Originally Posted by otterhound
To take this thread on a different tack, why is it necessary to generate such huge debts? Why do people find it so critical to go to $30,000/year private schools when good state schools can provide a comparable education?
The only convincing argument I've heard is that going to an elite private school gives you the opportunity to make elite contacts. But if you aren't the type to schmooze for contacts, why strap yourself with these unnecessary enormous debts?
I can only base this on my experiences in academia, but I would say that having a certain name on your degree can be a HUGE advantage. All other things equal, if your degree says Harvard and mine says State U., many many people will automatically assume you are the better qualified candidate whether for a job or for more schooling.
I have had many students, brilliant motivated students, not get into graduate programs and there is simply no explanation for it. And when my students go to NYC, DC, etc. to look for jobs and they have a hard time, I have to wonder why.
When we hire, we look at what program you are from. It doesn't give you an immediate pass, but it can help. I was told by a friend in the dept at my (undergrad) alma mater that they "only hire from the top tier." Why? They want to improve their ranking.
It is a horribly unfair way of judging a person, but there you are. You want inot a top-tier law school? Better get good grades AND go to a top-tier undergrad school. Want that great job on Wall Street? Better have good grades and have gone to a "better" school than your next competitor.
I've met some real boobs from Ivy League schools who I don't trust to tie their shoes properly, much less do stellar work. And I know some brilliant people who went to "mediocre" schools.