By: Will Rosenthal

Although many believe that college rankings play a large part in deciding on a college to attend, multiple studies show that these ‘prestigious’ rankings don't matter much to incoming college freshmen at all.

As the holiday season rolls around once again, students from the class of 2016 are beginning to hear back from the colleges that they applied to earlier in the year. If a student is admitted to several different colleges, there are multiple factors to consider when choosing the ‘perfect one.’ Although many believe that college rankings play a large part in deciding on a college to attend, multiple studies show that these ‘prestigious’ rankings don't matter much to incoming college freshmen at all. According to US News’ report on a 2012 survey, a college’s given ranking by any magazine, newspaper, etc., came in eleventh place (out of twenty two) for “reasons for choosing a college based on which factors students said were ‘very important’ in influencing their final selection.*” A college’s academic reputation was the most important factor when choosing a college, followed closely by whether or not the college’s graduates got good jobs. In fact, “A study by The Wall Street Journal surveyed 479 U.S. companies and showed that they prefer state-school graduates over elite private-school graduates for entry-level jobs. In fact, 19 of the top 25 schools these companies mentioned were public, such as Texas A&M University.**”

One problem that can be attributed with attending a highly ranked school is the cost. At first, the idea of attending a highly ranked (Ivy League) school can be attractive. However, many times, college students will need to borrow large sums of money to be able to successfully pay tuition, and it becomes difficult to be able to pay back student loans. Also, a student who attends a less expensive public college that may not be highly ranked can have just as good of an education as one who attends a highly ranked, but pricey private college.

All in all, making a decision on which college to attend is not a decision to be rushed, nor taken lightly, with much research needing to be done. Ultimately, making a final selection should be done after considering many factors, both factors which promote the college’s academic reputation, as well as ones that show that students will have continued success after graduating.

*http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-rankings-blog/2011/01/27/students-say-rankings-arent-most-important-factor-in-college-decision

** http://college.usatoday.com/2012/11/29/should-college-rankings-matter/