Monday, February 26, 2007

Where you go to college matters...

Barry Leiba (a fellow Indy Science Blogger) has an interesting discussion on whether it matters where you go to college. If you are a good student, does the success of your future career really depend on where you go?

Barry makes some good points about this issue from the persepctive of someone working as a computer scientist for a tech company. I think much of what he says applies to academia as well - if you browse through the faculty pages of top university science departments, you'll see most people in those departments got their PhDs in top schools. I think a good student from just about any serious 4-year college could get into a good graduate science program, but where you do your graduate work has a big impact on your career prosepcts.

For another take on this issue, looking at law schools, check out Balkanization.

One thing I hate is top ten lists. Barry links to one he takes issue with. I take issue with the idea that ten is some magical number - that ten schools are somehow in a different league from the rest. I think a better number would be twenty - there are so many very good universities in the US and Canada, and a prosepctive student should take a broader look at what's out there.

1 comment:

Barry Leiba said...

Thanks for the comments, Michael. I agree with you on the "top ten" thing. We (people) seem to have an inherent need to make such lists, just as we seem to have a need to turn everything into a competition, a zero-sum game.