University choice and success


Let’s talk about the impact of attending a highly selective or expensive school on future success.

You might think a degree from a prestigious school means your student is destined for a big salary and a fulfilling career. And you might be right — depending on who your student is.

If your student is a white male, the research shows that the chances of their elite alma mater influencing their salary is statistically insignificant, due to the fact that students from this background often have established connections that will support their career objectives.

This is also true for women, but for a different reason. Women who graduate from colleges that are considered elite tend to earn more than women who don’t, but it’s not an increase in salary through higher wages — it’s an increase through working more hours. 

Research also shows that for non-white and first-generation students (students who are the first in their family to go to college), prestigious schools can be a game-changer. They have a much higher chance of landing in the top one percent of wage earners because they gain access to a network they otherwise would not have access to. 

It’s not where you go, it’s how you do it

Still, attending a prestigious college may not be what’s right for your student. Consider your student’s academic, financial, personal and long-term career needs. First, determine the best colleges based on programs and cost, and then find the university that will be the best fit (for opportunities and other resources) for your student. 

Remember, in the working world, your student will have to perform to keep that job — they can’t  rely on their college’s name too much.. It’s the mindset they have and the skills they learned in college that will sustain them and enable them to shine throughout their entire career. A student can gain that mindset and those skills at virtually any college, as long as they take advantage of the opportunities available to them.