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Is it worth it to attend prestigious colleges?

I know how good it looks when you apply to grad school or for a job, but is it really worth going into student debt for? colleges ivy-league financial

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Francisco’s Answer

During the course of my professional career I’ve come across very successful professionals that come from colleges not as prestigious, and conversely I’ve seen other professionals from prestigious schools with mild accomplishments. Statistically having a degree from a prestigious college may help you make a faster way to the interview, and even to land the job, and will of course provide the opportunity to establish important long-term relationships, but the fact of the matter is that the rest depends on you.

You should also consider working part time to partially cover the grad school tuition so that you don’t incur in big debt, after all working while studying will add experience to your resume, but also don’t feel so bad if you need to incur in debt to attend the school of your dreams, as getting the right job after graduating will certainly help you quickly pay back.

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Michelle’s Answer

The short answer is NO. I have seen very skilled, smart, and talented people who did not even complete college but are high income earners. There are even the Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs of the world who weren't able to complete college but are multi-billionaires now.

While a degree may get your foot into the door, your skills and talent will keep you there. It counts how you are able to tackle the challenges thrown your way, how you resolve issues, how you collaborate with others, how you interact with the people in your organization -- these are the things that will matter in the long run.

It's not worth going to a prestigious university if you will have to incur debt for it. There are more affordable in-state public universities that are also great options. When you graduate with debt, you are prolonging your financial freedom because you have to pay that debt for a really long time and it's not something you can get rid of even through bankruptcy. It stays with you forever, until you pay it off. Are you willing to borrow against your future?

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

Read "Debt Free Degree" by Anthony O'Neal
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Simeon’s Answer

No, it's not worth going into substantial amounts of debt just for the sake of going to a more prestigious university. Once you are in your career, most companies won't think twice about which university you went to. It's more important to acquire relevant skills and experience.
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Paul’s Answer

Depending upon who you speak with will determine the answer to this question. Personally, I've read plenty of articles which state it is not worth going into large amounts of debt just so you can put a high profile name on your resume. On the other hand, some believe the network you will develop while at school is worth every penny. I currently attend Rutgers University in Newark, NJ as a part-time MBA student. I am very mindful of how much debt I am accumulating and even if I had the opportunity to attend a Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, etc. I think I world still go with the public institution to save money.

Also, at the end of the day it's less about the name on the resume and more about what you have done since graduating.