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How important to employers looking for engineers is the college they attended? Do these colleges need to be anything special?

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Omar’s Answer

Hi Sam, "generally" speaking employers do not look at schools graduated from, rather they look at projects/Classes you took. Especially when you are newly graduate. During the interview process, the employers can determine if you are a good fit or not. However, some companies they prefer recruiting from specific Educational Institution based on their engineering curriculum (Classes they provide) or may have had a say in the Engineering program. Sometimes, I saw companies recruits from the same schools that their Director or VP of Engineering graduated from, I know it is weird, but I have seen it first hand.
In short, the type of classes and experience you attained, can get you through the door. Good Luck!
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Chloe’s Answer

Hi Sam,
Most engineering jobs will require that your degree is from an ABET accredited program. You can find out if the program you are interested in is accredited by going to abet.org and looking up the college you want to attend.
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Eric’s Answer

Hi Sam,

Having interviewed many engineering candidates straight out of college, I can say that I gave little importance to the university attended. As others have mentioned, the coursework is the thing that will catch the eye of a potential employer who is looking through resumes. If the coursework is a good fit then the next step is the interview process which will help the interviewer to assess the applicant and determine if he or she is a good fit. A serious interview can be from 1 to 2 hours, maybe longer, with lots of detailed and open-ended questions about engineering principles and applications. Your success in landing an excellent job will not likely depend on the school you attended but on how well you perform during those 1 to 2 hours of in-depth questions. It is not necessary to answer every question correctly but you do need to show that you are able to think through difficult design problems and apply the best engineering principles to a certain situation. So, ultimately, my recommendation is to choose the school that is most affordable. If you are able to get out of college debt free then it will be a great blessing in allowing you to focus your first few years out of college on bettering your career without the burden of lots of debt.

All the best,

Eric
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Matthew’s Answer

When looking for engineers I do not put too much weight on where they go to college; although some schools that are known for a strong engineering program, like VA Tech for example do strike my interest. I do focus on how successful they are in matching what they have learned to the skills I am looking for; that is the most important to me when I an interviewing graduates
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Jason’s Answer

Great question Sam!

While certain subsets of the engineering world may differ, as a hiring manager I can say the the specific school has very little importance. Far more important is the coursework, projects, and aptitude. Much of the interviewing process for an engineer is designed around validating the applicants comprehension of fundamental concepts and abilities. Another factor that is often overlooked is the ability for engineers to collaborate and work effectively with others as engineers rarely work in a bubble.
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Todd’s Answer

For the most part, it does not matter which college you attend. Being able to answer the fundamental questions you are faced with in an interview is key. Show you are confident and are willing to do the best job you can. Show that you have an aptitude for learning. That goes along way.
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Brad’s Answer

Unfortunately there are interviewers that are bias to certain universities. To overcome this you should sell your accomplishments. Try to use numbers to quantify your accomplishments to make it easier to compare for someone reading your resume. This will help separate you from your competition regardless of what university you went to or they went to. Some of the best employees/peers I have ever worked with did not graduate from a prestigious university and some not from any university at all.
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Richie’s Answer

Like many of the others said, the college you attend is not as important as your involvement in extra-curriculars, projects, and communities. What I've found is that certain universities have great connections with certain companies and will get you more one-on-one exposure to hiring managers and recruiters.
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Bill’s Answer

I was asked this question by my nephew when he was considering colleges to attend. I advised him, as a person that has interviewed many candidates at my various employers, an accredited college was the only thing that mattered. Not everyone can go to the big named schools. There are many factors at play when considering where to go, with cost and qualifications among them. Getting an accredited degree generally will get your resume in the consideration pile when openings are available. Community participation and related internships are a plus to most interview panels.
The interview process will drill down and decide your fit, as stated by others. Work hard and do the best you can where ever you get to work on your field of study degree.
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Helene’s Answer

Although the university per se is not that important, sometimes the program is. To give you an example: the fiber/paper industry. Companies will hire students with a chemical engineering degree from any school but if you go to one of the six universities that offer a program specialized in this subset of chemical engineering, then you will have a leg up on the competition. Companies will recruit at those schools more than other schools first. Sometimes, this can also mean that with the right degree program, you can negotiate a higher salary if not at the beginning than in your subsequent positions.
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Simeon’s Answer

Generally, you're not going to find a different employment outcome based on the specific university that you attended. It's up to you to use your connections at college, such as alumni networks and student organizations, to use your university as a place to network and find professional organizations to join.
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Shawn’s Answer

The university must be ABET accredited, if not the school cannot legally issue engineering degrees. And, corporations will not hire from non-ABET accredited schools. Beyond this point, it is principally about you and not the university. You need to do well in classes, show interest in the corporations, network well in advance of graduation, and demonstrate you are a responsible individual.
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Rick’s Answer

I attended a relatively small college and when I began my job search I didn't struggle to find employment opportunities including with Fortune 500 companies. This could be due to the fact that there is high demand with those with a computer science degrees. I think your course work in college, GPA, and other experiences like an internship stand out more than just the name of the college you attend. I do think known and highly thought of colleges do get more attention from the big tech companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, but nonetheless there are plenty of great opportunities. Even if you don't land a job with your dream company right out of college, once you have a couple years of experience under your belt, your opportunities will open up even more and the name of the college you went to matters even less- if at all.
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MaryLee’s Answer

Unless you are looking for a Finance or Legal job in a extremely large city (such as New York City), the college you attend will not make a difference to most hiring managers. Some of the top Legal and Finance companies in NY often only hire from certain universities such as Harvard, Yale, etc. So if you want to work for a specific high profile company, I would check their website to see if where their top personnel graduated from.
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Shawn’s Answer

From an Engineer with 28+ years of experience:

When I interview potential employees recently out of University, I am not looking so much for what school(s) were attended; rather, why they chose Engineering? I am looking for an inner curiosity and drive. As a Mechanical Engineer my favorite question is this: “Did you ever take apart the lawnmower or blender to see what makes it work? I don’t care if you were able to put it back together.” The whole time I ask this question, I watch the interviewee’s face for a reaction. Unfortunately, all too often the response is, “Why would I do that?”. I then know that person is not right for my staff as they entered Engineering for a potentially large paycheck and not a love for the art.

However, those who jubilantly reply something about a similar experience of taking equipment apart are perfect for my staff. These people have the inner curiosity and desire to make machines better. These individuals may or may not have a stellar GPA. So what! GPA doesn’t really reflect how well one will do in the job. Whether or not you graduate with a 2.0 or 4.0, you have earned the title of Engineer. It is now a matter of curiosity and desire that determine your effectiveness in making the employer profits, because the purpose of business is to maximize profits. Those without curiosity and a willingness to make machines better won’t contribute to corporate profits.
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Ian’s Answer

Very little attention is paid to college attended - but it can get you an interview sometimes with a nice CV. It is however irrelevant to securing a job and focus will be given to project work, aptitude and understanding of your skills and personality.
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