Rankings Matter?

Reading The Order of Things put the importance of rankings into a new perspective. At first, I was annoyed reading the article. I wasn’t interested in what cars were the nicest or had the best value. And suicide rates in countries were generally just depressing. However, Gladwell introduced a more relevant topic to this audience, especially as an incoming freshman. He talked about the importance of how schools are ranked. I never really put much thought behind how colleges were ranked. Last year, around this time, I was going through the lists and lists of every type of ranking of many different schools. In a sense, this article became even more relevant than originally thought, bringing Penn State into the mix. What I thought was funny was how Penn State was ranked in the law school poll…even though, at the time, Penn State didn’t even have a law school. I think its amazing how Penn State is so highly regarded, people don’t even realize that not everything is offered at the University.

Although Gladwell is reporting his finding on the statistics of cars, suicides, and universities, I felt it was evident he really didn’t find the importance of rankings. I think he saw the process of ranking a more subjective act, rather than objective. “Who comes out on top, in any ranking system, is really about who is doing the ranking.”

When it comes down to the wire, I can agree in saying that rankings shouldn’t necessarily matter with schools. I think it’s good to have a set of standards with schools across the board. But overall, I think that the rank of a school shouldn’t matter when choosing a school. I think it should be a factor, but ultimately is about a person’s comfort and happiness.

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