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What Are You Really Going to College For?

October 19, 2009 By: Category: Campus Life, The working student

Are You Going to College For…..

an experience, yes.  Broadening your horizons and expanding your knowledge, of course. Ultimately, though, you’re looking for the key that will unlock the door to the career you desire.  Does it matter which college you choose? If you’re focused on IT jobs or maybe jobs in finance – will the school you choose make a difference?

College for Four Years, but What Did You Do?

While some people would say the college you choose does matter, I’m going to be an advocate for the another school of thought: it isn’t the college that matters, but what you do in college (and after college) that matters. Did you choose a major appropriate to the field you desire? Did you take courses that mattered? Did you engage in social activities, clubs, part-time employment, internships, and volunteering that enhanced your education, experience in, and knowledge of your intended field? Did you foster relationships and network with other students heading in a likewise direction? Did you get to know professors who have connections to your industry? Most importantly, did you get your diploma? Saying you went to a prestigious school means nothing unless you have that paper with the raised seal.

College For Employment

Speaking of “saying you went to a prestigious school” – just remember that no matter which college you go to there is no guarantee of employment or keeping your employment. Having an Ivy League diploma may be a gold key to a more exclusive clubhouse, but it doesn’t mean you’ll have life-long membership without continuing to pay your dues, namely networking and staying on the cutting edge of industry knowledge and know-how. Having marketable skills and knowing the right people is a far better weapon against unemployment than any diploma.

College for an End Goal

This topic can certainly be debated and of course there are exceptions, but what no one can debate is the importance of taking action to pave your way to the future you desire. You can’t go on a brand name diploma alone. If you are applying to college for better career opportunities, your head is in the right place. If your focus is more on status and status alone, you might end up being  Andy Bernard. He went to Cornell University. He will tell you this. Many times. From his small desk on the office floor of the Dunder Mifflin paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania.