A high school diploma does not carry as much weight in the workplace as it used to, and many employers are starting to increase their educational requirements. This month, high school seniors nationwide are receiving letters of acceptance and rejection to colleges and universities. Many students strive for excellence within their high school career to make sure they are eligible to attend the best schools. There is an idea that being admitted and attending prestigious institutions can somehow increase the chances of getting higher paying occupations. These students and their parents believe more renowned colleges will notably affect their employment success in the future.
Whether or not you attend college holds a great importance, but where you choose to attend matters less. Employers focus more on the academic performance and skills learned in college rather than where they were taught. According to Forbes contributor Liz Ryan, employers are looking for employees “who are self-directed and responsible,”adding that the interview will bring out those qualities.
A study done in 2011 by the National Bureau of Economic Research economists covered 19,000 college graduates and reached the conclusion that job earnings were unaffected regardless of the school. Earnings are often the biggest part of the employment picture. Other measures, such as job fulfillment and social values, are more difficult to quantify.
To many students, money seems to be the bigger picture; the better the school, the better the resume, and the better the resume, the better the job. But what about merit? Although salary is crucial, credibility should be worth much more because attending a good school does not automatically set one up for success. Similar to high school, a high grade point average and SAT score is great, but what about extracurricular activities, volunteering and working well with others? Students have to present something new and unique, find out the qualities that make them different and stand apart from everyone else. Some applicants may look great on paper but bring little to the table. Especially in occupations dealing with technology, employers want to see skill execution rather than a resume.
Not all successful people are ivy leaguers. Cofounder of Google, Larry Page attended the University of Michigan, Apple CEO Tim Cook attended Auburn University, U.S. representative Maxine Waters attended California State University and many more are examples of successful people who did not attend ivy league schools. Finding a job is hard for everyone, and networking is a pivotal component in college no matter what school you attend. A prestigious school can help, but it will not get you all the way.
The college admission process becomes more of a chore and applies a lot of pressure to students who make it more of a task than an exciting turning point in their lives. Parents also play a significant role in the hectic college process. Because parents have a lifetime of experience in school and the workplace, they become extremely invested in the admissions process and begin to create their own idea of a successful future for their child. The more important the college is to the parent, the more pressure the student feels.
Nevertheless, a diploma from an eminent school helps, but it is thoughtless to award their status rather than what that institute can offer. It should be the effort put into studies, the determination you enhance in your skills and what is actually learned from these elite colleges. These are the resilient building blocks of a career. A diploma should be the least of what defines someone as a student and a person. A student is what he or she makes of each opportunity.
Picking a school should be based on what you want and what they can offer as you continue on your academic path. Find a school that will benefit you the most when it matters the most. After all, that is why you are in college—to find out what is best suited toward your needs and what will supply you with the most in-depth education that you can receive in your particular field of study.
The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of the Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor Qur’an Hansford.
Printed in the 4/25/18 issue.