Recruiters Favor Large, Public Schools

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I recently read a Wall Street Journal article entitled, "Penn State Tops Recruiter Rankings: Companies Favor Big State Schools With One-Stop Shopping for Graduates With Necessary Skills." The article caught my attention because it brought to light what high school seniors (and parents of high school seniors) should realize. If the end result of a college education is intended to be a job, where are schools falling behind? Moreover, why is there such a discrepancy between large, public schools and small, private institutions?

I can see how some people may read this article and dismiss it as opinion. It goes without saying that people who graduated from a state school will support this article, while those who went to a private schoo will think it flawed. However, the article is fairly free of bias. The research is presented and compiled and the argument is credible. Recruiters would rather spend time and money at large schools, especially given the fact that their budgets are growing smaller each year. Writer Teri Evans says, “State universities have become the favorite of companies recruiting new hires because their big student populations and focus on teaching practical skills gives the companies more bang for their recruiting buck.” It stands to reason that high school students and parents should be considering an end result instead of which school has the nicest campus. If you are interested, the Journal’s Paths to Professions section on the site is great. It lists the top 25 recruiter rankings, rankings by major, and why state schools top the list.

Though it’s no doubt prestigious to attend an Ivy League or well-renowned school, the article states that, “While many companies that answered The Journal's survey say they recruit and hire Ivy League graduates, far fewer ranked them as top picks.” Personally, I would like to have read more of a rebuttal from Harvard and Dartmouth representatives than what is given in the article. If I was choosing a school, I would want to know why I should choose a more expensive private school if recruiters are targeting public schools. The private schools’ representatives interviewed in this article didn’t sufficiently answer that question. Also, I’ve heard of many schools that are “known” for their engineering or business majors, yet they weren’t ranked at all. I wish the article would have explored that aspect a bit more.

It goes without saying that I have am biased – I’m a Penn State graduate. I believe in public higher education and I know many people who began a successful career free of debt after graduating college. With that being said, I still think the article brings up great points. As young people who are entering a financially-strained world, are we looking at the bottom line? And if the answer is no, why is that so?

I would love to hear your opinions. What did you think of the Journal’s findings?

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Amy Muldoon graduated from Penn State University in 2005 and worked in corporate public relations for three years before returning to graduate school to become an English teacher. Her strengths include: drafting speeches, writing talking points for media interviews, making corporate presentations, and writing for publications.

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