Gold/Bronze Standard Alumni Networks Can Help You Succeed in Life


Part of the power of a college is its alumni network. Once you’re done with school, how well can you leverage your alumni network to find career paths? Most of these networks power up around their graduate schools, but some of the top schools that are undergrad only make the list.

The ratings are a hodgepodge of power, the number of top people in different walks of life, reach, the breadth of the active alumni association, and giving, how much the alumni give back to their school financially.

REMEMBER that most of these schools alumni groups’ top tier and most traction are in their GRADUATE levels. It won’t hurt you to go to Harvard or Princeton undergrad, but, depending on your area of study,  you might be better off at a “mini ivy” school and get the preparation you need to really shine at the high dollar nameplate schools, where you can then leverage your alumni connections best.

Further many of the “mini ivy” schools do not make these lists because they don’t have graduate schools, and therefore their alumni are somewhat discounted. They shouldn’t be, but such is the nature of list-making.

Our list has been compiled as a list of lists in the public domain from a variety of major publications including U.S. News,  Princeton Reviews and the Hollywood Reporter’s ranking of music schools.  There are MANY schools missing from the list, and it is far from perfect, BUT it does give you a yardstick of what schools are talked about more frequently.

A lot of big schools provide less personal education, but have clout because their alumni networks are powerful and very good at finding real-world work for their graduates in fields of their choosing.

A few provide an exceptional education AND have the alumni clout. We put the (GSA) label for “Gold Standard Alumni” next to the schools that provide both, or (GSAM) for schools that are gold standard alumni in music, for those interested in that path. BSA/BSAM are Bronze Standard schools which have strong regional connectivity but less national and international footprint.  If a school receives no marker from our modification of the list, it may be because of its size, or because of the large number of schools with which it competes for attention in its region/market.

Remember too that powerful alumni are sometimes more regional than national. If you don’t want to live in Alabama after you graduate, then the reach of schools there might not be of great help to you. We’ve tagged them with an (R) for regional, (N) for national or (G) for global.

Rank College Rankings Reach
1 Princeton University (GSA) (G)
2 Harvard University (GSA) (G)
3 Dartmouth College (GSA) (G)
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (GSA) (G)
5 University of Michigan (GSA) (G)
6 Penn State (BSA) (N)
7 University of Pennsylvania (GSA) (G)
8 Stanford University (GSA)
(GSAM – Jazz)
9 University of Southern California (USC) (GSA)/(GSAM) (G)
10 Yale University (GSA)(GSAM) (G)
11 Northwestern University (GSA)(GSAM) (G)
12 University of Virginia (N)
13 New York University (GSA)(GSAM) (N)
14 Indiana University  (GSAM) (N)
15 Texas A&M (N)
16 Thomas Aquinas College (CA) (GSA) (N)
17 Columbia University (GSA) (G)
18 Williams College (GSA) (G)
19 Cornell University (GSA) (G)
20 University of Texas  (BSA) (R)
21 University of California at Los Angeles  (BSA)/(BSAM) (R)
22 Johns Hopkins (GSA) (G)
23 Vanderbilt University (GSA)/(GSAM) (G)
24 Carnegie Mellon University (GSA) (G)
25 University of Wisconsin  (BSA) (R)
26 Purdue University (N)
27 Clemson University (R)
28 The Ohio State University  (BSA) (N)
29 University of Florida  (BSA) (R)
30 Brigham Young (BSA) (R)
31 Syracuse University  (BSA) (R)
32 New College of Florida (R)
33 The Juilliard School (GSAM) (G)
34 Berklee College of Music  (GSAM) (G)
35 Wellesley College (GSA) (G)
36 University of Notre Dame  (GSA) (G)
37 Davidson College (GSA) (N)
38 Virginia Tech  (BSA) (R)
39 Harvey Mudd College (GSA) (N)
40 Oberlin Conservatory (GSAM) (G)
41 Carleton College (GSA) (N)
42 California Institute of Technology (GSA) (G)
43 New England Conservatory (GSAM) (G)
44 Bowdoin College (GSA) (N)
45 Curtis Institute of Music (GSAM) (G)
46 National War College (GSA) (N)
47 Bates College (GSA) (N)
48 Eastman School of Music (GSAM) (G)
49 Morehouse College (GSA) (N)
50 Duke University (GSA) (N)
51 Middlebury College (GSA) (N)
52 Amherst College (GSA) (N)
53 Royal College of Music – London (GSAM) (G)
54 Manhattan School of Music (N)
55 Gonzaga University (N)
56 Georgetown University (GSA) (G)
57 California Institute of the Arts (GSA) (N)
58 University of California at Berkeley (GSA) (G)
59 University of Miami – Frost School of Music (GSAM) (N)
60 University of North Carolina (N)
61 Conservatoire de Paris (GSAM) (G)
62 University of Missouri (R)
63 University of North Texas  (GSAM) (N)
64 Southern Methodist University (R)
65 Guildhall School of Music & Drama (GSAM) (G)
66 Emory University (GSA) (G)
67 University of South Carolina – Columbia (N)
68 Cleveland Institute of Music (GSAM) (G)
69 University of Chicago (GSA) (G)
70 Bucknell University (GSA) (N)
71 Seoul Institute of the Arts (G)
72 California State University at Northridge (CSUN) (R)
73 Brown College (GSA) (G)
74 Washington State University (R)
75 Middle Tennessee State University (R)
76 Belmont University  (GSAM) (N)
77 North Carolina State University (R)
78 Rice University (GSA)/(GSAM) (G)
79 University of Washington  (BSA) (N)
80 Boston College  (GSA) (N)
81 Georgia Institute of Technology  (GSA) (N)
82 University of Maryland (G)
83 George Washington University (G)
84 University of Illinois (G)
85 University of Georgia (G)
86 Auburn University (R)
87 University of Minnesota (R)
88 Boston University  (BSA) (N)
89 University of Alabama (R)
90 Michigan State University (R)

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