Junior College Disadvantage?

Eric says he can only pay cash to attend a junior college. Will this affect his ability to be hired? Dave says it might but also recommends not worrying about a pedigree.

QUESTION: Eric on Twitter says he can only pay cash to attend a junior college. Will this affect his ability to be hired? Dave says it might but also recommends not worrying about a pedigree.

ANSWER: With some goobers in Corporate America it will. If the junior college has a good education and you learn your stuff, all you’ll need is an opportunity to prove your stuff.

Let’s look for scholarships and look at state universities as well. In-state tuition is not that bad in most places. Six thousand dollars a year is about the average, according to USA Today, for in-state tuition. There are quality universities less than that. That’s the average. That’s $500 a month. You can make that and eating money by delivering pizzas at night while going to school during the day. I’m not sure that a junior college is there.

It will affect your hireability for some things. Sixty-four percent of the jobs in America are hired by small businesses—people with under 500 employees. I have about 300. I don’t hire people based on where they went to school. It’s more complicated than that. We hire them based on who they are as people, can they carry themselves, do they have poise, did they appear to have learned something when they were in school, and does that give them the ability to—while working on our team—leave the cave, kill something, and drag it home? That’s how we choose to hire people.

I cannot recall ever having a résumé come across my desk or across the desk of one of our VPs or executive VPs where they say, “Oh, look! He went to such-and-such school. We need to get that one in here. They’ll save us.” It just doesn’t work that way.

Now there are probably three to four percent of the jobs in America where, honestly, they’re so snobbish they’re more worried about your pedigree than whether you actually get your job done, but that’s such a small percentage.

We have gotten so caught up and snobbish in this country about our academics. I’m not about you being ignorant, and yes, I understand there are different schools that are a different quality than other schools. I’m not above understanding that. But have you ever sat down and interviewed a professional and asked them where they went to school? No, you haven’t … so shut up! How big a deal is a pedigree? It’s not. It’s useless in about 98% of the cases, and the other two percent? I don’t want to work there anyway.

Yes, sometimes, a junior college degree will hold you back, and I’m not sure a junior college degree is all you need. But what I am concerned with is that you get some knowledge because knowledge is the currency of the new economy. And when you finish school, you have just started school. If you’re not reading at least a book a month, something’s wrong with you as far as your wanting-to-get-ahead button is not being pushed. Get with it. That’ll get you a whole lot more places than your pedigree will.