Throughout the college process, I’ve never been terribly interested in the cachet associated with a college’s name. I’m fortunate to be in a position where people can judge me by what I’ve done, not by what school I go to or will go to.
What’s fascinating for me is hearing what adults – people in their 40’s and 50’s – think about how "good" certain schools are. The problem is a lot has changed – both the colleges and the process – since they were applying. So schools that were once "3rd tier" are now much much better. If you went to one of those 3rd tier schools 25 years ago, that school may very well be much better, earning you more points on the cachet scale right now.
If you’re a graduate of schools like Duke, Middlebury, Macalester, USC, Washington U in St. Louis, Claremont McKenna, Tulane, Rice, Northwestern, etc. the stock in your diploma has risen to among the premier in the country (not like it matters!). With more and more people going to college, there is a new wave of top notch colleges, and it’s making many older alumni around the country smile.