I found this article fascinating -- Does attending a more selective college equal a bigger paycheck? https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/does-attending-a-more-selective-college-equal-a-bigger-paycheck/ https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Does-Attending-a-More-Selective-College-Equal-a-Bigger-Paycheck.pdf It is only four pages, and much of that is header, charts, and graphs. You all should read it. I will preface it with Iowa State is a "minimally selective" school (admission rate of 89.3%). I know we might think higher of ourselves, but it is what it is. Their summary key points... There is a popular conception that graduation from a more prestigious college equates to higher earnings. The data suggest that narrative deserves a closer look. Four years after graduation, median earnings for college graduates from less selective four-year institutions appear broadly similar to those for graduates from more selective schools. Four years after graduation, the earnings of graduates from less selective colleges appeared to increase more rapidly than did those from more selective colleges between 1993 and 2008. Some of my personal observations... -- I know this is alien to many Iowans and people in the Midwest, but the "culture" on the East Coast towards admission to an "elite" school... essentially from birth... is hellish... people and their kids spend tons of money and time towards fulfilling that goal. Remember the whole admissions bribery scandal? Maybe it is not worth it after all. -- The paper does not attempt to adjust for regional cost-of-living... most graduates of "elite" schools are probably living on the East Coast or the West Coast closer to those institutions, but higher rent and housing costs in NYC and SF can eat up that roughly 10% wage premium pretty quickly... you might be better off in real terms as an ISU graduate in a cheap city like Des Moines. The article also does not adjust for the cost of attendence. -- I work with a lot of people who went to higher-ranked schools than ISU (e.g., Virginia, Princeton, etc.), but, hey, I ended up working at the same place for the same (or higher) salary. This is a nice piece of personal validation that way. So maybe Iowa State (and peer institutions... the land-grants, four-year public schools, the like) deserve more respect than they receive as the foundation for a career and/or for their high return-on-investment to your education? Maybe getting into Harvard or not is not as important as people think.