One of the biggest factors people are now considering when applying to colleges is whether their degree will help them find employment and a good starting salary. Since the job market, especially for young adults, has become increasingly competitive in the last few years, many are worried not only about choosing their major and doing well in their classes but how the college they attend will impact their ability to get a job. The experts are divided on whether the college someone selects will matter to employers. While there is no definitive yes or no, understanding when it may be important could help someone with their choices.
Circumstances Where College Selection Doesn't Matter
According to an article from Time Magazine, where you go to school is not as important as in the past because employers are more focused on skills than the college an individual attended. According to the author, hiring managers and employers are looking for a robust skill set, and they are more interested in what you know than where you learned it.
In the past high-cost private schools did improve someone's job prospects, but now faculty at institutions of all prices and levels of prestige are excellent. The author backs up his arguments by citing a study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research that indicates that where someone chooses to go to school has little impact on their job satisfaction or salary.
When People Need To Be Choosy About Where They Attend School
However, another expert, this one from The Atlantic, says that where you go to school does matter, and he also has a study that backs up his point of view. There are institutions, especially ivy league schools and those with name recognition, that can improve someone's earning and employment potential, especially in the cases of graduate work. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, both someone's grade point average and their school of choice are determining factors in their earnings.
This is especially true in fields like medicine and business, where having a diploma from the right college is nearly a prerequisite for employment for some organizations. However, if someone is going to graduate school, their undergraduate college means far less than where their master's or doctorate came from.
Don't Forget To Consider Return On Investment
In many cases, having a degree from a less expensive or less well-known school can be mitigated by a high grade point average and interning at the right places. However, if someone is going into a highly competitive field, they should also consider the cost of their education compared to their improved earning potential. Going to a well-known but less expensive state school may save students tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt and still provide them with ample career and earning opportunities.
Another important consideration is the reputation that a school has within someone's chosen major. There are many state schools that have outstanding programs, such as in the case of Georgia Tech, which has one of the best engineering schools in the country, and it is on par with many private and far more expensive colleges. Sometimes going to a prestigious school means finding one that carries cachet in their field of study, not selecting the most costly and exclusive private school.