School prestige vs. program prestige? which is more important?

<p>Hey guys!
Quick question:
In your opinion which is more important (in terms of finding jobs, applying for graduate degrees, or finding internships) school prestige or school program prestige?</p>

<p>To give you some perspective, I've been wanting to apply to Georgetown. However, the school of computer science in Georgetown is not even ranked in the top 100.
So, in terms of the criteria I put above, would it be better to go to Georgetown even though the computer science program is decent, or go to a school like University of Washington whose computer science program is ranked #7 nationally?</p>

<p>A student’s goal is find the best program at the finest school that costs the least. So:

  1. Cost
  2. Program
  3. Prestige</p>

<p>Georgetown is not a good match for computer science. If you are sure you want computer science, keep looking around for better computer science programs at other schools.</p>

<p>If you are sure you want Georgetown, look at School of Foreign Service with STIA major. See if that prestigious program peaks your interest.</p>

<p>program prestige</p>

<p>Are you looking at grad school rankings? While somewhat relevant, that is not really a good measure of an undergraduate program.</p>

<p>In this case I’d pick the stronger CS program if I was pretty set on my major. But UW is a bad example unless you are one of the few admitted directly into the CS program. The majority have to go through a competitive process after admissions so are not guaranteed by any means to get into the major.</p>

<p>UW is such an outrageously good program in CS that there are definite advantages to it for employers and grad school.</p>

<p>So why have you been wanting to apply to Georgetown? If you like the Georgetown education, look closer at the CS dept. I’m going to guess that such a college will be sure it has all the the usual strong requirement courses for the major and a decent offering of electives, though not as broad and deep as UW. Compare them. And look into professors researches and how available undergraduate research will be. Write the department to see if students often go on for grad programs in CS, and they should be able to speak to you about how recruiting is.</p>

<p>My daughter went to a CS program at Brown, which may be less obvious dept in a ‘prestige’ school. It is smaller that the big name CS depts but still it is very well regarded so that may likely be an entirely different situation. It does have a highish ranked CS grad school and you are working with those same profs and doing research. The internships and grad school placements are as good as anywhere.</p>

<p>So do your research and see if you will get where you need to go in CS and get to enjoy the othee parts of the Georgetown education and location. I really don’t know anything about that program. CS programs are probably all pretty much same in the end, though they will take somewhat different routes to get there, with some really great name programs that stand out. For grad schools having access to grad classes and research would be advantages. For jobs, after you get the first one, it is your skill set that employers want.</p>

<p>I’m going to disagree. Program prestige is for graduate school. And rankings typically only apply to research output and graduate school programs. The ranking of the graduate programs and the faculty research aren’t necessarily salient to you as an undergrad. While you don’t want to go anywhere that has a horrible reputation or doesn’t have ANY program in what you want - or the program is very sparse (aka, only 5 classes when you want a major) - most good colleges have good solid programs in the traditional liberal arts majors, of which computer science is one.</p>

<p>Georgetown is a great school, and you’d probably be fine there as a computer science major. Flip through the course catalog and look at the classes offered in CS, and then look at the major requirements. If you like everything else about the school, go ahead and apply.</p>

<p>Program prestige > school prestige for PhD program admissions and employment directly related to your major. School prestige > program prestige for non-major-specific employment. However, whether prestige matters in general varies a lot based on employer (e.g. investment banks are much more prestige-conscious than engineering companies).</p>

<p>Regarding the two schools you mention:</p>

<p>Washington’s CS major is very difficult to get into as a direct admit; students who enter undeclared face a highly competitive admission process to declare the major.</p>

<p>Georgetown’s CS department appears to emphasize specialty topics relating to government and politics (information warfare, data mining, etc.). It may be great if that is what you want to do, but perhaps not as good if you want a more general CS education.</p>



<p>Actually, CS is a major where it is not that hard to find limited majors or departments (small number of courses, infrequently offered) at otherwise well regarded schools. Perhaps it may be because colleges and universities have to compete heavily with other employers for people with PhDs in CS, so building up a strong CS faculty may be more difficult than for other subjects.</p>

<p>I want to reiterate that it seemed that you were looking at grad school rankings and that is not necessarily a good proxy to use to evaluate an undergrad programs.</p>

<p>Not only that, but because grad school rankings by their very nature don’t rank LACs, every school that specializes only in the education of undergrads, and often does a better job of it, is not on the list.</p>

<p>That said, I would think U of Washington CS is better than Georgetown just by it’s proximity to the grad school and Microsoft’s record of hiring from there. For that matter, I think someone recently mentioned that Apple has a track record of hiring a large number of San Jose State grads, and that’s not a school one ordinarily sees on anyone’s list of top schools.</p>

<p>The real trick to getting a job in Silicon Valley - live there. There is plenty of local talent, they don’t need to pay anyone’s moving expenses. Get a good degree from anywhere, and if you really want to work there, move out on your own and take your chances once you get there. I have numerous friends from that did that in the '80s and they said it was really the only way you got your foot in the door. One guy even made it to VP level at Microsoft and retired to found his own VC group at 45, though plenty burned out and left after too many failed start-ups.</p>