boss left my performance evaluation on the office printer, intern just got hired by the team I’m interviewing with, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My boss left my performance evaluation on the office printer

My boss was working on my annual performance evaluation and printed a copy for her records to a community printer. The problem is, she didn’t go pick it up. She printed it late Friday afternoon and it sat there all weekend until Monday morning when a fellow coworker brought it to me, thinking I had printed it. When my boss arrived at around 10:30 a.m., which is her normal time, she asked me if I “found something” on the printer. I replied, “You mean my evaluation?” She said yes, and I gave it to her and explained I did not find it but it was brought to me and that I was unhappy because half the office would have read it. She took it, said sorry, and walked away. No one would admit it, but I am pretty sure half the office did read it, with the other half being told about it.

I am very upset, and I feel the situation calls for more than a shrug and insincere sorry from my boss. How would you handle this, both from my perspective and my boss’s? My evaluation was positive, which helps the situation a little, but I still feel … violated, I guess, is the best word.

It sounds like she was a little cavalier about it, and I agree she should have sounded like she took it more seriously … but other than a more serious-sounding apology (“oh my goodness — I hadn’t intended to do that; I’m so sorry about that”), there’s not really more that she could do. She made a mistake, she should take it seriously and let you know she regrets it, but it wouldn’t make sense for her to zap everyone’s memories or give you a bigger raise or anything like that.

That said, I can definitely understand why you’re weirded out; this is a document dissecting your performance that wasn’t intended for anyone but you and your boss to see. Hopefully any coworkers who saw it didn’t stand there and study it, and if they did, they’re really at fault for doing that.

2. My coworker got upset that I revealed that we’re temps

I have been working at the same office since February but through an employment agency. Recently they took on another worker through the same recruitment company. We’re a team of three, our third colleague being a direct employee of the organisation. For this reason, she gets privileges that agency workers don’t – such as flexi-time for example, whereas we can’t exceed more than 37 hours a week and have to finish half an hour early on one day a week. I don’t have an issue with this, but accidentally offended my fellow temp today when the following happened:

Someone not on our immediate team was curious about why we had each had a 4:30 p.m. finish this week, and I explained that we were temps so it was a different rule. When she had left the room, my fellow agency worker said she didn’t want anyone to know she was temp as she considered it a “lower status.” I was taken aback as I hadn’t meant any offense and don’t believe being an agency worker is anything to be ashamed of; I’m one myself and it just means your employment terms and conditions are with the agency as opposed to their client. But I also accept that this is how she feels, and I have agreed not to draw attention to the fact if it bothers her. She seemed okay with this, so I don’t think she’ll hold it against me.

But I’m kicking myself for the fact that I did upset her, even though it wasn’t intentional. I’ll be careful to think before speaking in future, but do you think I should have been aware of this in the first place? Was I in fact really stupid and thoughtless?

No. Her desire to hide her temp status is not typical. She’s weirdly overly sensitive on this, and you should not have been expected to anticipate her unusual take on this. It’s perfectly okay to mention a factual term of your employment, particularly when it’s directly relevant to a question being asked.

3. My intern just got hired by the same team I’m interviewing with

I recently applied for a position that I’m incredibly excited about and had a great first interview. I was told right at the beginning that they were taking another look at the position and might split it up or keep it as one. I sent a thank-you note the evening of and then waited to follow up until the end of the following week (as the hiring manager said to do if I hadn’t heard from her).

The kicker here is that the morning after my interview, my intern told me she had applied for a position on the same team (different role). This morning, right after I sent my follow-up email to the hiring manager, my intern informed me she accepted a job offer there. (I have obviously not mentioned to my intern that I was also looking for a job on that team, as I felt it would be inappropriate. I also have refrained from asking her to elaborate on her experience because I thought that would be weird.)

I got a response from the hiring manager later this afternoon letting me know that they were still reviewing what the position would look like and should know more next week. Normally I would just leave it at that and follow up later — but now I’m wondering if it might make sense to respond thanking her and mention that they just hired my intern. The position I would be in would be the position above my intern’s new role — which is the only reason I would think of bringing it up, because it seems like it might be relevant knowledge.

Is it better to just leave it be and follow up next week as the hiring manager suggested and not mention that my current intern is their new hire? I feel weird enough not mentioning it to my intern, even though she’s offered up the information because I’ve given her advice during her job search. Also I’d also assume that the hiring manager must have put two and two together and realized that we must have some connection based on our current roles.

I’d mention it, because I like transparency and I’d want to avoid any possible weirdness later. I’d just say something like, “By the way, I understand that you just hired Penelope Plufferton, who’s actually currently interning for me. She’s great.”

Be aware that if you do this, they might ask your intern about you, so if you don’t want that happening, I’d also mention that she doesn’t know that you’re interviewing and that you want to continue to keep your search confidential.

4. Do people know that the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school?

I will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. Many people at my high schools have never heard of the school. Will employers know UPenn? Will they know that is an Ivy League school? And lastly, if someone came to you asking for a job with a degree from UPenn, would you be impressed?

Well, it’s probably the least known of the Ivies. People who are particularly in-the-know about academics are more likely to realize it’s an Ivy; the rest of the world may not (and some confuse it with Penn State). Rigorous and prestigious employers are likely to know; with others, it’ll be a crapshoot.

Personally, I’d consider it a sign that you were a high achiever in high school and had an at least semi-rigorous college education (which is the same thing I’d think about someone from Princeton or Yale, as well as good schools that aren’t Ivies, like UVa or Duke).

But I think you’re getting too caught up in the prestige of the Ivy League. You’re going to a good school with an excellent reputation, and that’s what matters most.

5. Can I ask for a phone interview before interviewing in-person?

I received an email from an employer wanting to set up an interview next week for a position. However, I really think phone interviews are so important before interviewing in-person. There was no phone interview given, and I would like one before committing time off work, etc., since as you know the position has to be mutually beneficial for both of us.

Is there any way to tactfully ask for a phone interview prior to the in person interview? Would this hurt my reputation as seeming hesitant or could this be a potentially smart move? Thoughts?

If you’re pretty senior, or your skills are very in-demand, or they approached you about the job (versus you applying for it), it’s reasonable to say, “Before we set up an in-person meeting, could we set up a call so I can learn more about the position and we can see if it seems like it might be the right fit?” But if none of those things are true, then you pretty much have to go along with the process they’ve laid out. Not everyone does phone interviews (even though they should!).

The exception to this is if you have some sort of extenuating circumstance — for example, if you’re not local and you want to learn more before flying there. But if it’s just “I’m not ready to commit to an in-person conversation with you” (which is how it’s likely to come across), then no.

{ 320 comments… read them below }

  1. JuniorMinion*

    Dear UPenn-

    The biggest difference you will find (and I found at another Ivy school that is sometimes maligned) is that most if not all of the corporate employers you want to work for will recruit on campus. This is a great advantage of an ivy or other highly ranked school – you make the “target school” list for a critical mass of employers – which is very important, especially so in banking / consulting / engineering / some of the accelerated corporate rotational programs you might be interested in. I spent 5 years in capital markets / investment banking and rare was the candidate we hired who didn’t come from a target school. This isn’t to say that there aren’t qualified candidates at other schools, but for positions like that where the demand is overwhelming and you could fill each new hire class many times over from just target school candidates, oftentimes no one else really ends up getting considered absent some Hail Mary networking or being an Olympic / professional level athlete or something.

    Secondly, I’ve found that having Ivy undergrad + good corporate experience means that I don’t have to go back for an MBA because I’ve already got a great brand on my resume. I had about $60k worth of debt after undergrad, and being education debt free has been great and I’m not too keen on paying another $150k for an additional degree if I can get away with not doing it.

    I’ve found the fact that I graduated from an Ivy to be a huge plus on my resume overall – especially as I didn’t grow up in a situation where I would have otherwise had the sorts of opportunities open to me after college that a top ranked school makes possible. Obviously you have to be smart and hustle and work hard and do all of that good stuff, but I have found that people give my resume the benefit of the doubt, and there were career paths open to me out of college that wouldn’t otherwise have been.

    Best of luck as a fighting Quaker. I hope this doesn’t come across as crass – I certainly don’t mean it to. Just wanted to give you the view from a few years out as someone who wrestled with some of the same thoughts.

    1. sam*

      I’m a UPenn grad as well (law school), and I agree with all of this. Basically, anyone who actually “needs” to know (employers, recruiters, etc.), will know.

      And Philly is a great town, particularly to spend a few years. Among other things, per capita, it has the best concentration of restaurants (both highbrow and lowbrow) in the country. Just try to get off campus as much as possible!

      (I speak from a grad student perspective!).

      1. Cass*

        Also, the recruiting is not limited to Ivies. I went to Penn State and their engineering department is really great, so firms recruited heavily. I don’t have as much experience with other majors so it may be lesser than an Ivy, but there’s lots of potential in other universities as well! :)

        1. Triangle Pose*

          Of course! No one would say there is low potential at non-Ivy schools, but I think OP’s question is about whether Penn is recognizable and will be beneficial to her. Anyone who is recruiting right out of undergrad will definitely know it.

          1. Rat Racer*

            Yeah, another former Quaker here to say that people used to worry about this in the 90’s too (when I matriculated) and the answer is that organizations who care about Ivy League schools are familiar with Penn. Not worth worrying about. And I think it’s unnecessary and pretentious to say parenthetically, “UPenn, the Ivy League School

            In full disclosure: I am not a huge Penn fan. Feel that school fosters a culture of anti-intellectualism. Case in point: the presidential candidate who is a fellow alumnus.

            1. Lore*

              I agree with that position, though I had a good liberal arts experience at the school myself (largely due to lucking into a relationship with an extraordinary advisor). I had thought that was somewhat less true now that the school features so many interdisciplinary programs and overall has evolved a lot since I left (it’s way more competitive as well; I don’t think I’d get in these days!). But seeing the OP’s comments below makes me think you’re still absolutely right.

            2. blueiphone*

              Hey now, don’t hold that against Penn as a whole :) For one thing, Wharton is a whole other animal ;-)
              (I’m a current Penn grad student and former employee)

              But more seriously, congrats to the OP! College applications are hugely stressful and you’ve already done well. You should be very proud of yourself! Like others have said, anyone who “needs” to know Penn’s status will know. Just focus on having a great time in college. And welcome to Penn! It’s a beautiful campus in a fantastic city. The students and professors are some of the smartest, most talented (and nicest) people I’ve met. There are always jerks in any group but overall, I will miss Penn when I graduate next month. I could write a whole essay on what the school has meant to me both as a student and an employee. But I’ll just condense it to: CONGRATS AGAIN AND WELCOME!

        2. MIT Alum*

          I agree with this advice that some schools like Ivies are feeder to some of the biggest names out there, and that some of those big companies pretty much ONLY do on campus recruiting at the Ivies or top ranked schools in their field, so without a major personal connection it is very difficult for other students to get on their radar to even get an interview, etc.

          However, I know for many schools the day to make a final decision on whether to go there or not is May 1st, and I wanted to mention something that I think is hiding behind OP’s question. OP, UPenn is a very good school, and could potentially open up a lot of doors for you. However if you are choosing between multiple schools, please don’t put yourself into tons of debt just for the Ivy name brand – especially if you aren’t planning to go into a field that is traditionally higher paying like finance or engineering. Do you know what field you want to go into OP, and what area of the country you want to live in someday? (It’s totally ok if you don’t know this at age 18, but I know some people do.) If your intention is to move back to the area you grew up in (and that isn’t New York, Boston, SF, etc), you actually may be better off in the long run going to a well regarded regional school and making connections that way, rather than a big “name” school. That was what I found, having gone to MIT – companies from my Midwestern hometown area didn’t recruit from places like MIT, but rather the local regional powerhouses, assuming the regional graduates will want to stay in that area.

          Also, last point – the biggest thing a “name” school like an Ivy gets you is connections (and more than one study has shown this). Your professors and fellow students will often run in circles that you never imagined – for instance, my freshman year roommate’s father was a CEO of a major corporation you would have heard of. He offered to get me an interview for an internship at his company, and silly me, I wanted to “earn it on my own.” Looking back, the advice I would have given myself was “take the darn interview and then impress them once you have their attention”. So if someone offers to make a connection for you, read Alison’s advice on interviewing and informational interviews and make that connection – and then work hard to show they made a good choice in meeting with you or giving you a chance at an internship, etc. Gumption and bootstraps are all well and good, but if someone is offering you a hand up, take it, say thank you, prove you deserve to be there and then pass it forward someday.

          1. MIT Alum*

            Oh, and as far as the recognition goes – there will always be people that don’t recognize the name (I dealt with more than one person tilting their head curiously while saying “MIT? Is that in Michigan?”) but enough of the people that matter will know the name – and those that don’t will probably just know it’s a university which is all they need to know.

            1. Penn Alum*

              Yeah, like you say, people who aren’t really invested in elite higher ed might not know off-hand, but it doesn’t matter at all. And with Penn, there are probably people overly focused on elite higher ed who will think of it as a “lesser Ivy,” but most snobs appreciate it just fine. I was hired by one of those snobs 20 years after graduation, and that’s how she introduced me around the office — as someone who had gone to Penn. Not someone with many years and a graduate degree in our field! I could only roll my eyes.

            2. Allison*

              Seriously, I grew up in the Boston area, even I didn’t know MIT was in Cambridge until . . . college, I think.

