I am writing this for high school juniors who have just received what seems to be bad news from their parents. My message: It’s good news for parental solvency, and it won’t hurt you a bit. But it’s not what you had in mind.
I am going to talk straight with you. I am probably the only person you will come in contact with who is willing to do this.
First, if you can get a bachelor’s degree in any field of engineering, you will always have a middle-class income at age 21. You will probably have an upper-middle-class income by age 27.
Second, if you can get an MBA from any school by distance learning, no matter how obscure, and no matter how cheap, you’re going to guarantee yourself an upper-middle-class income. I suspect that within five years after you get your MBA, you will be getting more money as a salary than any of your peers in high school will receive. The combination of engineering skill and management ability is the passport to high income.
Third, what I’m about to say does not apply if you have received a full scholarship–room, board, and tuition–at MIT, Caltech, or Harvey Mudd College. If you get a degree from any of those schools, you will be in the upper tier at age 21. But you’re not going to get a full scholarship at those schools. Forget about it.
Once you’re not talking about those three schools, or maybe a half a dozen of the other major universities, it doesn’t matter where you get your degree from. One degree is as good as any other degree in terms of getting an entry-level job.
THE PROGRAMS ARE ALL THE SAME, CAREER-WISE
Do not believe for 5 seconds that one school is going to give you a better shot at getting a job than any other school, unless the school’s engineering department has a major alumni association that almost automatically selects graduates from its program. If there is not verifiable of evidence of such an alumni association arrangement, which there won’t be, do not imagine that one school matters more than another. They are all the same as far as getting that first job is concerned.
This means that your wisest approach is to get through school as fast as possible and as cheap as possible. You want to save time for your career, and you want to save money for the sake of your parents’ retirement portfolio.
Here is an unbreakable rule. Any engineering program that does not let you quiz out of your first two years of liberal arts education and enter as a junior is not worth considering. Do not under any circumstances, except a 100% scholarship, go to a school that will not accept CLEP exams for the first two years of college. Here’s why. These liberal arts courses are useless. Everyone on campus knows they are useless. They are demonstrably useless. Read this book: Academically Adrift.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)