Former Yale Professor Says Ivy League Schools Make Students Into “Out of Touch, Entitled Little Shit”

What’s the best thing that Ivy League students can do for, the country, and themselves? According to former Yale University Professor William Deresiewicz, who taught at the school from 1998 to 2008, the best thing they could do…transfer to a public university. In a piece titled “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League”, which was published in New Republic on Monday, Deresiewicz advocates for affirmative action based on class instead of race, and he suggests that competition and fear of failure is stunting Ivy League students’ growth.


“Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it,” says Deresiewicz in the column. Essentially, he believes that Ivy-league schools churn out smart robots. Because of this, he blames the schools for causing income inequality and accuses them of largely just serving the upper class.

He also calls into question the increasingly demanding college entrance requirements for colleges. “So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them,” he wrote. “The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error. Once, a student at Pomona told me that she’d love to have a chance to think about the things she’s studying, only she doesn’t have the time. I asked her if she had ever considered not trying to get an A in every class. She looked at me as if I had made an indecent suggestion.”