            3. Doriana Gray*

              “MIT? Is that in Michigan?”

              LMAO! I can actually see that though – the Michigan Institute of Technology. Sounds plausible.

              1. HRish Dude*

                I actually looked because I was curious as to how they actually distinguished between the two.

                Michigan Tech is Michigan Technological University.

          2. Another MIT Alum*

            Ayup. I stayed in Boston after I graduated, and having the brand name on my resume helped me at some places I worked for, but at others, it was a liability. I had one interviewer say that he almost never interviews MIT grads because in his experience we all come in with a bad attitude. I’m working at a place now that recruits very heavily every year from a different school, well regarded locally but not known so much nationally. We have relationships with a number of professors at there and their program really matches our needs, whereas at MIT you have so much freedom within the major that it’s possible to graduate without ever having learned the particular skills we’re looking for.

            Also for name recognition: when I was in high school I was debating between attending MIT or CalTech, and my parents, teachers, and guidance counselor all advocated strongly against CalTech on the grounds that “no one has ever heard of them.” In hindsight: LOLWUT!?!?! But yeah. Big name schools that are very well regarded in some disciplines might very well end up not on the radar of someone who doesn’t work in that field (like a high school guidance counselor).

            1. Stranger than fiction*

              Alas, I went to a small private college (and never graduated) but my friends and family’s experience most closely matches yours. It really depends on what you want to do, because some companies look at ivy leaguers like they’re too expensive to hire, but there are clearly fields where it’s more of an an asset.

          3. themmases*

            This is a good point. IMO people think there are good schools but in reality there are good programs… Within a given field the top programs are probably a mix of public and private, Ivy and not. Within my specific field and region, many of the best programs are public and in fact I didn’t apply to *any* private schools for my PhD… It turns out in my field many programs at big name schools are actually not acceptable to someone looking to take a normal advanced degree path– they’re new/small, unaccredited, have non-standard admission or degree requirements, and don’t necessarily offer competitive funding. For fields like that, it can be a waste to go to a “name” school when the “name” program was somewhere much more affordable. It’s hard to know that as an 18 year old with no professional or academic exposure to a certain area.

            All that said, I think it matters more at the graduate/professional level. Many undergrads change their major at some point, so I wouldn’t tell someone to pass on UPenn over a program they may very well change. Unless the OP is interested in a degree that maps to a specific job, like engineering, their major won’t matter enough to tell them to make a counterintuitive school choice. Maybe if they were interested in a very low-paying profession with a great public alternative.

          4. Honeybee*

            Also, even if you think you know what you want to do, you may change your mind – so don’t take on big unmanageable debt thinking you can pay it all off once you make the $$$ as a software developer or a physician. I know plenty of people who intended on law school or medical school when they started college only to change their mind halfway through (or not get admitted to med/law school later). I also know quite a few who started off engineering majors and changed into something completely different. You want to give yourself the flexibility to study what you want to study and work whatever job is most appealing to you after college, not having to take the one that pays the most because you have big loans.

            And also, the regional thing is SO true. I work for a large multinational country that recruits and hires people from across the country and across the world. We have lots of people from very elite schools – national and international. We also have LOTS of people from a range of public and private universities in our state, especially in our metro area. We have connections with a lot of those schools and lots of the kids will intern here or forge connections some other way, and we can be reasonably sure they’re going to want to live here after they finish.

        3. sam*

          Oh, absolutely. I went to a large state school (SUNY Buffalo) for my undergrad, and value that experience as much as my law school one. I always say to people who are obsessed with labels that it was my big state school education that got me in to my Ivy League law school.

          But it definitely has advantages and opens doors. My cousin was actually in law school at my undergrad while I was there (his first two years of LS overlapped with my last two years of undergrad), and he basically advised me to go to the best school I got into, regardless of cost (this was back in the ’90s, before the “law school crisis”). He landed at an excellent law firm, and does very well now, but he had to totally bust his ass to get his resume in front of people and get interviews, whereas at Penn (and the other top-tier schools), the firms literally line up to interview you on campus.

    2. Triangle Pose*

      Agreed. Having an Ivy undergrad degree provided me with a true leg up. In the corporate world and grad school admissions, it allowed me to stand evenly with candidates with family connections and inherited wealth. I say this from both sides, not just because I had great opportunities coming from my school but because I’ve been seen the hiring and resume filtering side as well.

      The people that matter from where OP is standing – grad program admissions, employers, recruiters – they all know Penn. The people who need to know will definitely not confuse it with Penn State.

      For me, I found that going to an Ivy undergrad and then a law school at a university well known for sports gave me the best of both worlds – academic/C-level types were impressed with undergrad and people who don’t know much about ranking can still talk to you about sports and how your school is doing in the conference this year.

      1. blackcat*

        “…it allowed me to stand evenly with candidates with family connections and inherited wealth.”

        There have been big studies that show this, too.

        Post college income doesn’t depend on where you went to school if you are a kid from an upper class family, but it depends HUGELY on where you went to school if you come from a poor/working class background. Fancy schools give a big leg up to the people who need it most.

      2. Kat*

        The sports thing is really helpful at times. I attended an academically “okay” state university, but everyone knows its basketball program. My fiance said that he started really following sports during his first internship so that he’d have something to talk about with his coworkers. Being with him for 4 years has rubbed off on me, and I’m now fluent in college basketball and semi-fluent in pro sports. Although we now live across the country from our alma mater, being able to make small talk about college basketball comes in handy professionally ALL THE TIME, especially since my field is wildly male-dominated.

        Side note: as much as I like talking sports, it is frustrating to realize just how important it can be for networking in my field. It feels very old-boys’-club, yuck.

    3. Kate M*

      Yes, going to an Ivy League school is impressive. BUT, I would urge you to not bank on that in the future and feel like you can coast on that. (I mean, I went to a fairly prestigious school that wasn’t Ivy League, so I might be coming at it from a little different angle). It might matter most for things like going to Law/Medical School, or in making connections. If you’re just looking for a job after your Bachelors? It will help, but it’s not a shoe in. I work in DC, where Ivy League grads are a dime a dozen. I’ve had tons of interns over the past few years, some with Ivy League degrees, some without. Where they went to school has not correlated with who was the best intern. The absolute best and absolute worst interns I’ve had were not from Ivy Leagues. The ones that were have been solidly in the middle of the pack for me. (YMMV).

      It will help your initial application stand out once you’ve just graduated. If you can network through connections you make at school or in your alumni network, it can help you get a job. But once you’re out in the working world (unless you’re in a place where it really matters, like law school I guess), your experience and references are going to count a lot more than where you went to school. Get all that you can from this experience, volunteer, do extracurriculars, network, intern, and doing all that plus where you go to school will help set you up to be in a good position once you graduate.

      But DO NOT get caught up in thinking that you’ll automatically be a more valuable person to work with because of where you went to school.

      1. Another MIT Alum*

        I would urge you to not bank on that in the future and feel like you can coast on that.

        Agreed! The biggest advice I would give my eighteen year old self is network like crazy. Go to office hours. Chat with professors informally. Get to know as many and as varied a selection of your classmates as you possibly can. I didn’t–I was so obsessed with finding “my tribe” that I missed out on so many opportunities. (And never found “my tribe” to boot!)

        1. LQ*

          This is kind of funny. My 18 year old self did network like crazy and tried so hard to get to know people. Hung out with professors casually. Did all kinds of stuff. And I hated it. If I could go back I’d tell my 18 year old self it is actually entirely ok to stay in and read some night and that there’s nothing wrong with feeling utterly exhausted by all those social demands.

          And I didn’t stay friends with anyone from college though I did try. So this is very much a YMMV thing, and I think partly a learn yourself thing.

          1. Kate M*

            See, I never think of including professors when “networking.” To me you network with people who are more in touch with the business world, unless you specifically want to go into academia. And I certainly wasn’t a huge networker in college. The only reason I mentioned networking is that that’s usually how going to an Ivy League school helps you – the connections I think are more important than the university listed on your resume. You certainly don’t have to do that to get a good job and get ahead, but I think that’s the point of an Ivy for a lot of people, especially those that care about people knowing they went to an Ivy.

            1. Honeybee*

              To me networking at an Ivy is also just getting to know your classmates, particularly because at an Ivy you never know who you’re sitting next to. Sometimes I would take classes with people and hang out and form a friendship and then find out that they’re an internationally noted business person or the cousin of a prince or a supermodel. Chelsea Clinton was in my graduate class at Columbia. I mean, in undergrad it’s more likely that their parents are the rich/famous/powerful ones, but that can be helpful too – like MIT alum’s tale above about how their roommate’s dad was a CEO and offered an interview to them just like that.

      2. One of the Sarahs*

        I would really recommend to anyone looking at university to choose an environment they’ll be happy in, because it’ll make everything easier. For someone with strong feelings about living in a city – or not, for example, or a big place or small place (especially if you’ll need/want to get a part time job), it can make or break a university career. And I don’t know about USA unis, but I’ve had friends who were miserable in the high prestige uni they went to, and it affected their work, and in retrospect they wished they’d taken a place in a uni the next ‘level’ down where they’d be happier.

        (And of course, this can be a huger deal for students with specific extra-curricular interests, eg sports or theatre, or volunteer work, or student politics – while the Ivies/Oxbridge are awesome for the CV, another place could be better for you if it has better extra-curriculars. And of course, for some minority students, it’s definitely worth considering issues like what it’ll be like being an LGBT student in a conservative town, or a PoC in a very white environment – or having a disability in a uni that’s not great at access issues. For some people, that’s fine, but if others take things like that into account and make different choices, that’s completely fine too.)

        TL;DR? Don’t pick university reputation as the deciding factor. *In general*, the happier/more comfortable you are at your uni, the better you’ll do.

        1. Honeybee*

          This is probably the most common advice I give out. I moderate a college help forum and this time of year we have lots of kids who are comparing colleges – sometimes 3-5 of them. Most of the time they come in splitting hairs about academics between 3-5 equally good colleges, but the colleges have wildly different social atmospheres and settings and I’m like – where do you want to live the next four years of your life? Because that experience will shape the kind of person you are. I went to an HBCU and a women’s college for undergrad (no points for guessing which college) and that had a tremendous impact on everything from my outlook on the world to the kind of work I wanted to do as an adult.

          And occasionally we have kids who are comparing a very large scholarship at a very good school and taking out massive loans at another very good school, but one that’s more prestigious – augh! that’s the part that scares me the most. because when you’re 18 the prestige of Harvard or Yale is really tangible to you, but the $120K in loans you want to borrow is not yet.

    4. Kelly F*

      This. If you want management consulting or finance jobs, Wharton is by far the best place to go, followed by other top tier schools. If you want to get a Phd, academia is obviously going to put a lot of faith into its own ranking system.

      There are absolutely fields where going to the right school is how most people get in the door, and the rest of the people who managed to get in are people who are superstar candidates from other places. I went to a T3 undergrad and there are internships & potential jobs where 1/2 the candidates in the room were from a small number of highly selective schools, the rest were superstars from the much more numerous decent schools. I’m not at a T6 law school. In the legal profession, where you went matters even more. If you didn’t go to a T14 school, your chances at getting a job at some firms is pretty nonexistent (look at attorney bios at some of the V10 websites). My school takes people from my undergrad with lower LSATs and GPAs than state flagships.

      Another difference about going to a highly selective undergrad is the fact that all your peers are also ambitious and going after the “right” internships, fellowships and/or doing cool original research. Which is the kick in the butt a lot of 18-23 year olds need / where you learn about those things if you are lower middle class or poor. On a related note, studies show that students from lower incomes do BETTER the more academically selective a school is, likely because it’s unheard of to drop out or take more than 4 semesters to graduate, so you just don’t.

      Finally, there’s the fact that financial aid can be more generous at top schools since it’s need based. My financial aid packages from HYP were MUCH better than what I got from my state’s flagship.

      1. Honeybee*

        Yes, I noticed that when advising undergraduates at my graduate school (Columbia). The undergrads at my own undergrad alma mater were ambitious, too, but their ambitious usually ran in a different direction – much more community outreach and social impact positions. Also, I went to a college where a significant proportion of the students were first-generation college students, so we didn’t even know what to reach for. Just doing a bit better than our parents and their peers was good enough. When supervising undergrads at Columbia…they knew about the kinds of jobs, wealth, variety, and power that existed out there, and they strived for it. I can see it being both a really isolating and really empowering places for a first-generation student (or middle-class student) to learn and grow and be motivated to achieve more than they otherwise would’ve dreamed. Plus all your friends already know what to do to get There (wherever There is) and you just copy what they’re doing, or they’ll tell you.

        Operates on the graduate level, too, though.

    5. Honeybee*

      I went to Columbia for graduate school and I agree with this, honestly. It’s not so much that the actual education is that much better than a less well-known but also great school; it’s more about the on-campus recruiting/career services and networking that you can do through an elite school’s degree. Columbia’s career services office was excellent; there were always big-name recruiters around and big-name companies willing to take on interns. I know the name of my university got some notice when I was job-hunting and my network now includes folks in some interesting places.

    6. SG*

      This letter actually baffled me because I can’t imagine having not heard of UPenn.

