Does It Matter Where You Get Your College Degree

Pursuing a college degree is a gamble. Will the time, money and lost opportunity invested be worth the return? As you struggle with the decision to pursue a college degree, one question that always comes up is: which school?

There is a popular perception that a college degree can be more or less valuable based on the school it comes from. There are many sources for this idea: myth, media and even schools themselves.

One of the businesses of a college is to promote themselves to prospective tuition buyers (you may know them as "students"). As the primary reward of a college degree is financial, one of the selling points colleges use is that their degree carries more weight with potential employers.

Outstanding in one Field?
If your college degree is for a specialized profession, then the school it comes from may be very important. Art, law, engineering and medical students can all benefit from attending well respected schools.

Not only are top-rated specialty schools more likely to teach higher quality classes; getting into and graduating from these schools acts as a filter. Employers and graduate level admissions officers will certainly use these college degrees as input when they consider applicants.

Important, But Only Initially
While the school that issued your college degree can be important, that importance diminishes over time. Once you've left college behind and started on your career, your experience and success take center stage.

Your first job hunt may be affected by your college degree and its place of issue, but every other job will depend on the quality of your CV.

The Bottom Line
While the school that issued your college degree may be important, there are other things to consider:

  • The best fit. As you investigate colleges, look for schools where you feel comfortable. Also, consider that schools close by offer advantages in cost, distance from family and reputation with local employers.
  • The best result. When considering a school, ask what percent of their graduates are employed 6 months after graduation, and what is their median income? Reputation aside, some schools are much better at placing graduates than others.
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