I’ve been writing on this topic for a week now, and it has really struck a chord. Most readers seem to agree that a college education is what you make of it, and if you need to pay out of pocket to attend an elite college, it may be a better idea to attend a state school, or get your degree in increments.
The excellent blog post by Joanne Jacobs (thank you to Tracy Brisson for pointing it out), makes the point that those with degrees from elite colleges come away with a brand that speaks for itself. Employers will take notice automatically, with little or no selling required of the graduate. It’s those who graduate from everywhere else who need to hustle more—both during and after graduating. This holds true for law and business schools too.
While interviewing corporate recruiters for my book, I found that banks and consulting firms have a list of schools they recruit from, and they rarely veer from that list. They understand their product in advance, that’s the beauty of a brand. Which is also why, especially if your school isn’t among top schools to hire from, you must create a personal brand that resonates with employers. The way to do this? Start developing your interests early and construct your coursework and internships to play to those interests as you develop strengths. When you graduate you’ll have a portfolio of experience to share with employers that makes you stand out from the crowd.