  2. Anonymous Educator*

    #4, any future employer who puts stock in where you went to school will know UPenn is prestigious (whether it’s “Ivy” or not—who cares?). I will say, though, that I know someone who went to Harvard (and wasn’t part of the Lampoon comedy crowd) and went to Hollywood and said the Harvard name worked against him. That said, I work in independent (private) schools, and having an Ivy (or Stanford) on your résumé if you’re a teacher is a bonus for sure in the hiring process (doesn’t make you a shoe-in, but parents care where the teachers went to school, so hiring managers care where their teachers went to school).

    1. Ellie H.*

      So the school I’m at is actually an Ivy (one of the ones with major name recognition) and IMO it is nothing on Penn (I mean, in my field) or U of C where I went to undergrad. I’ll admit I have the reverse snobbery thing too which isn’t really better than Ivy League snobbery.

      I would have said yes, anyone who cares about where someone went to college will know Penn is an Ivy League school but my family is basically all academics and I’m from Boston so I guess it may vary by region or background.

    2. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

      Yep. Anybody who cares about where a university degree is from knows Penn is an Ivy and a darn good school.

      We drop our tech development director’s Penn grad status into anything customer facing that we ever can.

      Penn, by the way, is a terrific place to go to school, if you’re a city person. I didn’t go to Penn but a couple of my best friends from my HS class did (I went to Temple, talk about a uni with a respect/identity issue), and I spent a couple years on the Penn campus hanging out with them on weekends. I slept on the floor of one of their rooms every weekend. I got the budget Penn experience!

      Great place.

      1. not important*

        hah! I went to Temple for grad school and 100% agree with the respect/identity issue comment.

        1. Doriana Gray*

          Really? My company loves Temple grads (we’re in risk management/insurance) so they actively recruit them. I didn’t realize people had issues with that school.

          1. Temperance*

            Temple has a great alumni network etc., but they have recently loosened their admissions criteria, so they’re less selective than in previous years.

      2. Triangle Pose*

        Haha, the “budget Penn experience!” Agreed that Penn is great and that Philly is an amazing city! It’s seriously so much fun for young professionals and students alike!

        It’s so funny that you say that about Temple – I have a ton of friends now who are Temple law grads and I feel like they have so much school pride! Maybe grad and undergrad are different in that way though.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          Temple graduate schools have a fair amount of prestige.

          Temple undergrad itself IS a decent/good school but it’s also a default school for the region, with high acceptance rates. “If you don’t know what you want to do, where you want to go to college, you can always just go to Temple.”

        2. Chloe*

          Seconding all comments about Philly!! I know this has nothing to do with your question, OP, but enjoy your time there! I grew up in the area, and it’s wonderful.

      3. JC*

        +1. I went to a non-Ivy but reputable small liberal arts school on the east coast. I was horrified when I graduated and came across people from other parts of the country who had never heard of my school. I did learn later in my career, though, that employers who cared about where I went to school had heard about it and were impressed by it. Other people who hadn’t heard about it weren’t the types to care about where I had gone to school in the first place. (And of course, now that I am 10+ years out of undergrad, the amount any employer would care ranges from barely to zero.)

        1. Doriana Gray*

          I went to Drexel, and only one person on the hiring committee at my current company had ever heard of it. The hiring manager actually told me she thought it was an online school until her colleague corrected her.

          1. blueiphone*

            Oh no, sorry about that! Drexel is also a terrific school. My brother did his master’s there and a friend of mine is in their PhD program for nutrition. My first post-college boss was a Drexel grad too. It was one of the first schools I looked at way back in high school but I realized that it was definitely geared towards science students (it felt like that at the time) and I was definitely going to start college as “undecided” or “general humanities.”

  3. Emma UK*

    #4 I only recently learned that it was an Ivy League school, and that was from watching Pretty Little Liars of all things.

    I assume that people who care about the Ivy League would know.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I knew it was prestigious from faculty searches where my department head and the search committee gave a little nod of respect to resumes with UPenn (as they did with Harvard or Yale, etc.), but I didn’t know it was an Ivy.

      I remember seeing a sitcom or movie where interns were dividing into teams at their new, prestigious employer. One of the teams was picking its members by asking potential teammates, “Where did you go to school?” And if the response began with “University of . . . “, they would dismiss them without even letting them finish the phrase. So if you’re ever in that situation, say “UPenn” or you’ll never get the test out. :-)

      1. Doriana Gray*

        I remember a couple of episodes of Gossip Girl that were dealing with the kids from Constance and St. Jude’s, two fictional prestigious NY prep schools, applying to colleges. When Serena tells Blair she’s hoping to go to Brown like her mother did, Blair’s response is that the only true Ivy’s are the holy trinity: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. And what makes this funnier is that when Blair doesn’t get into Yale like her father did, Serena tells her she can always go to Princeton, and Blair’s response was, “PRINCETON IS A TRADE SCHOOL!”

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Is Rice an Ivy? I know several people who went to Rice, but I don’t know if it’s an Ivy. Let me google that for myself . . .

            1. Emilia Bedelia*

              … No? There are 8 Ivies: Penn, Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, Princeton, Columbia, Brown. There are innumerable other schools who are just as high quality, but the Ivy league is literally just a sports conference

              1. sciencegirl*

                Yep. It’s kind of funny that everyone associates Ivy League with academics when it actually refers to sports. Try not to get caught up in ivy vs non-ivy. It’s a good school and most people know that if they are in a hiring position. I go to Upenn and my dad still tells people I go to Penn State. It doesn’t bother me because it doesn’t really matter where my dad’s friends think I study.

                1. sam*

                  Yeah – there are definitely other schools that are, reputation-wise, just as good as the Ivies, but the term itself refers to the specific schools Emilia Bedelia noted above.

                  I mean, in the law school world, Stanford is consistently ranked in the top 3 with Yale and Harvard, and schools like NYU and University of Michigan are (at least these days) always in the top 5-10. In economics, the University of Chicago is pretty much the pinnacle. But they simply didn’t exist when the “ivy league” came into existence.

                  There are other groupings of prestigious schools that have their own histories (7 sisters – the highly reputable all-girls schools in the northeast that includes Smith and Vassar (now co-ed)).

              2. Mallory Janis Ian*

                Yeah, Google failed me. I googled up “Is Rice an Ivy League school?” and the first result said, ” Rice, the Ivy League school . . . ” so I looked no further.

          1. the gold digger*

            Nope. :) Rice is not an Ivy. When the Southwest Conference existed (I miss those days), it was part of that. Now it’s part of some conference nobody has ever heard of and our homecoming games are dull, dull, dull. (Seriously – playing UT, even if we were going to lose, which we always did, is more fun than playing OutOfStateTinySchool.)

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Oh, Google fail. I looked up “Is Rice an Ivy?” and the first answer that popped up was, “Rice, the Ivy-league school . . . ” so I quit looking.

          2. Jennifer M.*

            Though it has come to mean something else, Ivy League is actually the athletic conference that the schools belong to.

        2. Penn Alum*

          That’s hilarious, because I think Penn is a trade school! In the sense that it has professional programs (engineering, business) and it felt like the other half of my undergrad class was planning to go to med school or law school. There’s not much emphasis on the liberal arts.

                1. Doriana Gray*

                  Ha – and I’m seeing that I responded to something saying Penn, not Princeton, lol. See, OP, how easy it is for people reading quickly to make that mistake? LOL

          1. NoName for this*

            In my family, Penn is best known for having Pennsylania’s veterinary college. But then, I’m related to veterinarians (who went to Cornell, traditionally a Penn rival).

            And yes, the Ivy League is an athletic conference. While Rice University is prestigious and often grouped nationally with the Ivy League, the Ivies are northeastern schools. Stanford was founded by a Cornellian and is sometimes grouped with the Ivies, and there are other schools that come up in discussions if the Ivies, such as Rice and the University of Chicago.

        3. Honeybee*

          Real talk, I moderate a college admissions forum online and I have some students who *actually* believe this. This forum tends to attract very high-achieving students from wealthy families. Many of them use the term “lesser Ivies” to refer to the non-HYP ones, and Cornell is basically a public university to them (because of course in their minds, public universities are always beneath private ones, unless they’re UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan, or UVa, maybe UNC.) It drives me freaking bonkers. You want to talk about splitting hairs? That’s like splitting spiderweb thread.

    2. Felicia*

      I learned about it on Pretty Little Liars too! But I’m not American, and I feel like if it was I might have known about it before.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I’m American, and I don’t know all the Ivy League schools. I didn’t know UPenn *or* Cornell *or* Princeton. I only knew Harvard and Yale, and I would have said, “Maybe Brown?” I do know that Columbia isn’t, and it always feels like a surprise when I remember it.

        And I never hear the term “Ivy League” to mean anything but academic and socio-economic. And regional–northeastern; and age (i.e., old, like Harvard, Yale).

        1. SEP*

          Actually, Columbia is an Ivy League school.

          And I think the answer to whether people know UPenn is an Ivy League school is “Who gives a flying f***?”

          Seriously, OP, look at this thread an see how much confusion there is about Ivies. Anybody who went to an Ivy will know UPenn is an Ivy. Most people who know a lot about prestigious educational institutes in this country will know it’s an Ivy. Anybody who seriously cares about the prestige of the college you go to will know that UPenn is quite prestigious.

          I went to a prestigious small liberal arts school many people have not heard of. But anybody who really knows about private colleges outside of the really big names will have heard of it and almost always implies that they think it is an excellent school (including many people I know who went to Ivy League schools, teach at one, or both).

          Don’t worry so much about what people think when they hear “University of Pennsylvania” and instead just think about how you can use the education you get there and the connections you make to your advantage.

          1. TootsNYC*

            did I miss that on the list I googled? Maybe.

            So maybe it’s that I’m always surprised is *is* an Ivy.

    3. Kiki*

      Maybe it depends on geography a little. I’d never heard of most “Ivies” at all until I was in grad school and had an advisor that came from one.

  4. Doriana Gray*

    #4 – I went to school right next door to UPenn, and yes, people know it’s an Ivy. It also has a beautiful, if not so safe, campus. Enjoy, work hard, and stay safe in that area.

    1. Penn Neighbor*

      When did you go to school? I’ve lived practically on campus for years and never had any issues.

      1. ActualName*

        My mom worked there very recently. She kept up to date on all the crime reports and as a result, never walked home past dark unaccompanied. It’s not bad in the heart of campus but step off of it after dark and you’re likely to have problems.

        Anyway, my mom using the bike people to walk her home really helped me feel comfortable doing the same when I started going to school in the city as well.

        Also my sister is at UPenn.

        1. starsaphire*

          I am a BIG fan of bike walk! I used it any time I was on campus (Cal) after dark.

          A lot of campuses have it, and when I was in school it was pretty under-utilized. I’m glad to hear you used it and it helped!

      2. Doriana Gray*

        I graduated in ’09. The last two years I was there, I got text alerts from my school at least once a week detailing the assaults, car jackings/break-ins, and other various criminal activity (including a rape) that were happening either directly on Penn’s campus or, like ActualName said, adjacent to it (my school’s campus had random assaults from locals against our students as well). And I’m willing to concede the area could have improved since then. With that said, I still spent a lot of my time hanging out on Penn’s campus, especially in their bookstore. I actually felt safer there than I do walking around my current small Midwestern city.

      3. Doriana Gray*

        2009. Admittedly, the area could have gotten better since then, though I see ActualName below says that’s probably not entirely true.

        1. Doriana Gray*

          (Something wonky is happening with the posts for me. That should say “above” and the comment I tried to post three times isn’t showing.)

        2. blackcat*

          I didn’t go to UPenn, but I spent a lot of time in the area about 10 years ago, and I have friends who live in the immediate vicinity now. Philly has always been one of those cities that has very rapid transitions from “nice” neighborhoods to “dangerous ones.” Having spent a good amount of time wandering through those “dangerous” neighborhoods because it was the fastest route between two places, I never felt personally unsafe. I was generally with at least one other person, but I did also walk around alone at night some, and had zero problems. I think this was mostly due to walking around without a phone out (pre-smartphone era) and walking confidently like I knew where I was going. The friends of friends who I heard of getting mugged were generally walking around *wasted* in the middle of the night (2-4am). Of people who I personally know, a few had backpacks stolen out of cars, but that’s about it. Don’t leave crap in a car. Or, better yet, don’t even bring a car!

          Also, according to my friends in the area, University City is rapidly gentrifying. This is… causing a lot of problems for long time (mostly black) residents.

          1. Doriana Gray*

            I actually felt pretty safe when I was out there, too. That’s probably because I’m a fast walker, so I never had any issues with people rolling up on me unexpectedly (and I too didn’t have my phone out when walking, though I did always have earbuds in). But yeah, I agree with the whole “don’t bring a car” bit. The only people who did were people who weren’t from around there. My friends who were from Jersey left their cars at home because they knew a) parking on our campus was extremely hard to find and b) a lot of cars got broken into. And I personally knew two people who got mugged either on my school’s campus or nearby – one was the grad student I was seeing, and the other was classmate who got mugged at gun point in front of a police station a couple of blocks from our dorms.

      4. Temperance*

        There were a few shootings and robberies/muggings there in the past few years. Campus has a great security force etc., but you can’t prevent everything. IIRC, one of the shootings (nonfatal) was at 3 PM.

      5. Triangle Pose*

        Yep, this totally depends on when you were there. I was on campus 06-10 and it was really safe to me. But now it’s even safer and the gap between University City and Center city has totally transformed ever since Penn ought the postal lands and developed them into free athletic facilities and picnic area. Penn continually grows east and west and the gentrification rate is astronomical, to much neighborhood controversy.

