Face to Face: Does where you attend college affect your future opportunities?

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Sarah Kimball

Face-to-Face is a feature that allows two members of the Redwood Community to grill each other, argue, or simply converse about a relevant issue or event. We provide the topic, and they do the rest. This month’s participants are seniors Erin Gray and Brandon Levy. They debate whether students’ college decisions impact their futures.

Does it matter in the long run where you attend college?

Brandon Levy: It does matter to a degree where you attend college because if I were an employer at an elite company, I would look for students who come from top colleges. Usually a top-tier school has more funding and therefore students at that school have more research opportunities and more resources than a student who doesn’t attend a top school. Also the alumni at top schools create a lot of connections for students and if you have a good alumni connection, then you might be able to get a better job in the future.

Erin Gray: It doesn’t matter where you go to school because the name of your school isn’t what you are majoring in or what opportunities are presented to you. Saying that the top-tier schools have more opportunities than other schools is a lie because it is all about the opportunities you take advantage of at your school.

 

Is employment later in life greatly affected by your college choice?

EG: No, it is going to be where you network.

BL: It seems like it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. So if you are graduating college and you have a lot of connections, then I guess there isn’t really a difference between what college you go to.

EG: So there isn’t?

BL: But if someone is graduating from a better school where alumni are working at more elite companies then that graduate might have a better chance of being hired from an elite company.

EG: But it isn’t about the opportunities that the said “better” schools have, it is about the opportunities you take advantage of at your school. My sister doesn’t go to a top-tier school, but she already has a job as a sophomore for after she graduates because the school is in Dallas and there are many networking opportunities.

BL: But if I were a CEO at a top firm, I would first separate who is and isn’t qualified based on where they graduated from. Is a person graduating from [a school in] Dallas going to get an equal chance to receive a job on Wall Street as someone from Yale or Harvard? While it’s unfortunate, probably not.

EG: It really depends on the character of the person. It is very different if you barely graduated from Harvard versus someone who is top of their class and excels a lot at a middle tier school. And wouldn’t elite companies that already hire from Harvard and Yale and other top UCs want to hire someone who went to a middle tier school, but was a top-tier student and excelled in that school. Wouldn’t they want a bit of diversity?

 

Do you think where you go to college determines geographically where you will live in the future?

BL: Not necessarily. It just depends on what you major in and then where in the country your job is concentrated. If you want to do a startup, then you might come to Silicon Valley to look for a job. However, you will go to the East Coast for jobs offered there.

EG: Generally where you go to college is where you network, so the people you network with live around that area, including all the alumni. If your school offers international opportunities for travelling abroad, then you will also have connections outside the country.