Does going to a selective college matter?


Posted by Ryan DeVito on 26 August 2018

Many high school students have tunnel vision when it comes to college admissions, looking only at prestige when sending applications. Does prestige really matter for your career, though?

Check out this enlightening article from The Atlantic. It turns out that prestige doesn't matter for some majors. Ten years after college, graduates with majors in engineering, the humanities, and the sciences are generally earning similar amounts regardless of their alma mater's reputation. Students looking for careers in these field can rest easy knowing that their livelihood will not be sapped by an "average" college. Students pursuing majors in business and social science fields, however, need to be thinking about the reputation of their school. Income variance between elite and second-tier college graduates can be enormous.

Of course, all of this analysis has to be taken cautiously. It is important to remember that students who attend top colleges are, in general, more likely to achieve career success because they already have all of the qualities that allow them to do so. Top students are more likely to excel no matter how prestigious their college is. It is also important to keep in mind that elite business and social science students may have an advantage in career earning not because of their alma mater's prestige, but rather because of the internship, networking, and research opportunities that they were able to pursue while attending their prestigious university.

What do you think about college prestige as it relates to career success? We would love to hear your thoughts below.