Okay, salary is one measure of whether attendance at the most selective college possible is important. Another is where those who hold professional positions that are very desirable went to college. If attendance at an elite college is critical for career success, then the most desirable jobs should be dominated by those who attended the most selective schools, right?

Let’s look at a few more lists that might help you realize that the difference between the most selective colleges and the schools often viewed as their backups isn’t as great as you may think. We’ll look at the following:

First, the leaders of some of America’s best-known companies.

Second, based on a 2013 Forbes magazine survey of college engineering majors, we’ll look at where employees at the number one dream job for engineers did their undergraduate studies.

Third will be a list of where neurologists at US News’ number one ranked neurology department in the country studied as undergraduates.

And then we’ll look at where associates at a top-ranked law firm in US News did their very recent undergraduate studies.

You’ll notice quite a few graduates from MC25 colleges on these lists, and that should be expected. This is because graduates of the most selective colleges had almost all already established themselves in high school as among the most ambitious, intelligent, hard-working individuals in the country. We should expect that the vast majority would retain these traits in college and would thus move on to very successful careers.

What we want to focus on is the very high percentage on each list that didn’t graduate from a college in the MC25, which confirms that ambitious, highly intelligent, hard-working high school students who don’t attend one of the most selective colleges should also almost all be expected to retain those traits in college and to have similar outcomes with regard to career opportunities.