What college you attend is almost Not important at all.
Instead, you should be the type of person who could attend a prestigious college.
In fact, it was two professors, one from Princeton, who actually released a paper in 2002 that detailed why attending super-selective colleges had no impact on future career salaries (economic benefits)
How did the study work?
Well, it tracked students who 1) went to prestigious colleges
And then for the control group, 2) students who were admitted but did not attend top prestigious colleges (either due to $$$ or personal reasons, which is not apparently important in this study).
After extensive research, there showed absolutely no difference in the economic long-term benefits of attending a top college.
The salary boost was “generally indistinguishable from zero”
Top universities are not so good at developing students’ potential as they are at spotting future potential and offering spots to these bright students.
That’s not to say that prestigious colleges don’t offer much better resources and networking. They do and will surely add a kickstart to your career. But in the long-run, it doesn’t matter so much as where you went as a student as much as what type of hard-working student you are.
Also, I need to note that salary is definitively not the best measure of future success; however, when you ask most college students these days why they are attending college, the most common response you’ll receive is “for a job/money.” So, I am sure this answer should offer a lot of solace to students who are still worried about not attending Harvard.
Source: Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables