Will I have a chance of getting accepted to a top 10 school for masters if I go to a low ranked or unranked university for undergrad?

I'm considering attending Wilmington University in the state of Delaware, USA to study either computer science or management information systems. I got a scholarship and will only pay $5,000 a year. I have a dream to go to a top 10 school for masters but I'm getting mixed opinions as to whether I should go to Wilmington University or not. Wilmington University is unranked in the U.S. New report and ranked pretty low on other websites like collegefactuals.com it was ranked overall 1395 out of 1727... 

Should I go to more well-known universities like Temple University or the University of Delaware to get a better chance of getting accepted to a good masters program or do you think it doesn't make any difference from Wilmington University and others. 

All answers will be well appreciated, thank you for taking out the time to help out!

7 Answers

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  • 4 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm always the one who insists "rank doesn't matter"; that (all else being equal, i.e. MCAT and experience) medical schools are more likely to accept someone with a 3.9 from Podunk State University than a 3.8 from Harvard. 

    I am now retracting that, in part.   In this case, rank does matter (sort of). Graduate schools understand that education is expensive. Therefore, attending one's state university, a state college, or a community college/state college 2+2 program for undergraduate is perfectly acceptable, even if the state schools are not well ranked, or only regionally ranked. What isn't so acceptable is attending a small, unranked, unheard of, private university (or a non-accredited or a for-profit school). 

    What state are you a resident of, PA or DE? Did you not get any scholarships to state colleges? Will they cost significantly more than Wilmington University?

    Because for graduate school purposes, you'd be better off in a Penn State 2+2 program (assuming you're a PA resident), at a satellite campus, or at a smaller state college (let alone excellent universities like Temple or the University of Delaware), than at an unranked private university like Wilmington University. 

    That said, if you can get through Wilmington University without needing student loans, but would require loans anywhere else, I don't want to be the one to tell you not to do it. And if you intend to apply to hyper-local graduate schools that will be familiar with Wilmington University (assuming that's a good thing) then it won't be too much of a problem. 

  • 4 weeks ago

    When assessing grad school applicants, the reputation & academic quality of the undergraduate institution is definitely considered. If you are determined to proceed to grad school, you must excel at a well regarded school to have much chance at any reputable grad school.

  • Lili
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Yes. The student ranks at top schools are filled with a lot of people who did not attend elite universities for their undergraduate degrees.

    You will need top grades, interesting projects, and glowing recommendations.

    I did my doctorate at an Ivy League university.  I had a number of fellow grad students who had not attended top schools as undergraduates.

    That said, if you can swing a better school financially, go there, but you won't be shut out of an elite graduate program if you don't. You'll still have a chance of getting into one.

  • MS
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Generally speaking it is more about what you do while you are in school than the actual ranking of that school.  But there can be exceptions in certain areas, and going to a completely unknown university doesn't do you any favors.  I know that the reputation of Wilmington has increased in recent years, but I have no idea about the reputation of the computer science/MIS programs there.  If you do attend there, be sure to work hard, get highly involved, and take advantage of all opportunities that are available to you.

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    You would do far better to ask this question of the people in the graduate programs at the schools you want to go to. Many departments have a staff person who you can email. It's true that students from well-reputed schools have an edge, but an individual department within a university can be more respected than the university as a whole. Look at the faculty at Wilmington and their publications. A recommendation letter from someone prominent in the field is a very big advantage. 

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Low ranked is usually ok, but unranked completely might be a problem. If the school is so low level that it doesn't even have a ranking the faculty reviewing your application aren't going to consider any of your classes rigorous and will dismiss it as not worth the risk compared to other applicants they know are solid. I'd suggest going to University of Delaware which looks far better.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    You'll have a chance, but you'll probably have a better chance if you transfer to a better university. Just make sure your grades are top-notch and you get involved.

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