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How much more competitive is an Ivy League degree compared to a SUNY degree?

If two candidates are applying for the same job, will the one with the Ivy League School degree get it over the SUNY degree applicant? #degrees #college #ivy-league #SUNY #admissions #college-admissions

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Emily V. I see that you posted this question a little while ago so I hope my answer to you (or others who may read this response) is still helpful.

As indicated in the previous answer, there is a bit of name recognition that comes with having an Ivy League degree as part of a job application. That said, there are many awesome state universities including SUNY university campuses.

As a high schooler, I got a chance to do a summer STEM program as SUNY Old Westbury which I believe was incredibly instrumental to my college application and acceptance to the University of Pennsylvania where I graduated with an engineering degree. I mention this part of my career journey because I had the benefit of experiencing both a SUNY and Ivy League education and am grateful for both (worked hard in both too :)).

My experience in the area of the competitiveness (that does exist) with respect to job applications after graduating from college/university, is the field of work that one is interested in, the types of jobs/research one may have engaged in before graduating from college/university, willingness to travel and open-mindedness on where one can contribute to doing a good job for their employer. As indicated in the previous response, the interview process is also a strong barometer as to how an applicant can gain a competitive edge.

Hope this response is helpful. Best of luck!
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Harry’s Answer

Based on my experience (interviewing Software Engineers for multiple companies), I've noticed Ivy League degrees have a bit more "name recognition" on the application, but offering the job always means more than just your application.

Getting in the door: From the company's perspective, interviewing is a long tedious process (e.g., we have to train interviewers, prepare HR paperwork, schedule time for interviews). We can't invite every applicant to an interview, so we filter based on relevant experience. Less experienced candidates are less likely to be invited for an interview, but it's not impossible.

Having the relevant experience is more than just your degree! For new graduates, we don't expect you to have working experience, so we care more about seeing on your resume:

  • your internships, e.g., for a Software Engineer job, if you had a tech-related internship, that's great! (An internship for cooking would be very cool, but not relevant.)
  • a strong project portfolio, e.g., show us your relevant course projects. (If you have personal projects outside of the classroom, that's even better!)
  • participation in relevant clubs/meetups and competitions, e.g., show us your self-initiative to learn more about the job industry you're applying for.

Actual interview: If you've been invited to the interview step, congrats! You've worked hard to get here, so you should be proud (and maybe celebrate a bit). At the same time, you still need to bring your best 'A' game. Your interview is the final deciding factor for the job.

From the company's perspective, this is our best chance to ensure you have the right fit, e.g., discuss your experience, review your skills, learn your motivations for getting the job. The more relevant experience you already have, the more likely the interviewer will note good feedback about you.

(Maybe) Follow-up interview: This very rarely happens, but if multiple candidates had great applications + interview feedback AND there is only one open position available, we most likely ask each candidate to come back for follow-up interviews. In this rare situation, we would NEVER compare degrees as a final factor.