Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Does It Matter Where Your Date Went to College?

            If you’re in DC, chances are you have a pretty decent education under your belt.
Between the interns looking to work the fact that they universitied at New Haven into every conversation and the Georgetown grads who are all-too-cognizant of the fact that theirs is the most prestigious school in town, no one seems to see an associate’s degree as a viable option to $200,000 of college loans.
In one of the few American cities where your alma mater is still relevant ten years out, what should you do when you meet a guy who’s undergraduate degree ranks a few (or more) notches below yours on the US News and World Report? 
This question is an inherently icky question most of us wouldn’t admit we’ve asked ourselves. But it’s not necessarily as superficial or simple as it might seem.
The most important thing to remember is that the average American family’s annual income is less than one year of tuition and expenses at the top private universities ($45k vs. $50k).
And that’s just the average.
A family of four that’s pulling in $80,000 is doing well, statistically speaking, but that doesn’t mean they can drop the 50 grand it takes to feed, house, and educate a Georgetown co-ed.
The guy in question may have received a fat admissions letter from Tufts and an even fatter full ride from a smaller-name school in the Midwest, and at the end of the day, the school on his diploma is much less important than what he learned.
And that is worth being picky about. But, again, not in the way you might think. Whether or not he can recite the names of all U.S. presidents alphabetically is much less important than whether he can think, carry on an engaging conversation, and stimulate you intellectually.
A friend of ours started dating a guy who went to a school that’s famous for basketball and partying. She was having doubts, because she felt like their conversations lacked substance—they seemed like kinds of things you’d talk about at a post-game party.
Harvard grads watch Gossip Girl too, and if you’d rather be talking politics, it’s up to you to initiate.
Try to take the conversation where you want it to go, and if he can’t keep up, well, then maybe it’s time to reconsider.
If intellectual conversations are important to you, and he’d rather be reciting Dane Cook jokes, you’re going to have a harder time enjoying each other’s company.
But don’t assume anything. And when you’re getting to know each other (whether it’s on a date or at your best friend’s house party), try to get him talking about something he really cares about. Ask about hobbies, interests, things he does in his free time, and if he sounds passionate, keep him going.
Maybe he uses his calculator to calculate the tip, but could talk for hours about Stanley Kubrick’s films. You have to decide which is more important (or, if you can’t decide, which holds your interest).
The relationship probably won’t work if you don’t enjoy talking to him. But you’re 50 percent of the conversation, and you owe it yourself to give him the chance to dazzle you with his intellect.
The bottom line is, if you’re judging someone solely on his class ring, you’re limiting your dating pool to people who share your particular snobbery. 


  1. I don't like the premise of this post, I find it very close-minded. There are plenty of people in DC that didn't go to college at all. Plenty.


  3. re: closeminded. I think you are missing the point. The post does not say anything about not giving someone who didn't go to college or didn't go to a college as good as yours a chance. It does, however, remind you of important things like common interests and lifestyles as ways to judge if you have a future with someone.

  4. hahaha, next article will be: does it matter if your date is a white protestant or not ?

    seriously, the point of the article is rather obvious, isn't it ?