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How much does where you went to college help, or potentially hurt, getting a job?

Lately I've been reading a lot of "it doesn't really matter where you went to college after you get your first job" kind of things and "the cheapest school is the best option" answers from around the internet. Granted, these aren't necessarily from reputable sources and everyone's experiences are different, but they do make me second guess my college decision a little bit. I chose my school because I love it- the most important reason, but also because it has more resources and is in a location I prefer to my second choice school. It also happens to be more expensive. Whoever keeps on writing these kinds of things makes it sound like this "investment in my future" is a waste of money, and even though I know I made the right choice, how much of an impact will the school on my diploma make a difference in the future? #school #career #jobs #college-decision #college


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Wolfram’s Answer

Hi Emily, the short answer is that, no matter where you go to undergraduate, it ultimately will come down to you and the effort you put into building your career. While it is true that a university with an established name can help you get access to groups of people in the areas you are interested, it still comes down to you to take advantage of any opportunities presented to you. I work at a well established consulting firm, and my colleagues (who are all have strong backgrounds) come from all backgrounds and undergraduate university sizes across the world. What employers want to see is that someone is motivated to build something worthwhile, shows a passion for learning and personal growth, and can solve problems. So, if you are happy in your university and feel comfortable in the environment then perhaps that means that it is worth the extra that you are investing in it, as it is ultimately an investment in yourself. What you should consider is the value that your current school brings you. If you are paying more but getting higher quality professors and services, then it is probably worth the extra investment.


I will say that, at least in my areas of business, graduate school is scrutinized more heavily in terms of recruiting candidates. Once you have finished your undergraduate degree and have some work experience under your belt I would suggest actively gearing your approach toward getting into a great graduate school (only if that aligns with your goals, however!).


Does that make sense? Happy to go into further detail if it is not!


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Ken’s Answer

It really does not matter where you go to college. The most important things are how well you do with your school work to get the best grades and how well you do networking which will allow you to most effectively secure appropriate employment and advance along your career path.


Here is an important site to visit as this topic is addressed by a person who worked for a major university:


## http://www.ted.com/talks/julie_lythcott_haims_how_to_raise_successful_kids_without_over_parenting?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=talk&utm_term=education<span style="color: rgb(103, 106, 108);"> </span>

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Ken recommends the following next steps:

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
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The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
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Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
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Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
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It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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