A fact in India, for many students who seek study abroad, there is nothing more satisfying than
when your family back home recognizes the name of the school that you fought so hard to get into.
Big names, such as those in the Ivy League, typically fit the bill.
But, it is tough to say, an Ivy League degree guarantee a comfortable post-study life. It takes more
than just an Ivy League degree to land your future dream job.
So, what can you do early on to gain an edge and set yourself apart in your future career?
1. Research on opportunities for your potential field of work: Your goal may be to start a business,
maybe you are a real tech-genius or dream to be an astronaut. If so, you might want to look into
specialized or technical schools that might get your foot in the door. For example, you might want to
apply to New York University’s Stern Business School than study general economics in an Ivy League
institution. Similarly, studying aerospace engineering at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University might
get you closer to NASA than studying general engineering in the Ivy League. Employers want to hire
you because you can do the job, not merely because you hold an Ivy League degree.
2. Think about location: Usually, employers like to hire graduates in the city where their main
operations are, and there are more job opportunities at the headquarters. For example, Microsoft,
headquartered in Seattle, recruits most of its employees from Universities in and around
Washington (however, it is not limiting the entry of students from other locations) according to a
When deciding your college, research what companies are headquartered where. If you see a future
in manufacturing, you might want to consider schools in Texas or Michigan. If you plan to be a
Computer techie, you might want to consider schools in California or New York.
3. Think about the alumni network: It’s true that Ivy League schools have substantial alumni
networks, but big schools like Penn State have very well connected alumni networks as well. You
might think that this is not a factor for consideration, but if you plan to get a job, alumni connections
might be your best bet.
Up to 80 percent of jobs are reportedly not advertised, so networking is key. School pride and spirit
goes a long way, and you never know how much a strong alumni network can help you.
4. Know differences between research universities and liberal arts colleges: Schools might praise
about their breakthroughs in scientific research. But will you actually benefit from being part of a
school that works to improve the development of carbon nanotubes? Maybe and maybe not,
because it may or may not your interested area.
If you managed to get yourself on the research team at college, then congratulations. But this often
doesn’t happen. On the flip side, if you enjoy and learn a lot from small group discussions,
seminars, presentations, you might want to consider liberal arts colleges.
There are consequences for taking on a niche path of study. However, there are equally high
rewards for those who start early and know what they want out of their college education.
At the moment, you might be tempted by the ability to proudly declare you’re a student at Brown,
Columbia or Dartmouth. But, as a senior at one of the institutions mentioned, I can tell you that in
four years, the name of your school is one of the few things that you care about.