Does it Matter Where You Go To College?

There’s a belief that if you attend a more elite institution to earn your degree, you’ll achieve more success and land a better job. If you find yourself applying to colleges and wondering, “Does it matter where you go to college?” you may be surprised to find out that the answer depends on many variables. You may question if it means less to earn an online degree versus attending an on-campus institution? Does an Ivy league diploma count for more than one from a traditional state school?

While the numbers show that the most highly paid employees do come from the most highly selective schools, the research also ends up telling the story that the most telltale marker of one’s future is, in fact, the student’s work ethic and perseverance. For example, of the top eight Ivy league schools in America, less than 10% received admissions offers. This shows just how competitive and elusive these schools are so it’s obvious that even without attending these institutions, people can still pursue purposeful and passionate paths.

Let’s take a look at all sides of the coin by checking out the pros and cons of attending an elite college, as well as the differences between attending a traditional institution versus an online university.

What Is an Elite College?

For the purposes of this article, elite colleges are the most selective, prestigious colleges in the country. These colleges are seen as the gold standard, and that’s why so many students spend years of hard work and worry to try to get into these schools. Some examples of elite colleges are the Ivy League schools, MIT, Stanford, and the University of Chicago. If you’re looking for a complete list, I’d include the top 15 National Universities and the top 5 National Liberal Arts schools in US News on this list of revered super schools.

There are a number of reasons why going to a more prestigious school can benefit your future. Below, I’ll detail some of the most important benefits of attending an elite college.

Keep in mind that I’m focusing on the potential financial and professional benefits of going to a top college. Additionally, elite colleges may challenge you more academically, and you may enjoy surrounding yourself with other incredibly motivated and successful students. On the other hand, some of the classes at top schools may make you feel overwhelmed. You may feel compelled to select a less rigorous major, or you may not have time to do as many extracurricular activities or have an enjoyable social life.

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Graduates of Elite Schools Are More Likely to Have Future Financial and Professional Success

Probably, the main reason students and their parents care about gaining admission to top colleges is because they believe that attending one of these schools is a ticket to future success. While it’s difficult to prove that going to an elite college makes you successful, there’s a strong relationship between attending an elite school and being successful.

On average, graduates from elite schools make more money, and degrees from many elite schools provide the best return on your college investment. Also, while only 2%-5% of all US undergraduates graduate from top schools, 38% of Fortune 500 company CEOs and 44.8% of billionaires graduated from elite institutions. Similarly, of Forbes’s most powerful people, 55.9% of powerful women and 85.2% of powerful men attended elite schools.

Graduates of Top Schools Are More Likely to Graduate

Even if you believe that all college degrees are equal, the top schools tend to have the highest graduation rates. Those who attend the most prestigious schools are much more likely to get degrees.

For example, Harvard’s graduation rate is 98%. Meanwhile, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a significantly less selective state school, has a graduation rate of 76%. Cal State Los Angeles, a California State University school, has a graduation rate of 41%.

There are a number of factors that may contribute to the varying graduation rates. The most selective schools only admit top students; therefore, almost all of their students possess the necessary motivation to ensure that they graduate. Also, selective schools, particularly selective private schools, may offer more support services and guidance that result in higher graduation rates.

Finally, some of the larger, less selective state schools have a higher percentage of low-income and nontraditional students. These students face additional obstacles that can prevent them from graduating.

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Low-Income Students May Benefit the Most From Going to a Top School

A widely read study determined that, for students admitted to elite schools, choosing to attend a somewhat selective school like Penn State over the most selective schools like Harvard didn’t impact future earnings for the majority. However, the payoff of attending elite colleges was greater for economically disadvantaged students.

The majority of college applicants are high school seniors, and most of the college application advice out there is aimed at them. But what do you do if you don’t fall into this narrow category? Our eBook on how to prepare for and apply to college as a nontraditional student will walk you through everything you need to know, from the coursework you should have under your belt to how to get letters of recommendation when you’re not a high school senior.

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Does It Matter Where You Go to College?

How involved are you in the college process right now? What messages have you gotten from your parents, teachers and others about the importance of getting into the right school? What do you believe?

— What is your reaction to Mr. Bruni’s idea that where you go to college matters less than “the effort you put into your studies, the earnestness with which you hone your skills, what you actually learn”?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment below. Please use only your first name. For privacy policy reasons, we will not publish student comments that include a last name.

I think that it does matter where you go to college at. But it all depends on how much effort you put into it, what you are going to college for, and the career outlook for that particular job. I don’t feel incredibly pressured about getting into the right college but I do try hard so that I am able to get into the college I want to go to.

I think that it matters because you might have tradition in your family or you might want to a college for a specific thing and you want to go to the one with the best teachers and that really know that subject.

While resource-rich colleges offer great opportunities, I have seen students waste their time (and parents’ money) at Amherst and I have seen students receive wonderful, priceless educations at the Sage Colleges.

Hi Mr. Lundquist — This feature is for students only, and we don’t ordinarily approve comments by adults. But your note is so useful (and so echoes Frank Bruni’s) that I happily added it. Thank you! –Katherine (editor)

When picking a college it may not be as easy as looking for the college that is the most elite for you. Colleges vary in approach to the student because of overall enrollment and cost to the student. Elite colleges price out the students from lower socially economic income families. Choices become more for the ability to finish by family our individual to pay. After 43 years of working with students at the K-12 and higher education levels I have been more impressed with the not the college but the graduates motivation to succeed with their education under their belt. America has infinite possibilities with alternatives for school. It is what you do with your degree. It is not so much where you start but more where you end up.

