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Disparity of Success: Analytical Essay on Elite Universities of Ivy League

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What is success? What does it mean when someone uses the word “successful” to describe one’s whole life?

Since people’s views and expectations are varied with each other, different hierarchy of people definitely holds opinions on the definition of success. As a result, everyone has their own interpretation based on the situations of individuals. The methods of obtaining success and its meaning are explored in the articles “Biographies of Hegemony” by Karen Ho and “Project Classroom Makeover” by Cathy Davidson. He describes the success of investment bankers that recruited from the “elite” universities, which are the components of Ivy league, take advantages of the reputation of the “smartness” to create abundant wealth and eventually achieve the meaning of success. Conversely, Davidson conveys the idea of success by discussing the current education system becomes obsolete due to the inefficient teaching methods and practices, and he claims students are supposed to establish certain academic goals in order to obtain success from the aspects of the knowledge of strength, the existence of abilities and diligence.

The unfairness of the educational system and institution creates disparate outcomes from various points of view. But both Davidson and Ho express the meaning of success differently but somehow relate to each other, while all the success are associated with personal superiority and value divergence. The solid foundation of knowledge and spirits establish the path to the final success. On the striving process to success, being perseverant and hardworking are key factors to reach the pinnacle of life. People from different hierarchies keep self-improving to maximize their limited resources and extend their advantages as much as they can to pursuit goals and achieve expectation from others. No matter how intelligent a child is, he still need to receive higher education and professional guides to exploit the talents to the full. Otherwise, all the efforts will be wasted. Davidson talks about how young talents are intentionally designated to the elite universities, as stated that, “What this means for young people who come to an elite private university is that they have taken one of a number of specific routes to get there.

One way is to test to get into the best preschools so you can go to the best private grammar schools so you can be admitted to the most elite boarding schools so you can be competitive at the Ivies or an elite school outside the Ivies like Stanford or Duke” (50). The meaning of success has been vaguely conveyed by Davidson which he mentions the road all the way from insignificance to the greatness is specifically constructed for those young students. The older generation knows exactly how to efficiently achieve success and utilize these methods on their younger generation, which the importance of the education is emphasis by the society. There is no doubt that education plays a vital part in shaping a successful person. It enhances the students’ self-capabilities and adaptaibility to force them to take one step further without the reliance on others. Eventually, they become dominant enough on professional specialties to demonstrate their capabilities.

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One of the examples to see whether they are moving closer to success is that whether they get admission from an elite university, which is described as “giving premium value to expertise, specialization, and hierarchy”, and enables their students to develop the superiority over other universities’ students that distinguishes them from the mediocrity. Likewise, Ho also expresses the significance of obtaining a high-quality education. He mentions, “When a Harvard or Princeton education is seen as the normative baseline pedigree it becomes ordinary as well as collective, encompassing, even universal” (184). It is known that colleges like Harvard and Princeton from Ivy League are ranking at the top of the world’s best universities.There are hundred of thousand elite trying to get in these school to show how smart they are or the diligent they become in order to jump in the right track of their years of school. However, the precondition of all beautiful fantasies is to prove you are the most distinct one, equipping with enomerse skills, preeminent foresight and outstanding critical thinking. Besides, examiners evaluate the comprehensive performances mostly by their academic achievement and also extracurricular which need immense interest and passion devoted into it. These help students become fascinated enough to stand out from the crowd and turn it into the reasons why examiners give that special individual the offer but not others. Therefore, the essence of being admissioned by an excellent college is to develop oneself into a better individual.

Personal background has a huge impact on how students show their dominance without any direct contacts and establish the most straightforward signal for others to spot you. Davidson and Ho both discuss the standard of acquiring success and the definitions of their own “success” are similar in term of the capability of building the superiority over others. That’s how their “success” are similar. The value formation influence how individuals view the true meaning behind the success. Some might think holding a high position in a Fortune 500 company is success and creating numerous wealth with no possibilities to be used up in the rest of life is the real meaning of life. Some might consider helping others to achieve their success as his own success. Thus, people’s target and ambition distinct, and it all depends on how individuals value the success. Davison concentrates more on the academical success, as he states, “These key factors for educational success—rigor, relevance, and relationships—have been dubbed the new three Rs … Even on a neurological level, brain researchers have shown that kids improve with directed, special attention to their own skills and interests, the opposite of our move toward standardization” (60).

The aspect of approaching success related to the topics of education is always to satisfy the expectation from the perspective of parents or to prepare for the future from the perspective of the students. Nevertheless, performing well in school does not necessarily means that they know what is the true value of success. It merely shows the importance of following the rules in school or listening to what teacher says. However, the value of success is linked with self-worth for most of the cases. Bringing up the value of oneself, becoming more and more attractive in term of self-values is heavily seen by the meaning of success. Eventually, these goals are primarily targeted by students before their graduates from the college which mostly concerned by their parents. Oppositely, Ho introduces another kinds of success that bases on the mutual benefits. She found out an interesting fact that “not only that most bankers came from a few elite institutions, but also that most undergraduate and even many graduate students assumed that the only suitable destinations for life after Princeton the only sectors offering a truly Princeton-like job were, first, investment banking, and second, management consulting” (169). It sounds pretty unfair for those of students outside the Ivy League to have a chance to go to the company at Wall Street. But those recruiters and students that are being interviewed probably do not agree with that. In the views of the recruiters from the Wall Street, they are looking for the best talents in the world and bring their abilities to their company for further training. In the other hand, students are willing to choose such a well-liked job to expect a grander prospect, and at the same time make a living.

A consensus of recruiters and students accelerates the situation to become a unalterable pattern, which investment banks do not need to waste their time on screening and students are well-reasoned to work ar the Wall Street without the second choices. They value success by creating more “success”, which relate to the business success, or success in term of wealth. Both are mutually benefited to create advantages over others from the pattern, that can be recognized as a success with the special way to be valued. Success is all people longing to striving for and how they value it may varied. Therefore, different people have different aspirations, as their own meaning of “success” could be differed. In conclusion, the success that is being used in both Davidson’s and Ho’s articles have huge emphasized on the ideas they try to deliver to the readers. For Davidson, he expresses the idea of being “elite” as an individual by acquiring others skills to improve the self-sustainability, which is considered as success. On the flip hand, Ho states the advantages made by an member of Ivy league and use it as a privilege to work at Wall Street

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Disparity of Success: Analytical Essay on Elite Universities of Ivy League. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 6, 2023, from
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