While college can be a great time in one’s life, most people aren’t just going to school for the fun of it. Career opportunities, like more fulfilling jobs and better earnings, are often on the mind of college-goers. And, while a college degree will help one secure better job prospects, some schools’ graduates are more valued by job recruiters, for one reason or another. Here are 10 of the top 25 recruiter-preferred schools, according to a survey done by the Wall Street Journal.
UNC Chapel Hill is the flagship school of the public college system in North Carolina. While UNC-Chapel Hill is a state school, their admissions process is highly selective; the vast majority of the school’s incoming freshman are in the top 10% of their graduating high school class.
It’s not surprising that UNC has become so rigorous, as the school has been operating before many elite private schools in the nation were founded-it opened its doors in 1795. The school is consistently ranked among the top public universities in the world.
Washington’s original land-grant college, Washington State University, tied with UNC-Chapel Hill in the Wall Street Journal’s rankings. Like UNC, WSU is a public school that is consistently ranked in the top public research universities in the world.
Perhaps recruiters prefer WSU grads because they have a reputation for productivity and impact in their fields; for example, plant and animal scientists at WSU were ranked 13th in the world for their impact on the science community, according to Thompson Reuters. The school’s academic departments also partner with industry leaders, such as Boeing.
Located in the heart of Los Angeles, this private California university enrolls more international students than any other higher education institution in America. Perhaps recruiters value USC graduates for the academic rigor of the school and the unique background of students; 12% of incoming freshman here are first-generation college students, and the average weighted GPA is above 4.0. Just under 30% of undergrads here are enrolled in majors in either the business or engineering school; these marketable skill sets might also contribute to the school’s recruiter popularity.
Originally Texas Agricultural & Mechanical University, Texas A&M was Texas’s first public college. This school comes up every year in national rankings, and is known for the solid education it imparts.
In fact, Texas A&M was one of only 16 schools that the American Council of Trustees and Alumni gave an A rating for its core curriculum, and this “education, not reputation” philosophy is something that recruiters value. Plus, Texas A&M is no longer only agricultural and mechanical; recruiters ranked it in the top 25 for finance, engineering, and business/economics.
While the past can help build a school’s reputation, these days the skills students need to be competitive in the workplace are changing at a fast pace. Purdue was ranked number 1 by recruiters for its management and information systems major, number 2 in engineering, and number 8 in computer science-proof that this school is keeping its programs and curriculum in line with current technology and valuable workplace skills. Purdue, a public university in Ohio, enrolls more than half its students from its home state.
University of Maryland, the flagship public university of Maryland, was ranked highly by recruiters in a number of disciplines, including engineering, accounting, and computer science. The public school has a remarkable undergraduate achievement rate: 96% of the freshman starting classes at the college are finished or still working on their degrees after 4 years. Perhaps recruiters favor students from a school with a creed that goes beyond simple academics: the university has been ranked multiple times as one of America’s top sustainable colleges.
UF continues the trend of highly ranked public universities whose graduates woo recruiters. The numbers for the incoming freshman class are eye-opening: students had a 4.3 GPA and a 1945 SAT score on average. And this school is diverse, as well as rigorous; UF ranked second for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to African American and Hispanic students. Although the academics of this research university are regarded in many respects, recruiters ranked it highly in the finance and business/economics categories.
Perhaps you’re tired of hearing about recruiters favoring schools with strong computer science and engineering departments, but the trend holds true, at least for Carnegie Mellon. The school, whose graduates are known for designing robots and intelligent computers, was ranked number 1 in computer science by recruiters.
Finance and business/economics were also high on the list. Carnegie Mellon’s urban campus draws students from all over the country-just 17% are from Pennsylvania, so perhaps the large and diverse pool of applicants also adds to the school’s prestige in the eyes of recruiters.
The most prestigious school in California’s lauded public university system, UC Berkeley is a rare college that is valued by recruiters in areas across the board, including accounting, computer science, and marketing. The public school draws on California’s huge student population, to create a very diverse student body; 25% are first-generation college students, 66% have a foreign born parent, and 63% graduated from public schools. Berkeley’s graduate programs recently outranked Harvard, Stanford, and MIT for the number of National Science Foundation fellowships awarded.
One of the only ivy league schools to pop up in the top 25, we had to give Cornell a nod. Job recruiters rated this upstate New York institution at number 7 for engineering graduates. The diverse college’s departments stray away from the normal offerings of the ivies, and include a hospitality school, an industrial and labor relations school, and a veterinary medicine school.
The school is also educationally unique in that it is both public and private; it started as a land-grant school, but operates through a private endowment. Perhaps the egalitarian, public service mission of the land grant school is what put this ivy on the list, amongst a number of highly ranked public schools.