group of college kids studying on stepsMaybe those Ivy League universities aren't worth it after all. According to a study by the Wall Street Journal,(subscription required). Employees prefer hiring from state schools rather than Ivy League schools when filling entry-level jobs.

The top universities in the study, from a list of the top 25, include Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University and Arizona State University.

Rated by 479 employers, which include the largest public and private corporations, nonprofits and government agencies, 19 were public, one was Ivy League school Cornell University and the rest were private schools like the University of Notre Dame and Carnegie Mellon University.

According to the WSJ, its research is a methodical way to assess colleges by surveying employer's recruiters rather than relying on more traditional measures like student test scores, college admission rates or graduates' starting salaries. The participants in the survey happened to have hired more than 43,000 new graduates in the past year.

The WSJ found that because of a weakened economy, employers were focusing on fewer schools to recruit from. Basically, instead of looking all over the country, big companies are trying to recruit from nearby or strategically-located colleges. This also helps them create partnerships with faculty at local universities.

Recruiters who ranked more prestigious, Ivy League schools as a top pick said they liked those students' intellect and prestige with clients and that they had skills like critical thinking and communication. On the other hand, the WSJ found that a lot of companies said they needed people with practical skills to serve in positions like operations managers, product developers, business analysts and engineers. Those employees happen to be the bulk of their workforce and they turn to public and state schools to fill those positions.

The WSJ left out smaller companies because it claims they generally don't spend as much time as big companies interacting with colleges. They also focused on hiring graduates with a bachelor's degree rather than graduate degrees.

Although graduating from a public state school isn't viewed as being as prestigious as graduating from an Ivy League or private university, this survey demonstrates that it can be a much higher play to jump into the workforce. Most interesting: highly-regarded schools like Harvard University, Yale University and Stanford University aren't on the list. Big names on the list, like the University of Southern California and previously mentioned Notre Dame aren't even in the top 15.

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