Do employers care where you went to college?
Top-notch schools are often said to be worth the higher price in part because it gives them a professional and economic boost. But does it really?
This post comes from Mitchell Weiss at partner site Credit.com.
Some 15 years ago, my wife and I attended a barbecue fundraiser for a local nonprofit. As we made our way through the crowd, I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.
Jack (not his real name) was the CFO of a good-sized public company. After catching up on work, family and mutual friends, we moved on to a topic that was at the top of the list for parents of college-age children: the schools our kids were considering.
Soon, what had until that point been a pleasant conversation, suddenly became much less so.
Jack has a very hard-core view on the matter: Unless his kids got into top-notch schools, their professional and economic futures weren’t likely to amount to much. To drive that point home, he summed up his own résumé evaluation process this way.
"I look at the school first and toss anything less than second-tier."
I could feel the back of my neck heating up.
"If that’s the case," I said, "then what about first-generation students like me?" (My dad made it through sixth grade and my mom, a few years more.) "What about those of us who worked our way through night school at a local college? We wouldn’t stand a chance!"
Sadly, a majority of American adults share my friend’s view.
According to a recent survey that was conducted by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation, when it comes to finding well-paying employment, 80% of Americans said that school choice is either very (30 percent) or somewhat (50 percent) important.
Fortunately, however, those who sign payroll checks don’t share that opinion.
Of the 623 business leaders who were also surveyed, only 9 percent responded that where a job candidate earns his or her degree is very important, and 37 percent believe it is somewhat so.
That’s good news for students and their families.
Those who need a longer or less costly runway for their academic pursuits shouldn’t fret about the consequences of their personal circumstances. Even when school choice matters, where you start isn’t nearly as important as where you finish -- as long as you do.
Students and their families should also view these findings as yet another reason to “shop the competition,” which, according to the Cooperative Institutional Research Institute’s annual Freshman Survey, is precisely what’s taking place as roughly one-quarter of students who were accepted by their first-choice colleges and universities had elected to attend other schools. Nearly 60% cited financial considerations -- tuition costs, insufficient financial aid and so forth -- even though roughly the same percentage said that school choice remained a "very important" consideration.
When it came time to send our own kids to college, my wife and I focused on several factors including curricula diversity (because our kids didn’t have a clue about what they wanted to be), proximity (because travel expenses have to be taken into account), "fit" (because it was their life -- not ours), and, of course, cost (because our family’s resources weren’t unlimited).
Money and school choice aside, however, which should matter more: the knowledge a job candidate may have acquired during the course of an academic career or how he or she uses it? It’s heartening to know that a majority of those 623 business surveyed leaders think the latter.
More from Credit.com:
- How to consolidate student loans
- Can you get your student loans forgiven?
- How student loans can impact your credit
Hard, smart work gets you in the end zone.
I do pay attention to where a person went to school. It matters, and here's why:
Any person who takes on tens of thousands of dollars in debt to go to a 'name brand' university is CLERALY too stupid to be able to function in the real world! I will NOT hire any person who has a boatload of debt because of their insecurity driven need to attend some specific 'name brand' school!
I want the 'state school' kids! The community college, worked their way through kids! Because they get it. They worked for what they wanted, instead of borrowed to buy a degree. And if I can get a kid that served in the military to get some of his college money and then worked his way through, even better!
The fact that ANY hiring manager wouldn't understand that is a sure sign of why America is in such decline. because any person that doesn't know that 'name brand' degrees mean less motivated employees, has no business being in charge of anything, much less hiring!
I know I will get ripped for this post. But only by the people who buy crap because of the label, instead of quality regardless of the label.
I put myself through as much college as I could afford, then switched to manual labor trades.
I should have skipped college and gone straight into the Skilled Trades. But, back in my day, and even in this day, it isn't talked about...
Why no one two or three generations from the boat that brought their immigrant ancestors to the USA wants to work with their body and hands, anymore, I will never know.
Ah well, the student loan business is booming, and many a younger won't be affording a house anytime soon. And, unlike what a recent article I read posited...it is not because they are slackers. Many of them are also deciding not to buy automobiles, right now, either. It is going to be an interesting for the next 43 years or so...that is for sure.
Undergraduate is not as important as long as you have excellent grades and do well on GRE, etc.
Obviously an Ivy league or Stanford is not to be sensed at.
I believe it becomes much more important at the graduate level. Whether in business or academia, highly rated graduate schools really count for employment opportunities
This article could've been written with that one word.
I believe a lot of it matters what field you are in.
I am an Architect, I went to a good but smaller school here in Texas. Most of the Firms I have worked for or with definitely have a alma mater mindset. One firm, most of the top Architectural partners Graduated from U of Texas and the really top partners played football there too. A lot of the Engineers at that firm came from Kansas State.
I have several friends that are MD's that all work for a certain Hospital group, every one of them attended the same school, UT Southwestern and they try and recruit from there first when possible.
I agree however with the story for the most part, the required degree is the most important factor in the hiring process. Hell, no one even ever ask for proof of college or degree anymore, I know my firm doesn't
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