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Does it really matter which undergraduate school you attend?

nonienonie Posts: 49Registered User Junior Member
Does it really matter? I asked my dad this question and he flipped defending the idea of attending a prestigious university. I asked one of my coaches who graduated from U of Michigan the same thing and he basically said, it doesn't really matter as long as you do well in school.
Post edited by nonie on
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Replies to: Does it really matter which undergraduate school you attend?

  • hmom5hmom5 Posts: 10,882- Senior Member
    It depends on your carrer ambitions and whether or not you will attend grad school.
  • hudsonvalley51hudsonvalley51 Posts: 2,394Registered User Senior Member
    If you go to just about any accredited college in the US, earn a 4.0, score in the top 5% on the GREs, MCATs, LSATs, etc. and get glowing recommendations from your professors you can do almost anything you set your mind to doing. Except, perhaps, secure a job with 4 or 5 of the most prestigious I-banks on Wall Street. Then again, there are a lot of other firms on Wall Street, and in Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco and so on. Wherever you go just do as well as you can and you will be fine.
  • LobzzLobzz Posts: 1,970Registered User Senior Member
    Yes it does. Sorry, but thats the truth.
  • spunauglespunaugle Posts: 804Registered User Member
    If you're going to go to grad school the impact an undergraduate degree decreases exponentially. If you're just planning on doing undergrad, then it can be more important, but still never make or break. The truth is, the highly motivated (IE. most of the members who join this site) would do just as good anywhere they went, simply because they are ambitious and highly motivated.
  • MagicMan522MagicMan522 Posts: 250Registered User Junior Member
    Yeah if you go graduate then undergrad matters very little, after you get your graduate degree most employers won't even look at where you went to undergrad.
  • vasudevankvasudevank Posts: 754Registered User Member
    What "really" matters is what you do as an undergraduate. Did you have good research? Work with the professors? Get great recommendations? Study and do well on the GRE's or other graduate tests, etc? If you answered yes to all of those, it is very hard not to get into a top graduate school or secure a very good job.

    However, to answer yes to a lot of those questions you need to be motivated. Some people are motivated when they are around other motivated people (top universities). Also there are more opportunities for undergraduates at top schools. They have more funding (overall) for students to do research. Often professors are open and want to work with (depends on the university). This makes it easier to answer yes to those questions, which is why people pay so much in tuition to attend college.
  • principalviolaprincipalviola Posts: 2,418- Senior Member
    After you are done with your undergrad at Harvard does it matter if you went to a top prep school? I doubt it. The one situation in which I can see a small asset to going to a T10 undergrad is if you plan on getting an MBA. Most MBA students seem to work somewhere for a few years post undergrad and it seems as if one could land a better interim job with an undergrad degree from Harvard as opposed to Alabama State.
  • vasudevankvasudevank Posts: 754Registered User Member
    ^What if the top-prep school prepared him for Harvard. In that sense then going to the school did matter. That is way you can't diminish the importance of undergrad. Look at the schools and see what are the available opportunities and see if you can use them if you attend.
  • House of LondonHouse of London Posts: 1,268- Senior Member
    Yes I definitely believe where you went for undergrad really matters because employers may not say it when they are comparing a person from Yale with a person from Ohio State but in the back of their minds they know that the person from Yale most likely got in because they did something right in high school which will definitely give them a leg up. It's not necessarily that the person from Ohio state ended up their because he/she did something wrong but most employers take into consideration the quality of academics also at a particular undergrad. So going to a school with the best of the best academics would definitely glow on a resume.
  • Secret Asian ManSecret Asian Man Posts: 2,497Registered User Senior Member
    ^But if both the Yale and OSU kid go on to grad school at Harvard then the impact of where they went undergrad diminishes significantly.
  • vasudevankvasudevank Posts: 754Registered User Member
    Yes graduate school will diminish the significance of undergrad, but I can't emphasize the fact that the opportunities at Yale are probably higher and wider (including but not limited to connections) hard enough. That needs to be taken into consideration. Just think of how many recruiters go to large campuses. Also there tends to be a bias toward (not sure if this is published, but based on other posters and statistics) undergraduates. I know some schools have 5 year programs for undergraduates to also get their graduate degree. (MIT, Duke, probably a bunch more).
  • principalviolaprincipalviola Posts: 2,418- Senior Member
    ^What if the top-prep school prepared him for Harvard. In that sense then going to the school did matter. That is way you can't diminish the importance of undergrad. Look at the schools and see what are the available opportunities and see if you can use them if you attend.
    In today's world if you get into prep school chances that you end up at HYPSM are far lower.

    Five year programs are a different thing, that usually is the end all be all of their education. I am actually quite extreme, get an undergrad, and if you don't need it do not get a grad degree unless it is one of the top in the field If you want to go into medicine and have a high GPA and a perfect mcat and graduate from Montana state, it will likely get you into a top program.

    If you have the choice between top undergrad and a slightly worse state it can be assumed that you will do well at the state university. Why be a small fish in a big pond when you:
    1. Know that you will be moving ponds soon and these fish will not be your pals anymore
    2. You can be a big fish in a smaller pond
    Both my parents went to meh meh undergrad yet graduated from a top grad schools and are doing fine. Having Harvard in a linkedin is jaw dropping, it does not need to have a BA next to it...
  • vasudevankvasudevank Posts: 754Registered User Member
    I was simply responding to the example. I think the OP should look at each college carefully and then decide based on the opportunities available at each. You MSU example is somewhat flawed. A high GPA at Harvard is definitely more impressive than MSU. Also sometimes you will have better pre-medical advising at top tier universities, hence the very high medical school acceptances. My dad went to undergrad in India and then went to top grad school in US.

    For 5 year programs what if you only wanted a masters in Engineering or maybe you wanted a masters in engineering along with an MBA. It might be good to get the Masters in Engineering under 5 year program and then command a higher starting salary with the higher degree. After working then try to go for an MBA.

    The poster needs to give more information on what the path he/she is planning plus the colleges he/she is looking at.
  • hmom5hmom5 Posts: 10,882- Senior Member
    2 points:

    -There are a disproportionate numer of top school grads at top grad schools;
    -The network you form in college is very important in some careers, prep school too
  • principalviolaprincipalviola Posts: 2,418- Senior Member
    2 points:

    -There are a disproportionate numer of top school grads at top grad schools;
    -The network you form in college is very important in some careers, prep school to
    This is true. Does this, however, outweigh any other discrepancy... Such as money or loans? Of course being conferred to an alum network of Harvard and Yale is better than a Montana State and Harvard combo. I think the question comes in after a major inconsistency, right?
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