4 emails regarding how important he was and all that he has accomplished. These emails were filled with incomprehensible statements as well. I think he was angry because I wasn’t kissing his feet because he came from [IvyLeague] but to this day I’m not sure why,” Student said.

Unfortunately, Student had to go through with the interview with Mr. IvyLeague, as he was the only available interviewer in the area.

“The interview itself was ok. I tried my best to start over on a clean slate, and it worked. He did the same. It was very cool to see how we didn’t let our negative perceptions of each other destroy the interview. In fact, when we continued it over the phone, I felt more at ease and actually sincerely laughed at a few of his jokes,” Student said.

Though it took more interaction to ease Mr. IvyLeague’s pretentiousness, the initial snobby pretense was hard to forget, as his position as the Class of 19–*’s alleged Secretary/President was very note-worthy.

It seems to be the norm that Ivy League alumni would spew their resumes as conversation starters, justifications of their “superiority”, a defense mechanism, and basically for any form of verbal and nonverbal communication.

This uppity-attitude gives Ivy League graduates a bad reputation for their lack of modesty. Although Ivy League universities are chosen for their academic excellence and their graduates do hold a higher level of respect from the academic community, flaunting these accomplishments in unnecessary situations is ill-advised and poorly taken by others. As a graduate or student of a high-caliber school, Ivy Leaguers should know more than anyone how to communicate with people of all education-backgrounds and interests.

Yes, you are highly intelligent and well-educated by the nation’s top schools, but you don’t have to prove it.


*Names and year changed to protect privacy