Does attending your college increase students’ chances of getting hired?

A recent report shows that hiring managers care about which higher ed institution potential employees attended.

A common mission for colleges across the U.S. is to support and prepare their student body for a life of success and fulfillment in their careers. But not all institutions of higher education hold the same prestige in the eyes of hiring managers, according to newly released reports.

Research has recently been conducted to better understand how an individual’s choice of college can affect their career later on. One report released by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that college graduates who received similar degrees in the same field of study earned dramatically different salaries depending on which university they attended. First-year salaries can differ by as much as $80,000, according to the report.

In a recent report published by, results show that hiring managers care about where their potential employees went to college.

Here are the five key findings:

  • 84% of hiring managers say the higher ed institution a potential employee attended is a relevant factor.

54% of respondents say one’s alma mater is “very important” whereas 29% deem it “important.”

  • 71% of hiring managers are more likely to proceed with a candidate who attended a top university.

In addition, four-year institutions are preferred over community colleges. This view was shared by 76% of respondents.

  • 66% of respondents are more likely to proceed with a candidate who attended the same alma mater as them.

It’s no shock that one’s personal bias can influence one’s ability to get hired. Universities can take steps to encourage students to reach out to professors, connect with recent graduates or use their career services office on campus.

  • 61% of respondents say candidates from top universities are likely to be better employees

This is simply a belief held by many hiring managers that has little to do with empirical evidence. It is indeed a rather flawed way of thinking, according to career strategist and job search coach Stacie Haller. Haller says that a thorough evaluation of a candidate’s skills and experience is necessary to determine who is most qualified for a certain position. Assuming that top universities create better employees may result in passing on qualified individuals who just didn’t have the resources to attend a top university.

  • 63% of hiring managers are more likely to meet candidates’ salary expectations if the candidate attended a top university.

Of those who believe that candidates from top universities are likely to be better employees, 83% say they are more likely to provide them with the salary they asked for.

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Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a University Business staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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