What's in a (college/university) Name?

Will I get a better job, or choice of jobs, or more phone calls for interviews, if my resume shows I got my degree from the old, expensive, private univerity vs the community college?
Yeah, I know this isn’t a Great Debate…(but in my head it is---- as I ponder the $20K I’ll pay back for the student loans).

This probably should be in IMHO. But it is a good question. I’ve worked for well known, big, companies, and they all limit recruiting to a select set of better known colleges in their field. Most will look at resumes from everywhere, but those from better known and ranked places have an edge. That is certainly not true for every job. What will you be majoring in, and where do you see yourself working?

You have a better chance of an interview with better brand on the resume. Some firms ONLY interview at the top schools as well.

Best of luck.

Well, considering that the only degree most community colleges offer is an Associate’s degree, and most old, expensive, private colleges don’t offer two-year degrees at all, there’s a certain element of comparing apples to oranges in the question as it’s worded. If you’re asking whether two years at the community college + two years at old, expensive private university will look worse than four years at old, expensive private university, the answer is probably no, assuming the credits transfer properly and the standard of education at the community college is high enough that you’re not completely lost at the private college. (You may, of course, be missing out on a few opportunities to meet potential mentors and to tap into the peer networks that can get you a job after you graduate, which is part of what you’re paying for at a selective university, but that’s another issue.) You don’t even have to list the community college on your resume.

On the other hand, the reputation of the actual degree-granting institution does matter (at least some of the time), although the opportunities the institution offers and whether you take advantage of them matters more.

Why limit yourself to a private university? There are plenty of public universities across America whose respective reputations are top quality, even superior to private universities. As for community colleges, why not save money and go there, get a good education, graduate, and then transfer to a quality public university? Get the best of both worlds!

If you are concerned with “name recognition” keep in mind that many recruiters don’t always stray too far from the tree. In other words, if a company recruiter graduated from XYZ University, they often have a personal preference for their alma mater graduates.

I know employers in the Seattle area dread slogging through transcripts from Evergreen State University (My information is about a decade old, but…). It’s kind of a hippie-dip place whose best-known alumni are cartoonists. It produces its share of good, critical thinkers, but you just know they have a hashpipe and a hacky-sack in that backpack of theirs.

I work at a school in Korea that has, over the last few years, hired a disproportionate number of teachers from Oral Roberts U. Not a great place to have on your resume if you’re looking for a job in NYC, but they produce some damn solid teachers.

The second Bush Administration hired a lot of people from Patrick Henry College, an uber-right wing Evangelical Christian college. They never got that kind of boost before and probably never will again. These were the kids who got shoehorned into the EPA and other regulatory agencies specifically not to enforce regulations. True Believers will come through for you that way.

Yeah, if you have a college with clown feet, it can hamper getting the job you want.

FWIW it’s the same story in the UK. There’s a lot of snobbishness and I think it’s better to get a mediocre degree result from a renowned university than to do exceptionally well at a college no-one’s heard of.

It’s wrong IMO.
I got my first degree from a former polytechnic (polytechnics were state-run and the former polys are not respected at all) and my second from one of the world’s most famous Unis.
I didn’t notice any huge difference in teaching or content, just in intake.

Yes, name recognition can be important. But the impact of a name depends on where you live and the (mis)conceptions of the person you’re trying to impress.

I went to Rutgers for grad school. Rutgers is a pretty good school, don’t get me wrong. But people outside of NJ think it’s a posh private Ivy League. Uh…no. It’s a good public school with a very diverse student body and varying degrees of selectivity, depending on campus and program. Many New Jersyians are fairly “meh” about it, so if you’re planning on impressing someone, you’d be better off going outside of the state or even the Mid-Atlantic region.

The other side of the coin also comes into play. I have a niece who is attending a small women’s liberal arts school with a shiny price sticker. Its name has some cache in the state, but outside of it? No one has ever heard of it.

If money is a limiting factor but you’re competitive enough, you can’t go wrong with a good public university with national name recognition. But there are trade-offs with everything, and you have to weigh the intangible costs and benefits. For instance, my undergrad institution has a good reputation, but the curriculum was so tough that it was more stressful than fun. I would have benefited from a more diverse student body (politically as well as culturally), and I would have appreciated more well-rounded coursework. There’s more to education than just getting a job afterwards.

It really, really depends on what you want to do. There are certain career paths that are much, much easier and more profitable if you go to a good school, and there are others where it doesn’t matter much. Business? Go to the best school you can. Who recruits you right out of college has tremendous implications for your future. Three years at a top management consulting firm really sets you up for all kinds of things. Medical school? Grades and test scores matter a lot more than an exclusive college. Engineering? A program that can get you into good internships is what matters most. Sciences? If you want to go to grad school, you want to go somewhere where you will have research opportunities as an undergrad.

