1 answer

Do employers care whether I earned my degree from a four-year or a community college?

Asked Sacramento, California

I'm trying to understand whether employers place a lot of emphasis on where a potential employee get their degree. I want to save money by transferring from a community college to a four-year, but I'm worried it may cheapen my profile when I start looking for a career. I have commonly heard the saying that college courses are fairly similar, no matter where you go. Does a degree from a four-year university give an employee an advantage? Does a degree from a private four-year give an employee more edge over earning the same degree at a public four-year?

#help #degree #publicvsprivate #employers #save #transfer

1 answer

Dhairya’s Answer

Updated Boston, Massachusetts
In general a 4 year bachelors degree is more valuable than a 2 year associates degree. Employers will not care if you went to a community college and then transferred into a 4 year college. In fact, it's a great way to save money. In the grand scheme of things where you went to college won't matter, but going to college and having a 4 year degree is a requirement for nearly most jobs out there. In your early years, some elite private college graduates may have an easier time getting access to more high profile jobs (e.g. Google or Mckinsey) as those types of employers tend to hire based on pedigree. But realistically, that advantage will even out with experience. So 5 years later, employers will care less about where you went to college and more about the work experiences you've accumulated. Additionally, the quality of education most public state college is really good. In fact the honors programs at public school are competitive with elite private schools. So you won't be missing out at all. What is more important is getting internship and work experience while in school. Most of the opportunities I had available to me were because I worked in my college IT helpdesk and developed web development skills volunteering with nonprofits. Employers want essentially graduates that have a good work ethic, can be self motivated, and learn new things quickly. Internship and work experience is a great way to make yourself more marketable. Additionally, internship programs are used by companies to recruit students and many student interns are offered a full-time position post graduation. So in short: 1. Get a 4 year degree if you can 2. Choose the most cost-effective way to get that degree ( go public if is cheaper, go 2 year and transfer to 4 year if that is appealing) 3. Get internship and work experience while you're a student.
Updated
Thank you for answering! it's definitely been helpful to get outside opinions. On a little side note: I definitely want to do research on campus, as soon as possible. Do you believe that would that would make me as competitive as getting an outside internship?
Updated
My pleasure. Breaking up my response into several comments due to words restrictions.Depends on your goals. In general forming mentored relationships with college faculty is a great experience. If you have the capacity to both, would definitely recommend that option (e.g. do research during the semester and do an internship in the summer when you're out of school).
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If you have to choose, think about your goals. Research experience is great if you're looking to apply to graduate programs and wanting to do academic research. Sometimes there is interesting overlap between research and the professional space. E.g. doing policy research or business research may give opportunities at say a think thank or consulting firm. In computer science, research in cutting edge fields like deep learning or machine learning will open up doors to industrial research jobs (e.g. data scientist, AI researcher/engineer, etc).
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On the flip side, internships are usually the most direct way to get professional experience and direct access to post graduation employment opportunities. Many companies like to use internships as pipeline and recruiting mechanism to hire undergrads.