Making a decision about where to attend college is probably the most difficult decision that teenagers and young adults will face. After all, there are hundreds of institutions in the United States that offer a four year education, and each of them has their own unique charm and attraction. However, students should consider how their future employers will view the college degree. Will a degree from a state school hold the same value as an Ivy League school? Are liberal arts students given the same opportunities as students who go to more technical institutions?
Where You Go to College Matters:
Taking the step of attending a four year college is a huge one. Statistics show that college graduates earn significantly more than those who only finish high school. However, this does not mean that every college is the same. For example, degree from Harvard or Yale carries significantly more weight than Indiana State University.
Students that attend Ivy League schools not only get a better education, but have access to greater connections through alumni networks. For example, a student who is studying finance at Harvard will have the opportunity to intern at prestigious investment banks. Aside from doing well at Harvard, they will be offered those internships by Harvard alumni who hold influential positions at many companies.
Rankings Do Not Tell the Whole Story:
It is important for students to not fixate on rankings. For example, U.S. News always posts a list of the top 100 to 200 colleges in America. While that is a great list, it is not something students should live or die by.
In many cases, a school’s ranking is based on their performance over the past one or two years. However, a ranking does not fully take into account the prestige held by a particular school. For example, New York University may not be a school that is in the top 20 of any ranking list. However, NYU is a world famous name that is known to people from America to Uganda. Say you went to NYU and people are instantly impressed.
An employer will recognize NYU on your application instantly, but they will not Google the latest college rankings while choosing their next hire. For this reason, students should research the history of every college they have gotten into, and then make an informed decision about where to attend.
Despite the above statements being true, it does not mean a student who does not attend a prestigious school is doomed to a life of underachievement. Some of the most successful people in any field went to state schools, or relatively unknown institutions. What worked in their favor was excelling at that school, and finishing in the top 2 or 3 percent of their graduating class.
A student who fails to get into their school(s) of choice should not panic. While their job search has been made more difficult, it is far from impossible. They just have to make sure that their grades, internships and other activities are so phenomenal that an employer has to take notice.
A student who gets a 3.0 GPA at Harvard will almost definitely enjoy a more successful career than someone who gets a 3.0 GPA at a state school. However, a student with a 3.9 GPA at a state school has just as much chance of being an outstanding success as an Ivy League graduate.