Is the college I go really so important?
I know that some colleges are better than others but at the end of the day is it just about the degree? Lots of people tell me it doesn’t matter where you go as long as you get the information. But there’s a reason some schools costs so much more- is the quality of education worth it? I don’t want 4 years to cripple me financially, especially if I’m not sure what it’s worth.
#payingforcollege #college #financial-planning #college-tuition
Lynette is right about choosing a school for its reputation, accreditation, and whether or not it will give you a competitive edge over other recent-grads in the same field. You can also save money, but still end up with the same prestigious diploma by starting at a smaller school or getting an Associate's degree before transferring to the more expensive school. That way, you still have the big school degree, but you didn't spend way more than necessary to get it. However, that isn't a necessity for your future.
In my experience, the school you attend is really secondary. Your experience before entering the job market is absolutely critical. The more experience you have before applying to your dream job, the more likely they are to hire you. You might be up against a Harvard grad for the same job, but if they've never had any experience in the position, and you have 2 years experience in internships, part-time jobs, and other experiential learning, you will probably get hired over the other person. All of the experience doesn't even have to directly apply to the position. Employers love to see leadership roles, good teamwork, charitable work, and that you have a passion for something.
Now, none of this is infallible. There will be employers who value the school name over the experience, and vice versa. In reality, the end-game is to be prepared for a job you want in a company you'd want to work for. When it comes to looking for jobs, the most important thing is to be a well-rounded individual who is put-together, prepared, and excited to join the workforce. Also, get your foot in the door. If there is a company you absolutely want to work for, look for opportunities to get in. Interview a member of the company for a school project, volunteer, ask about internships. Don't overdo it and annoy them, but don't shy away from trying to get what you want.
As long as your degree will be earned from an accredited program at a reputable college or university, it should meet the degree requirement for most jobs that require one. So, you don’t necessarily need to invest in a more expensive school.
But, it might be worth considering a more expensive college, if that school or program will give you a compelling edge over other candidates. If your desired career field will be extremely competitive, it may be worth investing a little more, and going to the best school you can, for that industry. You’ll be buying yourself the best possible chance of getting where you want to go in the future.
For example, let’s say you are applying for marketing jobs after college, and there are thousands of other applicants, all with college degrees. If your degree is from a well-known school with a reputation for having an excellent marketing program, then it may help your resume stand out from the rest.
If, on the other hand, you aren’t sure what you want to do yet, I’d suggest choosing a less expensive, but still reputable school, and taking full advantage of the programs they offer. Use the time to figure out where you want to go and what you want to do next. You can always earn additional certifications or pursue a Master’s degree, later, if you find you need them. Lots of reputable schools offer programs for working professionals that can help boost your career, after college. A well-respected Executive at my company, for example, went back to school for a Master’s degree and completed an executive leadership program at an Ivy-League school to boost his credentials, so he could better compete for jobs and promotions within the leadership ranks at our company.
Lynette recommends the following next steps: