Monday, May 19, 2008

Choosing a School: Job Placement

Question: What is your job placement rate out of all incoming freshmen? (This is tricky, and you might have to do the math yourself. Figure out the percentage of incoming freshmen make it all the way through the program and graduate, and multiply by the percentage of graduates who get jobs.)

What to look for: High numbers. What's good? I actually don't know. It's relative.

What to do: Compare the numbers of several schools.

What to watch out for: Schools that boast abnormally high job placement rate of their graduates... but only because their program is so obscenely difficult that only a tiny fraction of incoming students actually make it through. Or, schools that have low placement rates in the industry (indicating they aren't taken seriously by people who know how to judge talent and ability). Or, schools that can't tell you their placement rate because they don't track those numbers (indicating that the school might not care about you in the long term, as long as they get your tuition money today). Or, schools that inflate their job placement rate by encouraging students to start their own studios fresh out of college -- make sure their people are being hired by someone else, not themselves (I have nothing against starting your own studio, but if it happens too often at a particular school that's an indication that a lot of their graduating class couldn't get jobs at established companies that were hiring).

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