How Important Should a School Be in Applying for a Job

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What is the value of your education? Do you get paid more if you went to a prestigious college or university? Should you demand a better salary and a higher position if you have the credentials to back up this demand? Hiring managers know that there are a lot more they have to consider when someone applies for a job. Their schools alone do not determine how high their positions should be or how much they should get from the company. And yet, it is true that students from prestigious universities and colleges get paid a lot more than those who attended lesser-known schools.

Presumably, better universities attract better students. This means they are better trained in their roles once they join the company. University ranking can be a predictor of success in employment. When hiring managers don’t know who to choose based on experience, training, interpersonal skills, personality, and intelligence quotient, they default to picking the candidates based on the prestige of their universities.

Even when companies are assessing service providers, the school from which the providers graduated matters to them. An HVAC company is one of the most important service providers that a business employs. Even with these contractors, companies usually look into their experience and educational background.

Putting a Number on Your Education

True enough, the worth of your diploma can be determined by the ranking of your university or college. Traditional hiring managers rank candidates based on the colleges and universities they attended. However, recent studies showed that while students from high-ranking universities do perform better, the difference is almost non-existent. The only time that such difference will go past the 15% mark is when the global rankings differ by at least 10,000 positions. When the ranking is only a couple of hundred positions, the difference in performance goes down to 1%.

Don’t fret if you didn’t come from high-ranking universities. Another study showed that your performance during job interviews might positively affect the manager’s perception of you. Also, candidates who have better training and experience usually get an approving nod from the panel. For example, those who were able to juggle a work-study program fare better. The experience they gained from working in the same industry they want to join is valuable.

Minimum Requirements for Jobs


Admittedly, some jobs have minimum educational requirements. If you cannot meet these requirements, you may not be able to get an interview. Several surveys showed that employers increasingly want candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. This number will further jump in the coming years as vying for these positions become more competitive.

Even if you meet the minimum requirements, that’s not an assurance that you will get the job. What happens if someone with higher education—a master’s degree, for example, applies for the same position? The candidate with higher educational attainment is more attractive. There’s almost a 100% guarantee that someone with minimal requirements and experience will not get the job offer.

Reasons Ranking Schools Get the Attention

It is not so much about the rank of the school, but the value of their students. High-ranking universities have better chances of choosing from a pool of talented college applicants. The country’s top students will usually apply for the best colleges and universities, often through academic and sports scholarships. This is why the top universities also get the best high school athletes. These athletes, of course, want to be with the best schools, too.

There is not enough evidence to suggest that employees learned their skills from the universities that they attended. In fact, it is also suggested that some of them entered university and college already skilled in business writing, English proficiency, cultural intelligence, and other technical skills. It is possible that they attained this earlier in their education and not due to their university studies.

Opportunities for Advancement

Although many companies give graduates opportunities from lesser-known schools, the chances of them advancing their careers still depend on their education. Some companies may require them to take higher education before getting a promotion. That’s fair enough.

But what changed is that companies don’t necessarily require their employees to attend high-ranking schools. Sometimes, their job performance is enough for the company to merely require higher educational attainment as a formality. It doesn’t matter where you are going to get it.

The importance of education—whether college level or higher—cannot be underscored enough. More opportunities will open up to you when you graduate from high-ranking universities. But if that is not possible, it’s still best to pursue an education from even a lesser-known college or university. You still have a better chance of getting into the company you want if you at least have the minimum educational requirements, skills, and willingness to learn.

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