This topic, whether it is whether a top school is worth going to, the problem with admission process, what is more qualified student etc keeps getting debated. And then it turns into what is a more worthwhile human being, a chess master who went to Harvard and turned into a derivative trading master or someone who went to went to MIT and found a cure for childhood leukemia using stem cells. Both people I happen to know. I actually hold the latter in higher esteem. Happens to be a really nice guy also. But the former probably helped the Yale fund during the last decade and provided free education to a bunch of pointy kids from low income homes.
I have a feeling my kid is going to head towards the path of making money, so I am not going to say she doesn't deserve going to Harvard because she can't sit at a desk and do research. Either could I, though I love physics and could do the math in my sleep. I chose my profession because I really couldn't sit still and focus all day in a lab. Even if I sit and watch markets, the hours are not so bad and it is quick thinking and suits the ADHD like mind.
I do not know why this keeps debating. The world has changed. The competition is increasing and keeps increasing. That is part of the challenge of raising kids. I have been changing my parenting strategy by trying to figure out how to make DD raise to the challenge. I help a lot less, I raise the bar on what I expect her to do for herself. And when I see opportunity, I step back and make her figure it out and go for it. It is really interesting when I make her go for it. Push the envelope on taking the risk of making something happen for herself. That is not an easy talent to learn. Kids with comfortable lives rarely learn them. I think that is what the Ivy's are looking for, people willing to walk through that door, without knowing if it works or not.