“My parents told me that where I went to college wouldn’t matter.” Paul lamented as he explained that he was receiving no interviews from Boston based companies. He was told by both a friend who worked at one of these companies and a recruiter that his “brand” was…. let’s call it Podunk College and that despite his good grades and his practical major (business), most of the Boston companies that he was targeting were filled with Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, Bentley, Babson, (let alone the Harvard, M.I.T., Tufts,) grads that proliferate Boston.
Paul had attended East Lyme High School in East Lyme, Connecticut. He said his parents likely had an overreaction to the competitive atmosphere they perceived in East Lyme.
As a college consultant in Shoreline, Connecticut, I try not to comment on the relative strength of high schools but let’s just say that East Lyme is strong :).
Moreover, his Dad had taken over his father’s business and his mom primarily been a stay at home mother with a few retail jobs. To each, where they went to college did not have a major impact on their careers.
“My mom made my college list and now I look back on it and think they were all safety schools.”
Paul liked the atmosphere at Podunk College. “It was chill, ” he said but which I took as easy-going or not filled with driven students.
“It doesn’t matter where you go to college” is wishful thinking.
Let me clear: the talented usually find a way to reach success. I’m using talented very broadly to encompass both marketable skills and personal character. We all can find someone who went to a low tier college and became a big success. That does not prove that where he/she went to college didn’t matter. The person might have found success faster or bigger had he/she attended Harvard. Impossible to determine but reasonably easy to predict.
Due to our career counseling work, we have been working with hundreds of young adults attempting to gain career building jobs. The research is clear as is our anecdotal evidence: where one goes to college does matter for employment. Thinking otherwise does not comport with reality.