Ivy League schools and other top 50 colleges are great schools to attend, but that doesn’t mean you have to attend one to receive a great education. There is no evidence that graduating from a top-tier school will give you a significant edge in the career world. Yes, being branded as a ‘Harvard graduate’ would be nice, but it doesn’t mean you would have any advantage over someone with better skills and experience. Studies have shown that the majority of the leaders of Fortune 300 companies did not graduate from these schools. What does all this mean? Well, the fact is that there are many good schools with very successful graduates that fall outside the realm of these ‘top level’ colleges.
The schools below the top-tier level are known as second-tier, or tier two, schools. There about 300 second-tier schools in the United States. These schools are determined by a combination of their Carnegie Foundation classification and U.S. News & World Report ‘Best Colleges’ rankings.
Tier two schools vary in their program strengths. Some will be strong in business, while others will be strong in arts and sciences. The one thing that these schools have in common is a strong liberal arts program. No matter what major students decide on, they will still receive a well-rounded, balanced education. Each student must decide for themselves exactly what they are looking for.
There is a college out there for everyone. The important thing is that students let go of their preconceived notions about what makes a great school. Many successful people have graduated from seemingly lower-end colleges. Schools below the second tier can also be great schools if they fit the individual. It isn’t always the college that matters. It is how it matches the student and the experiences that the student encounters during his or her college career.