What do Penn State, Texas A&M, University of Illinois, Purdue, and Arizona State University have in common? They are considered the Top 5 best schools in the nation according to recruiters! Wall Street Journal has this unique ranking system where they essentially ask corporate recruiters to rank their best schools.
I’ve seen a lot of college surveys before, and not once have I ever seen any of these schools in the Top 5, let alone in the top 10. Let’s be honest, for the same cost, would you go to one of these schools over Harvard, Yale, Penn, MIT, Michigan, or Berkeley? Most would say “probably not,” so what gives?
Let’s have a look at why recruiters are so excited about these schools.
* Size. The average student population of the top 5 schools is around 28,000. This means that out of a class size of 7,000, there’s a higher chance of finding someone they like.
* Sports. The top 5 schools all have big time basketball and football programs. Americans are obsessed with sports, which is why every single one of you should also play and at least follow sports.
* Public. All five schools are public schools. We are in a period where it’s all about the middle class and not standing out. Anything private, that costs more than the average annual income of an American isn’t going to fly.
* Competition. It’s much easier getting into these top 5 schools with an average acceptance rate of ~50% vs. 15% for the traditionally accepted top schools. As a result, there’s a less “the world owes me” type attitude as students are more humble and eager to please their perspective employers.
* Representation. Being a recruiter isn’t exactly the hardest job in the world to land. As a result, there is a high likelihood that most of the recruiters come from the very schools they have voted to the top! We all want to take care of our own, and recruiters are no different.
Surveys are great because they can be manipulated to suit the surveyor’s beliefs. Everybody looks out for their own, and the Wall Street Journal is no different. Look into the management of the WSJ and I’m sure you’ll find one of them who is an alumni of their Top 5.
Penn State, Texas A&M, University of Illinois, Purdue, and Arizona State University are all fine schools. They just aren’t the top schools the WSJ believes them to be, otherwise they’d have the most Rhodes Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, Nobel Laureates, endowments, and so forth. Frankly, the WSJ might as well rank colleges by their proximity to the Pacific Ocean! Now that would be a great survey!
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Updated for 2016 and beyond