off the cuff

Are College Rankings Relevant?

George W

I could care less about rankings because, at the collegiate level, much of what makes a school “good” is its ranking (or more specifically its reputation) which has little to do with the level of intelligence of its students and faculty, or unique teaching methods which could possibly give its students a competitive edge.  If there are “good” schools, what exactly is a “bad” school?

I was shocked when I read comments made about Ralph Jones Jr., a 16-year-old African-American boy, who opted to attend a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) rather than Harvard primarily because no one should be chastised for attending ANY college. Furthermore, what makes his choice to attend Florida A&M University (FAMU) so deplorable?

It is a widely held MISconception that ONLY the best and the brightest attend schools like Yale or Harvard, since our very own former President, George W. Bush, attended both and can hardly be considered the best or the brightest at anything.  The Ivy League system has simply created a “club” of sorts that is exclusive to extremely bright or rich men and women.  This “club” isn’t actually better than any other college or university, its prestige rests on its ability to recruit the best and the brightest students because of former students who attended and went on to accomplish great things. The only quality that possibly separates “the club” from other universities is its network, but Jones won’t need it.  His intelligence will ultimately take him where he wants to go, not his alma mater.

Everything we NEED to know, we actually learned in kindergarten, and any additional knowledge is acquired in elementary and high school. College doesn’t turn kids into geniuses. They either already are or are not.

The same goes for schools that are known for their outstanding athletic programs.  I understand that some kids dream of playing for certain coaches and schools for various reasons, but Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and other modestly ranked schools are  constantly reminding the masses that players make the team, and thereby the school, and the same goes for its students.  In this year’s NCAA Tournament, FGCU destroyed brackets across the country, eliminating basketball powerhouses like Georgetown and Miami, and unfortunately, my Aztecs as well. Wouldn’t it make more sense for an exceptional athlete to go where he can shine rather than simply blend in with the other talent?  What’s in a name?

All things considered, Jones had good reason to choose FAMU over Harvard, and besides, it’s cold as he** in Cambridge!

Do you think Jones’s decision to attend FAMU over Harvard was foolish?  Do you subscribe to the ideology that some colleges and universities are “better” than others? If so, why?


2 thoughts on “Are College Rankings Relevant?

  1. I don’t think his decision was foolish at all. If he doesn’t like cold weather, he certainly will be happy with his decision when he checks the weather in Cambridge during the winter.

    I believe college rankings are irrelevant, however, I believe colleges that possesses an active alumni community and encourages building one’s network is what truly separates colleges and universities.

    Posted by Mark | April 26, 2013, 2:52 PM
    • @Mark Right. i think a college’s network is the only thing that could make a difference in being able to secure a job after graduation. Otherwise, it’s all up to you!

      At 16, going to college though, I’m sure he’ll be fine 🙂

      Posted by 30thoughts | April 26, 2013, 7:58 PM

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