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It's Sink or Swim: why fighting for a place at an elite university becomes more necessary than ever

A degree from an elite university is the launch pad you need to build your dream career.

By Tina Wu | Co-founder, the Aspirers

Every year during graduate recruitment season, HR managers at multinational firms are flooded with stacks of applications from college graduates. Multiple factors go into recruiting the best possible employees: critical thinking, interpersonal skills, personality, IQ, and emotional intelligence, to name a few. But with thousands of resumes to review, it's natural for HR managers to use the most 'efficient' filter to decide who to extend an interview to - how prestigious your university degree is.

Presumably, elite universities attract more focused and competent students, and the competitive admissions rate at top universities has already helped employers "screen" their candidates. Using the university rank as a predictor of employee performance makes sense. This is why great employers love to recruit from prestigious universities (in some industries, they are also known as 'target schools').

Have a dream job or company in mind? Where you go to university could be make-or-break.

The wave of college graduates coming your way

According to recent research published by OECD, the number of university graduates will more than double between 2013 and 2030, reaching 300 million by 2030. In fact, China and India together will account for nearly half of all degree-holders worldwide. When college degrees are so common, shouldn't you try your best to pursue a degree from a reputable university?

This is not to say that you won't succeed without attending an elite university. Still, in an increasingly globalized world, when your competition is more than your peers from the same city or country – a degree from an elite university will provide a platform for you to succeed.

Your university degree is more than just a diploma

Of course, your university degree is more than just a piece of paper – it's also about the skillsets (i.e, leadership, logical and critical thinking, etc.) you have learned and the network (i.e, professors, peers, and alums) you have made.

What differentiates a stellar university from an average one is the access to facilities, resources, networks, and most importantly, the learning experiences that the institution can foster for students to learn and grow, preparing them for this increasingly competitive world where change is the only constant.

The battle with elite school applications

Because families and students are increasingly aware of the importance of grabbing a place at a well-regarded university, elite universities' admissions rates are lower than effort. In the US, the top 10 schools have single-digit admissions rates, with Harvard as low as 3.2% this past cycle!

Wondering how you can stand out amidst competition? Stay tuned to more of our insights articles, or reach out to us today!

Face the challenge of college/university admissions head-on. It's sink or swim!

Ms Tina Wu

Co-founder, the Aspirers

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