Graduate School – What’s in a name? | 02.18.10

Posted in Graduate Loans By Evan Jacobs

A question that we receive pretty much daily from our readers is the eternal question of post-undergrad education: should I go for the “name” school?

It actually is a great question, because there are so many pieces that go into choosing the right graduate school for your advanced degree. First, there’s the question of how broad or deep do you want your graduate studies to be? There are generalized degrees like a non-targeted MBA and they go as deep as doctoral studies on the mating habits of tasmanian devils (ok, maybe that was a little random… but you get the point.) In many cases, the super-specialized degrees (like say, geobotany) are actually offered by smaller schools in very targeted locations.

After picking what you want to study, there’s the question of, “how much time can you invest in a graduate degree?” If your answer is relatively little, a part-time or online graduate degree probably is a better fit for you. However, not every graduate degree (like a lab-based science) CAN be completed online, and this should be taken into account.

Harvard Campus

Alright, so what about name and clout? I will say this: going to a “name” school, almost always at least gets the door slightly open for you. However, a company is not going to hire you just because you went to Harvard or Yale, they are going to hire you because you are bright, serious, and took the time to become a valuable asset in your chosen field.

Not to mention, the “name” schools will charge a lot more tuition just by virtue of their brand equity. They have built up this prestige, and are more than happy to siphon your hard earned money into their coffers for a piece of their legacy. If you are committed to going to a big name school, make sure you file your FAFSA on time, get as many scholarships as possible, and get a private student loan if necessary to cover any excess cost. Also, some companies offer partial or full tuition reimbursement if your degree program is related to your job, so you can check into that as well.

In the end, a “name” school can be that extra edge that gets you your dream job — but without a robust résumé of relevant experience and professional personal demeanor, it isn’t enough on its own.

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44 Responses to “Graduate School – What’s in a name?”

  1. Yeah says on May 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm:

    yeah i've always wondered if i should try to apply to a bigger college or if a small college would suffice.. but this post really helped me make my decision. great advice!

    Reply To This Comment
  2. Danielle says on April 29, 2010 at 10:15 pm:

    doesnt matter as long as u graduate :)

    Reply To This Comment
  3. Tamara Toilolo says on April 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm:

    hahaha… this article is good… i totally agree with it.. is what you learn that counts!

    Reply To This Comment
  4. Brittiany Robers says on April 29, 2010 at 2:24 pm:

    I dont think the name of the college really matters.. its just to better yourself and any schooling beyond high school is better than nothing

    Reply To This Comment
  5. Ally says on April 23, 2010 at 3:08 am:

    i agree tha students apply to colleges that have a certain reputation but im choosing to go to a smaller school and i think i will get just as good education

    Reply To This Comment
  6. Jonathan says on April 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm:

    Awesome! Very good information for everyone because it is very true that no company will hire by the “name” but by your knowledge in the area of their interest. Nevertheless, the “name” will help your curriculum at the first time, but after that you have to demonstrate your capacity in the chosen field

    Reply To This Comment
  7. M_C says on April 8, 2010 at 2:01 am:

    I always wondered about why and what the difference of the schools were. But I agree .
    It doesn't always have to be the "name" schools, but the kind of work you do and the type of person you are .

    Reply To This Comment
  8. Erika says on April 5, 2010 at 8:04 pm:

    Yea i plan on goin to mercer because its a great medical school and its close to home however its a bit pricey!!!

    Reply To This Comment
  9. jasmine says on April 1, 2010 at 5:54 pm:

    Im not sure if it goes with my career but ok

    Reply To This Comment
  10. sabrina l says on March 31, 2010 at 2:50 pm:

    Wow this article changed the way I view things. I though it was eveyrthing about the "name' of the college or university buh now that I have read this, it really made me think. This article is helpful for many students.

    Reply To This Comment
  11. Dian says on March 29, 2010 at 5:44 pm:

    I am going to a well "name" school, studying for a masters in special education. This is a accelerated program for students who have any undergrad degree to become teachers. The community is complianting that students who graduate from this well "name" school, does not know what they are doing when in the classroom. Therefore, as several people have said, look at the school and it's program first, not the school's "name. I am looking for another school.

    Reply To This Comment
  12. Zarin says on March 28, 2010 at 6:57 pm:

    I agree with this blog. Most students I know really want to get into schools like Harvard or Princeton, but the college doesn't really have their intended major. When going to school you are supposed to go to the one that can give you the education that you need to fulfill your education goal. If the college doesn't then why waste your time? Like one of my teachers told me before "As long as you go to a college why does it matter if its the most popular one or not?"

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  13. Jon-Claude says on March 27, 2010 at 10:17 pm:

    Good information

    Reply To This Comment
  14. Emma says on March 23, 2010 at 9:42 pm:

    Name is not always everything! It's how good the programs are that matter.

    Reply To This Comment
  15. Shantel says on March 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm:

    this is deff true!

    Reply To This Comment
  16. Tim says on March 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm:

    i agree!

    Reply To This Comment

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