Does attending a more selective college equal a bigger paycheck?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sigmapolis, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Sigmapolis

    Sigmapolis Minister of Economy
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    #1 Sigmapolis, Jun 3, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
    I found this article fascinating --

    Does attending a more selective college equal a bigger paycheck?

    https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/does-attending-a-more-selective-college-equal-a-bigger-paycheck/

    https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Does-Attending-a-More-Selective-College-Equal-a-Bigger-Paycheck.pdf

    It is only four pages, and much of that is header, charts, and graphs. You all should read it. I will preface it with Iowa State is a "minimally selective" school (admission rate of 89.3%). I know we might think higher of ourselves, but it is what it is.

    Their summary key points...

    There is a popular conception that graduation from a more prestigious college equates to higher earnings. The data suggest that narrative deserves a closer look.

    Four years after graduation, median earnings for college graduates from less selective four-year institutions appear broadly similar to those for graduates from more selective schools.

    Four years after graduation, the earnings of graduates from less selective colleges appeared to increase more rapidly than did those from more selective colleges between 1993 and 2008.


    Some of my personal observations...

    -- I know this is alien to many Iowans and people in the Midwest, but the "culture" on the East Coast towards admission to an "elite" school... essentially from birth... is hellish... people and their kids spend tons of money and time towards fulfilling that goal. Remember the whole admissions bribery scandal? Maybe it is not worth it after all.

    -- The paper does not attempt to adjust for regional cost-of-living... most graduates of "elite" schools are probably living on the East Coast or the West Coast closer to those institutions, but higher rent and housing costs in NYC and SF can eat up that roughly 10% wage premium pretty quickly... you might be better off in real terms as an ISU graduate in a cheap city like Des Moines. The article also does not adjust for the cost of attendence.

    -- I work with a lot of people who went to higher-ranked schools than ISU (e.g., Virginia, Princeton, etc.), but, hey, I ended up working at the same place for the same (or higher) salary. This is a nice piece of personal validation that way.

    So maybe Iowa State (and peer institutions... the land-grants, four-year public schools, the like) deserve more respect than they receive as the foundation for a career and/or for their high return-on-investment to your education?

    Maybe getting into Harvard or not is not as important as people think.

    :)
     
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  2. ou812zx

    ou812zx Active Member

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    I think my investment in Iowa State has paid off....but then again, your results may vary. If I had a kid in high school, I would guide them into the trades, or a shorter trade school.....
     
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  3. Gonzo

    Gonzo Well-Known Member

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    Good info. I've done consulting with a few east coast prep/boarding schools and have seen first hand the dogfight that is getting into the "right" university. Nothing at these prep schools... amenities, faculty, global learning opportunities, technology, etc., ... matters nearly as much to parents as their "accept" list... specifically, what % of their students are accepted not just at Ivies, but at the top Ivies. And these are parents who can cut a check for $55k to cover one year's worth of high school tuition. It's a different world.
     
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  4. BCClone

    BCClone Well-Known Member

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    My advice As a parent who has a kid in college now one that was soon will be also is to have them take AP classes and college credit classes while in high school. Then go right to Iowa State and you should be able to graduate in three years
     
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  5. helechopper

    helechopper Well-Known Member
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    Getting paid takes a lot of hard work and social/intellectual intelligence, something you can achieve at most colleges regardless of their elite status.

    But the real benefit in attending these top schools is WHO you meet there because the likelihood of meeting someone with the right connections and resources to make your career happen are higher and will provide a potentially higher ceiling when it comes to how much you can achieve in whatever profession.

    A lot of success is timing and preparedness (college), sure. But mostly it’s who you know.
     
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  6. Gonzo

    Gonzo Well-Known Member

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    Agree, the connections they make are the keys to the kingdom.

    And a huge part of it as well is the egos of the parents. Equally important to the opportunities they believe it creates, is the fact that they can brag on the cocktail party circuit that their kid is at Princeton, Yale, Harvard. That's a very real thing.
     