    2. sciencegirl*

      I’m at Penn now. It is a relatively safe campus. It is in a big city, which always has risks, but I would say the campus is one of the safest in Philly.

  5. Doriana Gray*

    OP #2 – like Alison said, you did nothing wrong. Your coworker’s just weird. I was a temp twice early on in my career, and neither time did I try to hide that fact. It was the reality of the situation I was in. Sure, it could be embarrassing when I’d run into people I knew in high school who seemed to have permanent, fancy careers already while I was making just a little over minimum wage and had no clue whether I’d ever find something permanent, let alone a “career” – but that was my hangup. Looking back on it, so many people were in the same spot I was in, and my former classmates probably weren’t even thinking about it – they were just happy to see me. Your coworker sounds like she’s insecure about her position, but if she is, it’s not up to you to help manage her feelings.

    1. Jeanne*

      I think especially these days, with the economy and the way companies are changing the labor force, that almost nobody will have a problem with working with temps. There is nothing embarrassing about having a paying job.

    2. Cambridge Comma*

      It also sounds like the alternative to saying “because we’re temps” would have been lying or refusing to answer, neither of which is great workplace behaviour.

    3. Tasty*

      I’ve had one temp job, and I didn’t enjoy it mostly because my coworkers referred to me as “the temp” like that was my name. “Where’s the temp?” “The temp can do that for you.” It was miserable.

      1. Myrin*

        That seems to have been a problem with having rude coworkers, though, not with your temp-status.

        1. One of the Sarahs*

          I’d agree with this, I’ve temped a fair bit around my freelance work/moving cities etc and it has only been a problem in places with bad culture anyway.

      2. Bob*

        I’ve never been a temp but I’ve experienced this as a contractor. At one company I was treated like one of the team but then we merged with our larger sister company during the recession and it changed overnight. They literally refused to learn my name. I was leading projects and was often the only one who could fix major problems yet they still referred to me only as “the contractor”. I would routinely overhear statements like “This one (i.e. a contractor) is not cutting it. Dump him and get us another by next week.” like they were talking about getting a cup of coffee. I personally blame this attitude a little on racism as all of the contractors except me were Indian (and many here on visas). Also, I try to remember that people were petrified during the recession and our combined companies had already laid off about 1,500. Employees wanted to make it painfully clear to management that contractors had lower value and were expendable.

    4. Bwmn*

      As someone who’s also temped, I find this particularly odd because when I was a temp I really wanted to make sure those I worked with knew. Whether or not I found a full time position under my present supervisor – the hope was that someone would see enough quality to want me as a full time employee.

      Now, if this was a social situation and you outed a friend/colleague as temping – I could see a lot more reason for someone to be upset. The way people spin that kind of stuff to their family/friends can be based on a lot of other things other than terms of employment. But at work, this is odd in a way where you don’t need to feel as though you did something inappropriate.

      1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

        At my former company, it was very common for other departments to take on temps when their current assignment ended. And a lot of the time that parlayed into a full-time gig.

        1. Bwmn*

          Exactly – one of my temp positions post graduation was in a hospital and a certain department really liked me filling in at the front desk when their receptionist/admin was on vacation. While that position was never a possibility, that department ended up as one of my greatest champions asking for me even when their receptionist was out for a few days and providing an amazing reference to other departments in the hospital for jobs totally unrelated to being a receptionist.

          While the adage of “offer to work for free” has definitely aged out, I think it’s largely been replaced by the notion that if you’re a really good temp you may ultimately be hired on as a full time employee. Keeping that fact hidden just seems so bizarre to me.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I used to do that for an actual temp agency I worked with. They liked me so much they would call me when their receptionist was out and when they didn’t have an assignment for me. I didn’t care–I was getting paid!

            It didn’t get me a full-time position, but I enjoyed working with them. Unfortunately, the last time I contacted them, they had changed somewhat and I never got any assignments. :(

          2. Jadelyn*

            My career arose from a temp job that started out as 20 hrs/week filing and data entry, and grew to a full-time ~real HR~ job, so I’ve definitely experienced firsthand that transition. A lot of employers like to “try before they buy”, or they’re not convinced of the business need for the position until they’ve had someone in it for awhile so they start with a temp. I’d be blasting “I’M A TEMP” at full volume to all who could hear because that might catch the right set of ears and set things in motion for you to not be a temp anymore!

            1. Bwmn*

              I know!

              I think the other thing that does – especially when you’ve been a temp somewhere for a while – is subtly nudge people that you will leave for a full-time/guaranteed position. So in addition to “I’m awesome please hire me!” – there’s also the “I’m awesome and will eventually find a place to find me awesome full time!”

      2. One of the Sarahs*

        I agree – when I temp, I always want people to know, as it explains why I don’t know stuff I would if I’d had training, why, eg, I don’t just take sick days if I feel ill, why I can’t stay late etc etc – as well, of course, as a way of getting more jobs. Oftentimes, one contract leads to another, and to the next etc. It’s not that I make a song or dance about it, but I’d do exactly what the OP did.

        (I find it really weird the co-worker expected OP to lie about temping, too – people temp for 100s of reasons. Sounds like they’re feeling bad about not having a “proper” job, but temping is nothing at all to be ashamed of)

    5. plain_jane*

      I’m wondering if different wording could have gotten across the same message without triggering the negative reaction from your coworker. E.g. “the agency contract says” or “we’re under a different contract” or even “we’re not full-time” vs. “temp”.

      1. Sadsack*

        That’s the coworker’s problem. Using euphemisms like that may just add confusion. “You’re under a different contract? What does that mean?”. I actually hope OP did not apologize too much to her coworker because I don’t think she needed to. OP was referring to herself as well, it isn’t as if she was singling out her coworker as a temp.

        1. Chinook*

          I have to agree – using euphemisms just muddies the waters. I should also add that there can be a difference between being an agency worker and “merely” a temp. a temp is someone who is there for a short time and probably has little industry specific training. An agency worker, on the other hand, could be at the same position for years but just happens to not be permanent staff at their location. Where I work, there are approximately 100 agency workers of various backgrounds, most of whom have been here between 6 months to 15+ years. (How do I know this? We were all traded, without our knowledge, to another agency with only a month’s notice. They didn’t care if we were self-employed contractors or that another agency placed us. Their new agency got the sweet deal of suddenly having 100 new employees and/or independent contractors without effort and their positions to make money off of. Not that I am bitter).

          For managers who don’t necessarily control their local staffing budgets, it is how you work around payroll freezes when work loads increase and I found great ones (like my department) can still treat you like a teammate while keeping the legal distinction between agency contractor and staff. And once you understand that you are the same budget line as office furniture and the agency only sees you as a product, it is much easier to accept . Or atleast that is what I tell every new Engineer in training when they get hired on this way.

  6. Jeanne*

    #5, my personal experience is that phone interviews are not very helpful from my end. They appear to be useful to a company wishing to narrow in on who to bring in. But I was never able to get a good sense of whether the job was a good fit for me over the phone. I often wasn’t given the chance to ask questions. If it’s a job you’re truly interested in, go for the interview. If nothing else it will be good practice.

    1. Random Lurker*

      +1. Phone interviews have helped me tell when a job would NOT be a good fit – generally because the hiring manager exhibited traits that are difficult for me to work with (a great example was I had an interview once where the hiring manager called me and immediately launched into questions – no description of the role, introduction of himself, or even the obligatory “how are you today”. I knew I could not work with him after our conversation). But to tell if the job is A FIT, a phone interview isn’t going to tell you much.

    2. MK*

      I think the OP wants to use the phone interview to rule out obvious dealbreakers, not make sure it is a fit.

        1. Granite*

          Yup. Especially as you move up, phone interviews are great screen tools for candidates.

          For example, travel is highly variable in my line of work, and tends to be vague in job ads. One employer listed 10% travel, but when asked to describe it, the standard trips listed added up to about 40%.

          Another finally admitted, after asking a few different ways, that no, they did not consider employees’ home locations when assigning projects, and it was more likely than not I’d be be assigned projects as much as 3 hours from home on a regular basis. Both of these were deal breakers for me, and I was able to remove myself from consideration after a 20 minute phone call from my car in the work parking lot, rather than taking a half day off work.

      1. Jennifer M.*

        Yeah, I had a recent phone interview and the hiring manager I spoke with at the end of the call said that before we take time to set up an in-person, the salary range was $X-$Y and was that a non-starter? It

      2. TootsNYC*

        I think this “scoping out” is sensible by phone, but I personally wouldn’t label it “a phone interview.”

        When i get a resumé, I know enough about you that it’s worthy my tie.

        I get that YOU don’t know about about the JOB, or me, to know if it’s worth your time, because my job listing had WAY less info than your resumé. And I’d be happy to answer some questions, like hours, pay, managing, etc.

        So I’d suggest calling to say, “I wanted to ask a few questions before we schedule this/meet. Does the position supervise anyone? What’s the pay range?”

        But I don’t want to get into a lot of stuff on the phone, because what will be left to discuss in the interview?

        So, a screening for you as well as for me–but in-depth stuff is best in person.

    3. Hellanon*

      We’re interviewing for an entry level researcher at the moment, and the phone interviews are a great quick screen for people skills and the ability to respond to simple questions. (We set the screens up as appointments by email – no one is taken by surprise when called).

      One interviewee was rude to the person who called her, and then, when the hiring manager emailed her to thank her for her interest but that we were not moving ahead with her application, sent a rude email back to the HM. One looked great on paper but couldn’t focus on answering the questions (“Why are you interested in this position?”) or stay on topic.

      We don’t really really say much more than what’s already in the ad, but I would think that from the applicant’s perspective, it’s an opportunity to screen for basic fit & weed out the folks you really can’t communicate with…

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        I also hire entry-level candidates, and we use Skype screens for initial interviews. My experience is much the same — it is a very quick way to establish whether or not someone is worth bringing in for an in-person interview or advancing in the process. These work out well on both sides because we can quickly end an interview if the candidate is obviously not a fit, and they don’t have to the expense and hassle of traveling for an initial interview. Our feedback on them has been very positive, and candidates like that they don’t have to travel until we are serious about hiring them as we don’t reimburse for it at that level.

        I’ve only had one Skype interview go markedly better than the in-person. The candidate was articulate and well-spoken on Skype and dressed appropriately, but she showed up for the in-person interview (with senior attorneys, which she was apprised of) looking like she hadn’t showered that morning, wearing a cardigan with an obvious hold in it (she wore a suit for the Skype), and unable to answer some of the same questions she’d handled well over Skype. The recruiter and I are still baffled by what the hell happened between the Skype and the in-person interview.

    4. Stranger than fiction*

      It depends whether it’s a phone screen or a phone interview. Agree the screen is usually more them getting a feel about you and if they should bring you in. A phone interview usually allows more two way about the role and saves you from wasting your time going in person if it turns out to be not in the ball park salary or job description wise.

    5. Meg*

      I have found phone interviews to be invaluable as both a candidate and an interviewer. As a candidate, I’m especially interested to have one when there is no or limited information about the posting. I was contacted by a recruiter for a contract at a large employer nearby that likes to get most of its employees by starting them as contractors. They had no job description, just a title, and they wanted to skip straight to an in person interview. I declined – I did not want to waste my time. They seemed to think it was a good test of candidates to do it this way, and I thought it was a good test of an employer that they were willing to waste both their employees and their candidates time.

      I’ve also had lots of other phone screens where I and the hiring manager/recruiter were able to either quickly tell we should move on or I should come in. When I was a strong candidate/match, I know a good phone screen also got the employer excited to see me in person.

  7. Dan*

    #4

    I’m of the camp that says, “I don’t care where you went, I care what you did when you were there.”

    There’s lots of “good schools” (however one defines the term) and there’s lots of “good graduates” from a lot of schools. If you were to submit your resume through the typical web application, no your almater isn’t going to impress me. Also, this conversation aside, I wouldn’t have realized it’s an Ivy. But that’s me, and different people have their preferences.

    The first poster makes a good point — attending a uni on a “target school” list is a BFD for certain careers. You really want that in person connection with the recruiter.

    1. Artemesia*

      My son had a girlfriend who graduated HS at 16 with a 4.0, went to UNC Chapel Hill and graduated with a 4.0 and then did an international affairs masters at George Washington with similar high levels of achievement. She couldn’t afford Georgetown although she had been admitted there. When she was looking for State Department internships, she didn’t make the cut and asked why. They said ‘Well we reserve those internships for our strongest applicants.’ When she asked why she wasn’t one of their strongest applicants with her stellar record the response was ‘Well we take people from Georgetown and Harvard for these internships.’

      1. Dan*

        WTF?

        I graduated from GW (in the sciences) and our international affairs programs are HUGE. I’m not sure Georgetown cleans out clock in that area, at least to the point where the State Department should be preferring those graduates. ESIA (Elliot School for International Affairs) at GW has a strong reputation as far as I know.

        1. K.Muln*

          GW ESIA alum here, and I am surprised by this response from State too! Yes, Georgetown’s program tops the list, but GW’s undergrad and grad programs are consistently highly ranked in the field, and carry weight in DC circles. Many of my classmates ended up interning at State or in the IC, and have gone to have great careers post-graduation.

      2. Anna*

        That sounds weirdly illegal to me. As in federally funded internships shouldn’t be reserved for people from a specific school because federally funded.

