On Selecting a College

The optimal strategy for college selection is to choose the most selective school with the best brand name possible. I wish it weren't this way, but often the world doesn't work as we'd want it.

Last week, I spoke to a friend pursuing an undergraduate degree. He complained about many of his peers at his college slowed down his education. They couldn't grasp topics that were easy to him.

This friend is attending a school that isn't highly-regarded. Many hiring managers I know discount graduates from this school. It has a very high acceptance rate.

He's not in a great situation.

As I mentioned in my previous post, colleges provide three functions: education, socialization, and filtering. In my experience, the education provided by decent universities is roughly equivalent. The courses at a top-tier college are not that different from a mid-tier and so on.

My friend is the most capable person amongst a group of less able folks. The college brand that will be associated with his name will not represent his actual value. The network he is building is not as strong as the one he could build at more exclusive schools. His options are limited. He can transfer to a better school or do things to build his reputation without relying upon his college's brand.

Michael Girdley