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Suggestion Relative prestige of institutions

  1. Aug 22, 2011 #1

    MATLABdude

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    Not to single out the particular poster who's asked about the comparative 'prestige' of institutions, or of what it takes to get into these highly prestigious institutions, but this topic seems to come up (in one form or another) fairly often.

    Could we sticky a new thread in the Academic Forum that could serve as a reference to point posters to, or even as a "What does a prestigious undergrad / grad school mean?" Then again, the Princeton Review (and others) probably has something like this (so maybe it's better to focus on the grad school portion).

    Usually, the question is posed as what quality of education one receives at this versus a state school, versus a community college, versus online education (at a reputable institution), versus a diploma mill (no ranking / prestige is implied in this listing). We know that the quality of instruction (at least for undergrad) is definitely not uniform, and not necessarily better at research-intensive institutions. The "cutting edge" research will happen at a research-intensive school, but how often (and in what depth) does that get brought up in the undergrad curriculum?

    I'll posit that I see the gross misconception that an Ivy League education is a Golden Meal Ticket or 6/7 figure entry-level job, or even a ticket to a faculty position (and conversely, the implication that non-Ivy graduates are somehow not talented, not intelligent, or generally not worthy. But maybe that's just because I didn't attend one (note that I make no claims to talent, intelligence or worthiness).

    In the end, most accredited institutions will deliver a decent quality undergraduate education, and it'll be up to an individual's own talent, experiences, and their personal education (and yes, a little luck) to make their own way in life. Granted, it may be a little easier when your degree says Harvard or some such, but not having such a degree doesn't automatically disqualify you from graduate school, a particular position, etc.

    As for graduate school, the experience probably varies even more greatly, depending on research group, supervisor, area of specialization, and just what sort of project is being pursued.

    Just some thoughts! And no, I'm definitely not volunteering to write / compile the post / thread, especially since I'm probably not qualified to do so!
     
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  3. Aug 22, 2011 #2

    micromass

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    I second the request. But I'm not sure who's going to write the thing... I would love to do it, but I'm far from qualified (I'm not even american). I hope people will see MATLAB's post and volunteer to make something.
     
  4. Aug 22, 2011 #3

    Astronuc

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    It's not the name of the school, but it's what one learns and knows. It doesn't matter where the knowledge was gained, but the knowledge that is gained, that counts. If one doesn't know, it doesn't matter where one attended school.

    In general, reputations are over-rated/inflated. Prestige is over-rated.
     
  5. Aug 22, 2011 #4

    Evo

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    I hate to be honest, but it does matter. As far as employment goes, it does matter where you got your degree. My ex is an Ivy League grad and he's gotten interviews and jobs just because of where he went, and he was told so. When you're in a pile of resumes, it matters if you graduated from Yale or Avila college.

    The only time it might not matter is if it's a job where they can't afford someone from a top school, or you have been around awhile and know people in the industry.

    Of course going to a great school and graduating at the bottom of your class isn't going to do you much good. No matter where you go, your emphasis should always be on doing your best.
     
  6. Aug 22, 2011 #5

    berkeman

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    For hiring into R&D engineering positions at my work, the name of your school *might* get you a phone interview sooner than another candidate, which might get you into the first round of technical interviews sooner, but after that, it's all based on merit and real accomplishment.

    And if a resume has lots of great qualifications and experience on it, the name of the college(s) where they got their degree(s) doesn't come into the picture. At least where I work and help interview folks.
     
  7. Aug 22, 2011 #6

    Evo

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    Yes, the longer you've been in the industry, the more your actual accomplishments mean. I no longer even listed education on my resume once I had experience, no one cared.

    It's when you're an unknown that it really matters.
     
  8. Aug 22, 2011 #7

    Astronuc

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    Then again, I know a company that interviewed several graduates of a 'prestigious' engineering/technical university. The company didn't hire any of those students. They simply weren't good enough.
     
  9. Aug 22, 2011 #8

    Evo

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    I think this is probably the best advice I've heard on the subject.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/11920282-post7.html [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  10. Aug 22, 2011 #9
    I have a friend who went to MIT while I went to a state school and took a similar program. He got tons of interviews when he graduated and was hired by a major aerospace company after an interview that consisted of his showing the interviewer his diploma.

    I thnk there is also the matter of access to equipment in some cases. My roommate at that state school went on to Yale for his doctorate in Chemistry. He wrote me that his professors at Yale were "every bit as good" as those he had as an undergrad. The undergrad chem department, though, had one electron microscope and the Yale freshman lab has a dozen.
     
  11. Aug 22, 2011 #10

    ZapperZ

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    This really is the wrong forum for having this type of discussion. Please remember that you are in the Feedback and Announcement forum.

    Zz.
     
  12. Aug 22, 2011 #11

    jtbell

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    There's already a lot of information and opinion in previous threads about getting into "prestigious" schools. How about simply merging a few of the more recent ones into a sticky thread with a title like Getting into MIT / Caltech / Harvard / Cambridge / etc.. Then when someone tries to start a new thread, merge it with this one. Maybe make separate versions for undergraduate and graduate school.
     
  13. Aug 22, 2011 #12

    Evo

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    Excellent idea.
     
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