Does the college you attend ultimately affect the outcome of your career? Well, the simple answer to this is: most of the time, no, it doesn’t. There are many things that make for a successful career, certainly going to college is an important step for some careers (trying being a doctor without going to college), but the actual college you attend is often not as important as you might think.
You can get a good education at just about any major four year college or university. As is the case with many things in life, you get out of college what you put in to it. If you go to Harvard and slack your way through, you aren’t ultimately going to get as much out of it compared to the students who goes to “local college tech” and applies themself fully to the process.
The longer you are out of college, the less your degree makes any difference. New graduates need the college degree to get their foot in the door in their career. But the further you are from school, the more your work experience and performance makes, and the less important your degree becomes. Once you have 10-15 years of experience in your field, few employers are going to care where you went to school.
The outcome of your career is far more affected by how good you are at your job, and how much effort you put in to it. College doesn’t really prepare you for the real world the way it does on TV and in movies.
Now, that’s not to say that college isn’t important – it is. College is a start to your career. College gets you on the right path. But your ability to stay on that path and become a success is not really depended on where you went to school.
Despite all this, there are some very good reasons to pick one school over another. Not all colleges are the same. They can vary in educational emphasis, cost, location, size, atmosphere, and a variety of other factors. No college is perfect for every student. Making the proper decision on where to go to college can, and should, be a big event in the life of a high school kid.
Let me provide a personal example. I went to a large university in a big city. I had also applied to smaller schools in small towns. After visiting each of these schools, talking to the students there, and checking out the lifestyle, I chose the big school. It made me the most comfortable. But in the end, it probably didn’t matter which school I chose. I could have gone on to medical school with a degree from just about any school in the country.