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  7. Sigmapolis

    Sigmapolis Minister of Economy
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    This is definitely the conventional wisdom about that.

    However...

    Their data is suggesting (at least in the short-term) that the strength of these effects is greatly exaggerated. Graduates of elite schools have roughly 10% more income than the graduates of less prestigious schools, and if you adjust for regional costs of living differences, that nominal difference might disappear in real terms.

    Might those contacts matter more in the long-term? Maybe.

    But their data suggests this is not a strong effect in your 20s.

    If it is not showing up immediately in the income data presented in the report, then I do not know how or why you would suspect the "network" you built when you were 18-23 would start mattering more after you hit 30 or later in your career.
     
  8. CascadeClone

    CascadeClone Well-Known Member

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    When it comes to earnings-- WHAT you study >>> WHERE you study
     
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  9. ArgentCy

    ArgentCy Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to school to actually learn something useful - then no the school "prestige" matters little

    If you are going to these Elite schools - then you are attempting to go for the pay to play politics game. In other words its about who you meet rather than anything you might actually learn.

    The data seems to show that as the average is probably skewed slightly higher by the few people who make out really, really well through their contacts and nothing more.
     
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  10. Sigmapolis

    Sigmapolis Minister of Economy
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    The paper does not attempt to adjust for major.

    The less prestigious schools having more science and engineering majors (and fewer arts and humanities majors) could explain how the gap is so close.

    Then again, there are probably some MIT graduates doing well for themselves. I do not know if elite school's students are systematically biased towards or away from the majors that we all know are more remunerative in their opportunities.

    Their charts are for median income, not mean.
     
  11. ArgentCy

    ArgentCy Well-Known Member

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    Ok, still its skewed slightly higher. A lot of pay for play corruption available these days.
     
  12. Cycsk

    Cycsk Well-Known Member
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    If I'm not mistaken, the article shows that students from more selective schools still earn more.

    Even before looking at the article, I was ready to post "Does being admitted to a more selective college equal a bigger paycheck?" I tend to think it does. However, I still think the biggest indicator about how much you make is "how much does your family make."

    I think that GPA, graduation rates, income, and incarceration rates for students are all closely correlated to those same rates in your immediate family. Having access to a more selective school is also closely correlated to these same things.
     
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  13. WIB

    WIB Well-Known Member

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    It matter. Not for jobs around Iowa, but if you want to get into a competitive field and don't have a connection, you're going to be at a disadvantage immediately. I once asked "You're the only person left that's not from an Ivy League school, why should we hire you?"
     
  14. CYdTracked

    CYdTracked Well-Known Member

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    Good advice, I know some of my in-laws kids have racked up a year or more of college credits while in HS and it helped them immensely. Also nothing wrong with take a year or 2 of gen eds at a community college such as DMACC. I took a couple classes a summer at DMACC my first 2 years at ISU to knock out some gen eds I either needed to re-take or preferred to knock out in advance of the fall semester and in hindsight I wish I had taken more classes at DMACC in some subjects that I was able to learn better in a smaller class environment instead of a 200-400 person lecture hall. I dropped my business calculus class my sophomore year because I was completely lost and on track to fail it and took it over the summer at DMACC. When we got to the part of the course where I was struggling with the class at ISU where I dropped out, the way the instructor presented it made so much more sense to me and I was able to finish the course not feeling frustrated like I was when I dropped it the first time.

    I made a point to tell the instructor near the end of the semester that I really appreciated how he taught the class and how I was able to learn the material much better than what I did at ISU. He response basically was his job is to teach you the course and give you the opportunities to succeed where a lot of the professors at 4 year schools don't always care to take the time to actually teach their students and some are more focused on their research and gaining tenure than they are caring that their students succeed. I agreed with him, over my years at ISU there were some profs that seemed to enjoy teaching and engaging students and others that just went through the motions and acted like they didn't care if you tried to get some help during their office hours.
     
