You’ll have the biggest chance of becoming successful and rich when studying at a prestigious university. It’s not that becoming rich or successful itself makes us happy, but when we can choose between roughly poverty and wealth; and who chooses poverty? Wealth doesn’t offer any certainty, but why not? We take what we think is the easiest way to happiness. But how did that prestigious university become so? Why is Cambridge Cambridge and the university which will never be anyone’s first choice, never the first choice?
What makes a university good? Good teachers, is the logical answer. Ambitious people want to go to Cambridge because they know they’ll have a very good education. And because there’s so many people wanting to go there, Cambridge can select the students they like the most. And naturally, they pick the best.
The same goes for the professors. To teach at Cambridge is quite something, so it’s not like there’ll be a lot of vacant places – professors want to try to teach at Cambridge. Again, Cambridge can pick the best professors. And naturally, they pick the best.
So a good university is a good university because the professors are the best ánd the students are the best. Because if the professors weren’t good, the good students wouldn’t come. If the students weren’t good, the good professors wouldn’t come. The results from the Cambridge students are so good because the students themselves were so good. If there would be no smart students, why would professors want to teach at Cambridge? Do the results really have that much to do with the university itself?
But where did this all start? There has got to have been a moment when either the professors or the students said, let’s go to Cambridge. Together they created a prestigious university. What attracted them? Either it was the time, most of the ‘best’ universities are very old. If you live in 1850 and there really is only that one university, well, let’s go for that one. Another thing might be the building; university A and B are the same, but let’s go for A because it looks so cool. Seems like a good reason.
We can say that the start of a good university is quite random. But what about the end? Will not-so-good universities ever become the best, if the professors and the students needed prefer a better one? Does, or will, anything ever change at the top? And is that good or bad? A virtuous circle, or a vicious circle, what do you think?