It doesn’t matter where we graduate from

We all grow a sense of school pride, whether it be from participating in a unique culture or being proud of your academic achievements. The school you attend creates an image and stigma for who you are. 

There seems to be an obsession, an attraction to big-name schools compared to more local colleges. It starts with how the schools present themselves to the public through branding. It all starts with stereotyping what the school is known for. 

When you ask anyone locally or in a different state about schools such as University of California, Los Angeles or University of California, Irvine, the first thing that pops up in their head is their sports teams or studies in science and medicine. The national attention given to these sports teams and research programs helps these schools achieve a name status that eclipses that of smaller schools with fewer achievements.

For California State Universities to be compared with Universities of California and other private universities sports-wise is unfair because nationally broadcasted teams become the face of the school. Also, UCs have greater funding to promote their schools, professors and research access compared to CSUs.

This does not mean that the UC system spends more to hire better qualified professors. Between 2017 to 2018, CSUs contributed 76% of their spending on employee salaries and benefits while UCs spent 64%. 

Although it seems that CSU schools spend more on employees, this does not take into account the difference in spending budgets and the number of schools within each system. Overall, the CSU system has a greater budget, but it has to fund 23 campuses compared to UC’s 10.

This, however, will not be a problem with our future careers.

Finding a job after graduating from a CSU should be no different from those who are UC alumnus, especially if the job is local. Most employers can recognize the local universities, and base the person’s application on their experience in the field.

According to a survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace of 50,000 employers, however, around 2% of employers are less likely to consider hiring someone from a local school compared to a regionally or nationally known college or university. The rest of the employers answered that they are more likely to hire someone from a local school or that the school’s reputation makes no difference in their hiring process.

The kind of school students attend is not the sole factor that determines where they land in their future careers. Experience in the chosen field is a more valuable trait for future prospects. Another factor that hiring managers look for is the person’s experience in the field. Students can gain experience from internships during their junior and senior years.

Apart from academic internships within each school’s career development centers, most internship opportunities are promoted through third-party programs such as Google, Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn. Resources for researching internship opportunities do not depend on the type of school.

The name of your school is not as important to employers compared to the previous experience you have obtained. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook Survey in 2017, 91% of employers prefer the candidates to have work experience, and 65% of them prefer the candidates to have relevant experience.

For example, at Long Beach State, internship experience is recommended for most graduating seniors. As a journalism major, part of my academic requirement is taking part in an internship for college credit before graduating.

Ultimately, it is the quality of the work we create that matters the most for employers, not where we graduated from.

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