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  15. Bader

    Bader Well-Known Member

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    The first time I ever encountered someone trying to puff where they got their Bachelor's from was a Michigan grad I worked with. Absolutely blew my mind. I know people with advanced degrees really get into it, but I gave that guy so much ****. Who the hell cares where your BS is from?
     
  16. ArgentCy

    ArgentCy Well-Known Member

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    Well that should be plainly obvious. They control both your genetics and your environment, education and work ethic, etc.
     
  17. ArgentCy

    ArgentCy Well-Known Member

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    The arrogant and ignorant people from Ivy league schools, of course.
     
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  18. BCClone

    BCClone Well-Known Member

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    Agree with what you say except necessarily the part about a year to two at a CC. Every person that I know that has attended a CC full time either took four years (ones who had a semester or two done already) or 4.5-5 years (those with very little while entering) due not being able to take anything truly in their major and having to test the waters when they finally get to the main school. A year maybe, but I could not recommend taking two years of full time coursework at a CC.
     
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  19. Sigmapolis

    Sigmapolis Minister of Economy
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    #19 Sigmapolis, Jun 3, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
    This is why I say Iowans do not get it. I did not get it until I lived out here.

    The credential/educational rat race is intense and intense from birth out here. Parents sweat for two decades about where their kids will be admitted as undergraduates. Kids will kill themselves because they have to go to Brown and not Harvard. People look at me like I am a cow-milking hick when I tell them I went to ISU and like college sports.

    I grew up in Boone and kind of just always assumed that, if I went to college (and 0/2 of my parents and 0/4 of my grandparents did, though some aunts and uncles did go with varying success rates), then it would just be down the road in Ames.

    Completely different world out here for the children of the privileged.

    What amused me about the original article -- it might all be for naught. You might be better off relaxing, getting into a minimally-selective state school and into one of their more practical majors like engineering, and ending up just as fine as the Ivy League graduates, and maybe ahead if accounting for cost of attendance and cost of living.
     
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  20. CYdTracked

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    Curious what your response to that was?

    Also along this same discussion people who always have to let you know what their GPA is bugged me too. Some of the GPA requirements some companies have too for entry level jobs ticked me off when I first started applying for jobs my last semester. I get it, some use it as a weed out criteria for jobs that have a lot of applicants but I can tell you from my 2 summers of internship experience that book smart does not always mean someone is the most qualified for the job. Some of them had impressive GPAs (because they our course had to make sure we all knew it) but for the type of IT work we were doing they were dumb as hell when it came to the actual work we did which by now if they were planning to go into this type of work they should have some common knowledge of stuff that they won't teach you in classes. I'm really curious how things turned out for a few of those interns because I can bet they got a lot more interviews than I did just because of their GPA but I could run circles around them when it actually came to applying that knowledge to real life situations. One summer we were installing new network switches at 3 to 4 locations a week as part of some of our upgrades we were doing while on site. Near the end of the summer 1 guy I was working with that week says to me "so what exactly does this thing do?" as he is holding one of the new switches in his hands. My first response was "are you serious or just joking with me?" He said with a straight face he was serious. Wow... we had been installing these things for around 8 weeks by this time so you'd think he would have picked up some idea of what they do by now. We carried documentation manuals with us that had steps we had to do at each location for all the things we did there in a day and by the end of the summer most of us barely had to open our manuals because we had become so familiar with them while interns like him were still having to follow the manual step by step and even after all the repetition sometimes would struggle or mess up something.

    I remember my senior year one of my MIS instructors brought a desktop PC into class with him and said today's lesson was on the hardware inside a PC. If you don't know your way around a PC by now you better start taking interest in it on your own time because this is stuff most employers are going to expect you to know if you work in IT and no other instructor here is probably teaching it either. He would pull out certain parts and ask who knew what it was, then he would take it over to them and for instance a DIMM of RAM he would ask the person to tell him some more specific like who made the part what speed it is, etc. and if it took someone longer than about 10 seconds time he'd take the part back and ask who else would like to take a shot because it shouldn't take that long to answer. It probably was an eye opening experience for some of the people in the class.
     
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