Name Brand Colleges

Deep into application season, here’s some advice I’ve been giving high school seniors for years: it doesn’t matter what college you go to.

There is no good reason to spend many times more on a fancy, “name brand,” out-of-state school.  It may look a little more impressive on paper, but that’ s about all the difference you’re likely to ever get out of that extra huge investment.

In the real world, most companies and colleagues won’t care where you went to school; it’ll just matter that you went at all.  Just as it’s better to take a harder class and get a lower grade, it’s better to go to a less distinguished school and finish what you start.

Ultimately, the point of college, for career purposes, isn’t skill training or networking: it’s to prove that you can make a difficult long-term commitment and see it through.  That’s what people want to see.  That’s what makes your college degree important.

Besides, paying ten times more for a name brand school is absolutely not going to earn you ten times more salary in life.  It’s a poor investment.

Yes, there are exceptions: colleges that specialize in a certain field, for instance.  But generally, in education just as in medicine, the generic stuff is just as good as the designer brand.  (The same, really: what do you think Harvard knows about teaching college algebra or Shakespeare that your local school doesn’t?)

Don’t waste your money.  Go to Hometown U.  And graduate.