The Ivy League

Wow, Benny. That sounds like a great school. Do you need a philosophy professor? I have proven myself as a teacher at a major state university.

On topic: I went to both a state school (for undergrad) and a private school (grad school). Honestly, I learned a lot at both, but nothing made the private school feel superior. In fact, in my case, the teachers at the private school were often more interested in research than teaching. That’s not completely fair, since there were good teachers there, but there was far more emphasis on faculty research.

However, the main factor in your education is you, not the school. But this isn’t really about education, is it? The question is about credentials. With that in mind, Ivy League schools and other well-known schools give you an advantage in landing an interview. They just do. People can throw around whatever anecdotal evidence they want about whom they would or wouldn’t hire. Yet when I tell people where I went to grad school, they are visibly impressed (I try not to talk about it, but when you are in academics, it comes up a lot). It still carries weight.

The biggest consistent differences between private and public schools are two things, at least imo (from what i’ve seen); the humanities and liberal arts are generally much stronger in the private schools than in state colleges (public schools often have very dilapidated, forgotten liberal arts departments), and it’s far too easy to “slip between the cracks” as a student in a large state. If you’re having trouble in a school of 35,000, you’re just another statistic, and no one is going to come up and help you out unless you actively look for that help.

Remember as well that the question asked for the “average job,” I believe out of an undergraduate degree.

Certainly, if you are a professional or graduate student, for the types of jobs you would apply for having an Ivy degree in particular would not be all important (for example, I’m not sure being a University of Chicago trained economist is going to be sneezed at compared to a Harvard economist).

But for the average, “So you have a literature degree and are looking to manage a Blockbuster,” job, I’ll take a Harvard degree over a University of Massachusetts degree any day.

I’m suprised some hack stock guru hasn’t shown how sending your kid to Europe for 4 years on vacation (or just have them getting a job out of school) while investing that 200,000+ doesn’t pay out better over the long run than the average job he/she receives after graduating from an expensive (but not necessarily ivy) private.

I went to University of Virginia undergrad. UVA is a high ranking public school - typically around #20 nationally (of all major national universities) in the polls I’ve seen.

For schools outside of the top 5-10 (public or private) I think there is a much more rapid fall-off in recognition and prestige, the farther away you get geographically from the university’s home territory. In the mid-Atlantic area, and perhaps even with New York type jobs, UVA seems to carry a fair amount of weight. In St. Louis (where I returned after I graduated), to most folks, UVA is just another state school. Conversely, Washington University is a very good school here in St. Louis, that carries a lot of weight around here, but I think that is less true on the east coast. OTOH, I suspect Harvard, Yale and M.I.T. carry a lot of weight anywhere in the country.

This is also probably more true once you move outside of the realm of those who are very familiar with the merits of different colleges, and into the real world. I would imagine that graduate school admissions departments are far more aware of the small (and large) quality differences between schools far away than a mid-level H.R. person or manager working in corporate America.

I agree with the other posters that, for most jobs, academic pedigree becomes far less important once you’re a couple years out of school.

Actually U-Chicago has a tremendous reputation for its economics program, largely due to some very big names that have come out of there.

As a later poster noted, the value of most university names tends to vary with distance from the school, and that is especially true with state schools. You can always grab a Peterson’s Guide and see how schools rank out, or check the US News and World Report rankings every year, of whatever, but as a general rule, while U-Michigan is very highly regarded in the Mid-West, or UVA is very highly regarded in the SE, or UCLA on the West Coast (that last one is speculation, I’m too far away to know for sure), their cache tends to drop off the farther away you get from them.

IMO that doesn’t hold true for the group of private schools we were focusing on here: the Ivy League, and those schools that compete for the same group of students that apply to the Ivy League, such as MIT, Stanford, U-Chicago, Duke, possibly the Seven Sisters schools (or possibly not, its hard to tell), a scattering of others.

But I can tell you that, when our Admissions office gets a fax from a parent with an aid offer from somewhere like Carnegie-Mellon, or U-Washington at St. Louis, asking us if we will match their offer, the response is “yeah, that student got a great offer from a Tier 2 school. We don’t match Tier 2 school offers. We don’t need to. We get Tier 1 students.”

Yeah, I know, that was my point.

This seems to be growing emphasis on this in the Ivy League. As far as I know, Yale has been the only one to really push the whole “College” system but it seems that Harvard and Princeton are trying harder to match it.

I’ve had a series of dream jobs, and I went to the University of Southern Mississippi.

Hey, didn’t Tom Chick go to Harvard? I guess there’s no old boys network for an career in game journalism.

Right. I went to a small, expensive, well-regarded private school with zero name recognition to the general public outside of its city. Number of times it’s impressed an interviewer here on the other side of the country: once.

I could have gone to an Ivy type for the same money and academic investment, I think I would have had a similar education, and my resume would get more attention. I’d still have an education section on it!

One of the funniest things about moving to Virginia so far has been hearing the ads for University of Maryland University College on the radio. If we’re talking about how to catch eyes on a résumé. Twice as effective if you’re applying to work for Mojo Jojo.