Monday, March 4, 2013

Where should I go to college?

I have always told students to go to the best school that made sense for them financially.  The value of the education that they receive is more than just what they learn, it is also a function of the perception of that university by employers.  Today (March 4, 2013), the Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a Special Report on "The Employment Mismatch" discussing a variety of aspects of what employers think of the four-year college degree.  One important finding is the value of internships as something which differentiates students in the eyes of a potential employer. 

Another finding that seemed on-target to me from what I hear from employers is the statement that "While fresh hires had the right technical know-how for the job, said most employers in the survey, they grumbled that colleges weren't adequately preparing students in written and oral communication, decision-making, and analytical and research skills." 

Another interesting finding for me was the relatively low evaluation of online colleges (see graphic below).  I am particularly puzzled by the difference in preference between for-profit colleges and online colleges.  Since many for-profits have moved online, I am curious as to why employers see the difference.  Below the graphic I have given the source for the information.

"Survey Results and Methodology
The findings on these pages come from a survey developed, fielded, and analyzed by Maguire Associates Inc., a higher-education consulting firm, on behalf of The Chronicle and American Public Media's Marketplace. Maguire invited 50,000 employers to participate in the study. Experience.com, a career-services consultancy, helped develop the sample by providing a contact list of employers that recruit recent college graduates.
The survey was conducted in August and September 2012. There were 704 responses.
Results were organized by industry and hiring level. Hiring levels were divided into human resources, managers, and executives."

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