Many high school students dream of landing a job in Silicon Valley. Which college should they go to in order to have the best shot at realizing that dream?
A recent study conducted by College Transitions provides us with some insight. College Transitions analyzed data from over 70,000 entry-level engineering and IT employees at 12 large companies, including Alphabet, Airbnb, DocuSign, HubSpot, LinkedIn, Meta, Microsoft, Snapchat, Salesforce, Stripe, Twilio, and Twitter, to identify which colleges they attended.
What are the top 10 feeder schools to Silicon Valley? When adjusted for a college's undergraduate enrollment, Carnegie Mellon unsurprisingly takes the top spot. However, it is a bit surprising to see Columbia come in at number two on the list, ahead of Stanford and MIT, as Columbia is better known for sending graduates to Wall Street than to Silicon Valley.
The biggest surprise, though, is Rice University claiming the ninth spot on the list, ahead of Harvard.
Rankings: The Top 10 Silicon Valley Feeder Universities
Surprising Inclusions and Implications for College Application Strategies
Which Silicon Valley feeders are easier to get into?
If you are hoping to gain admission to one of the top 10 feeder schools to Silicon Valley, do not simply rely on the general admit rate. Among the top 10 feeder schools, three universities, namely Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, and the University of Southern California (USC), require applicants to apply directly to a particular school within the university to be guaranteed admission to the computer science program. This means that you should expect the admit rate to the computer science program to be much lower than the general rate, going from the teens to the single digits. If you take this into account, all of the top 10 feeder schools will have an eye-watering single-digit admit rate. For example, Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science only admits less than 5% of its applicants.
Consider the "less" popular names
Harvey Mudd and Rice have the highest admit rates among the top 10 feeder schools, at 10% and 9.5% respectively. While these may not be large numbers, it is important to note that this is admitting one in 10 students, as opposed to just one in 20 students, like other universities on the list. This means that your chances double!
Harvey Mudd College
For those of you who have never heard of Harvey Mudd (which is normal), it is a school like Caltech. Harvey Mudd is located in Claremont, California, "next" to Caltech, and is one of the Claremont Colleges that focuses on science and engineering. Its student population size is similar to that of Caltech's, with around 900 students. Despite being a small college, Harvey Mudd makes a big mark in the job market, with its graduates boasting a median starting salary of $87,500, one of the highest among US colleges.
To be honest, Rice's inclusion in the top 10 is a surprise to us, as this elite, small university of just 4,000 students in Houston, Texas, is not widely known for producing talent for Silicon Valley like the other schools on the list. This is exactly why you should consider Rice, as it is a true gem that can maximize your chances.