White Dwarf wrote:I know a fair number of students who ended up at TTTs. They were all generally aware of the lousy employment numbers, but 1) thought they'd be one of the special ones ("Andrew Cuomo went to Albany!" is single-handedly keeping that school in business), and 2) "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"/"Don't tell me what I can't do"/"YOLO".
Jumping in somewhat belatedly, but: I've encountered this attitude from a number of otherwise reasonable people whose law-school plans would've ruined them. An old high-school pal of mine, with a fancy undergrad degree and substantial post-college work experience in a non-law field, was thinking of attending PACE. I quite gently suggested that it was a bad idea. Cue the above, albeit in reverse order and with an ample helping of "Unlike you, I won't be a failure" sentiment mixed in (this was ~2011, and grads with a public-service yen were not doing too great). Another, also with a fancy undergrad degree, was dead set on NYLS. He knew its reputation, but he was convinced--absolutely, truly convinced--that he was smarter than the rest of the class, that he'd come out on top, and so on. And these are people from wealthy backgrounds who did
have access to all of the cultural capital that's supposed to drive smart decisionmaking.
More anecdata: a close acquaintance, who came to the United States from an unbelievably impoverished background in his late teens, "pulled himself up by his bootstraps" through community college, a state undergrad, and then a fancy graduate school he attended for free. Looking back, he has remarked more than once that at each stage of the process, his "smart" decision was essentially blundering into the best choice by accident. He knew nothing of American cultural capital, didn't really understand debt, and had no idea of what he was supposed to be doing other than getting an education. At several inflection points, he could've been captured by Monroe College, or any of the number of similar institutions infesting the NYC region. He counts himself fortunate beyond belief.
Extrapolating from this, and knowing a great number of first-generation college students and students from low-income/SES backgrounds, it isn't hard for me to understand how otherwise bright and hard-working folks might get tricked into a place like Whittier.