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A Prestige Workaround

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Replies to: A Prestige Workaround

  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,051 Senior Member
    edited April 21
    I grew up in Fairfield County, CT, and 40 years or so ago no one I knew thought about Fairfield U at all. My former neighbor, who also came from CT, said the same thing. He therefore found it particularly galling when his S, for whom it really looked like a safety, was rejected. (Honestly, he had flukey results, probably because the GC revealed his class rank in her recommendation, despite the fact that our school doesn't officially rank, and when it does rank does NOT weight the grades, which has resulted in Vals who never took an honors or AP or IB class, but that's another story. Without that tidbit, this kid, who took more rigorous courses even when it impacted his GPA a bit, should have been a shoo-in at Fairfield.)

    Fairfield seems to have come up in the world since my youth. :) If I still lived in CT, I would send my kid to U Conn over Fairfield *or* Villanova, assuming that s/he could get in.

    BTW, where is Xavier? There are so many Catholic schools out there with names like St. Joseph's and Loyola and so on, that it is difficult for some of us to keep track of them. :)
  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie Registered User Posts: 1,320 Senior Member
    ^ Yeah, that is cringe worthy. "I had the qualifications to get into Oxford." Don't do that.

    Seemed to me the "I had qualifications to get into Oxford" part was implicit rather than expressly stated. List your SAT/ACT/GPA and let that speak that you had stats to get into more selective schools than the one you attended. The general rule is you leave off high school info once you graduate college. But I have seen that info listed on resumes. Less cringe-worthy (at least to me) than other info I see on resumes.

    As a general matter, I think you will see an increasing number of kids hitting below their weight if you will in terms of colleges. Large numbers of the top grads from top high schools in my state (and others from what I have heard) are heading to state flagships or schools that offer large merit scholarships. As the costs of college continue to rise above the rate of inflation, you will see that become more common in my opinion. Families either do not have the money or do not find the value.

    Does prestige matter? Depends on a whole host of things. Including your major. School options on the table. Costs of each. Career goals.

    I know people who 35+ years out of college, lead with the college they attended right after their name. Seems odd to me but it works for them apparently.
  • nevrgiveupnevrgiveup Registered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
    Isn't the name of the university a signal? A signal that you are smart if you get into a very selective school. When you say you went to "XXXX" or your resume has the name of "XXXX" on it, it says "Hmm, this kid must be smart to have gone there"

    That is what prestige really gets you when it comes to finding a job for example right? It gets you noticed initially.

    So the question is what else can you put on your resume that gives that signal?

    Obviously doing well in school is one signal, but what if somebody thinks "Hmm, that school may not have been very hard, so it may not have been very difficult to get that GPA?"

    My feeling is that the prestige work around for an "elite college name" is an "elite award", so maybe be a Rhodes scholarship, A Truman scholarship, A Fulrbight scholarship, etc...Those are prestigious.

    Or what about a publication?

    Or a fantastic research project?

    Basically your resume should have something that says "This kid is probably in the top 5% of my applicant pool"

    I would think there are many ways to do that? Or maybe I am dreaming :-)
  • ScipioScipio Super Moderator Posts: 8,383 Super Moderator
    edited April 21
    The Prestige Workaround device has already been developed. And as in all things college, Harvard leads the way.

    When you get admitted to Harvard College (not sure whether the H grad or professional schools also do this), your "fat envelope" packet will contain a Certificate of Admission. It looks a lot like a diploma and has the admittee's name in written in fancy calligraphy and basically attests that the applicant in question has been formally offered admission to Harvard College.

    I kind of laughed when D1 got this in the mail. I thought it must be for the benefit of all those kids (or more likely their parents) who forever insist that they could have gone Harvard but didn't go for whatever reason. This way they could PROVE to everyone that they weren't BS-ing about that. Little did I know that the reality is Harvard was on the cutting edge of Prestige Workaround theory.

    Maybe a few other schools also issue similar certificates. Yale maybe? I don't know. I know Stanford and Dartmouth don't. Neither of my girls got similar certificates from any of the other colleges to which they were admitted. In any case, that's the solution. For an effective prestige workaround program we need all colleges to start issuing Certificates of Admission. That way job applicants can just staple all their certificates to the back of their resume. Problem solved!
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,051 Senior Member
    Darmouth does. Or at least they did. My S got one.
  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 2,470 Senior Member
    edited April 21
    Harvard could go one step further and shut down that expensive and annoying undergraduate college operation. Just issue admission certificates and forget about the degrees. The profit margin on being an admission certificate mill has got to be huge.

    I mean, it's not like anyone cares whether you learned anything while at Harvard.

    P.S. Although the prestigiosity signal you send with your Harvard admit certificate will be weaker if not accompanied by similar certificates from YPS. "You mean to say that you ONLY got into Harvard..."
  • ScipioScipio Super Moderator Posts: 8,383 Super Moderator
    "Darmouth does. Or at least they did. My S got one."

    Hmm...D2 got into Dartmouth, and I don't remember her getting one. Maybe I just missed it.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 29,087 Senior Member
    Harvard does send admissions certificates. I thought it was really, really tacky.

    Anyway, the usual solution to having to go to the less prestigious school is to do really, really well there. Make personal contacts with the professors. Find mentors. Get awards. Get good internships.
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,051 Senior Member
    I wouldn't have remembered S getting one if I hadn't been looking for something in his room the other day and seen it. :D
  • ChardoChardo Registered User Posts: 3,000 Senior Member
    My kids got admissions certificates from a few schools. It does make a small impression, maybe stand out just a little from the others.
  • TheGFGTheGFG Registered User Posts: 6,173 Senior Member
    D received an admissions letter from H as a recruited athlete, but don't recall it being a certificate. S attended Dartmouth and I also don't remember any certificate. Not doubting you all, just wondering why I don't remember this. I do recall wanting to copy the Harvard letter and give it to the annoying acquaintance who accused me of lying about D getting in.... She chose Stanford instead, which the woman thought was in CT.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 16,681 Senior Member
    edited April 21
    Harvard was the only college I ever saw send an Admission Certificate to anyone. Heavy paper, gothic lettering, suitable for framing. Definitely presumptuous and tacky. I'm sure there are people who love it.

    I wonder when they started doing that? They were doing it 40+ years ago, and back then there was no early admissions at all among HYP, and Harvard's prestigiousity dominance was far less. So there were probably lots more cross-admits, a higher admission rate (definitely), and a lower yield.

    If Harvard really wanted to make bank -- which, to be clear, I do not think is one of the goals of its admissions department -- it would give out (for a small fee) certificates stating that the recipient would have qualified for admission to Harvard had he or she applied.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 12,143 Senior Member
    Maybe Harvard should dole out miniature laminated versions so people can carry them in their wallet and whip them out as needed, say for that job interview or just to impress the neighbors. :D
  • moooopmoooop Registered User Posts: 1,469 Senior Member
    edited April 21
    @doschicos & cheddar: Oh, come on! Read what I wrote. I wasn't recommending that u WRITE "I could have gotten in Oxford.". The op asked how to somehow get the point across to employers that your college was not a reflection of your max potential. I said you could add a small section if you felt compelled to, where you could include things like scholarships, GPA, class rank,
    & SAT/ACT. I've seen resumes with GPAs & scholarships; all I was saying is those, along with class rank & test scores could accomplish what the OP was after without much fuss.
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