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As Ivy League prioritizes ‘activism at expense of academics,’ other schools rise to top for employers

By Rikki Schlott | June 6, 2024, at 5:39 p.m. ET

For decades, a degree from the Ivy League all but guaranteed graduates a top-tier job.

But, in the wake of post-October 7th campus chaos, employers are taking a broader view — and looking at alumni from schools once seen as being less prestigious than Harvard or Columbia.

“The longer I hired people, the less correlation I saw between prestigious schools and success within my company,” entrepreneur and CEO Liz Elting told The Post. “Only hiring from Ivy League schools will leave your organization with a limited and homogeneous talent pool.

“Companies are discovering that talent can come from anywhere, and they’re right,” she added.

Suddenly, an Ivy League pedigree has lost its luster for hiring managers who fear onboarding a radical antisemite or woke pro-Palestine camper.

Barstool Sports CEO Dave Portnoy made headlines in December for saying he will no longer hire from the Ivy League — and other hiring managers are following.

Adam Leitman Bailey, who runs a law firm in Manhattan, has flat out refused to hire Ivy graduates for over a decade.

“We don’t hire from the Ivy League,” he told The Post. “We want the person with the highest grades, who competed with their classmates and grew up without means and have drive. And we got the best candidates by going to the top of the class of the second and third tier schools.”

Tellingly, Forbes recently released a ranking of schools that are “turning out the smart, driven graduates craved by employers of all types,” based on standardized testing scores and a sentiment survey of hiring managers.

Among the public colleges that made the cut are Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Virginia and University of Wisconsin Madison.

Private colleges on the list include Boston College, Emory, Georgetown, Vanderbilt and USC.

“Those schools are being added to college lists and are being considered in a very similar light to the Ivy League,” college admissions consultant and Command Education CEO Christopher Rim told The Post. “Our clients are wanting to get into Ivies and Ivy-plus schools — including these so-called ‘new Ivies.’”

He estimates that applications to the private schools on the list have gone up by 10 to 15% among his clients in the past admissions cycle — and that USC has especially soared in popularity.

Other private colleges on the list include Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Rice, and Notre Dame.

So-called Ivy-plus schools — MIT, Stanford, Duke and the University of Chicago — were excluded from the rankings by Forbes.

Graduates of the “new Ivies” average an impressive 1482 on the SAT and 33 on the ACT — well into the top 10 percent of test takers.

“I think a big reason why employers are focusing on second-tier schools is because the quality of the students at the actual Ivies can be so low,” Rim said. “The Ivy League focuses so much on diversity, performative activism, and social impact causes at the expense of academics.”

Other top-ranked public schools included University of Texas Austin, Binghamton University, University of Florida, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and University of Maryland College Park.

Notably, California public colleges were omitted because they no longer require standardized tests.

“At the end of the day, it’s really what you do at these universities — the connections you make, how hard you work,” Rim added.

As more and more employers wake up to the reality that the Ivy League isn’t what it used to be amidst an explosion of pro-Palestine encampments and rampant campus antisemitism, some had seen the writing on the wall.

Leitman Bailey, who himself graduated from Rutgers, concentrates his search for job candidates at SUNY and New Jersey state schools.

“I’d rather take the kid who struggles against the odds and works his butt off to get good grades than a kid who got into an Ivy League because his parents bought a building,” he said.

And, although Letiman Bailey thinks he was proven right by post-October 7th chaos on Ivy campuses, he isn’t thrilled that the competition has caught on.

“It’s actually making my job harder,” he said. “Now I have to compete with all these other businesses who are all of a sudden going after the students I need.”

New York Post

Originally published on New York Post on June 6, 2024

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