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

Posted in Graduate Loans By Student Loan Network Staff

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. Katlynn says on March 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm:

    I liked this article. Name schools really do show potential employers your potential and can open doors, but its up to you whether or not the education you receive will help you.

    Reply To This Comment
  2. Yolanda says on March 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm:

    This is a good article and I agree, people should want to go a "name school" because you haave more opportunities when it comes to your career.

    Reply To This Comment
  3. ELENDU says on March 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm:

    yes everyone

    Reply To This Comment
  4. Reko says on March 16, 2010 at 5:58 am:

    i think the name schools do make people recognize you as an intelligent and
    hardworking student but I think anyone can excel no matter what school they go to.
    Thanks for the info.

    Reply To This Comment
  5. yan says on March 15, 2010 at 1:00 am:

    Excellent advise

    Reply To This Comment
  6. Mariana says on March 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm:

    I think that as long as it is an accredited institution, it does not matter where you go as long as you do it. Like they said "a company is not going to hire you just because you went to Harvard or Yale". If you have the money then go for it, but if you don't then it doesn't really matter. :D

    Reply To This Comment
  7. Jessica says on March 13, 2010 at 11:43 pm:

    of course. jobs should not only look at the school but what the person can do. just because they got through that school doesn't mean they're qualified.

    Reply To This Comment
  8. Hardeep says on March 13, 2010 at 6:52 pm:

    I really like this post…really need to send my uncle this. He feels that the more name it has, the more oppurtunities you have concerning jobs. This is awesome!

    Reply To This Comment
  9. Angelica says on March 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm:

    Good job. I gone to pass it to my friends! Thanks!

    Reply To This Comment
  10. Laurie says on March 5, 2010 at 5:13 am:

    I agree with the blog post in that personal accomplishments will be the final determining factor to be chosen for a position, but name brand graduate schools will open more doors than generic brand graduate schools.

    Reply To This Comment
  11. shannon says on March 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm:

    where you go to college does not matter- it is what you do for your self and crack open those expensive books and work hard learning what you need to know!

    Reply To This Comment
  12. amanda says on March 3, 2010 at 12:35 am:

    Great and very true information. But I think the school is not as inportant as the quality of the education.

    Reply To This Comment
  13. cris says on March 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm:

    Alot of people strive to get into a "name school" becuase at one point they heard they were the best, but this may not always be the case. Alot of unknown schools have a good education even though it may not ne the top ten schools that may pop up in a conversation.

    Reply To This Comment
  14. Amy says on March 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm:

    An interesting read. "Name" schools are better known but I agree that going to one doesn't mean you'll have an added advantage. The only thing I've noticed about going to a private university is that the local companies know the university a little better than the companies out of state. I don't worry though, luckily someone usually has at least heard of the name if not the reputation of the people coming out of it.

    Reply To This Comment
  15. altoid77 says on February 28, 2010 at 5:13 am:

    Sometimes the "name" schools are where the degree/emphasis/field of study/best professors in your interest area are.

    Reply To This Comment
  16. Brittany says on February 26, 2010 at 4:34 pm:

    this is one thing that i've been basing where i go to school. at first i refused to apply to any school that wasn't well known but in the end i think every school is what you make of it and if you do well then a potential employer will see that.

    Reply To This Comment
  17. nate says on February 26, 2010 at 6:49 am:

    haha nice

    Reply To This Comment
  18. Tatiana says on February 25, 2010 at 9:06 pm:

    good article I think it depends on what career goal you have

    Reply To This Comment
  19. mary says on February 25, 2010 at 4:16 pm:

    It does not matter where you go. I think what really matters is how you do at school

    Reply To This Comment
  20. Tracy Thomas says on February 23, 2010 at 9:48 pm:

    Great info

    Reply To This Comment
  21. Tobias says on February 21, 2010 at 5:10 am:

    I think the appropriate point about what a "name school" can do for you is not whether or not the name-recognition gets "the door slightly open for you". Rather, the important question is whether a "name school" gets you a better education. It's true that companies won't hire you just because you've got a big name school on your resume. They might put you at the front of the interview line, but once you're in the hot seat, if you're ill-prepared, they hit the ejector seat button quickly. However, if the name schools do educate you better, than 1) you're get an interview; 2) you'll do well in the interview; and 3) regardless of the interview, you'll be a well-educated person.

    Reply To This Comment
  22. coll says on February 20, 2010 at 7:48 pm:

    even if its at a state school, you'll still get the same education no matter where you go.

    Reply To This Comment
    • Evan Jacobs says on February 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm:

      I don't 100% agree with that statement. In favor of "name" schools, they typically have the resources to hire more qualified professors which can result in a better overall education (and real-world connections) for their students if everything else is kept constant. However, it is a much larger financial burden… so there are counterweights that just may not be worthwhile in the long run.

      Reply To This Comment
  23. Rachel Richardson says on February 20, 2010 at 3:48 am:

    great article I pass it on to my friends.

    Reply To This Comment
  24. maira says on February 19, 2010 at 2:14 pm:

    its really intresting to know that it dont matter what kind of school you are in but what it matters is how bright you are

    Reply To This Comment
  25. Jessica says on February 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm:

    everyone should read this

    Reply To This Comment
    • Evan Jacobs says on February 19, 2010 at 11:40 am:

      Feel free to pass it on :-) Check out the social networking links on the top right part of your screen

      Reply To This Comment

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