        1. Lily in NYC*

          It’s not even a little bit illegal. My friend is a recruiter for a top consulting firm (think McKinsey or BCG). They only have one recruiter who recruits on campus from schools “west of the mississippi” and dozens for Ivy League universities. It makes me stabby.

      3. Hillary*

        Wow. I interned at State, good Midwest private college alum. My co-intern went to Michigan.

      4. CMT*

        Ehh, I think maybe this story got embellished in some of the re-tellings between your son’s girlfriend and you. (And I know you have a more cynical outlook on things than I do.) GWU has a good reputation in DC. Maybe one person at the State Department was very vocal about Georgetown and Harvard grads only, or maybe at the time your son’s girlfriend applied, the more attractive candidates were from Georgetown and Harvard.

        1. sam*

          also, my brother has applied for those types of jobs before, and they generally don’t/won’t tell you why you didn’t get past a certain point in the application process. (each time, he gets a little further, so it’s kind of fun to guess why he was rejected *this* time).

          Also, I have a friend who ran the Bosnia desk for state during the war and then worked on the Dayton accords, and if people at the state department were going to be snobs, I’m pretty sure they would have had something to say about his degree from the University of Alabama, so…

  8. Lila Fowler*

    I went to Penn. It’s a fantastic school and the people who matter will know it. It rankled a little as an undergrad that not everyone recognizes it immediately and I owned a “Not Penn State” shirt myself! But once I hit corporate America, I stopped caring almost immediately. Penn has a top-notch career placement center with the best firms and all four undergraduate schools at Penn (the college of arts and science, engineering, nursing, and the Wharton school of business) benefit from the career center, it’s staff and offerings. As an alumni I still benefit. Choosing to attend the university of Pennsylvania was one of the best decisions I ever made- I have a fantastic brand on my resume, I learned a lot, I made great friends and I have an amazing network that carries through years later. Don’t worry about the name brand recognition – I promise you it will be there when you need it. Congratulations and enjoy the next four years!

    1. Lore*

      Exactly. My undergraduate advisor changed my life; I made four of the best friends I still have on literally the day I moved in to Superblock (and am so excited to see them all at my reunion in a few weeks!); I loved being in an urban environment; and I loved the fact that the school was big and educationally diverse with the four undergrad schools. Enjoy the education and the experience–and I think it’s even a much better school now than it was when I was there!–and the prestige will take care of itself. Also, you get to be a Fighting Quaker, which is the best oxymoron ever.

    2. Temperance*

      I have to admit giving a ton of side-eye when I see people wearing those shirts. I went to Penn State, and … it’s not the worst thing in the world. I love my education, and when people see being confused with (gross! omg! eew!) lowly Penn State, it rankles me.

      1. Cass*

        Fellow Penn State grad here too! I felt the same about the comment….but let’s be real, if people were confusing PSU with Pitt, we’d be a little irritated, right? ;) (I’m kidding, if any Pitt alums are here, just teasing.)

      2. Almost a Fed*

        Right? Penn State is also a well-respected school with a huge alumni base, great career prospects and a top-notch education. Everything this post said about Penn is true about Penn State – “Choosing to attend the university of Pennsylvania was one of the best decisions I ever made- I have a fantastic brand on my resume, I learned a lot, I made great friends and I have an amazing network that carries through years later.”

        No, it’s not ~*~the Ivy League~*~ but it also doesn’t come with Ivy-sized debt. Then again, if you’re so insecure that you need to wear a shirt to let people know you DIDN’T go to a lowly non-Ivy, says more about the person than about either school.

        My best friend and I went to Penn State for undergrad. She went on to get her JD from Penn and is very successful as an attorney. And she is proud of both.

        1. Cass*

          I *loved* attending Penn State as well. I grew up in New York, but after college I moved back to State College. It just really felt like home here, and now I own a house here and work at the University. :) So it was the best decision I’ve ever made too.

          1. Honeybee*

            Hee! I lived in State College for a year when I worked as a postdoc at PSU. It’s a lovely little town. It actually partially influenced the small town I chose to move to in my new metro area – the downtown and the feel of this place reminds me of State College a little bit, especially how easy it is to get to everything.

      3. Ellie H.*

        Same, at University of Chicago we had “No, it’s not UIC” shirts (University of Illinois at Chicago) which I think are tacky and tasteless. When I went there, U of C had much less name recognition than it does now (bc of Obama I think, and the school made a big push toward “mainstream” in the last 5-10 years) but basically this type of shirt says “I’m better than you because I go to a ‘better’ school.” It’s not a good sentiment.

      4. Mike C.*

        The kind of reminds me how those of us at Harvey Mudd always had to tell people we weren’t attending Harvard Med. Not that there’s anything wrong with Harvard Med, but there’s a difference of several thousand miles.

        1. Dan*

          Not only that, but my guess is far more people graduate from Harvard Med and become doctors than those who graduate from Harvey Mudd do. I also suspect far more people graduate Harvey Mudd and become engineers than those that Harvard Med do.

      5. esra*

        I thought that was less about getting confused with the other school and more the giant scandal?

        1. Lore*

          It was a thing when I was there in the early 90s, so not about the scandal, I don’t think (though that may well be a factor now).

  9. Chrissi*

    #1 – if it makes you feel any better, my boss left my resignation/termination agreement, essentially their entire rationale for me leaving (which was obviously very one-sided) on the printer for approximately 36 hours before someone finally took it back to the boss’s boss’s boss (but told me). Let me tell you how thrilled about that I was.

    1. anon for this*

      And if it makes you feel any better, a high level vp in HR left a very sensitive document on the printer two weeks ago that listed the number of head count reductions that are coming.

      What makes it even weirder is we have those kinds of printers that you have to log into at the printer before you can even print. Yet there was that printed document, just sitting there.

      1. Carolina*

        I worked at a state agency that had “reductions in force.” The executive director left a list of the 11 people who were being “reduced” on the printer–before one of the people had been notified. She learned she was laid off when someone who saw the list went to her to say they were sorry to hear about the bad news.

        1. ItsOnlyMe*

          Sad sad sad.

          At PreviousJob, my ED gave his Administrator letters to prepare for a list of people who would be laid off. Included in that list was a letter to herself, and he hadn’t though to tell her ahead of time.

      2. CMT*

        Do you think it was done intentionally, like to warn people? Still probably not the best way to do that, though.

      3. CMT*

        Do you think it was done intentionally, like to warn people? Still probably not the best way to do that, though.

        1. AnonT*

          That’s kinda what I was wondering. It doesn’t really sound like it could be a true accident, so maybe it was an “accident” in the hopes that the people affected would get some warning.

    2. Construction Safety*

      At , someone printed out the entire staff’s salaries on the community printer. Raised some eyebrow, that did.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I printed out my resume after hours, the printer froze with some still in it, and people found it the next day. It ended up not really hurting my rep there, but it was hella awkward.

      I’ve also sent an email to the person I was talking about–and that DID hurt me. (Wasn’t even a horrible thing I was saying or doing; I’d meant to forward it to a mentor to say, “here’s what my Boss said; how do you suggest I respond?” and I sent it to my boss)

      So—when you can say you’ve never done anything stupid like this, then I think you can justifiably refuse to forgive your boss for being human.

      (and at many places I’ve worked, some bosses have their own little printers for just this reason)

    4. One of the Sarahs*

      All these are reasons my Civil Service job moved to the kind of printer you sent your jobs to, and had to tap your security pass/enter a PIN to print…. It was cited as environmental reasons (you had to choose which things you printed, so could cancel things you didn’t need any more), but really it was because of these OMG NO! moments!

      1. TootsNYC*

        They added that at my old job, truly to save paper (and it had a HUGE effect; the IT guy who came up with the idea and implemented it saved huge bucks, and got lots of kudos; I hope he got a monetary bonus!).

        But I liked it for that reason too.

      2. anon for this*

        Yes and that’s what makes my story so weird. We do have the kinds of printers you have to badge in to use while standing there at the printer. There were no names on the email, just numbers, which only makes the useless speculation even more awful. You just wonder if you’re one of the ones.

  10. Mando Diao*

    OP4: It really depends on what kind of business you’d like to work for and what field you want to enter. As I’ve mentioned a lot, I’ve found myself in a business world that values self-starters, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and the dreaded small businesses; I assure you that no one doing the hiring at these types of businesses could be presumed to know that UPenn is an Ivy. I was on the AP/honors track in high school in NJ, and no one spoke of Upenn as an Ivy League school. Your mileage may vary there, but if you wanted some insight, there it is. For what it’s worth, I think the previous commenter was correct about your career prospects. You’ll secure a job before you’ve graduated.

    However, I’ll throw this out there as a caveat/gentle warning: I wouldn’t get into the habit of assuming that Ivy League automatically trumps a degree from any other school. “But I went to an Ivy!” is something no one wants to hear. If employers care about that sort of thing, they will already have the information they need, and an Ivy League education in general is not the selling point you might be hoping it is, outside of certain specific professions.

    1. Newsie*

      YES to the caveat. I’m a fighting Quaker, but I went into a non-business, humanities field. It helped with connections, and people knew it was an Ivy. But co-workers were also surprised I went to an Ivy, because I didn’t brag about it. There was a girl who went to Cornell in my office who bragged about her education all the time, and people rolled their eyes at Miss Ivy League. The second you get hired is the second it needs to stop mattering, unless you want to make a connection with someone who is also a fighting Quaker.

      1. Mando Diao*

        I went to the local B-grade private university that gave me a lot of space and freedom to complete my program. I would burst out laughing if someone acted like I hadn’t earned my degree, or if the name of my university meant that my education was somehow less valid.

        This isn’t meant as a knock against the OP, by the way. She is clearly a great student and is from an environment where going to college is the norm. However, I think it’s an important bit of “growing up” advice to realize that outside of very specific conversations, the fact of having an Ivy League degree isn’t something that should come up all that often.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Me, too! I just recently rewatched the episode where Dwight irritates the fire out of Andy by coming in in a Cornell sweatshirt and using a Cornell mug.

            1. Bowserkitty*

              I rewatched that too this weekend! Honestly, I’ll never associate Cornell with anything else. I thought it was so great they invited Ed Helms to be a speaker at one of their commencement ceremonies.

    2. Foxtrot*

      I have to agree that you need to look at your potential major and career field when picking a school. Ivy League graduates in business, law, and the humanities seem like the best of the best to me. But I’m in engineering school and our powerhouses are MIT, Caltech, Georgia Tech, Michigan…etc. Someone with a Harvard education in engineering might get a side glance because you would have gone elsewhere if you really wanted to be an engineer.
      Long story short, don’t worry if a school is Ivy or not. You want it to carry weight in your particular field. Or give you the opportunities to thrive in student organizations that carry weight.

      1. Regina Phalange*

        +10000000. This is a very important point, as well Dan’s earlier point. It matters what you do when you get to school more than it matters where you go. As someone who went to a Big Ten school, I can say it doesn’t carry any more or less weight than I was thinking it would. I picked it because it had the top program in the country for my major. But I’m not even sure people in my industry know that or not because I never brought it up. Best to just work hard and prove yourself.

        1. Liberal arts*

          My mom has a PhD from a large midwestern state school which is very highly-regarded in her field, although not particularly prestigious overall. Her family on the east coast couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t want to go to a “good school” like Harvard or Yale and even made fun of her for it, even though Harvard and Yale weren’t good schools for her field. What you want to study in school and do afterwards will determine which school is right for you.

          I went to a very small Catholic liberal arts school. The majors with the highest in-field employment rates for graduates from my alma mater are theology and sacred music. A degree from the school really means something in those fields, much more so than my “practical” economics degree did, because people hiring in those fields have heard of the school when the general public usually hasn’t. I still got an excellent education, but our tiny school isn’t as well known by people hiring for my field as by people hiring theologians. That said, I’m currently in the running for a job in the field and location of my choice because I met a student at my alma mater whose family is in that business. Connections really can make the difference in finding a job. Make good use of whatever ones you can make in college!

          Also, intelligence is not always related to actual job ability. My boss is incredibly smart and loaded with Ivy League degrees, but also extremely disorganized, incommunicative, and never finishes projects. I’d much rather work for someone with a less prestigious education who delivered more at work. You’ll only be in school a relatively short time and it’s what you do for the rest of your life that really matters.

      2. Honeybee*

        I disagree a bit, but just because 18-year-olds usually don’t know what they want to do with the rest of their life. Lots of teenagers think they want to go to law school but fall in love with computer science or think they want to majoring in engineering but decide they like linguistics instead. It’s not too early to think about potential careers, but it is too early – IMO – to pigeonhole yourself and choose a school solely on the basis of one major.

  11. Ann Cognito*

    #2: It’s weird your fellow-temp is so worried about you having said you were temps, not only because it’s a strange thing to be concerned about, but I bet almost everyone already knows who the temps are! I’ve never worked in a job where I didn’t know who was a temp and who was an employee (I’m in HR now, so I would definitely know nowadays, but even before that), and that was at quite large employers as well as smaller ones. Every place I’ve worked, if an email didn’t go around letting people know (so employees would know who to contact for work purposes), at the very least, the temp would be brought around and introduced to everyone.

    I realize that not every work place is the same as the places I’ve worked, and some places are so big it wouldn’t be a known fact, but in any case, you were entirely appropriate and didn’t do anything wrong.

