As we all know, the job market for physicists is abysmal. but just how bad is it? and what role does the prestige of the university you attended play? Will someone who earned their Ph. D from MIT or Harvard have a much easier time getting a post-doc, than say, someone who went to Virginia Tech or Purdue? Perhaps i have been brainwashed by CollegeConfidential, but the way prestige is played up over there, and the way the job market is played down over here, its enough to make me assume that a Ph. D from a so-called second tier institution is worthless. I am only a senior in high school and I am considering a career in physics, which would be my number 1 job pick. however, i cannot get into any tier 1 institutions for physics for undergrad. i simply lack the necessary outstanding extra-curriculars. I can probably get into UVA (3.93 UW GPA, 1460/2190 SAT, 11 AP classes, in-state), which, according to their website, sends graduates off to places like Princeton and Stanford every year, so thatd be okay. But, if i dont get into UVA, i'll most likely have to go to Virginia Tech. Last year, i believe one physics grad made it into University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, while all the others stayed at VT or entered the job market. Thus, referring back to the first paragraph, would there be any point in majoring in physics if i went to VT, if i eventually wanted a Ph. D? And dont tell me 'If physics is what you love than you should do it no matter what, even if you cant get a job blah blah blah blah." I also have an interest in mathematics, which would give me a fallback career (and a well paying one at that!) as an actuary, and computer science seems interesting too. I have been considering those two majors/careers anyway, and since they have a much better employment outlook, they are very tempting options. But, assuming i do get into UVA for physics, and then assuming i get into somewhere like MIT/Berkeley after that, whats the job market like then? still abysmal? or do elite grads have great chances at post-doctoral employment? Thanks for reading my long post, and any information you have on this topic is appreciated!