Does Your Earning Potential Depend on Your Undergraduate School?

<p>Note: Sorry if I’m posting in wrong forum. Mods, feel free to move thread.</p>

<p>I’m 19 and have recently realized the magnitude of my wrong decisions I’ve made that have negatively affected my academic grades.</p>

<p>Freshmen and sophomore year were excellent for me, earning mainly A’s in all classes, four of which were honors.</p>

<p>Junior year I decided to hang with the wrong crowd. None of which were criminals or anything severe of that nature, but this group consisted of low achieving slackers with different goals mind-sets as mine. I’ve always been shy with little or no friends, had low-confidence, and no self esteem, so when these kids were introduced to my life with the desire to become my friends, I quickly and foolishly accepted their deceiving friendship.</p>

<p>My grades plummeted drastically in fall of my Junior year. I then decided to drop all honor classes before the beginning of the spring semester, which did help, but it was too late to eliminate the F’s I received in 2 classes, among the other D’s and C’s. In spring I got mainly high C’s to low B’s.</p>

<p>At the end of Junior year I finally grew out of this stage and realized what stupid mistakes I was making. Senior year went smoothly but my goals seem to have been terribly affected by the junior year incidents. During middle school and freshman year, my goal was to attend a top-rated University, not saying Ivy-League here, but a good education at a top 50 school.</p>

<p>During and after Junior year, my goal was to “just get by” college without much effort at some local pubic university. A very low SAT score taken in my junior year also impacted me towards this low-achieving goal.</p>

<p>I decided to take a year off after high school so I can mature and save money for college, although it was mainly also for in-state tuition reasons since I was a new resident at that state. But during this year off, I remain with the same goals in mind to “just get by” with my college education.</p>

<p>Suddenly about 6 weeks ago I made a complete 360 degree turnaround in everything about my self. I no longer wanted an education at some tier 4 ranked school and get by with C’s and B’s, I wanted to work my hardest in everything I did and to be the best. I wanted to be successful in life and have a very financially awarding career. It wasn’t as if I just work up with this mentality, but trying to explain it will be too complicated.</p>

<p>Anyway, fact is that it'll be very hard for me to be admitted to a great top 50 school with GPA of 3.1 and 1100 SAT, and I happen to be very competitive and desire a top rated education. I’m also rather greedy and want a high paying job.</p>

<p>So this finally brings me to my question, especially for the older and wiser CC members here.</p>

<p>Considering that I end up going to an ‘average’ school (think of your average tier 4 commuter’s University), how great will this effect my financial potential as compared to have gone to a better school (Rice, NYU, UT, USC)?</p>

<p>Does your undergraduate education really make a difference in how much you earn throughout life?</p>

<p>I’m sorry for such a childish question here, I guess I just need comfort in that although I made mistakes in the last couple years of my life, my whole life will not be permanently affected financially. Note: I do realize that happiness is more important than money, and my goals of raising a happy family haven't changed.</p>

<p>Nonetheless, I’m more ready than ever for my undergraduate studies. Not only to attend, but to excel with excellent grades.</p>

<p>Thanks</p>

<p>IN NO WAY is is too late for you! And if you're moving on to graduate school, your undergrad school matters less than you may think. Do what you're aspiring to do now, and you'll get into a good grad school, and that will matter more than where you spent your first few years. Don't denigrate the shool you're in now too much, either! Those people who are teaching you now will probably write you great rec's later and help you get into that good grad school. </p>

<p>Good for you!!</p>

<p>Hi Compaq,</p>

<p>Let me tell you a story about someone I know very well. He never took school seriously and always seemed to hang around with guys who were absolutely directionless. When he graduated from high school, he didn't even go to college right away. Then he took a few courses in a community college while he worked and even blew off some of those. To make a long story short, in the middle of his college career, he began to enjoy some of his course work and eventually he earned a degree from one of the extension campuses of a large state university. He went to work and really applied himself. When he was in his late thirties, he earned an MBA from the U. of Chicago. He now works for a small investment firm on the West Coast. He's traveled the world, has a fabulous home and an interesting career. No one who knew him when he was young--like me, his sister--ever thought that he would achieve anything! But once he became motivated, he was extremely determined and hard-working in everything that he did. Plus, he found an area that he truly enjoyed. He believes that he has faced some obstacles in his field (finance) because he did not attend a prestigious university, so none of this was easy.</p>

