Does attending a more selective college equal a bigger paycheck?

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mcblogerson

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Ivy league, Stanford, MIT, level degrees open doors that arent easily opened by other colleges.

Past that most colleges are about the same, whether its a P5 school or a small liberal arts one. Regionally it may give you a little prestige. I would guess most people outside of the midwest dont know what state Northwestern is in, let alone if its better than NW Missouri St.
 

Sigmapolis

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This might apply to those with a start up idea as well. Those connections might get the business off the ground but doesnt necessarily equal big pay right away for those
Yeah, if they ever pay off. Most of those things fail anyways. But having somebody to subsidize your loses (while you draw a salary off it) is a perk, as well.

A fun political cartoon that summarizes some of my thoughts on the matter --



We think the hedge funds and tech bros are the ones making money on this. Nah, not really. Whoever owns land in NYC and SF is making a killing.
 
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throwittoblythe

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A big thing that's missing is how people define "success" for themselves and their kids. I'm sure many of the "elites" that folks are talking about here think that "success" means you have to make 7 figures, dine at the finest restaurants, rub elbows with the super-rich, live on the upper east side, and have 10 houses around the world.

The same goes for people that think their kids HAVE to go to college to achieve "success." To them, it means a a four year degree, un upper-middle class job at a good company, a house in the 'burbs, 2 kids, a dog, an SUV, etc. The thought of their kids going into the trades is some sort of a consolation prize.

Success is defined differently for everyone. Where people go off the rails is when they define it in ways that go all-or-nothing on a specific outcome and on things they can't control. Both the parents and the kids are so stressed out at all phases of life because they worry their lives will be ruined because they didn't [INSERT: get into the right daycare, get into the right private HS, get into the right college, get the right job, marry into the right family].

Stop defining success by external factors. I might not make as much money as I possibly can. I only have one house and I can't afford to take my family on vacation every single year. But my marriage is healthy, my kids are healthy, and they're getting what is a decent upbringing that (I hope) emphasizes hard work, empathy, and decency. Beyond that, it's kind of a roll of the dice.
 

Sigmapolis

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A big thing that's missing is how people define "success" for themselves and their kids. I'm sure many of the "elites" that folks are talking about here think that "success" means you have to make 7 figures, dine at the finest restaurants, rub elbows with the super-rich, live on the upper east side, and have 10 houses around the world.

The same goes for people that think their kids HAVE to go to college to achieve "success." To them, it means a a four year degree, un upper-middle class job at a good company, a house in the 'burbs, 2 kids, a dog, an SUV, etc. The thought of their kids going into the trades is some sort of a consolation prize.

Success is defined differently for everyone. Where people go off the rails is when they define it in ways that go all-or-nothing on a specific outcome and on things they can't control. Both the parents and the kids are so stressed out at all phases of life because they worry their lives will be ruined because they didn't [INSERT: get into the right daycare, get into the right private HS, get into the right college, get the right job, marry into the right family].

Stop defining success by external factors. I might not make as much money as I possibly can. I only have one house and I can't afford to take my family on vacation every single year. But my marriage is healthy, my kids are healthy, and they're getting what is a decent upbringing that (I hope) emphasizes hard work, empathy, and decency. Beyond that, it's kind of a roll of the dice.
All correct, but all peeing into a hurricane into many social circles (and especially on the East Coast and in major West Coast cities).

You just get pee on yourself and the hurricane keeps blowing.

Success here is... your kids are successful white collar professionals in a handful of prestige industries, like finance, consulting, medicine, journalism, philanthropy, academia, or politics and/or law/government... or they are not successes whatsoever.

They treat anything less like the kid is going to become a hick huffing spray paint in rural West Virginia. Their fears are not unfounded... there is not as much of a middle to the labor market as there was in 1950... but it is ridiculous. It is like the overbearing Little League parent only blown up a million times to every aspect of their life.

Ideally every kid needs to be a justice on the Supreme Court, but there are only nine of those, so the competition for them from Day 1 is hellacious. Only 10% of people can be in the top 10% of their graduating class by definition, so get to it.

I like that paper because it gives some indication this whole rat race might be over nothing anyways. They key is graduating, not which school you got into.
 
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kchacker

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Ivy league, Stanford, MIT, level degrees open doors that arent easily opened by other colleges.

Past that most colleges are about the same, whether its a P5 school or a small liberal arts one. Regionally it may give you a little prestige. I would guess most people outside of the midwest dont know what state Northwestern is in, let alone if its better than NW Missouri St.
I agree. When I was looking at schools, my uncle said "if you're ever going to move out of state, and you probably will, do you want Iowa State or (insert other small Iowa school) on your resume?" The small school had an excellent program, but he was probably right.

Yale, Harvard, the big boys? Sure, I won't argue with those. That list gets pretty short pretty quick. After that, I want something people have at least heard of.
 

VeloClone

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I agree. When I was looking at schools, my uncle said "if you're ever going to move out of state, and you probably will, do you want Iowa State or (insert other small Iowa school) on your resume?" The small school had an excellent program, but he was probably right.

Yale, Harvard, the big boys? Sure, I won't argue with those. That list gets pretty short pretty quick. After that, I want something people have at least heard of.
This is true and generally applies to your first one or two jobs. But after you are in the work force for a while your job experience and accomplishments matter much more than the name across the top of your diploma in a great number of fields.
 

