by Conor Friedersdorf

A reader writes:

I thought about responding to this subject before, but once I read the prep school bit, I absolutely had to. I grew up in Exeter, NH. My mother taught at the Academy. It was certainly expected that I would go -- and I did for two years, until my family moved (and we couldn't afford the boarding fees). Then I went to Harvard. While my mother didn't attend an Ivy, (or one of the 7 sisters) starting with her father, my family has attended an Ivy (usually Harvard) every generation back to 1650. Before that, we can trace three generations who attended Cambridge.

I'm in my fifth year at Harvard. I recently had a meeting with my advisor and when discussing grad schools, I said I preferred Oxford or Cambridge, but like Trinity's program too. His response? "Trinity's definite -- you could get a scholarship for sure. But if you want Oxford, we can make Oxford happen."

I *almost* feel bad about how easy it's been. Being an Exonian, even if I didn't graduate from there, Harvard was the next logical step. Oxford makes sense after than -- and then probably Harvard Law, but maybe Columbia Law for a little variance. The point is, this is just the way things are once you've broken into the establishment. Yes, it's also easy to mess up -- look at Meg Whitman's sons, failure absolutely does happen -- but when you know the benefits that an Ivy background provides, that you'll never really have to struggle for placement at the next university, that a BigLaw job isn't going to be hard to get, as long as I keep up my end of the deal and keep a high GPA. Why would I, or any other Ivy grad or prep school kid, want the deal to change?

On a side note -- St. Paul's, really? If you can't go to Exeter or Andover, Groton is definitely next best, though Milton probably has the strongest alumni network.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to