Tell Your High School Senior Not to Apply to that Stretch School

It’s that time of year when high school seniors are choosing where to apply for college. Typically students are told to apply to two-three “reach” or “stretch” schools, two-three “target” schools and two-three “safety” schools.

I’m here to tell you a hiring secret: Managers don’t care where you went to college.

Gasp! Of course, they do!

Well, yes, if you went to Harvard or Oxford that will open doors that State U won’t open, but otherwise, let me give you a task: Put these four schools in order from best to worst:

  • University of Arizona
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of Arkansas

No Googling! Give me an answer!

To keep reading, click here: Tell Your High School Senior Not to Apply to that Stretch School

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9 thoughts on “Tell Your High School Senior Not to Apply to that Stretch School

  1. Well, it depends. It depends upon the hiring manager who may be more or less knowledgeable about higher education. It depends upon whether the student has grad school aspirations. And it depends upon the field.

    But in general, after one’s first job, where one earned degrees matters much less.

  2. Amen!As a professional recruiter for 20+ years, an ivy league degree only matters on that first job — and we’re still looking for internships and the right course work and GPA. Our daughter’s private school encouraged her to look at schools out of state, including ivy league, even though she wouldn’t qualify for aid (she’s,Caucasian, not low income, 4.+ GPA). I put my foot down: stay in-state, CA, go to a UC or CSU, and we have it covered. She went to Cal Poly (3 yrs, BA) and grad school (2 masters) without incurring debt and has a solid career.

  3. Great article. Practical, relevant, timely.

    But I think before all this, the question should be asked, should a person go to college at all? We appear to be entering an age where college is not the end all, be all for every person in the US.

    If the decision is made to go to college then yes, this article deserves serious consideration.

    1. That’s a question being asked more and more these days, as it should be.

      There’s a lot of blue collar work out there that pays very well, is easy to get into, and that pays you while you train instead of charging you tuition it’ll take a lifetime to pay off. But you’ll go home dirty at the end of the day.

      It all depends on what your goals in life are.

  4. I have been told by managers that is doesn’t matter what your bachelor’s degree is in, just that you have one. I think college is important to interact intellectually with others; to develop one’s writing skills, spelling, vocabulary and be able to say a sentence without prefacing it with the word “like.” How many seniors do you know that have the necessary communication skills to conduct business whether in construction or entry level office work?

    1. I respectfully disagree. You should be able to write a decent essay before you leave high school and you sure should not be learning spelling in college. And you should be able to speak well.

      The high school students I meet (church, friends’ children, volunteering with a high school business program, interviewing students who apply to my alma mater) all speak very well and do not preface everything with “like.” And I have friends whose children have opted out of college and are doing very well as apprentices in the trades. So – pretty much every teenager I meet is capable of communicating well in the adult world. Granted, maybe every teenager in the US is not capable, but these skills should be learned in high school, not in college.

      1. In my experience, the problem isn’t that high school grads can’t communicate well, but that they can, and *what* they communicate conveys clearly that they are teenagers with no understanding of the real world.

        Which isn’t really a problem, it’s just how the world works.

    2. I disagree that college should be teaching writing, spelling and vocabulary. Perhaps improvements in writing, I recall an excellent college class I had geared specifically to writing for business.

      But spelling? No. My two kids are in high school, spelling is something taught elementary and middle school.

      College shouldn’t be for teaching basic skills like that, college should be advanced work, improving speaking and writing skills to a higher level fine, but high schoolers should be able to write papers and essays, mine were doing so in middle school

  5. I told my kids I’d cover one year of in-state school, living at home, and then we’d assess their grades to see if it’s worth continuing. I really encouraged a cooperative-education program, so they could get work experience before graduation (I’ve had too many friends with kids that changed their major their senior year… Arg!)

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