Is Choice of College Important?

Are you involved in a college search for yourself or your child?

In its new “Room for Debate,” the New York Times gathers debaters to discuss the question:

Does It Matter Where You Go to College?

As expected, the debaters take sharply different points of view:

Martha (Marty) O’Connell, executive director of the nonprofit Colleges that Change Lives, proposes that what students do during their college years matters more than where they do it.

Richard D. Kahlenberg, fellow at the Century Foundation, counters that of course it matters: elite colleges spend nearly 8 times as much per pupil as colleges that are least selective; students at well-endowed colleges pay a quarter of the costs of education that must be assumed by students at colleges with the least wealth; Kahlenberg implies that the quality of one’s classmates affects not only one’s college days, but one’s professional life; and flat out says that, according to most studies, the name of your college can boost your wages post-college.

After beginning with these two opposing takes, five other debaters have their say. If you’re the parent of a high school junior or senior, it’s worth reading the opinions.

Tomorrow, we’ll have the final results of our survey on how education influenced readers’ votes in the November elections. If you haven’t voted yet, vote here.