BY ASHLEY GRIESSHAMMER
Published September 15, 2010
I'm one of those people who considers a school's ranking to be very important — a view contrary to that of many other students. Maybe it's because I like to know that my school is among the top performers in the country or because I want to reassure myself that I am getting the best education possible. Whatever my personal underlying reasons, a school's ranking is important. Yet many students neglect to consider rankings as one of the school's biggest assets when making college decisions.
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First, let's talk about where the University stands. In this year’s rankings released by Kaplan and Newsweek, the University was featured as number 11 among the top 25 most desirable large schools (having 10,000 students or more). Among the higher-ranking schools were New York University and Harvard. The University of Michigan also came in fifteenth on a list of 25 top schools for future power brokers, beating out Notre Dame. It's great that the University is pulling in high rankings, but how do students connect with these?
As a freshman, I can still clearly remember long months of college searches, applications and decisions. My brother is currently a senior here, so the University was already on my list of schools to apply to. But how did I decide to apply to other schools? Because I intended to become a business major, my goal was to end up here at the Ross School of Business. But I needed a back-up plan just in case that didn't happen, so I went to a list of rankings. Finding that Indiana University was right behind the University of Michigan, I chose to apply there. Since the two business schools were neck and neck at the time, I had a tough decision of where to go. And I based my whole decision on these rankings.
Thankfully, I ended up here, at a fabulous school that has consistently been among the most prestigious universities in the country. The academics here are excellent, especially for a public university. Our school's name has been thrown around with the likes of Ivy League colleges.
And what can the University of Michigan name do for us? Land a job, of course. When I saw the rankings in an article on Sept. 13, I also spotted an item at AnnArbor.com with the headline "Job recruiters find University of Michigan grads more valuable than Ivy-leaguers." I was shocked. I skimmed the article to find that our University was ranked number 6 by the Wall Street Journal on a list of schools that produce the best graduates overall. Schools like Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, for example, were nowhere on the list. The University seems to produce some heavy-hitters, at least according to The Wall Street Journal.
As a preferred-admission student to the business school, I'm partial to Ross. I love the building, the people and the academic program. As a side note, The Wall Street Journal's survey also found that, to recruiters, the University ranks first for business grads, first for finance, sixth for accounting and seventh for marketing and advertising. People clearly know what we're all about. When I'm applying for internships and jobs, it's reassuring to know that prospective employees will recognize the prestige that goes along with the name of my school.
So how important should these rankings be? For me, it's all about landing a fantastic job. The problem with many recruiters is that they don't know much about the school itself. So they look at our rankings. And when potential employers to go off rankings, which many probably do, they will see before we even enter an interview situation that any student from our University will be well prepared to enter the workforce and succeed.
Rankings are like a first impression. They’re the first things people will see about a school. Along with a high ranking comes high prestige, and I would hope that as students continue to make decisions about their college choices, they factor in where the school ranks. Even though a ranking shouldn't matter enough to define an individual, it does.
Ashley Griesshammer is an LSA freshman.