14 answers

Does the name of your college actually make a difference?

Asked Lakewood, Ohio

I've heard rumors that the name of the college/university that you attend has a great affect on who you will be and the amount of respect and money earned. Is this actually true when it comes to science and math? #education #money #college-selection

14 answers

Leslie’s Answer

Updated Milwaukee, Wisconsin

It is sad but true to a large extent. There are differences in the average salaries people make by college. That being said, these are averages, so there are definitely people that went to lesser name colleges that earn more than people who went to top schools and vice versa. Yet, it is true that going to the best school possible will enhance your career opportunities and open doors for you. However, doing well in college is also importan. Somebody who goes to a lesser known school that has straight A's will likely have more success with employers than somebody who went to Harvard but failed all their classes. So the point here is that the name of your college does matter, but it alone will not determine your future.

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Jared’s Answer

Updated Palo Alto, California
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I would agree with @LeslieFinger: it matters when applying for jobs (does the interviewer recognize the name of your school?), it affects which graduate schools you might be accepted to (do they believe you have acquired the communication and research skills in college that you need to succeed in their program?), and the reputation of your school has a direct impact on the reputation you can command when being introduced to people socially. That said, these factors may diminish with time - I'm still early in my career, so I can't say for sure.

That said, you should remember that reputation of the school, while important, is only one of many factors that you should take into consideration when applying to and selecting colleges. If you find a program that is a great fit for your needs and interests, but isn't internationally known, that still may end up being a better fit than going to the larger school that doesn't have the programs or culture that you want.

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Will’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

To be honest, the answer would be both Yes and No at the same time. Of course when you have the opportunity to pick your college, you want to pick the college with the best program of your choice.

Certain schools are famous for certain program. Hence, the name of school is important. So pick your school wisely. A good school should have a well design program that cater to building the fundamentals and growth of your career choice.

However, great name school do not mean that they have great programs. There's other smaller college and university that offer comparable or better program courses that are not as well known.

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Conor’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

< Is this actually true when it comes to science and math?

Science and math, initially yes, like previous posters have mentioned. However, even though I am only a year and a half out of college myself...I am starting to see that your competence and job performance/accomplishments quickly become more important than where you went to school.

So strive for a good school, but not for the reputation it gives you -- but for the reality that going to a good school will likely give you better training, which will enable you to do your job better.

The flip side of this is that if you don't get into a name-brand school, it will not harm your career over the long run if you are competent in the working world.

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Magali’s Answer

Updated

The most important school is the one you attended LAST. To improve your chances of being accepted into a good college, It is better to be the best student of a bad high school than to be the worst student of a really good high school. And if you are planning to attend graduate school, it is OK to go to a community college and do really well, and then be accepted into a great graduate program.

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Christine’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

It may matter to some, because of the fact that it is just well known in general, but when I am interviewing candidates, I don't really care about the name of the university. Instead, I look at their grades and I look to see if their grades improved or became worse, as they continued college. Also, something else that stands out to me is whether or not they actively participated in clubs and organizations while in college. It shows that they are team players and have a lot of passion.

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Juan’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

There are those companies that do tend to recruit from particular schools but there's always exceptions to this. You need to be proactive in reaching out to the places you're interested in working at.

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Julia’s Answer

Updated Cambridge, Massachusetts

It's kind of true. If someone doesn't know anything else about you, they'll think better of you if you went to MIT than if you went to a small community college. That said, some of the best people I know dropped out of high school or never went to university, and they're doing fine. There's plenty of chances to prove yourself other than university.

Another effect is that what school you go to also affects who your friends are -- if you go to a "top school", then your friends will probably have "good jobs" and be better-off than people who went to a "lesser" school.

None of these things are absolutes, though.

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Jimmy’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

Unfortunately, it may be true at least when you're first starting out. Recruiters and hiring managers won't have much to look at when you first enter the work force other than your school work. Doing well at a top school carries a lot of weight because not only is there usually a difficult barrier of entry into the school, but it also means that you excelled while competing at a high level. That being said, after you have a few years of experience and been through a few jobs, I believe it plays less of a factor and your work and attitude would determine the amount of respect you get.

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Tushar’s Answer

Updated Sunnyvale, California

It does to some extent, but it's not the end if you are firm and competent with the clear goals in mind.

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Bob’s Answer

Updated Apex, North Carolina

A good school is important, but what is even more important is get good grades, be active in extra curricular work and activities. Be curious, Be engaged. It's what you do with your degree and how you apply yourself that will make you stand out as an individual.

Jamie’s Answer

Updated California, California

Unfortunately, the name of the school does matter. The reason it helps is a lot of schools have top programs for certain fields. It helps you get recognized because for example your being a student at one of the top programs in the nation would boost your profile for a particular role you're interested in. That being said, LinkedIn now has an awesome tool for you to use to better learn what schools have prominent alumni who go down a career path you're interested in. Check it out at linkedin.com/edu!

Prashanth’s Answer

Updated Tempe, Arizona

I would say, its true especially when you are out to get your first internship or that first job. Your resumes are scanned mostly by some recruiters, and they dont really know how good you may be. School is an easy filter. That said, I work with a lot of people who didnt really go to a name brand school and are pretty darn good. Somethings that you can do to distinguish yourself is working on your own projects, contribute to some known open source projects etc.

Rachel’s Answer

Updated

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Collegeboard.org is a great resource for this! I poured through the pages of universities all over the U.S. when I was a senior in high school. Collegeboard was my go-to site! They put all of the information in one place and it is very easy to use. They even have various filters you can apply to see only colleges that have programs you are interested. To determine academic rigor, look at the admissions requirements, G.P.A. of past admitted applicants, SAT/ACT scores, class rank etc. This will give you an idea of what scores and grades you need to be accepted. However, don't be discouraged your application will be reviewed based on the full picture! College-board will help you get an idea of what is most important to the specific school you are applying to.</span>


This professional recommends the following next steps:

  • <span style="background-color: transparent;">Chat with your Guidance Counselor</span>
  • <span style="background-color: transparent;">Create a Collegeboard.org account</span>
  • <span style="background-color: transparent;">Start using CollegeBoard as a resource to look up schools.</span>