The Prominence of Your Chosen College and its Significance

April 20th, 2009

Not all colleges are created equal and, just as with people, every college earns a reputation, whether good, bad, or somewhere in between. Now consider that once you earn a degree from a school, its reputation will be associated with you for the rest of your life.

Every employer will see the name of the college or university you attended on your resume. Consequently, below are a few reputation-related considerations you should weigh prior to making a commitment to attend.

Famous or Infamous

Is the name of your school instantly recognizable? If so, it is either famous or infamous. Of the two, being famous is the only one better than being unknown.

If a college has a bad reputation, it may in fact reflect on you. Schools that are famous can be a huge benefit to graduates; one that no one has heard of won’t hurt, but a school with a bad scholastic reputation should be avoided.

Specialization

Some colleges are only well known for one course of study. This means it may have a bland, or even negative, reputation for other majors, while brandishing a great name in the area of your interest.

If you are confident that the one specialty college is for you, these schools are a great choice. Just make sure you do not end up at one of them studying outside their specialty.

Accreditation

This may be more crucial than any other factor. Is your college actually qualified to provide you a genuine education? There are many levels of accreditation, and each determines whether the institution is a university or simply a college.

It also factors into the availability of a major in the subject you want, because a school must be accredited for each major. Even though its administration may claim to offer a “course of study” in your chosen field, it may not have the accreditation needed to offer that field of study as a recognized major.

How to Evaluate a College’s Reputation

Evaluating a school’s reputation is more an art than science. Ask older people you know what they think of the college and what it is best known for – then research what they tell you to ensure the accuracy of those comments.

Speak with the school’s own representatives about your questions or concerns, but don’t necessarily embrace all you are told because they have incentive to position the school as positively as possible. Additionally, simply try researching the college via an Internet search engine to see what intriguing information pops up.

A school’s reputation is perhaps the most important factor to consider when weighing the impact of your college on your future.

If an employer believes you attended one that likely did not adequately prepare you for the job under consideration, it doesn’t much matter in that situation whether you loved it and received a great education – it could still reflect poorly on you. Instead, you want the name of your school to help garner instant respect and admiration.

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