    1. TootsNYC*

      I don’t think it’s that weird to not want to dwell on the temp status, because temps often ARE viewed differently.

      1. Petronella*

        This. Depending on the workplace, it can be stressful and almost degrading to be a temp and I understand completely the co-worker’s reaction to being spoken for in that way.

        1. AnonT*

          Yeah, I just wonder if the coworker has had some bad experiences being singled out as a temp – maybe even been at a previous position. Some offices are unfortunately like that. I know once would be enough to make me sensitive on the topic, for sure.

    2. Ann Cognito*

      You’re right – it’s not weird to not want to dwell on it, but the LW says she answered a question about why they’re on a different schedule, so just a quick query by the sounds of things.

  12. GH in SoCAl*

    #2, while I agree that you really couldn’t have known about your coworker’s preference, and that she seems unnecessarily concerned about a possible stigma of being a temp or contract worker, I do think in general that it is better not to answer questions about other people’s status. When you’re asked a question like why “you guys” are leaving earlier, you could avoid a similar issue by just being careful to only answer for yourself. Just by saying “I’m a temp,” instead of “we’re temps,” you come off better and respect the other person’s right to speak for themselves. Sure, people may still infer that she’s in the same situation as you, but I just think it’s more respectful done that way.

    1. SpokenFor*

      This is what I would have defaulted to doing. I have every right to speak on my own truth and if someone were to infer more from that, that’s not my fault. I don’t like speaking for other people, so this is how I handle situations like this.

    2. Mando Diao*

      I don’t think it’s always wise to err on the side of anticipating and then accommodating unreasonable thought processes or actions. The fellow temp was off base.

      1. hbc*

        Yeah, it would be exhausting to go through life like that. Maybe the third coworker is embarrassed to be the only permanent employee in the group, so don’t make mention of that. If someone mentions they’re going to drop by and see Jane at 10:30 tomorrow, don’t tell them that there’s a semi-regular meeting between the three of you at that time and 11:00 is almost always better. “I can neither confirm nor deny whether I believe Jane would appreciate the cupcake you’re leaving for her.”

        1. Doriana Gray*

          Lol, exactly. That is a whole other level of ridiculous that OP should not be made to feel she has to adhere to.

        2. One of the Sarahs*

          Hee!

          (And yeah, being the only person on a team with benefits like holidays, sick pay, flextime and other benefits, could be just as embarrassing)

          1. Chinook*

            “(And yeah, being the only person on a team with benefits like holidays, sick pay, flextime and other benefits, could be just as embarrassing)”

            We just turn it around and point out that the company doesn’t like to trust our boss with too many “real employees.” (Of a head count of 6, 4 of us are contractors). Luckily, she has a good sense of humour about it.

    3. MK*

      Not every viewpoint deserves respect; if the OP’s coworker is embarassed to be a temp, that’s an offensive attitude that I wouldn’t feel obligated to respect. I agree that, as a general rule, it’s better not to presume to speak for other people and, of course, it would be pretty weird to go out of your way to “out” someone as a temp(!). But, when asked point blank why you and X have a different schedule, it’s equally weird to go “I cannot speak for X; I myself am a temp”, especially if you work for the same agency and the person who asks later finds out.

      Frankly, I think probably the coworker has misled (maybe just by omission) people about her status and was upset that she might have been found out.

      1. Sadsack*

        Now I am wondering what the temp coworker would have said, rather than stating she is a temp. Did she tell you, OP, what she’s been telling people or what she would have preferred you said?

        1. OP#2*

          Hi Sadsack, I’m the LW for this question, and no she didn’t give me any further information to that effect. Just literally “OP, don’t tell people I’m agency because it’s a lower status.” I just said “OK, I won’t mention it if you don’t want me to” because that’s the decent thing to do and she’s entitled to her feelings, reasonable or not. Overreaction or otherwise, I didn’t want to dismiss her comments completely, which is why I wrote to AAM. I don’t know if she’s lied to people, or misled anyone, but our supervisor sent round an office-wide email prior to her arrival saying “Please welcome our new temp receptionist” so everyone knows anyway.

          It’s not such a big deal to refrain from mentioning it. I just felt bad for hurting her feelings as she was new and the agency consultant had specifically asked me to be nice to her! (we’re with the same agency). I felt like I’d fucked up a really simple task, especially because I’m not an unkind person by nature – at least not deliberately – and it just feels plain rotten when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings by mistake. But I think trying not to speak for others is excellent advice and something I will be more mindful not to do.

          Thanks everyone.

          1. Sadsack*

            I know it sucks to accidentally upset someone, but I don’t think anyone could have expected her response to what you said. Good luck going forward, you have a good attitude and are very thoughtful.

          2. One of the Sarahs*

            Echoing Sadsack, you sound like a nice person, and it wasn’t your fault.

            (NB I know sometimes agencies can ask you look out for other temps, and I’m sure you know this, but *just in case* you worry about this, this doesn’t extend to being loyal to them, or shielding them if they make mistakes. Once they’re in and passed the first day, treat the other temps like anyone else.)

      2. Kyrielle*

        Yes, this. Had the coworker asked why the OP always left at 4:30 and not mentioned their coworker, then “I’m a temp” would have been the more correct answer. But the person asked about both of them, and the same answer applied to both; it would have been weird to say “I’m a temp” and, in fact, it might have caused the person asking to assume the OP was a temp but their temp coworker was *not* a temp, and leave them wondering why she also left early.

    4. TootsNYC*

      I like this way of thinking. I wonder how many other things in the world would be simplified if people were able to make this a habit.

  13. Sarahnova*

    OP#4: I went to an international big-name university, and I won’t lie, having the name on my CV hasn’t hurt.

    But you know what would have hurt? Expecting the name to do all the work for me. Thinking that it made me in some way special. Bragging. Throwing my weight around.

    What helped even more than the name was having the sense to realise that I was being exposed to some thinkers and academics who were top of their fields, getting much more 1:1 support and input than at another university, and really taking advantage of that. And having really, really smart peers. And busting my tail. The best thing I took away from my Oxbridge education was learning that I couldn’t coast any more, and how to start working HARD.

    1. AnonForThis*

      I also went to Oxbridge, though I don’t list it on my cv as I didn’t graduate from there due to personal circumstances. Even so people do put a lot of weight on it. It’s ridiculous. FiveWheels (who went to Oxbridge) impresses people more than FiveWheels (who graduated from a prestigious redbrick university).

      I mean why? All it means is that twenty years ago I was able to ace an application form and interview.

  14. hbc*

    OP1: Please be assured that a positive review is not grist for the office gossip mill, unless everyone hates you or thinks you’re a poor performer. There’s a solid chance that the coworker who brought it to you was the only person to even touch it, or that people just pulled their own papers off the printer without registering anything else there.

    It’s not great that it happened, but I’m sure the impact on your work life is slim to none.

  15. Ashley*

    I’m in the Philly area and if you stay around here, all of the employers are well aware of UPenn / Wharton and many, if not most , area executives are alumni of the school. It’s a great school! My fiancé just finished his MBA at Wharton.

    1. K.*

      Yeah, I grew up in Philly, and the Penn name carries a lot of weight here. Not to mention that the alumni network is huge. I went to an Ivy (actually turned down Penn because I wanted to leave Philly for a bit, although I had a BALL when I visited campus for their admitted student weekend) and am back in Philly after over a decade in NYC, and I definitely miss having a big local alumni network.

      OP, you made a good decision. Penn is great. Good luck!

    2. Lily in NYC*

      I work in a 9-person dept. and 3 of us have one of those combined grad degrees (dual-degree) from Wharton. My bosses LOVE Wharton.

  16. Katie the Fed*

    #4 – focus on your education, not the prestige of the school. You are obviously quite smart, and you *probably* have some pretty healthy financial resources, so you’re going to be just fine. Even if it’s not immediately recognizable as an Ivy, I think far fewer people are going to care about that than you think. As you get more senior in your career, very few people are going to care. And I know many people who reach very senior positions who started out at non-prestigious schools.

    Also – I do want to highlight the reverse elitism thing. I have talked to managers who told like to hire interns or new hires from very prestigious schools because they think they’ll be elitist and difficult to work with. Remember too that there are lots of us who got admitted to upper tier schools (ahem) and just couldn’t afford it. So I wouldn’t highlight it too much – focus on your education and achievements, not the name of your school.

    1. Temperance*

      My .02: I hire my own interns at an organization where many people would like to work. I choose interns from my law school, and if they went to my undergrad, it’s a huge plus. I’ve also been given interns with rich kid backgrounds (including one terrible one who didn’t know excel and went to a private school that cost $40k/year … for high school), and they have been universally unqualified.

    2. Government Worker*

      This is, slowly, changing a bit. There’s a movement among some of the wealthiest top-tier schools to provide generous grant (not loan) aid to students from low-income backgrounds, so there are an increasing number of students for whom an Ivy or other top-tier school is actually cheaper than a state school that would only be able to offer loans. Students definitely need to apply, and apply for financial aid, and base decisions on the aid package that’s provided, not on the sticker prices.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Yes, but “low income” can have different definitions, and when you add in flights to/from school it gets really pricey. It’s just not practical for everyone, and I’m glad I went to a school where I got a generous merit-based package and just a small amount in loans I paid off in a few years.

        1. Sunflower*

          Very true. When I was started college 8ish years ago, you basically needed to be around the poverty line to be eligible for a lot of the financial aid. I am a first generation college student. My parents paid for a portion of my schooling and I did the rest in loans. My dad is a blue collar worker and my parents made too much money to be eligible for any help anywhere. Pretty much all of my friends were in similar situations and almost all of us ended up at state schools.

        2. Anna*

          Definitely. There’s a gray area between income level that qualifies a person for grants and income level where you don’t qualify for grants but you still can’t pay the cost out of pocket.

      2. hermit crab*

        Yep, I was coming here to say that too. For example, I got my undergrad degree at a top-tier private college during a (brief, magical) “no loans” period in the mid-aughts. As a result, some of my friends paid literally nothing and graduated with zero debt — definitely cheaper than their state schools would have been. Private colleges, especially the elites, are often in a better position to offer that sort of program than public schools.

      3. Ellie H.*

        This is true but there are a ton of other barriers to entry and to success at school that are equally urgent to address; students from lower income backgrounds can have disadvantages on terms of skill at navigating the process of application, researching and applying for financial aid, knowing where to apply and how to present yourself in an application, and then even more importantly, after you get to college, the skills for coping with workload, knowing how to access resources and position yourself for success, how to network, how to balance school and life, how to navigate the social milieu etc etc etc. So it’s a much huger thing than just knowing where you could get financial aid.

      4. anncakes*

        Yes, Princeton, to name one, has been doing the no-loans/grants-only approach for over 10 years. My family paid a fraction of what we would’ve paid for me to go to the state school, and I graduated with no debt. And you didn’t have to make less than $20,000/year for a family of 4 to qualify. Their need-based formula was very reasonable, and the grants covered room, board, and meal plans as well as tuition and fees. UPenn has also gone the grants-only route. So I don’t really think it’s useful to LW#4 to talk about the finances. I’m sure they’ve dealt with that side of things already.

      5. Retail HR Guy*

        Lower income students should keep in mind, though, that financial aid packages are subject to change year-to-year with no warning or recourse. I turned down the free-ride scholarship to a state school to attend a more prestigious college. The next year, that college cut my financial aid significantly so that the cost of attending the school almost tripled. (No change in family income or circumstances; they never explained why they did what they did.) My parent’s resources were already stretched beyond the limit so I had to drop out. And, no, that free ride to the state school was no longer available.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      Remember too that there are lots of us who got admitted to upper tier schools (ahem) and just couldn’t afford it. So I wouldn’t highlight it too much – focus on your education and achievements, not the name of your school.

      This, but also some of us got admitted to Ivy League schools and then decided not to go because we liked another school better. I turned down an Ivy League school because it wasn’t a good fit for me. I’ve never regretted it, and it hasn’t hurt my job prospects (as far as I can tell).

  17. dragonzflame*

    #1 – I can honestly say that if I found something like that on the printer I wouldn’t look at any part of it once I realised what it was, much less share anything I had seen with the rest of the office. I don’t know what your workplace is like, but I’d hope you can put that worry out of your mind.

    1. Not Karen*

      Ditto. I don’t understand why OP is assuming everybody in the office read it, much less the person who picked it up off the printer.

      1. Windchime*

        From what I’ve read here in the past, there are places where people will definitely read things that they find on the printer. At my workplace, what I’ve usually observed (and what I do) is people will glance a the top of the paper. When they see it isn’t theirs, they will place it face-down on the table next to the printer.

        The exception to this is if I can tell immediately who it belongs to, like a printed email with a header. If it belongs to someone in my room, I will sometimes take it to their desk. Without reading it.

  18. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I went to a Very Good School for undergrad that’s well known in certain circles and totally unknown in others. It helped my resume get noticed at my first job (the head of HR knew the school well), but beyond that it hasn’t really mattered. My grad school was non-Ivy but is considered one of the best in my field, so that helped a ton. Basically, people who care will care, but don’t go in expecting it to matter unless you go into a field that is heavily network-based, like finance.

    1. Raine*

      Right — Wharton in particular is gold in business or finance. For a long time I didn’t even realize it was UPenn.

      1. Sunflower*

        Yes I was coming to say this- Wharton is often more recognized than Penn. BTW I know LOTS of people who did undergrad at public schools who are at Wharton now.

