Does the right college matter?

#3
There are tiers of colleges and YES they do influence what doors open and your colleagues for you in the first 15 years of your career. But the greatest influence is the individual not the college. That being said if you were at Stanford from 1994-1996 your life could be very very different.

Wanna get into Wall street?? You better have the right college pedigree.

Sometimes it is pure right time/right place. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs getting together. Or being in the valley when the computer industry was just starting up Like Hewlett and Packard.

From an education standpoint, we have gotten away from brain developing deep thinking projects and moved to fact based education that fits well into a multiple choice or T/F questions. The most important skill that can be derived from a HS education is critical reading, critical writing and logic developing mathematics.

What I see as the difference between Universities is the rigor level of the lowest students. How developed and exercised is the brain of the student getting into the school or major. in general, the curriculum rigor and expectations is derived from the lowest students. If a school is too rigorous for the student, it loses students and revenue. I am appalled at the lack of rigor and expectations for today's HS student.

HS Students need to be challenged with more critical reading, more writing and more mathematical homework. These are the activities that develop brains. You would not develop a football team lifting 2 pound weights, yet we are producing students that have not put in the rigor as student to compete against their worldwide peers. Our current HS curriculum and expectations are producing 2 pound lifting brains. When we stopped letting kids fail by lowering the standards for success, we stopped expecting them to grow.
 
#4
We recently took our strait A AP student out of school for three days - 60% of a full week. She returned to school and I expected her evening to be filled with reading writing and math homework. To my surprise, none. How is that possible?? We had 1-2 hours of math homework and various other homework to complete per day. Roughly 10-12 hours per week.

Is the bar sitting on the floor for our students to crawl over??
 
#5
Thanks for posting this... very interesting article. We actually just visited/toured 2 colleges over spring break with our son. Univ. of Arkansas and Oklahoma State and were pretty impressed with what we saw. Not Ivy League schools but at the end of the day, isn't a degree a degree?
 
#6
I'd say the only thing that big name colleges get you is just having it on your resume. It might open some doors since there are companies who like to recruit from specific schools or well known schools, etc.

Once I got my first job, my college experience has since become irrelevant. If you have to rely on what college you went to 15 years into your carrier, I imagine career performance must be lacking.

Networking > Experience > School
 

JJFrisco

Double Platinum
#7
College is about getting your first job. Different "tiers" of companies will recruit at different tiers of schools. You are going to see different companies recruiting at Harvard than you would at UT and a different set of companies at say UNT.

After that first job, it becomes mostly about your on the job accomplishments and much less about your degree.
 

bobomatic

Silver Member
#8
I don't think the "right" college matters but in the larger picture I think the cost matters. The cost of diminishing returns is quickly approaching for a degree. Take this article for example: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/20...-students-protest-potential-uc-tuition-hikes/ The arrogance is pretty astounding 5% a year tuition increases for the last 5 years... and then the "hot mike" comments to rub it in.

We need universities without a doubt. . but somethings gotta give. Whatever college you decide to go to, unless your well funded and planned ahead, most graduates are going to be paying for a quite a while. I went the CC route and then university to save some money, but I've had colleagues tell me it took them up to 15+ years to pay off their college loans.
 
#9
Thanks for posting this... very interesting article. We actually just visited/toured 2 colleges over spring break with our son. Univ. of Arkansas and Oklahoma State and were pretty impressed with what we saw. Not Ivy League schools but at the end of the day, isn't a degree a degree?
No, A degree is evidence of successful mastery of a broad array of subject matters (bachelors) and an additional level of competance in a specialization. The degree carries with it not only the specialization but the underlying institution's reputation of rigor and excellence. A successful bachelor's degree student should be able to intelligently discuss a wide array of topics from Humanities to the Arts to Business or Science.

A Business degree from Harvard does not equal a business degree from University of Iowa nor does it equal an engineering degree from Cal Poly. Each degree has it's own merit and reputation - when the tassle moves from left to right the graduate represents not only their subject matter but the University as well.
 

Geck

Platinum Member
#10
No, A degree is evidence of successful mastery of a broad array of subject matters (bachelors) and an additional level of competance in a specialization. The degree carries with it not only the specialization but the underlying institution's reputation of rigor and excellence. A successful bachelor's degree student should be able to intelligently discuss a wide array of topics from Humanities to the Arts to Business or Science.

A Business degree from Harvard does not equal a business degree from University of Iowa nor does it equal an engineering degree from Cal Poly. Each degree has it's own merit and reputation - when the tassle moves from left to right the graduate represents not only their subject matter but the University as well.

That was the Jist of this. Unless you are going to a high level institution like a Harvard, Yale, Stanford et al which 99% of us are not going to do, You are in no better position from school to school. IMHO it means less if you have a liberal arts degree. To your point though some degrees are regionalized. I had a friend early in my career who graduated with an MBA from SMUs cox school of business. Apparently that is one of top MBA programs in the country. He tried getting on with Fidelity Investments in Boston. They said you graduated from SM...who? they didn't care. a Texas MBA with all the prominent school outside their doors in Boston meant little.

To me this is all a business. We attended a presentation given at Collin College last year for by a former head of admissions at Harvard. She said that unless your kiddo was attending a top 10% school 85% of the kids who apply to a school will be accepted. We spend too much time emphasizing going to just the right school when in reality it won't matter one bit.

