Phi Beta Cons

Apply to Villanova Because They Won the NCAA?

I live but a few miles from the Villanova University campus, and was as happy as anybody to see their thrilling win in the NCAA basketball championship game on Monday night. Good for the players and coaches, and good for the Villanova community at large.

Of course, the formulaic stories began to appear the next day, as to how this would drive admissions applications through the roof. Apparently, this has traditionally been the case for schools that have reached new athletic heights, although the applications surge seems more pronounced for private than for public institutions.

But one has to wonder why university athletic accomplishments should really matter much. My oldest son wanted to major in meteorology, so he chose to apply to and attend Penn State — which has athletic prowess to be sure, but it wasn’t the reason he went there. He went for a specific academic program, and it so happens that Penn State is commonly acknowledged to have the leading meteorology major on the planet.

So, to students (and parents, and high school guidance counselors): Unless you are a recruited standout athlete, get a grip, and think clearly. College is expensive, so make it worthwhile. Years from now you will want to look back and be thankful that you selected a school for its academic credentials and personal fit, and not for the fact that it wins a basketball championship every 31 years or so.

Vic Brown had a thirty-year career in the chemical industry with FMC Corporation, where he held senior positions and worked internationally in sales, marketing, manufacturing, information technology and procurement.


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