  19. Bobcat*

    I can’t even get people outside of Ohio to realize Ohio University isn’t Ohio State University. OU has a top-10 J-school, which I attended, but when I tell people I went to OU, they just want to talk about the Buckeyes football team.

  20. Joanna*

    #2. I work in a mixed temp/permanent staff team (I’m a long term temp) where who is in what category is well known. I can empathise with the other temp wanting to be discrete about their status if they were really hoping for permanent work but ended up with temp. However, I would not feel bad about having mentioned it. Everyone probably knew already and if not they would work it out from the myriad little ways there’s different expectations, benefits and procedures.

  21. Bobcat*

    I had no idea UPenn was an ivy, but then again I didn’t realize Princeton was either. I always thought Harvard and Yale were the only two. I think if you’re just not from that world, you don’t really know. I have a terrible time convincing people outside of Ohio that Ohio University isn’t Ohio State University. OU has a top-10 J-school, which I attended, but if I mention I went to OU, people just want to talk about the Buckeyes football team.

  22. Roscoe*

    #1 Thats an unfortunate situation, but it was just a mistake. I think most people can relate to having left something on the printer too long. You print something, then you get a call or something else happens, and you forget about it. She probably should have been more careful, but I also think you are looking at it like this malicious act. I guess I’m not really sure what you want. She apologized. Even if wasn’t, in your opinion, sincere enough, you still got an apology. You say you think the situation calls for more than that. What do think that should be?

    #5 Yeah, unless this is your first job, I would push for a phone interview too. Taking a day off work when you don’t really know anything about the company or job is too much. IF they won’t do it, could you push it to after your normal work hours? That seems like a pretty fair compromise.

    1. Granite*

      Yeah, the other thing with #1 is she may say something else when you actually sit down to have your review. I know I would apologize again in that situation.

  23. Temperance*

    #LW4: UPenn is a great school. Go there and work hard, don’t become what locals refer to as a “typical Penn kid” (stuck up, self important, concerned only with prestige), and know that you will go to a school with wonderful alumni and job connections.

  24. HKM*

    LW4, I’m in the UK so obviously not the same situation, but I went to a university that noone had really heard of to do a course noone understood but I graduated well, had a good portfolio and made what connections I needed. It got me into the exact career I was after. Don’t worry too much about where you go, just what you do when you get there :)

  25. CeeCee*

    #1: The only thing that really irks me about this situation is that the boss came in and asked LW if she had “found something” on the printer. Granted, I’ve done my time at a few unbelievably toxic and unprofessional environments where this would be some kind of twisted “test” of some sort.

    I just feel like my reaction to accidently leaving something on the printer over the weekend wouldn’t be asking the person it was regarding if they had found something, but rather apologizing — more along the lines of, “Hey, I realized over the weekend that I printed your eval on Friday and forgot to grab it off the printer. I hope, if you found it, you weren’t alarmed. It was a mistake.”

    Ultimately though, only LW knows her boss. If it was an honest mistake, I could see how the cavalier apology would be a bit off-putting, but I’d move past it. Not everyone is great at apologizing and it’s not a battle worth fighting, IMO.

    1. Petronella*

      Yes, this was what stood out to me – the weird, rude way the boss brought it up to the LW. “Did you find something on the printer” as though she’s probing for information from the LW, when it is the boss who was in the wrong and should be the one forthcoming with information. Like CeeCee, I’ve worked in toxic environments where every little word choice meant something and microaggressions abounded.

      1. TootsNYC*

        well, maybe she didn’t want to flat-out say, “I left your evaluation on the printer; did you find it?” Because if someone else snagged it and was holding it to give it to her, she didn’t want to create an embarrassing moment.

        It didn’t seem that accusatory or sneaky to me.

        1. kms1025*

          agreed…she may not have known if it even printed…I think this was truly an honest mistake…unless OP has another reason to believe her boss is up to something in some way?

      2. AnonT*

        I think that it’s really hard to interpret this exchange without some idea of the tone behind it, which unfortunately we don’t have.

        Like you and CeeCee, I’ve worked some places where this would be obvious passive-aggressive game playing to see if I would ‘fess up to pulling something that’s not mine off the printer. However, on the flip side, in my current workplace this is a totally normal thing to ask. I’ve even had a couple of coworkers ask it with almost this exact phrasing – “I forgot to grab something – did you find anything on the printer?”.

        The boss’ non-apology is still weird, though. They could at least give a sincere apology for leaving something that personal and potentially private out where anyone could read it. What if the OP had been on a PIP, or taking FMLA, or had a disability that was mentioned or somehow factored into their evaluation? That would have made me very cranky.

  26. KR*

    For #4…. I think your perspective will change once you’re a few years into school or you’re in the work force too. I know when you’re looking at colleges, it seems like where you go will decide everything. It’s more a matter of what you do with your education and what you get out of it. Don’t get stuck on the Ivy League thing. Remember to get plenty of rest in college, budget out your time, rent your books if possible, and remember to take time to take care of yourself. Good luck.

    1. Doriana Gray*

      rent your books if possible

      This. Or try to do the interlibrary loan thing. I stopped buying books after my sophomore year, and my wallet was the better for it.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I bought previous editions of most of my books. Much cheaper and amazing how nothing but the cover changed! Interlibrary loaned too.

    2. Ellie H.*

      Don’t rent, get on interlibrary loan or use the copy of the book on reserve in the library. I bought very few books in college and have only bought 2 in graduate school so far (I’m in a humanities literature PhD program so that is REALLY saying something ;)

    3. Noah*

      Yes, this. There are certainly exceptions where firms prefer grads from particular schools, but in general no one cares where you went to college. The networking opportunities can help you get a first job, but once you are there you have to prove yourself.

      About the only exception to “no one cares” are certain online-only or for-profit universities with a poor reputation.

  27. Juli G.*

    It’s sometimes good to be known as the temp. In my experience, when a talented person is a temp, people try to help them find full-time employment either at the company or other referrals.

  28. IT_Guy*

    OP #5. Almost all of the requests for an in person first interview come from recruiters who just want to make sure you are real and want to put a face with name. And 90% of the time they don’t have a job that they are recruiting for, just want to pack their databases with resumes.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      That might be true in IT (?), but it’s not true of most in-person first interview requests! A lot of employers just don’t do phone interviews (even though they should).

    2. TootsNYC*

      I know that *I* do in-person first interviews if I really, really like someone’s resumé, if I consider them to already be on my short list even without having met them.

      I might say a few things about the job when I call to schedule the interview; just enough to make sure they’ve got more than the job listing had available.

      But I use the phone for screening only.

      So for me, an interview request means you’re a very serious candidate.

    3. Freezing Librarian*

      Last time I was hiring for a professional position, there were only three strong candidates in the applicant pool. Brought them all in for an in-person first interview, because why not? And they were all great, I could have hired any one of them. Even if there are less-than-honest recruiters like IT_Guy’s out there, you never know what a specific hiring manager is thinking – I wouldn’t assume anything.

  29. Allison*

    From a recruitment perspective, I have known recruiters who will target specific schools with good reputations, because they only have so much time and money in the college recruiting budget and they want to spend that as wisely as possible. This isn’t solely based on prestige though, it’s about the reputation of a school’s specific program, and the experience the recruiter (and the company) has had with candidates and hires from that school. Eventually you get to a point where you know grads from X school make great sales people, and grads from Y school excel at web development, and Z school has a good cyber security program so it’s worth attending their career fair to find entry-level security engineers. The name alone won’t guarantee you a job, but it has the potential to nudge you in the right direction and could even be a tie breaker if it’s between you and someone from a school the hiring manager doesn’t hold in high esteem.

    1. my two cents*

      I attended a small engineering school in Wisconsin which was is also used as a recruiting mill for the area’s major players like Rockwell, Allen Bradley, Harley Davidson, and JCI. As such, most of the labs contained expensive systems and materials donated by the same big players. And Rose Hulman was a favorite for Microchip Technology to recruit from, despite being headquartered over in Arizona. If you’re going into technology or engineering, you could also check into who’s sponsored various labs or on-campus events – it may give you some sense for who’s going to be recruiting heavily at the university.

  30. ACA*

    Well, it’s probably the least known of the Ivies.

    Penn grad here, and we always considered Cornell the least- known Ivy, so it may depend on who you ask. ;) That said, OP, I hope you have a great experience here! Just keep in mind that many of your fellow classmates were also the best of the best in high school – I don’t know about you, but I was used to being the smartest one in the room, and it was a shock to my system to find that was no longer the case! So don’t burn yourself out trying to compete. Know your limits. And have fun! :)

    1. fposte*

      And I’d say Columbia! Anybody for Brown?

      (Basically, if it’s not Harvard, Princeton, or Yale, its inclusion in the Ivy League is going to be news to somebody.)

    2. Katie the Fed*

      I don’t think I could name all of the Ivies. But…I also don’t really care that much, to be honest. There are plenty of really good schools – some really small liberal arts ones that really focus on teaching you how to think, etc. And there are great engineering and nursing schools. There’s such a huge array of schools out there, and they all have excellent faculty because of the glut of PhDs – you can get a great education outside of the Ivy League.

    3. anncakes*

      Where I’m from in NJ, Brown and Dartmouth were the forgotten Ivies. Most people haven’t even heard of Dartmouth, so it’s surprising to me to see UPenn being referred to as the least known. Totally subjective. :)

    4. Talvi*

      Dartmouth is the one I always forget (so much so that I had to look it up just now!). Columbia, too, but that’s a case of repeatedly thinking Columbia’s not an Ivy rather than not knowing it exists…

  31. Sunflower*

    Don’t go to Penn just because it’s an Ivy. Don’t go anywhere just because it’s *that school*. Don’t put yourself into insane debt just to have an Ivy on your resume. You seem really concerned with the name and where it will get you which leads me to believe you’re looking at college all wrong.

    Yes Penn is an Ivy- if you’re looking to stay in the Northeast, everyone around here who hires knows Penn is an Ivy. Overseas maybe it isn’t as well known but I don’t know if something similar to the Ivies exist outside the US. If you visit Penn and it’s everything you’ve ever wanted and it’s where you want to be- by all means, go there. It’s definitely going to look good on your resume.

    Focus on going somewhere you’ll love spending 4 years at and will put you in a good spot upon graduating. There are TONS of schools that are not Ivy that will put you in that spot. I went to the other place- Penn State. We have a gigantic, very proud alumni base and one of the best career services centers in the country- we’re very focused on networking. We had recruiters coming all the time. I had the time of my life there and spending 4(err 5 because I just couldn’t leave!) was the best decision I ever made. I meet Penn Stater’s everywhere I go and people love to hire us. Not saying you have to go to Penn State- and it’s certainly not for everyone- but many other schools are just as well known, heavily recruited and will open you up to great opportunities. You have to focus on what is right for you because having the Ivy name is NOT going to get you the job- it’s what you do during your time in college that will.

    1. J.B.*

      The appeal of many colleges is regional, and then there are surprising pockets in fields with a broader reach. (Often because someone with a big name came out of a particular program and recruited others from there. Not worth worrying about as an undergrad!) Don’t take on extra debt just for the name, but if your school has strong representation where you want to live and in what you want to do consider the factors. Also consider what would happen if you change your mind about what you want to do in the middle of freshman year. That happens to a ton of people, so consider the school as a whole.

      1. Beezus*

        I have to chime in that the appeal of even many elite colleges truly is regional. I graduated with honors from UCLA but had little interest in staying in SoCal, so I didn’t find it particularly a helpful connection to have when I went to look for work.

    2. NoName for this*

      As someone with an Ivy League degree and a child who graduated from Penn State, I would say that fit and degree program are more important then Ivy status. As someone noted above, if you want an engineering degree, go to a good engineering college. If your goal is finance or banking, then an Ivy degree may help more in getting a foot in the door. In my lifetime, I’ve seen the relative status of the undergraduate degree depreciate a lot faster once the alum is employed, because performance will matter more.

      If you know what you want to study, then choose based on the college’s program in that field, its internship and placement programs, and the flexibility you would have to change programs or majors, since a really high percentage of college students do change. My recollection is that the honors program at Penn State said more than half the students in the program would change their major at least once.

    3. Carrie in Scotland*

      I guess the UK’s Cambridge and Oxford would be our ‘Ivies’ but so might ancient universities instead of modern ones.

      1. One of the Sarahs*

        I think we’re different here in the UK – Ivies are about the sporting league of whenever, and a regional thing, or so I get the impression. They’re all private too, right? Whereas here in the UK, private unis have a bad reputation in general…

        For anyone interested, we’re a much smaller country, and I think it’s Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College for sciences as the “top tier” in terms of perceived prestige, then the “Russell Group” of public research universities which is 24 universities: http://russellgroup.ac.uk/

        We have a complication that we used to have Universities & Polytechnics, which were seen as a level down (but also where people would do career-specific courses like social work, art school etc before they became degrees) – but in 1992 there was a massive expansion of university education, and Polys and a lot of colleges became universities. So it can be hard for people who don’t have an academic background, school etc, to get a feeling for the connotations etc (eg a guy I used to work with, whose daughter had applied to 5 VERY different places, without understanding the implications).

        And of course, like everywhere, different courses mean different things – so some “new universities” are the best in the country for this or that course… I really, really feel for kids who want to go to universities, but whose schools/6th form colleges don’t give them good advice.

