Importance of College Choice: What Employers Are Looking for in Recent Graduates [GRAPH]

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In the last issue, we discussed the majors students studied in order to earn more money in the future. Now, let’s take a look at how employers choose candidates based on where students earned their education. 

For years, students have been attending colleges all over the nation to the point that it has become the norm to find a college, major in something and get a job once they graduate. However, what many parents and students don’t know or realize when choosing a college is that it doesn’t matter as much where a student receives their education today.

In an article published on the Time website, “It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go to College” , Author Michael Bernick wrote that employers care more about a student’s academic success and the skills they acquire from their alma mater as opposed to a specific college or university.

In 1999, economists Alan Krueger and Stacy Berg Dale published a study that compared the earnings of graduates from elite colleges versus those from “moderately selective” schools, according to Bernick. Twenty years later, the earnings of the two groups differed little or not at all. Later in 2011, a follow-up study was conducted and covered 19,000 college graduates; the study reached a similar conclusion.

“Whether you went to Penn or Penn State, Williams College or Miami University of Ohio, job outcomes were unaffected in terms of earnings,” said Bernick.

So, if where you earned your degree did not matter, then did it matter if you received an education down south versus up north?

Not really. Employers want to see what you can do. They examine the type of work accomplished in college like if you did any internships, not if you’re more of a southerner or northerner.

According to Derek Thompson’s article in The Atlantic entitled, “The Thing Employers Look for When Hiring Recent Graduates,” employers recently named the most important elements in hiring a recent graduate, and GPA, college reputation and courses completed were at the bottom of the list.

At the top of the list was internships, jobs, volunteering and extracurricular activities.

However, all of this depends on a student’s major and what an employer expects from him or her. For instance, media and communications companies look for internships and care less about the classes a student completed, while health care companies care more about one’s major, explained Thompson.

More recently, in a 2015 study found in USA Today, work experience and a high GPA matters most to employers when looking at applicants.

However, having a high GPA can land a student in the door of an employer’s company for the interview process, but other factors, like how the applicant presents themselves during the interview, goes into effect as well.

Look for the next article in the series as we take a look at the types of consequences students can face if they don’t pay back their student loans in time and other crucial factors that go into play after that diploma hits their hand. 

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