<p>But my brother's situation is probably much harder to repeat today than it was 20 years ago. It seems like the world cares more about credentials than it once did, so you need a good counselor or advice from your parents to help you choose the best college possible given your bad junior year. It's great that you've turned yourself around right now, and maybe you can incorporate that into an essay. I bet some of those admissions officers goofed off when they were 16, too. When you do get to college make sure that you don't have a relapse. You may not be able to get into the most highly rated school, but the important thing is to stick with it and do your best wherever you do end up. Good luck!</p>

<p>I’ve been a corporate recruiter for the past ten years. So let me tell you, if it’s your first job out of college than yes, the reputation of your school does matter. (What else does an employer have to go on?) But once you’ve been in the work force for a while it means very little. It’s your work history and experience that counts. Once you’ve been in the work force for a year the corporate world doesn’t care if you went to Princeton or Poe-Donk U. </p>

<p>Grads from the Ivy’s get paid higher starting salaries not because of the caliber of the school they attended, but rather because of the caliber of people that are known to attend those schools. </p>

<p>Work hard, set goals and you'll do great!</p>

<p>In aggregate, the single most important factor in future earnings potential is your family's income.</p>

<p>In 85% of jobs in the American economy, your school won't count in the least. But ability to put up with mindless routine, and to fit in with it well will count for heaps. </p>

<p>If you excel, you'll do just fine wherever you go to school. A study done last year found that students, with the same family income and same educational background, who could have gone to Ivies but chose to go elsewhere, ended up with incomes virtually the same as if they had chosen otherwise. And for Ph.d. productivity, corrected for SAT scores and school selectivity, you will do MUCH better at Kalamazoo or Hope or Earlham than at Harvard.</p>

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<p>Not meaning to be the nay-sayer here, but call us back when that "6 weeks" has become 6 months!
Seriously, you need to produce a track record of achievement. What state are you establishing residence in now? Call the admission's office of your local community college and find out their record for transferring students to the "name" state university. You can certainly have a successful career after graduating from the local commuter uni (I did), but you may have more opportunities from the flagship school. turning around your academic career is not easy, and will take more than just wanting to do it, become familiar with the academic support resources at whatever school you attend. I'm sure there will be a writing and/or math assistance program.</p>

<p>Formulate a plan with your parents based on what you learn from admissions/guidance at the CC or local uni. For example, in my state, there are 2 flagship unis, probably 4-5 commuter unis, and a boatload of CCs (we're the poster child for higher education spending gone amuck). In towns, like my city, where there is a dominate commuter school, the local CCs either provide 1 year of cheap education for kids moving to the commuter school or function as "trade schools" providing 2 year terminal degrees. BUT, in towns that are far removed from a 4 year commuter school and relatively close to a flagship school they act as feeders for the flagship (more like the CA comm. colleges) and are well versed with how to get you in. Also, in the city where each of the flagships is located, there is a CC that basically is "U of X lite", a place for kids who had checkered high school careers to establish a record of better grades, and as a place for students at the University to get that pesky required course that isn't offered at the right time or is taught by the prof from he**. You need to learn about all these, and perhaps other options that you may have. Then you can make a decision about your future. Good luck.</p>

<p>Your question was about earnings, which is an entirely different topic than education. You might be able to land a very lucrative job in a high-skilled field without a degree. However, you should consider the lifelong pit in your stomach of having not completed your degree. If you just want to make money, you can. I was like you, didn't earn a degree and wound up earning more than all of my graduate level educated friends. But, I still feel as if I would up with the short end of the stick. </p>

<p>I think back to when I was 21-25 and thought my time had passed. HA! If I knew then what I know now, I would have stopped working and gone to school before life got REALLY complicated. Good luck.</p>