William Deresiewicz writes on this topic in The American Scholar. He has some interesting points including:
That just because people don’t go to an Ivy League doesn’t mean they aren’t smart.
My education taught me to believe that people who didnâ€™t go to an Ivy League or equivalent school werenâ€™t worth talking to, regardless of their class. I was given the unmistakable message that such people were beneath me. We were â€œthe best and the brightest,â€ as these places love to say, and everyone else was, well, something else: less good, less bright. …I never learned that there are smart people who donâ€™t go to elite colleges, often precisely for reasons of class. I never learned that there are smart people who donâ€™t go to college at all.
That being book smart isn’t the end all of intelligence.
I also never learned that there are smart people who arenâ€™t â€œsmart.â€ The existence of multiple forms of intelligence has become a commonplace, but however much elite universities like to sprinkle their incoming classes with a few actors or violinists, they select for and develop one form of intelligence: the analytic. While this is broadly true of all universities, elite schools, precisely because their students (and faculty, and administrators) possess this one form of intelligence to such a high degree, are more apt to ignore the value of others. One naturally prizes what one most possesses and what most makes for oneâ€™s advantages. But social intelligence and emotional intelligence and creative ability, to name just three other forms, are not distributed preferentially among the educational elite. The â€œbestâ€ are the brightest only in one narrow sense. One needs to wander away from the educational elite to begin to discover this.
Read the whole thing.