        1. Carrie in Scotland*

          TBH, I was just meaning that they are considered “better” than other universities, due to their reputation, not about anything else….

        2. Tau*

          I applied to the UK for undergrad from Germany, and literally the only universities I’d heard of were Oxford and Cambridge. It was an… interesting experience! I ended up going through the Times League table for my subject area and picking universities from the highest ranking ones based on how much I liked the prospectus and how cool I thought the place sounded. (Edinburgh ended up on my list because ooh, Scotland!)

          …it worked out okay, but I spent a lot of time fervently wishing I had more of an idea of what I was doing…

        3. sam*

          I was going to ask about LSE, but then I saw it was on the Russell Group list – my brother got his masters in international development there. He already had a masters in education, but that LSE degree opened up a LOT of doors for him.

          1. One of the Sarahs*

            Oh yeah, it’s definitely one of the tops.

            (Russel Group gets even more confusing, as it expanded in the ’90s, so there are ‘new’ Russells and older ones. It’s not that well-known a designation, I just know about it from working in/around universities at one point)

  32. fishy*

    #4: Personally, I didn’t realize UPenn was an Ivy — but I do know it as a school that’s widely regarded to have one of the best programs in the country for my particular field. That’s much more meaningful to me than Ivy status, and I imagine it’s also meaningful for anyone hiring in my field.

  33. Not True*

    penn is an excellent school and is home to wharton, of course its well known. this lady doesnt have a clue what she is talking about. id LOVE to see her try to get into penn. and what idiot employer would confuse it with penn state? i dont know if this dumb lady knows this but on a resume you spell out university of pennsylvania!!!!! what idiot would look at that and say: oh wow, penn state? what a stupid remark. this lady lost credibility!!!!!!!

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      i dont know if this dumb lady knows this but on a resume you spell out university of pennsylvania!!!!!

      I’m having trouble tracking down what “dumb lady” you’re referring to. It wasn’t in the original letter. Is there a comment I missed somewhere?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Ha ha, I think I am the dumb lady!

        Not True, some people confuse University of Pennsylvania for Penn State even when it’s spelled out. They don’t realize they’re two separate schools.

        Also, you need to not be rude here.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            That’s unfortunate. This particular comment comes across much more as someone more concerned concerned that her status as Special Snowflakeness of being an Ivy League grad will not be immediately recognized than anything else. I have a couple of Ivy League grads on my staff, and they manage not to Andy Barnard it in everyone’s face or look down there noses at their non-Ivy colleagues. And, candidly, the worst employee I ever had was an Ivy League graduate. It’s not always a potent of greatness.

            In my experience, a lot of schools that are obviously different are confused with one another at first glance, particularly when they are out of one’s geographic region. Deriding someone for confusing your school (or suggesting that confusion could occur) with another one is pretty rude.

            Also, I find that the elite school culture of the Northeast is not the thing it is elsewhere. I grew up in a state that has a number of excellent universities (including two public schools that compete with the Ivies), and I had no idea what a selective liberal arts college was until I moved to DC. Where I grew up, the small liberal arts schools were for people who couldn’t get into the public universities. I had no idea that I didn’t go to an “acceptable” school until I got into BigLaw. Outside legal and finance, I’ve not run into a ton of people who pin their identity and value on the university they attended.

            1. Allison*

              I went to Northeastern, and people confuse it with Northwestern all the time. Not sure why, as the northeast and northwest are two different regions, but it happens, and I used to get all frustrated with people, but honestly, it’s not a big deal. You just politely correct them. Some people are more familiar with one school than the other.

              Now, if people confused NU with BU, that was another story . . . (sports rivals)

            2. NotAnotherManager!*

              (Wow, that’s a lot of typing fail for me today — I obviously meant *portent* of greatness, and I’m not concerned squared.)

          2. Kat*

            I’m truly baffled by this turn of events. Was the question submitted just to try to get you to make yourself look like an “idiot”? (Note: you’re not an idiot.) I AM SO CONFUSED.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Confused about how I know? Same IP address as his previous comments.

              Or confused about his comments? That one I cannot solve, other than to note that he’s in high school :)

              1. Meg Murry*

                Any chance that the IP address maps to OP’s high school but it isn’t OP him/herself? I’m going to hope so, even though I know that’s unlikely. I could totally see some of my friends (or frienemies) in high school using my computer behind my back to pretend to be me on the internet.

                But yes, OP, there are people outside of the top academic circles who may mix up Penn State and UPenn in their minds (even if the resume has the full name clearly spelled out). That kind of thing does happen, and you need to learn to deal with it and move on.

                1. Ultraviolet*

                  I’m going to imagine that the IP address is OP’s home, but the “Not True” comments are from his mom or dad, and neither knows the other is submitting questions/comments here but they’re about to discuss their day over the dinner table and find out. Hilarity ensues!

              2. Ellie H.*

                I feel like a moron and I realize this is no longer relevant nor important, so no real need to reply, but I am just idly curious now – I am confused bc I didn’t see anyone posting elsewhere in the comments identifying him or herself as LW#4 under a different name. Was the question asked in a different post’s comments and that’s where the matching IP came from?

                1. JuniorMinion*

                  Oh no! There was definitely that element when I was at Cornell – the “I go to an Ivy League School So I am better than you and everyone you know” contingent. But most of us aren’t like that.

                  The way I look at it its a tool in your box. The importance of that tool depends on what you’re trying to build. I work in finance and entered the Wall Street machine after graduation – so it was useful to me. However, if I had wanted to be a nurse / accountant / teacher / any other of the myriad occupations that weren’t one of the usual med / law / banking / engineering / tech pipelines that Cornell sent a lot of people to each year, I would have been better off going to a different school which was maybe stronger in that program / more able to guide me (I looked into sitting for the CPA and was told I would have to do extra classes at a different school to get the prereqs in )

                  Sorry they were mean to you Allison! Your blog is awesome and you give such on point advice in my opinion.

          3. Sadsack*

            This doesn’t make sense! Or did she write in just to have a chance to call someone dumb? Others have commented that the OP is likely a high school student, but that doesn’t necessarily explain why she’d act this way. The responses here seem more in line with it being an 8th grader.

            1. One of the Sarahs*

              I can only guess that they were hoping to see a reply along the lines of “OMG you MUST go to an Ivy if you have the chance – your whole career depends on it!”, that they could show to their parents to try to persuade them to pay for it…

            1. Stranger than fiction*

              Yup, how about the University of Attitude Adjustment.
              Geez, I thought the Op got a lot of great advice on this from both sides.

        1. Cass*

          I’d also like to note, as a Penn State grad, on my resume it reads my degree is from “The Pennsylvania State University,” (which is technically is the real name.) So if a hiring manager is doing a quick skim, it’s entirely possible to confuse the two.

        2. Not True*

          let me put this in words you will understand: do you really think an ivy league student would hand their resume to an idiot who would make the confusion? what idiot employer would confuse the two?? haha thats just pathetic! like even if you didnt know it was an ivy, how would you confuse the name? think about it moron

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Oh, OP. You are going to have a very difficult next 5-10 years ahead of you.

            (Also, you’re banned from commenting further because we don’t talk like that here.)

            1. Myrin*

              Life lessons with Alison Green, harsh but true!

              OP, you better look at the responses you’re getting and try to understand why they are the way the are instead of being all indignant.

              Also, any prospective employer’s interest in which school you went to will fly right out the window as soon as they see you use a million exclamation and question marks. Just saying.

              1. NotAnotherManager!*

                And no caps and spotty punctuation. But, what do I know? All my degrees are from one ESU (Enormous State University) or another, and I just hire entry-level candidates into an industry rife with academic snobbery.

            2. Sadsack*

              I am starting to wonder if the questions that OP asked were actually asked to her by someone else and she thinks that person is stupid for asking, but she wrote in here to get some consensus or to have a chance to blast others. This one is a head scratcher for sure.

            3. kms1025*

              LOLOLOLOL!!! My hero Alison…I wish we had a ban button for face-to-face muting sometimes : )

          2. Rat in the Sugar*

            Wowza. If that’s how you feel then why did you bother to write in? Sure sounds like your mind is already made up!

              1. Rat in the Sugar*

                You’re right, of course. I didn’t think about how young the OP must be to be applying to colleges. Oh well, I was 17 once too. Judgement comes with time.

              2. Doriana Gray*

                An immature high school student – let’s make that distinction because I was not this way in high school, nor was anyone else I associated with. And I know plenty of high schoolers now who wouldn’t act like this.

              3. Anonymous Educator*

                I work with high school students and have for many years. I know you’re trying to be snarky here, but this is an unfair characterization. Are some high school students immature and mean? Sure. But I think it behooves us to hold them to a high moral standard, and most high school students, when held to that standard, rise to it.

                1. HRish Dude*

                  This was clearly a kid who probably got bored of changing the Wikipedia entry for the President to “Boner Obama”, found another website, and decided to troll it. It sparked an interesting discussion in previous posts, but I think giving the actual OP any more credit than simply being a troll is a waste of time.

                2. Anonymous Educator*

                  You said Because it’s a high school student with access to the Internet.

                  You didn’t say “This is a troll who got bored.” I fully agree that this particular high school student is a troll who got bored. Your original statement generalizes about all high school students with Internet access.

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I read it as saying “this person is extraordinarily immature, which can be attributed in part to being young.” But I think we’re getting really sidetracked here, so let’s move on!

              4. Temperance*

                I actually just hosted a small group of local students here at my firm, and I can tell you that jokers like OP#4 are in the minority. The high schoolers that we had were wonderful, very nice, and thankful for the opportunity.

                They also wrote well and used decent spelling and grammar. They were younger than LW #4 and not ~Ivy Leaguers. So YMMV.

          3. Allison*

            You’re the one who’s worried people won’t recognize UPenn as an ivy league school, now you’re insisting that an ivy league grad would never hand their resume to someone dumb enough to not know how great the school is.

            I’ll give OP the benefit of the doubt and say he or she is a teenager being a teenager, and will eventually grow out of this.

            But seriously, don’t write into an advice column and then completely disrespect the person giving you advice. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to take it, but Alison knows what she’s talking about.

          4. NotAnotherManager!*

            Because not everyone gives that much of a crap where you went to college once you get work experience. Sometimes, it’s just a do-you-have-a-degree checkbox and it doesn’t get looked at that closely.

            I mean, really, what are you going to do to ensure that your resume does not fall into the hands of someone who might make such a fatal error? Email a recruiter and ask, prior to sending your resume if they can tell the difference between school X and school Y on the 30-60 second glance your resume is likely to get at first pass?

          5. Yale grad, Penn staff*

            Hoo boy, Not True, have I got news for you: people mix up UPenn and Penn State all. the. time. I try to demonstrate maturity is by being gracious about it. (I am less successful at not judging people on their spelling and grammar…)

            What I was originally going to say to the OP is that if she is from a community where people are generally unfamiliar with Ivy League schools, then she probably has the most to gain from the education and will get a great career boost from it. But you have to have the right frame of mind! Simply getting *in* to the school is only the beginning; don’t be too impressed with yourself yet.

            1. Temperance*

              OP’s attitude will not get him far in Philadelphia, that’s for dang sure. I welcome him to act like that on SEPTA, or while trying to set up an internship. If/when he calls my firm, I will shut him down like the last Penn joker who had the balls to ask me for an internship after treating me like his personal assistant after my firm agreed to help collect donations for a project he was doing.

            2. There's no UMIT*

              I went to the University of Massachusetts. I have had people confuse that with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Any kind of mix-up is possible (by well-intentioned people!) when you get the same word in there.

              1. Kat*

                I went to UConn, which people who live outside of the Northeast (and aren’t fans of college basketball) often mistake for “Yukon,” which is something different altogether. Many chuckles are had when this happens.

    2. sam*

      well, considering the fact that Penn (yes, Penn) advertises itself as Penn, and prints dumb t-shirts with the university logo and “not Penn State” in place of “university of Pennsylvania”, I’d say a fuckton of people confuse the two schools.

      – University of Pennsylvania Alumnae who has said some variaton on the words “no, the private university in philly founded by Ben Franklin, not the state school” approximately a gazillion times in the 16 years since I graduated.

  34. kms1025*

    to OP #1: seems like a good time to ask yourself how you would want her to behave if you had made a similar mistake…she was probably embarassed by what she had done and could have made that clear to you…on the other hand, she may have felt that since it was a positive review, there had been no harm done…I would have been a little weirded out, but then let it go…hope all is well between you and your boss other than this mistake.

  35. Mavis F*

    Hi, OP #1 here. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to comment. The stories of other documents left on printers truly put things in perspective. I know it was an accident and in the long run, no true harm done, so all is good.

  36. Rob Lowe can't read*

    I agree with Alison that OP2 didn’t do anything wrong, but I think I can understand where the coworker (fellow temp) is coming from. There’s nothing wrong with being a temp, but I can see where some people might feel like it’s a sign that there’s something wrong with them or that it’s an indication that their skills aren’t strong. I work in a field with fairly inflexible professional licensing requirements, and when I was hired for my current job, my employer had to get a waiver from the state licensing board because I was one class short of the degree that would make me eligible for the required license. I had the experience necessary to do my job well, yet I was afraid that if any of my coworkers found out I was working on a waiver they would question my skills and knowledge. It’s not exactly an analogous situation, but I could see imposter syndrome playing a role in the coworker’s reaction.

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