College is what you make of it and too many people nowadays trade a $200k four year college tuition for a $35-$40k a year job once they graduated. Not a good ROI in my opinion.
 

Rooster

Silver Member
#11
It does matter somewhat.

Not all Universities are created equal, and employers notice this. When we hire, locally, SMU, TCU, Baylor, UT, ATM, et al will get your foot in the door.

University of Phoenix, Amberton, etc go straight to the trash.

People who can get into upper tier universities show a certain level of motivation and intelligence, otherwise they wouldn't be there.

I'm not saying you can't go to University of Phoenix and be successful, I'm just saying it may be harder to get an interview when compared to your competition.


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#12
It does matter somewhat.

Not all Universities are created equal, and employers notice this. When we hire, locally, SMU, TCU, Baylor, UT, ATM, et al will get your foot in the door.

University of Phoenix, Amberton, etc go straight to the trash.

People who can get into upper tier universities show a certain level of motivation and intelligence, otherwise they wouldn't be there.

I'm not saying you can't go to University of Phoenix and be successful, I'm just saying it may be harder to get an interview when compared to your competition.


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Just curious Rooster.... what about schools like Texas Tech, OU, Univ of Arkansas, Oklahoma State, etc? Colleges are ultra competitive these days and not all kids can get into the schools you mentioned, even good students. I know several that have been denied to UT, A&M and Baylor. 3 of the schools you listed are private and about $50k per year before scholarships. etc. My son is a sophmore and we are in the very early phases of visiting colleges. Just curious since we are starting this process :)
 
#13
I spoke with one recruiter and she mentioned that each University seems to put out certain people. Rice for team oriented technicals, A&M for rule following positions, Texas for free spirit creatives.

Recruiters form opinions on just a few items.
 
#14
Many of the people I work with (my age) that graduated from top tier schools aren't that impressive. It's frustrating that there are a lot of good people who would run circles around others in the corporate world that never get a chance because of where they went (or rather, didn't go) to school.

Just because you go to a top tier school doesn't guarantee these people will be able to handle the real world. In many cases, they don't. I know people who went to UT, have a Bachelors degree in a good field, and could/should have a job, but make jack squat and still live at home with their parents.
 

mrwo1

Platinum Member
#15
Many of the people I work with (my age) that graduated from top tier schools aren't that impressive. It's frustrating that there are a lot of good people who would run circles around others in the corporate world that never get a chance because of where they went (or rather, didn't go) to school.

Just because you go to a top tier school doesn't guarantee these people will be able to handle the real world. In many cases, they don't. I know people who went to UT, have a Bachelors degree in a good field, and could/should have a job, but make jack squat and still live at home with their parents.
See our Ivy League graduate president.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
#16
It does matter somewhat.

Not all Universities are created equal, and employers notice this. When we hire, locally, SMU, TCU, Baylor, UT, ATM, et al will get your foot in the door.

University of Phoenix, Amberton, etc go straight to the trash.

People who can get into upper tier universities show a certain level of motivation and intelligence, otherwise they wouldn't be there.

I'm not saying you can't go to University of Phoenix and be successful, I'm just saying it may be harder to get an interview when compared to your competition.


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What's the issue with Amberton? That it only has regional accreditation?
 

Mom+4

Silver Member
#19
I worked with a guy with a degree from Wharton. The guy couldn't deliver a marketing plan if his life depended on it. He could spend days on writing tomes about the product, service and what the marketing plan should be - theoretically. However he couldn't distill the product description down into manageable, marketable information (ie soundbites and nuggets of information) nor could he break down the marketing plan into a real-world, actionable plan within the company's budget and timeline.

But he had a degree from Wharton.
 
#20
My take is that unless you are attending a very top tier school (Yale, Harvard, etc) it does not matter to most companies. A small percentage of companies will place a higher value on certain schools, but usually because some of the management team attended there. I work with a Logistics company based in Houston (they do just over $1B in sales) that prefers to hire UNT grads. Now, UNT does have a good Supply Chain Management program, but the real reason is that the President graduated from UNT.

I think you have to remember that colleges are in business to do one thing......MAKE MONEY. They want to sell you a product (a degree from their college) and have you believe it's better than anyone else. It's really not much different than the automakers trying to sell you a Mustang or a Camaro or a whatever car. The "sales" pitches all feel pretty much the same if you can take a step back. In fact, I interviewed a person a few years for an entry level job. Job paid 40-50k and was stated as that in the posting. Person showed up with a printout from his college for what the pay range was he should make. It was way more than our job paid, when I re-enforced the pay the answer was "I can't work for that, I can't even pay my student loan debt with that salary". Colleges are setting unrealistic expectations for kids entering the workforce.

We used two junior / senior college interns last summer. One from A&M, one from UT Dallas. Neither could stand in front of a room and present an idea, neither could build a basic business case for the real world, and neither could do basic .PPT presentations. They were good kids that worked hard but didn't know much. They didn't get the intern idea much either (you know getting coffee, getting a meeting room ready, etc). They both wanted to know where their summer office would be. Yeah, like they expected a real office with a door......WHY? Because that's what the professors told them to expect. The days of expecting to hire in at the bottom and work your rear-end off to get up the ladder are past.

End of the day, Colleges are selling a product and my belief is that only the very top tier make much difference.