Photo: Will Folsom via Flickr
Graduate programs and employers look closely at an applicant’s undergraduate institution and course of study, but they aren’t the only factors taken into consideration when the time comes to apply for school or a job, recruiters say.”We do take into consideration the undergraduate institution, but it’s not quite as dramatic as you might think,” said Julie Barefoot, the associate dean of MBA admissions at Emory University’s esteem Goizeuta Business School.
Barefoot said the quality of an applicant’s undergraduate school and individual program mattered when determining whether the student would fit in at Goizeuta. For example, an engineering student who did well at Georgia Tech should be able to handle Emory’s environment better than a student who went to a large public school and majored in a less intense area, she said.
However the applicant’s test scores and job history also play a large role in the selection process.
“It’s certainly not going to be the be all and end all,” she said of the applicant’s undergraduate school
The same principle applies at other graduate programs.
Students will be reviewed by their programs of interest first, and each program has their own criteria for the decision process,” said Samantha Geitz, an admissions adviser in the University of Missouri-Columbia Graduate School. “While it is possible that many of them—especially the more competitive programs—do look at a student’s alma mater, I have never seen that given as a reason for either accepting or denying a student’s application.”
To some companies, the name of the college on an applicant’s degree matters, said Steven Rothberg, of collegerecruiter.com, a website designed to match companies with college graduates. Larger, better-known companies might be more inclined to hire Ivy League graduates than their smaller counterparts, he said.
“Some care more about the quality of their hires than the cost of those hires,” Rothberg said. “Some employers are extremely selective.”
On the other hand, an impressive degree might not be the most important asset a college graduate brings to the table.
“Even though that student might be regarded by most as the cream of the cream, they might be the least desirable for that employer,” if that employer is on a tight budget, he said.
And cost is a big factor for many.
“In general, employers recruiting on campus are looking always for the least expensive hire,” Rothberg said. “When it comes to placement or career assistance from colleges and universities, beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.”
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