When a College’s Reputation Trumps Its Quality

Joel Trachtenberg:

How one values a college education is very different from how one places a monetary value on a college’s prestige, a topic that relies more on the recognition of the school’s brand than it does on the quality of its educational program (although the two are often closely entwined).
Two examples: Schools that routinely play in the NCAA’s Final Four basketball tournament receive large numbers of undergraduate applications not always correlated to the standing of their academic programs.
Name recognition goes hand-in-hand with television coverage of the sports and throughout the seasons of basketball and football, weekly on-air games enhance college’s visibility not for the talents of their professoriate but for the strength of their full backs and power forwards.