The Importance of College
By HENRY HSIA
Disclaimer: The views represented in this article are the sole perspective of the writer and not a direct reflection of Paw Prints Weekly as a whole and/or its associated body.
Many of you have probably heard the phrase: “It does not matter what college you go to.”
In today’s competitive high school environment, students constantly strive to outperform their peers, in hopes of attending highly selective universities. However, when students fail to meet the universities’ high standards, they feel dismayed and hopeless—this is when people reaffirm each other’s egos by undermining the importance of receiving admission into top schools. Going to an esteemed school grants many opportunities that other, less reputable schools do not offer as extensively—there is a reason why these schools are so revered in the first place.
Firstly, prestigious colleges offer more opportunities such as internships and business connections. A study conducted by research institute Trendence examined which colleges were the best at preparing students for recruitment into top companies. As you would expect, more prestigious colleges rank at the top in terms of job preparation by recruiters at top companies. Specifically, schools such as California Institute of Technology, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia were more desirable for employers than less renowned schools.
With this in mind, it makes sense that these renowned schools have a reputation of producing highly employable individuals. The alumni networks at these schools are some of the best, providing undergraduates with a flood of invaluable resources from established individuals in their fields. These high-class universities also have well-endowed facilities and in turn, a great environment that maximizes productivity. For example, many top universities have state-of-the-art research labs that are not available at other universities. The combination of all of these factors results in graduates who are better qualified for employers than a graduate from a community college.
Subsequently, undergraduates from reputable universities are more likely to earn a higher income after they graduate than those from lesser-known schools. In the world of business, graduates from top schools can expect to earn 12% more than graduates from less reputable schools. In fact, this difference in earnings is the most pronounced in fields such as business, social science and education, where connections really matter. As stated before, illustrious institutions have extensive networks of alumni. By connecting with these alumni in the field, college graduates gain the unique, personalized and authentic connections that are essential to success in their career.
However, Time magazine’s Michael Bernick argues that the college a student receives admission to matters little when compared to the student’s capacity for self-growth and self-improvement. While this may sound like a valid counterargument, it has its own flaws. The connections and opportunities one receives at top universities simply cannot be earned through self-improvement and self-growth. Specifically, prestigious colleges offer extensive and irreplaceable alumni networks that are essential for certain majors and expensive and scarce research facilities. Additionally, esteemed universities offer a better overall environment for productivity. These factors allow students at prestigious colleges more opportunities for the self-growth and self-improvement that Bernick deems so essential to success.
Nonetheless, there are always exceptions to the rule, and not being able to enter a distinguished college is not the end of the world. Individuals may still reach their career goals regardless of what institution they attend, as long as they continue to persevere and work hard.
In conclusion, which institution you go to will definitely matter. You are more likely to succeed if you receive admission into a well-recognized college. However, it is still possible to succeed without admission into top colleges, one just has to work hard and persevere.