As of right now it doesn’t matter what college I goes to. At the same time it does because the college I go to must have the major I want and have a good enviroment. The college I go to have a scholarship that I am qualified for, so that some of my needs for college are paid for. I have applied to a lot of college and out of those choices it doesn’t matter. What ever college comes along that I may consider going to will just be added to the list. And out of that list I will pick my final decision. All in all where I go to college only matter if the college have my major, other than that then it doesn’t.

This is a very interesting topic for me today because yesterday I was talking to my neighbor who is an elderly man and he said to me ” It really doesn’t matter where you go to school at, what matter is the professors there that teach” I thought about what he said all night and I concur with him on this opinion. At the end of the day, you do need your professor to teach you the materials and if they are a good teacher, you will have all of the qualifications you need once you graduate.

Does it matter where I go to college?
Ofcourse it matters, I haven’t maintained a 3.7 over all for nothing. I deserve to go to a good school and I know that with the amount of effort I have put into finishing school the right way the college has a big part of my future. Going to college is something that matters greatly because it affects how your life will be and how your kids will live.

Yes it matter where you go to college. It matter what college you go according to what your career is in life. All colleges don’t have all the same majors. Its important to pick the college that best fits you. My advice to high school juniors would be know where you want to go and be somewhere safe, focus on your classes and know what you want to go to college to major in.

I think the location of the location of the school will more important than the name of the school. For instance, you don’t want to study high tech computer programming in a school, you would be better off going to a school near areas as Silicon Valley, Seattle, etc. If you want to study business, you go to business centers such as schools in New York. In some cases it takes some research. I grew up in an area where the school was one of the premier math and bioinformatics schools in the world yet it is right next to tobacco country. Obviously, that does not fit in the predefined definitions above, but if someone had done their research, they would’ve seen that. So, check out the areas, do the research, and get the best bang for the buck!

Source:

https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/does-it-matter-where-you-go-to-college/
https://blog.prepscholar.com/does-it-matter-where-you-go-to-college
https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/03/does-it-matter-where-you-go-to-college/
Does It Matter Where You Go to College?

Does It Matter Where You Go to College?

How involved are you in the college process right now? What messages have you gotten from your parents, teachers and others about the importance of getting into the right school? What do you believe?

— What is your reaction to Mr. Bruni’s idea that where you go to college matters less than “the effort you put into your studies, the earnestness with which you hone your skills, what you actually learn”?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment below. Please use only your first name. For privacy policy reasons, we will not publish student comments that include a last name.

I think that it does matter where you go to college at. But it all depends on how much effort you put into it, what you are going to college for, and the career outlook for that particular job. I don’t feel incredibly pressured about getting into the right college but I do try hard so that I am able to get into the college I want to go to.

I think that it matters because you might have tradition in your family or you might want to a college for a specific thing and you want to go to the one with the best teachers and that really know that subject.

While resource-rich colleges offer great opportunities, I have seen students waste their time (and parents’ money) at Amherst and I have seen students receive wonderful, priceless educations at the Sage Colleges.

Hi Mr. Lundquist — This feature is for students only, and we don’t ordinarily approve comments by adults. But your note is so useful (and so echoes Frank Bruni’s) that I happily added it. Thank you! –Katherine (editor)

When picking a college it may not be as easy as looking for the college that is the most elite for you. Colleges vary in approach to the student because of overall enrollment and cost to the student. Elite colleges price out the students from lower socially economic income families. Choices become more for the ability to finish by family our individual to pay. After 43 years of working with students at the K-12 and higher education levels I have been more impressed with the not the college but the graduates motivation to succeed with their education under their belt. America has infinite possibilities with alternatives for school. It is what you do with your degree. It is not so much where you start but more where you end up.

As of right now it doesn’t matter what college I goes to. At the same time it does because the college I go to must have the major I want and have a good enviroment. The college I go to have a scholarship that I am qualified for, so that some of my needs for college are paid for. I have applied to a lot of college and out of those choices it doesn’t matter. What ever college comes along that I may consider going to will just be added to the list. And out of that list I will pick my final decision. All in all where I go to college only matter if the college have my major, other than that then it doesn’t.

This is a very interesting topic for me today because yesterday I was talking to my neighbor who is an elderly man and he said to me ” It really doesn’t matter where you go to school at, what matter is the professors there that teach” I thought about what he said all night and I concur with him on this opinion. At the end of the day, you do need your professor to teach you the materials and if they are a good teacher, you will have all of the qualifications you need once you graduate.

Does it matter where I go to college?
Ofcourse it matters, I haven’t maintained a 3.7 over all for nothing. I deserve to go to a good school and I know that with the amount of effort I have put into finishing school the right way the college has a big part of my future. Going to college is something that matters greatly because it affects how your life will be and how your kids will live.

Yes it matter where you go to college. It matter what college you go according to what your career is in life. All colleges don’t have all the same majors. Its important to pick the college that best fits you. My advice to high school juniors would be know where you want to go and be somewhere safe, focus on your classes and know what you want to go to college to major in.

I think the location of the location of the school will more important than the name of the school. For instance, you don’t want to study high tech computer programming in a school, you would be better off going to a school near areas as Silicon Valley, Seattle, etc. If you want to study business, you go to business centers such as schools in New York. In some cases it takes some research. I grew up in an area where the school was one of the premier math and bioinformatics schools in the world yet it is right next to tobacco country. Obviously, that does not fit in the predefined definitions above, but if someone had done their research, they would’ve seen that. So, check out the areas, do the research, and get the best bang for the buck!

Resource:

https://archive.nytimes.com/learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/03/does-it-matter-where-you-go-to-college/

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