There’s more to land-grant institutions than meets the eye. Although private universities are highly prestigious in our society, land-grant universities have many great characteristics that enhance the intellectual skills of the students. Being a student and a faculty member at private institutions for over 40 years and now serving as a Professor at Oklahoma State University, Robert J. Sternberg concludes through his experiences in both types of institutions that land-grant institutions are one of the “highly visible resources this nation has.”
As a society, we often admire institutions with high exclusivity and prestige. However, many of the highly prestigious institutions focus solely on getting really “smart” students with a specific SAT scores and academic record, whereas land-grant institutions focus on the “value added” in the students through accepting a wide range of students based on different abilities. Such institutions may not be perceived as “elite” institutions but the things they are able to accomplish are a remarkable step towards the education of our students. Land-grant institutions not only focus on how academically smart an individual is but instead focus on how the student can use his intellect to serve his community, which is an extremely important trait to focus upon when building the leaders of tomorrow. Moreover, as the students enter the workforce, they are able to distinguish themselves through their work ethic rather than simply holding a high ranking due to a prestigious school they attended.
Not only are the students able to gain a greater insight and develop valuable skills during their years in college, an education from a land-grant institution continues to reap its fruit in the work ethic of the students and further enhances their ability to play an important role in the society. Being a UC student, we should take full advantage of all the benefits and opportunities that come from attending a land-grant institution and continue to apply these values in our future.