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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

College rankings give flawed impressions to many students

After+long+arguments+with+my+parents+about+attending+Tulane%2C+they+understood+my+argument+as+it+was+the+best+college+for+me+because+I+felt+comfort+when+visiting+the+school.+Photo+from+http%3A%2F%2Fflickr.com%2Fphoto%2F28035080%40N04%2F3641475082.CC-BY-2.0
After long arguments with my parents about attending Tulane, they understood my argument as it was the best college for me because I felt comfort when visiting the school. Photo from http://flickr.com/photo/28035080@N04/3641475082.CC-BY-2.0

The spring of junior year was the start to a new life for me, as I’m sure it is for all current juniors.

 During this time, students start to get paired with their college counselors who will help them and their families to guide them in the right direction with the college application process. While many students are excited to take this step in their college journey, a brutal awakening is also in the midst of arrival. Many students think of this time as the most stressful time of their lives. There will be many arguments with parents, stressful moments about grades and an urge to put more meaningful things in your resume than the person next to you.
As excited as I am to finally know where I’m going to college, I will always miss that stressful moment in my life because I will never get that feeling of rejection, deferral and acceptance. It’s a unique experience that every student will have to go through and every student will have a different perspective. 

Most of my days during the college process were spent fussing with my parents about college rankings. As a first generation college student, my parents constantly brought up all the top tier colleges off of websites like Niche and U.S News. This made my days very stressful because I never considered colleges based on rankings. Whenever I brought up a state school with mediocre rankings, my parents always said no and continued to show me a small college with a better ranking. I always wanted to go to a bigger school, so it was stressful when my parents wouldn’t even consider a school just because it’s not a high ranked school. After meeting with my college counselor and arguing with my parents about how rankings aren’t majorly important, they understood the flaw of rankings with the reassurance from my counselor. The number put in front of the school’s name has most likely affected many families, including mine. 

In The Washington Post article written by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, she talked about how college rankings are biased and flawed. She questioned the methodology of how a college is ranked and the effects of a college ranking. College rankings undermine the core commitment of the legal profession and stand in the way of personal progress. Way too many times, families have spent counterproductive hours looking at rankings when they shouldn’t be. The rankings defame the hard work and success that goes on within the schools.

 I question what makes a college the best college in the world. Is it the location, campus, faculty, GPA or test score averages? If that’s the case then no value is given to the school environment, diversity, community, extracurriculars and the ability to make relationships. By giving rankings to schools, it takes away values that make a school fit for a certain student. In The Washington Post article, Yale Law School Dean Heather K. Gerken said publications use misguided information that “not only fails to advance the legal profession, but stands squarely in the way of progress.” Even though Gerkan’s school is always ranked at the top of the chart, she doesn’t believe in the rankings. Similarly, Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning said “perverse incentives that influence schools’ decisions in ways that undercut student choice and harm the interests of potential students.” Again, he reinforces the fault that college rankings give to students and their families. 

Every college is accountable for what they offer at their schools but a ranking should not be the make or break when deciding what school to attend. The ranking also reinforces that lower GPA students shy away from applying to top ranked colleges due to the stats given on college ranking websites, limiting students’ extracurricular life.

Many top ranked schools are on the top because of the success of Alumni, professors and average GPA for admitted students. Then again, no student should make their college decision based on a simple number. I definitely didn’t choose my college because of its rankings, but rather my personal fit at the school. 

Tulane is a perfect fit for me and it was not guided by a ranking but rather by what they had to offer and how comfortable I saw myself being there academically or casually. All colleges offer a unique experience each student will enjoy as long as they make it their own experience. One piece of advice: the number one college is the college that you’re able to grow the most in whether it be personal or professional. 

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