Importance of Name Recognition

I have a feeling that the name of the thread has contributed to a lot of sidebars. What you’re really describing is a typical big school/small school cost benefit analysis: what you gain in small school intimacy and individual attention you lose in economies of scale. You’re looking for “fit”. The whole name-recognition thing is a bit of a red herring.

And, you seem to have come up with a list. Are you looking for a critique of the list you have? And, are small to medium-sized, southeastern colleges with engineering or design related programs at a ballpark price of $45k a year (which includes room and board) what you are looking for?

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There are often completely different typical outcomes by major. You mentioned classics, so I’ll continue with that example. Harvard, has limited information, but Yale provides more detail. Among the past 5 years, more than 40% of employed classics majors from Yale first job was teaching at the primary or secondary school level. The most common employer was Village School in New Haven, which is a specialty school for elementary and middle school kids with cognitive or physical challenges. While the vast majority of classics majors were not unemployed, it’s not obvious that the Ivy League brand name was typically key to their employment .

However, the OP mentioned being interested in architecture, rather than classics. Looking at architecture majors at Yale, a summary of relevant stats are below. I compared to UNC Charlotte, which is one of the colleges the OP lists. The sample size is quite small, self reported with biased selection, and different reporting formats, so it’s not a great sample. That said, it’s not obvious to me that the Ivy League brand name was key to the Yale kids’ architecture employment, and that comparable results are unlikely to occur if a particular prospective architecture major who is accepted to Yale instead chooses to attend a colleges on the OP’s list. The available outcome stats as a whole don’t look notably better at Yale than UNC for architecture, particularly when considering that the Yale kids are likely much stronger academically on average, and have a higher average SES + better average family support/connections.

Yale Architecture Majors

  • 65% working full time or in grad school, 6% seeking work (some part time or internships)
  • Mean salary = $57k, among those employed full time
  • 60% work in architecture field
  • Most common employers are Hart Howerton (NYC), Harris Architects (NYC), and Organschi Architecture (New Haven)
  • Most common locations are New York (46%), CA (12.5%), and CT (12.5%)

UNC Charlotte Architecture Majors

  • 97% working full time or in grad school, 3% seeking work
  • Mean salary = $50k
  • Majority work in architecture field
  • Most common employer is Cluck Design (Charlotte)
  • Most common location is North Carolina (74%)

Regarding the cost for undergrad at a good, but not super selective, private colleges we have found that with scholarships it is usually around $30-$35K per year so around $120-$140k over four years.

Many of these schools give automatic scholarships but the base tuition will be in the $50k-$60k range, but nobody pays that much. My B+ average D22 has been applying to schools and has received $20K+ at each of the good but not super selective private colleges she applied to. This is pretty common so consider bumping up your budget and you’ll be able to include these type of schools. These are not schools where she is a top student (I’m sure there are kids who go there with A+/4.x GPAs) so it’s not some special scholarship for her.

One of the schools she applied to is Agnes Scott — every student is guaranteed a $22k scholarship called the Agnes Assurance scholarship. Agnes Scott regularly tops the USNews list in most innovative and has an incredible network and does great things for the young women who go there. It’s not ultimately where my D22 chose to go but it’s a great school. It’s the kind of school that I’m talking about. Their admittance rate is pretty high but it’s a very good school with a great rep (here on CC too).

You can go a search on “schoolname common data set” and see how many students receive non-need based aid and what the average award is.

Now somewhere super selective like Duke does not play the game that way. Duke has a cost of attendance of around $81k (tuition is about $60k) (Cost | Duke Financial Aid) and they give need based scholarships to roughly 2/5ths of the class. Looking at the Common Data Set ( ) for 2020-2021, they gave non-athletic based merit scholarships to just 11 kids, so if you don’t have need or a kid who is going to be one of those 11 merit scholarship kids or an athlete and your budget doesn’t stretch to $70-$80k a year Duke might not be in the cards.

But if you look at schools like Agnes Scott, Hendrix, Hollins, Roanoke, etc you can get some good $$.

Also if you’re in Florida there’s Bright Futures and in GA there’s the Zell Miller program. Those might be helpful.


Thank you for this!

I’m not sure where the myth that all Ivy grads have a future life of wine and roses originated. It’s developed a life of its own now though.


But, hold on. Yale is less than a day trip away from about 20 other top-rated programs, including Cornell, RISD, Cooper Union, Syracuse and Pratt Institute.

A google search for architecture schools in North Carolina suggests UNC-Charlotte occupies the field:
What Are the Largest Schools in North Carolina That Offer Architecture Degrees? (

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On CC it’s the same place that the myth that all Cal Poly students are successful, parents sharing opinions, perceptions and first hand experiences.

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I continue to be mystified at the myth that anyone going to a “name not recognizable due to not being in the Top 100 of any list” college is doomed to fail.

