What's in a name?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: What's in a name?
By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:16 pm: Edit

Alright. So today, I am sitting through a summer class at my old community college and my professor points to me and tells the class, "Now, for those going to a 2nd tier school, you will have to get GREAT grades to even compete with HIM! I mean DUKE is top notch," yada yada yada. Anyway, so as Im listening to the Rutgers and Baruch graduate tell students that unless they get high grades, they will never get the job over someone who has just graduated from a prestigious school, I raise my hand and tell him, "Sir, I'm not going to Duke, I'm going to UNC Chapel Hill." He goes, "Oh...well it's not Duke, but whatever..." Or something like that.
To make a longer story short, no, UNC Chapel Hill is not Duke at all. And while I clearly understand that OVERALL Duke is ranked a higher institution, Duke cannot touch UNC Chapel Hill in terms of journalism. Why? Because quite frankly, journalism is only a minor offered through its public policy program. So in all reality, (at least when it comes to me) UNC Chapel Hill is better than Duke.
A couple of students came to me upset about the comment the professor made saying that he made them feel "low" about their choice of prospective schools. I told them that the name of the school only matters when an employer or a number of employers graduated from that particular institution; that way, they may get a foot-in-the-door. Other than that, college is what you make of it and it all counts on the experience you have.
I can't type any much longer but consider this situation...
Would you higher someone that has just graduated from a prestigious school with no "real world" experience or a graduate from another school with 3 years experience? Holla back :)

By Davidrune (Davidrune) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:38 pm: Edit

I would "hire" a student from a prestigious school.

By Benjamin (Benjamin) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:46 pm: Edit

Umm, don't ever let anyone tell you UNC is not a quality school, because everyone (well, besides your professor) knows it is.

Anyway, I feel your pain...I hate it when people belittle your school...

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:55 pm: Edit

"Would you higher someone that has just graduated from..."

LOL. My mistake. Well I would hope if I did start spelling like that you would hire the other person.

LOL. My professor could never belittle UNC coming from Rutgers (no offense RU'ers) to the fact that I would be mad. And for people that do their research, the requirements usually ask for experience, not a Harvard degree.

My suggestion to others would be to find a school that works for them and try to gain experience. Of course, the name does help, but it's not everything, you know?

By Arthurd (Arthurd) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:01 pm: Edit

"...the requirements usually ask for experience, not a Harvard degree."

Very well put. I agree with what you've said, and practical experience is worth a name 10 times over.

By Arthurd (Arthurd) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:01 pm: Edit

Oops, submitted twice.

By Ck61188 (Ck61188) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:28 am: Edit

This whole presitgious name thing bothers me too. I'm most likely going to Purdue, which is a big name in engineering, but it doesn't have the same sort of ring to it's name like Princeton, Stanford, MIT, etc. Then i hear from all my genious (maybe not genious, but quie smart... they're all top ten at my school which is one of the best in the kansas city area) friends about their aspirations for Northwestern, Columbia, and Yale. It's slightly bothersome because I know I could go to those schools if I wanted to, but by choosing Purdue for it's programs and environment somehow makes my friends think less of me. It's really sad.

By Wallingf (Wallingf) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:55 pm: Edit

I felt like I had to add my two cents worth. I am an IT manager. I interview and hire. I also have two kids (one in college and one getting ready to go). When looking at colleges, I told my kids:
1) determine what atmosphere & location you are looking for (small, large, rural, urban, east coast, west coast). You have to live there for 4+ years - you better like it, or you will be miserable and not do well.
2) next, identify those schools that offer a good program in the area(s) you are interested in. They don't have to be #1, but they should be sound.
3) finally, when you have THAT list, choose the best one you can get into. Not everyone will get into an Ivy, not everyone belongs in one, and not everyone wants to BE in one (how scary would that be :-) )

Going to the "best" college is pointless, if you aren't happy or cannot get the education you want.

Now, with that said, would I hire someone with a degree from Syracuse before someone with a degree from little unknown college down the road that takes everyone and their brother? Assuming the interview went well - yes, of course. But would I hire someone with a degree from Yale (Top 50) over someone with a degree from UConn (Tier 2)? Not necessarily. It would depend on the interview, courses taken, GPA, experience, etc.

Ivy-level educations definitely open more doors, initially, for people. But after that, it is what you do with your first job. I have a degree from a low-Tier 2 school and have many Ivys working for me, as well as others with Tier 2 degrees and Community College degrees. It's not that the Ivys are underacheivers (they make VERY good money), it's just that the others have proven they are just as capable.

Get your education at the best place FOR YOU - and then do a great job at your first place of hire. If you are good, it will all balance out eventually.

Hope this helps!

By Hayden (Hayden) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:27 pm: Edit

I agree ! Good post. When I interview someone, I look at the cv first. If someone went to a great school, I assume they're smart. If they went to a really low ranked school (and I'm not taking 2nd tier, I'm talking low), then I'm more attentive to signs of whether they're bright or not. I don't assume they're not - I just pay attention to that.

But other than that, it's how they come across in the interview.

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:45 pm: Edit

Which comes back to what the main point is. Yes, the name MAY help in some aspects.

For example, if a Northwestern graduate is applying for a job where there is a great number of Northwestern alumni, then they may get the upperhand.

However, the bottom line is: the school doesn't make who you are and what you become, your determination and drive does. That is exactly why there are people that graduated from lower ranked universities may get picked.

I have to admit though, I was guilty for thinking that a name meant everything, but once I started researching the job industry in MY field in particular, I saw that experience guarantees you a job, not a $80,000 degree.

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