Ivy versus public: what operates the level of schools


Aidan Kilstrom

PVHS alum Aidan Kilstrom is attending and playing football at Harvard University

Emma Vaaler, Photo Manager

From trade schools to Ivy League universities, there are various options for students to pursue post-secondary education. There are many factors that students must consider when deciding on their perfect match, ranging from academics, cost and athletics to prestige and post-graduation job opportunities. At PV, admission to the Ivies is not out of reach for many. 

PV ranks second on the list of best Iowa high schools, and many PVHS graduates have been accepted into prestigious Ivy league schools. Class of 2022 graduate Aidan Kilstrom is enrolled at Harvard University. His classmate Jayne Abraham looked at numerous Ivies, later committing to an ivy-caliber school, Stanford. 

Some current students are considering applying to Ivy schools, including Parth Choudhary. “An Ivy league will provide me with future connections and be a great foundation to learning how the world works and learning to navigate through it,” he said. Choudary’s ideas are sentiments shared by many PV students considering Ivy League schools. With the status and success many alumni have out of Ivies, students are provided with a very beneficial system of connections post-graduation.  

In a high school that has historically strong academics, it is known that students and parents have a desire for high-level academics in post-secondary school. In the past, Ivy League schools have been the leaders in academics, job opportunities, research, making them the dream for so many students. Recently though, many public universities have been bumping the Ivies down the rankings in many categories. 

University of Southern California’s College of Business is ranked second in the country. Northwestern University leads the nation with its College of Communications. The University of Iowa has been known for being a top university for its health-related majors along with its other strong suits. The University of Georgia is leading in business, agriculture and in the student-athlete area. Arizona State University has been ranked first in innovation for back-to-back years.

While academics are usually the driving factor for prospective students, factors such as campus location and culture play a role as well. Not a single Ivy makes the top ten best campuses, locations or safest campuses in the country. Best student life rankings include the University of Southern California and the University of Georgia. This all raises a question as to what the desire is towards studying at an Ivy over an academically comparable public university.

Many students at PVHS are planning on attending the University of Iowa or other state schools. Senior Olivia Rogers is planning on attending The University of Iowa to go into nursing. “I think Iowa will give me the same opportunities that other prestigious universities would have to offer and the cost is more worth it at Iowa,” she said. With so many state schools offering  equal outcomes at lower tuition rates, there are a lot of students choosing public programs over the Ivies.

PVHS psychology teacher, Anne Berger, has witnessed her students’ inclination towards Ivies due to the prestige they hold. “I think sometimes students and their families are choosing colleges to boost the family resume,” she said. The Ivies come with a legacy which many strive for and also lead to alumni networking opportunities that might not be offered at public universities. 

With all of this being said, the decision of where to attend college is a very personal one. Many students are starting to notice the impact of state schools becoming increasingly competitive with Ivy League schools. Students are considering what separates the level of schools are the connections that are created for students attending the Ivies. As public schools continue to increase their educational value and competitiveness, the prestige and image may not always be worth attending an Ivy for many students.