Find the right school for the student based upon finances, major, location, stats, desires for their future, etc, etc. Success comes from ANY school when it’s the right fit for the student. Failure comes from ANY school when it’s the wrong fit. (Failure can include being mired in debt even if one has a decent job.)


That’s bad info. NC State has a better known Architecture School in the College of Design and has been turning out notable architects for many decades. I believe NC A&T also has a good architecture program.

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Hiring practices are not the same across the board. If one is considering on campus hiring for certain companies and strength of network hiring then I have to assume that going to a targeted school will be beneficial. For other jobs that rely on general advertising through LinkedIn and similar platforms, I think the first screening is based upon qualifications. At least that is the norm where I work (5000 employees.) Now, a hiring manager might want to hire someone from a top school, or a school he/she has an affinity for based on past experiences. But everyone is at least in the running independent of where they went to school.

I have had my share of duds. I do admit that the chance of finding someone that went to UNC and does not know how to read a bar graph is rare.

I’m a finance person, so I fully understand the concept of investment opportunity cost. And I believe you that once they become engineers where they went to school doesn’t matter. Stipulated.

My point was that for a lot of parents there are other values beyond the financial ROI argument you proffer here. Using your MIT example, there is the soft value of having attended perhaps the greatest technical college on the planet and the pride and respect that comes with that. I’m not afraid to write it: you walk around in life with a degree from MIT, and you have some powerful social currency with you that cannot be taken away. It can open other doors that neither you nor I sitting here on CC can ever hope to exhaustively identify. And for the holder it has existence value.

The Michigan or Berkeley examples are interesting because those schools carry their own cache. MIT vs. Oregon State makes the case more clearly.


They may be basing it on volume: UNC-Charlotte graduated 90+ architecture majors shortly before the pandemic while NC State graduated 30 during the same period.

The closest comparable I could find at A&T was their B.S. in Architectural Engineering which graduated 14 majors in its last recorded academic year (2017-2018).

Yale, by comparison, graduated a scant 22 architecture majors in 2018-2019.

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A little ways up the thread, you admonished a poster for putting words in your mouth. Please extend me the courtesy of not doing the same to me. What I wrote neither stated nor implied any such ridiculous thing. Reductio ad absurdum. Nor did I make the argument that Yale architecture majors make more than other school architecture majors. That’s a red herring and has nothing to do with the discussion.

And maybe it turns out that the Yale Classics cohort gravitates towards teaching. Who would have thought? Surprisingly, I’m personally acquainted with other Ivy League and elite school Humanities concentrators who are engaged in all manner of careers. We have one in this very thread. The fact that they are not doing technical jobs at technical companies doesn’t mean they’re underemployed.

Edit: all I’ve said is that the Ivy League is a strong brand and that kids who graduate from those schools typically don’t have trouble finding jobs. Not all jobs, or the ones you might value most. But they get on. A lot of that has to do with who they are to begin with, and I posit that some of it has to do with degrees from schools even the most uninformed people have heard of and associate with academic excellence. Right or wrong.

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There is something to this. My friend the financial analyst, who didn’t even get his present job through MIT, nevertheless genuinely believes attending school there was the biggest break he ever got in his life.


I think you’re responding to someone else. I didn’t mention Yale architecture.

I was responding to this:

As for the cachet of a MIT degree. I have both MIT and Stanford degree holders in my family. It’s not as significant as you paint it to be. They’re just regular people. There’s more than one MIT grad on this thread. I know they are proud of their institution, but they’ve all said they work with people from other institutions who are very talented. I’m not maligning MIT at all. It’s a great school. The whole question revolves around whether or not the Brass Rat is worth $2.5M.

I do think name recognition is definitely a function of industry and location.

NYC/Chicago/Finance/HFT … having a name to your name :slight_smile: is a must.


For finance, there’s no doubt that this is true. MIT rules all.

In engineering, first jobs are pretty egalitarian, and from there, it’s meritocratic. There isn’t a tight correlation between undergraduate institution and career advancement. Once you’ve worked, where you worked and more specifically, what you did, moves you up the chain.

I’ll have to respectfully disagree that the thread’s title was a red herring, as I do believe that the name recognition piece was my original intent in starting this thread. My family of origin placed a lot of importance on a name brand school, but I know that there is nuance on the topic and that many things depend on context. I have found most of the posts on this thread very helpful and would like to keep it on topic.

I appreciate the many minds here at CC, and for anyone who is interested in a more specific discussion regarding particular colleges as would relate to possibilities for my child (knowing that scholarships, selectivity, etc. can all change at any time…including my child’s interests), I have started a separate thread here.

Hey, fine with me. I don’t mind running with the bull(s).

And with that, I am closing this thread. With the search & selection piece gone, the thread is simply a circular discussion amongst a handful of users.