You know how they say that breakfast is the most important meal? It makes sense, right? You load up on all the eggy and starchy goodness early in the morning to sustain you for the rest of the day. It forms the basis of your nutrition.
Analogously, if you think college is your entree into success. You’re a fish-out-of-water wrong. The point is that you learn how to learn and become successful well before college.
The key to success is primary school education:
Ok let’s be real, genetics has a lot to do with intelligence, but the most important thing that you can do for your child in terms of education is to get them the very best education as early as possible. That means it is more important to send your rug-rat to that exclusive private elementary school where all the teachers have at least masters degrees, than it is to save all your money and hope and pray that one day your kid will get into an Ivy League.
Spend the money now while they’re young, while their brains are developing. Expose them to the most rigorous education program now and spare no expense. This is your child’s developing brain and it is crucial for their future.
I’ve talked to people who went to the most expensive, most exclusive elementary and high schools in San Francisco who then went on to Stanford or MIT, then beyond for graduate school and they have all said without pause that going to [insert high-priced elementary school here] was the key to their success. I’m floored. Not Harvard? Not Wharton? I need to know why.
One response: “It’s where I learned to think.”
Because people, you don’t learn to think in college. It’s too late! You don’t learn to think in graduate school. That’s just icing on the cake.
You are learning how to think in your formative years, when your brain is still developing, when you can memorize more than you’ll ever be able to in your whole entire life. Start young, start early. It’s never too early to feed the mind, but it can be too late. College is way too late. It’s true, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
As an aside, that’s why affirmative action is unsuccessful. Although I am pro-affirmative action (as I believe in the importance of diversity in shaping a student body), I believe that you cannot put a band-aid on a historically bad education. My college roommate said she had difficulty because she wasn’t starting off on level footing. She ended up dropping out because of the pressure of a highly-competitive school. No amount of studying is going to help if your brain has not been trained to rigorously process data. You cannot learn that kind of thought process in a weekend. You cannot cram for brain processing!
Back to my point which is that I think parents who are saving money and sacrificing for their children’s college education have got it wrong. All that money that was saved should have gone first and foremost to primary school education. For kids who have studied with the best teachers, have been in competition with super smart peers from their coloring days, have been exposed to innovative education at a young age, and are continuously challenged, then it does not matter where they go to college. In fact, they don’t even need to go to college because they will be so smart and have formed such introspective ideas about themselves and life in general that the learning is ingrained. They won’t need a university to show them the way.
There would be less stress because you as a parent would know that wherever your kid went to college, or even if they chose not to go, you would have confidence that, yup, my kid’s so smart, he or she has got this!
Would love to hear your thoughts on spending money up-front on education versus later on in the college years. Also, if anyone went to or sent their kid to an elite elementary school, please comment on how it shaped the rest of your life.