CTTB78

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Ivy league, Stanford, MIT, level degrees open doors that arent easily opened by other colleges....
Leaving Berkeley off the list (but including Stanford) is fighting words for a lot of Californians.
 

ArgentCy

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More like the children of snobs. And the level of arrogance varies by zip code.
This thread conversion came up a party I went to in Carmel. To the locals there, the Ivy schools are the junior league compared to the European universities that they all attended. When I told them that I went to ISU, I thought I might have to call 911.
Where the heck is Carmel? It doesn't surprise me at all that the Europeans were more uppity than the Ivy schools. This all stems from old school politics and Europe has that in Spades.

I'm sure who ever think Carmel is a good school would see me as Homer when I tell them well at least the picked the best candy.
 

ArgentCy

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I agree with this.

It is a mixture of who you know and where you went to school. In Iowa, the school name does not carry much weight because majority of the work force went to Midwestern schools that aren't Northwestern or WashU St Louis.

However, in the high level business field, the law field, and the medical field, where you went to college REALLY matters. A lesser candidate (in all other aspects) may get the job simply because they went to an Ivy League.

Obviously, your paycheck is really dependent on how hard you work. Landing those opportunities is about who you know, where you went to school, and a lot of dumb luck.
I actually went to tour Washington University in St Louis. Lol, spent about 5 mins there looking around and at the area and said no f'ing way. Didn't talk to anyone there and said ISU it is.
 

CTTB78

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Where the heck is Carmel? It doesn't surprise me at all that the Europeans were more uppity than the Ivy schools. This all stems from old school politics and Europe has that in Spades.
I'm sure who ever think Carmel is a good school would see me as Homer when I tell
them well at least the picked the best candy.
Not sure if it was a serious question-- but it's Carmel, California. No colleges there that I'm aware of.
 

SpokaneCY

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Not sure if it was a serious question-- but it's Carmel, California. No colleges there that I'm aware of.
DLIFLC. Defense Language Institute - Foreign Language Center. But ya kinda have to enlist to go there...
 

Sigmapolis

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Ivy league, Stanford, MIT, level degrees open doors that arent easily opened by other colleges.

Past that most colleges are about the same, whether its a P5 school or a small liberal arts one. Regionally it may give you a little prestige. I would guess most people outside of the midwest dont know what state Northwestern is in, let alone if its better than NW Missouri St.
You say this, and it is indeed the conventional wisdom, but again, if those "doors" are so important, it is not showing up in the early career salary data.

Average salaries of *graduates* between directional state schools, "modesty" selective state schools (e.g., Iowa State), "more" selective state schools (e.g., Michigan or Virginia), and your upper-echelon stuff is... surprisingly close, all things considered.

That is, Harvard grads are not lapping Northern Iowa grads.
 

Cyched

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Yeah I agree, if you go the CC route to knock out some gen eds you better have a game plan on where you plan to go next and what major you are going to enroll in so you can work with that school to make sure all the classes you are taking at CC will fully transfer over. If you just go into it without a plan you could wind up wasting some time with classes that don't transfer in.
It was nice having our high school partnering with DMACC, where AP classes got you college credit, so if you took an AP class you didn't have to worry too much.

Got Calc I knocked out via our AP Calc high school class. AP Chem ended up knocking out two chemistry classes at ISU that I needed to take (177 & 178), which was a pleasant surprise.
 

cyIclSoneU

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-- 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.
Glad you mentioned this - the culture surrounding education (particularly, but not exclusively, higher education) is so much different in the northeast than the Midwest. Going to a public university on the east coast is looked down upon. It's so much better that Midwest states have strong public universities that are respected and attainable for their high school grads. But move to Boston with an ISU (or Iowa, or Minnesota, etc.) degree and it will be tougher for you.
 

cyIclSoneU

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With all of that said, there are fields where school matters immensely. One of the most school prestige-sensitive fields is the legal industry, where there is a cabal of 14 universities (literally known as the "Top 14") from which most major law firms primarily draw (as well as other highly-sought jobs, like clerking for judges). So if you don't get your law degree from Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, Penn, Virginia, Duke, Cal, Michigan, Northwestern, Cornell, or Georgetown, you are already starting out with one hand tied behind your back in the job search.
 

Sigmapolis

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Glad you mentioned this - the culture surrounding education (particularly, but not exclusively, higher education) is so much different in the northeast than the Midwest. Going to a public university on the east coast is looked down upon. It's so much better that Midwest states have strong public universities that are respected and attainable for their high school grads. But move to Boston with an ISU (or Iowa, or Minnesota, etc.) degree and it will be tougher for you.
I moved from Iowa to Boston and then to Washington, DC.

It was the worst in Massachusetts -- UMass is essentially the worst school in the state, and everybody presumes anybody who went there is either a big fat idiot party animal or a complete ****-up who you do not want to trust with anything.

It is the cardinal opposite of Iowa, where the best schools in the state are the public schools. In the Commonwealth, if you want to be considered anybody, you had to have gone to a certain set of elite private schools in Boston and Cambridge.

MIT is the one big exception.
 

cyIclSoneU

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Right, the only school in Iowa that I would think “This guy is probably smart” without knowing anything else about him is Grinnell. If you go to Simpson or Upper Iowa or Mount Mercy or Northwestern College or whatever else, I won’t think any more or less vs somebody who went to one of the state schools. Definitely not the case in the northeast.