By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief
As seniors apply to colleges and decide where they will be attending, they take into consideration many factors including the cost of attendance and even the ranking of the university on websites such as U.S. News and World Report.
Some seniors like Eri Vishka used the rankings when deciding what schools to apply to.
“Although rank is just a number and shouldn’t be the sole reason for choosing a school, I use rankings to limit my college choices to the top 100 schools since I feel that my academic performance is deserving of a more prestigious college,” Vishka said.
The limit of the top 100 schools led Vishka to apply to Duke University, Northeastern University, University of Miami (UM), University of Florida (UF), University of South Florida (USF), Florida State University (FSU), University of Central Florida (UCF) and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) with Duke University being his top choice.
Christina Camastra’s consideration of the college rankings helped narrow her choices down to just four: UF, FSU, UCF and USF.
“The college rankings have everything to do with where I applied to school,” Camastra said. “The rankings are one of the most important things that I looked for during my college search. If I am going to spend a ton of money on my education, why would I go to a poorly ranked school that doesn’t take education as seriously as a higher reward college?”
Other seniors believe that there are more important factors in determining where to attend.
“I’m looking more for opportunity outside of college,” Diego Guedez said, choosing UF, UCF, USF and FSU. “(I’m looking at) how extensive their alumni are, where they work, what companies are affiliated with the colleges, who is being hired, how many people are being hired, and just how many resources they have allocated to the major that I want to study.”
Sierra Molina understands why rankings matter to some people, but they aren’t excessively important in her college choice.
“When applying to colleges, I understand that many students dream to attend prestigious schools for the sole purpose of attaining status and being associated with such a selective and well known name,” Molina said. “I believe that a college’s rank is not a definitive representation of its success; therefore, I, myself, would rather take time to find a school that fits my style of learning and area of interest, looking beyond their rank and status.”
BRACE advisor Ms. McFadden has some insight into how these rankings were determined.
“Colleges and universities are ranked based on up to 15 key measures of quality,” Ms. McFadden said. “The U.S. News uses these measures to capture the various dimensions of academic quality at each college.These measures reflect the quality of students, faculty and other resources used in education, which show the results of the education an individual receives on a whole.”
Ms. McFadden also believes that these rankings can be helpful due to their accuracy.
“Depending on where you plan to go to further a degree I would say yes, college rankings do matter,” Ms. McFadden said. “College rankings are accurate and relevant as they are developed by the U.S. News & World Report.”
As someone who does not consider college rankings to be excessively important, Molina has some advice for those looking at the rankings now and in the future:
“I think that the placement of colleges and universities allows them to gain recognition globally, but as far as deciding where to apply and getting in, I honestly would follow your heart and professional path even if it leads you to a school that is perceived as lower in national placement,” she said.