Which universities do major publishing houses recruit from?
Alternately, in what states/regions (besides New York) do publishing houses have a strong presence? In exploring my college options, I either want to set myself up to be at the 'right school' or in a prime location to seek employment as an editor.
Unfortunately, you need really need to be in New York if you want to work in a publishing house. If you're interested in academic publishing, you may find a few rare exceptions to this in Boston or Chicago. Even so, you miss out on a lot of opportunities when you aren't in New York as this is where most of the action is. It's the best place to build a network, and there's also a much greater pool of places to move to if you need to switch companies. The University of North Carolina Press, for example, is a gift to anyone who doesn't want to leave the great state of North Carolina. However, if for any reason that is not the best path for you, your options are limited in that area. Also keep in mind that in books especially, you can't just jump from one thing to another because the industry is too competitive. If you work at an academic press for 5 years, for example, a mystery publisher would likely not consider you for anything greater than an entry level position. So definitely think about what kind of work you want to do before you commit to anything more serious than an internship. You can intern just about anywhere not not be pigeonholed, so do that.
That said, you can really go to any four-year school to work in the industry, as long as you work hard and set yourself up a good writer with solid internships--most frequently, those desirable internships are in New York, though. That said, my experience is that these institutions give you a serious leg up in the publishing world:
NYU's certificate program (probably the best)
Columbia Unviersity's certificate program
Hofstra University degree program: a hidden gem for sure; it's more affordable than others, and it's just outside of NYC, so you can have the benefits for NYC without actually having to live there
University of Denver Institute for Publishing
Keep in mind, though, being at the "right" school is the tiniest fraction of the battle. You need good internships, good connections, and a solid portfolio of writing related work to back you up. Publishing is a difficult field, and very few people who elect to be an editor actually make it. If you are tough and committed, you'll do just fine. But it is not easy to get there, and you do need to be prepared for making very little money for a long time before you really start getting anywhere.
Nadina recommends the following next steps:
I have hired interns (and my company has hired assistants) from a wide array of colleges. Much more important is your previous work experience (internships, bookstore and library jobs, office work) and a demonstrated passion for the genre of books relevant to the opening you are applying for.
Allison recommends the following next steps: