No matter whether you are approaching graduation or just considering your college options, there is one question that may be haunting you day and night, while you are preparing for tests, working on your math homework, or browsing college websites – does the reputation of your school actually matter for people that will be hiring you (be it in a few months or years)? In the modern world where tuition usually translates to crippling life-long debt, it is no wonder that students think hard before vesting their hopes into an Ivy League school that might give them a nice diploma to put on the wall but no stable income to rely on.

As with any heated debate, there are people that believe in college credentials more than in anything else. There is, on the other hand, a strong opinion in business circles that it doesn’t really matter that much where you went to school and what your dissertation proposal was about.

According to a recent survey, a prestigious school degree is not what hiring managers are looking for in their candidates’ resumes. Instead, as more than 600 business leaders that participated in the study have testified, they are primarily interested in the underlying knowledge and applicable skills. In fact, only a staggering 9% of respondents said that the reputation and rating of the school where a job applicant received her degree mattered. Future employers were much more concerned (28% of respondents) about majors of their potential employees.

However, there is a parallel study that has identified that, on the part of employees and society, a great deal of emphasis was put on the reputation of the school. In fact, the number of those who have estimated the importance of going to a prestigious establishment as high reached 30%, while 47% believe that college major is of primary importance.

What does it mean for job seekers, high school students, and newly made graduates? The trend is quite in line with the general emphasis on practical knowledge rather than education. In the world where the best specialists and innovators are college dropouts, it would be surprising if the focus hasn’t shifted. It is probably better to see it this way – in most cases, a degree from a prestigious university will work in your favor only if it’s your secondary merit that comes after extensive knowledge and well-developed practical skills that pertain to your field of expertise. No amount of coursework writing for a professor with all kinds of regalia will get you to the place you dream about.

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Submitted by Lewis Harrel