What they don’t want you to know about college rankings
Your college prep journey should be a productive,
and educational experience, without stress and outside pressure. That’s one of the
reasons you’re using My College Timeline — to keep that stress level as low as possible.
But the fact is, when you’re getting ready for college, there can be lots of “noise”
out there. There’s a lot of money at stake, so there are lots of companies trying to sell
you something. That’s because the college prep industry has become– as they say – highly
“commercialized.” So what’s an example of this commercialization?
I can answer that question in two words: college rankings. As you’re probably aware by now,
rankings are used to rate schools according to different categories. But here’s the
thing about college rankings: you need to be careful about how you use them, and how
much trust you place in them. Here’s what I mean. When the college rankings
are published each year, many students and families, read them. They feel that, in order
for their child to succeed, they need to go to a highly ranked school. As I’ve said
often in my other videos, this is just not true. It’s you that will determine if you’re
going to be successful — in life, and in a job — not the college you attend.
There’s a group called the Education Conservatory, who are working to help to calm the commercial
frenzy of the college application industry. They have a line that I like: “education
is process, not a product. You are a learner, not a product.” Simply put, your intellectual
skills — and attitude — are more important than the school you attend.
College rankings over simplify — and frankly sometimes they mislead you — into thinking
that the prestige of a school, is going to land you the best education, and the best
job. Simply not true. Colleges can be assessed, but they shouldn’t be ranked, in my opinion.
Now, I don’t want to dismiss college rankings entirely. I believe they can show you that
there are many schools around the country to choose from…some good for you, and some
not so good for you. With most students staying close to home,
I think looking elsewhere — and knowing that other colleges exist — will help you make
a sound decision about college, and give you some good alternatives.
But be careful about the rankings. Don’t rely on them to ensure your success. Relying
on you, is a better bet.