It’s also really hard to know about prices until after you’ve been accepted and gotten your financial aid package. On one hand, the “$20K” figure you are throwing around makes me think you are very early in this process: $20K will get you four years of tuition and fees only at a state university these days, and you’ve still got to have somewhere to live and something to live on. On paper, at least, the top private schools cost $40k/year, inclusive. Mid-tier private schools can cost almost as much. However–and it’s a huge however–they often have very generous financial aid packages, even for solidly middle class families.

One last thing to think about: one of the best values out there in education right now are the various honors programs that top state universities have. Some of these are treated like top-tier private colleges by the sorts of firms that recruit at top colleges, and for good reason: they have very high standards for admission, excellent instruction, and turn out high quality graduates. They generally charge the same tuition as the state university they are a part of. That’s still not cheap, but it’s significantly cheaper, and you get all the advantages of both an exclusive private school and a state university.

Yes, thanks, true Fretful Porpentine, they do offer two different things, I am after a bachelors, going to finish the last two years of it at the university.
I guess I’m trying to reassure myself of the value I’m getting by doing this when so many people in my field (nursing) are going the less expensive online route for the bachelors.
@ Manda Jo, the 20K is the highest amount I may have to borrow to get me through the two years, after the scholarships I will get.
All such good and interesting points. I’m interested in this question as it applies to the healthcare field, nursing in particular.
Of course in nursing, experience is the primary element…but I’m changing careers in my 40’s from freelance artist to healthcare where I have no experience, and that first job IS so important, and can be very hard to get.

I never thought of it as an Ivy-type school, but I was quite surprised to discover it was just the NJ state university. Comes from having a people-name, I suppose.

I can only give you one personal anecdote: The first real job I got out of college, I got partially because I went to a “name” university. I didn’t have much experience, obviously, and they decided to give me a chance specifically because they were impressed by the school I went to. One of the people who interviewed me told me this several months after I started.

I have had this conversation on various threads before (in the context of anti-Asian bias in elite college admissions) and whether we like it or not, people use the college name as a filter. If you were valedictorian somewhere, people would disregard the name on the diploma but you get a lot more exposure and consideration for jobs with a prestigious name on your diploma.

I’ve never encountered this attiude towards Rtgers. I think of them as a mediocre Northeastern state school.

It will also color how people view you in your early career. When a Stanford grad fucks up, everyone just kind of shrugs their shoulders and says “well, everyone is human” when a Brooklyn law grad fucks up, people are far less charitable saying things like “well,that figures” or “I knew we should have gone with the guy from Stanford”

You get at least one free fuck up before people develop a negative professional opinion of you if you come from a very good school.

In California there is a waiting list to get into nursing majors in community colleges, because the state gives the same amount of money for each student and nursing is a lot more expensive to teach than English.

In any field there are plenty of state schools with as good or better reputations than private schools - and a good number of private colleges which are basically rip-offs, and whose market is people with money who can’t get in anywhere else.

About half our approved university list consists of public universities, so this is definitely true for us. Also, my daughter went to Maryland, and around there that degree is worth more than lots of Ivy degrees. I think that is true in lots of places where many of the hiring managers are alums of the local good state school.

In my industry there are about 5 schools that are considered worth anything. If you graduate from one of them you are guaranteed a job on graduation and will get a leg up for the rest of your career. My brother-in-law graduated from a second tier school and managed to get a job with a great company but he’s concerned about changing companies before he’s put distance between him and his college (he’s 5 years out now). On the other hand I graduated from a tier 1 school and I’ve been able to land any job that I wanted and even 6 years after graduation I’ve been told in interviews that they know I have a solid engineering background.

I’m going to grad school for my MBA and while my school isn’t highly ranked nationally they are the best school in the rocky mountain region I won’t have a lot of name recognition if I look to go to the west coast but I’ll probably stay in the Rockies and I know several big companies that hire exclusively from my school.

Just a guess based on the username: School of Mines?

And now it is.

Some nursing programs have more cachet than others, but the major question to ask is what percentage of the school’s graduates pass the NCLEX on their first attempt. No matter what nursing school you go to, your degree is worth jack squat if you can’t pass the NCLEX. Once you do, you are an RN and are on pretty equal footing with all other RNs. Some places might offer more pay for RN-BSN than AAS but it can’t be much. I went to a community college with a good local reputation, but probably isn’t well-known outside Tennessee. It was 2 years faster and much cheaper than a BSN degree from a local university.

Nurses are still in demand, at least in my area. Employers can’t afford to discriminate again fully licensed RNs based on their degrees. Most of my graduating class had accepted conditional offers of employment before graduation, with an AAS. In my two interviews for nursing jobs, I was offered the job during the first interview. Pretty sweet situation to be in. First jobs are not hard to get in my area, some are even advertised as being open to graduate (read inexperienced) nurses.


[QUOTE=Cub Most of my graduating class had accepted conditional offers of employment before graduation, with an AAS. In my two interviews for nursing jobs, I was offered the job during the first interview. Pretty sweet situation to be in. First jobs are not hard to get in my area, some are even advertised as being open to graduate (read inexperienced) nurses.[/QUOTE]

is not happening where I am. Sounds like back in the good old days of the nursing shortage! The halcyion days.