The results are in: Do college rankings really matter to UC Berkeley students?

Shanghai Ranking/Courtesy
Shanghai Ranking/Courtesy

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UC Berkeley recently topped several different college-ranking charts, once again begging the question: Do all of these rankings really matter? Curious about UC Berkeley students’ answers, the Daily Clog conducted a survey asking current students what they thought about college rankings when they made the decision to become Golden Bears. What follows are the results of 100 anonymous responses.

When asked how greatly rankings contributed to their decision to attend UC Berkeley, 19 percent of respondents noted that college rankings were the “main factor.” On the contrary, a whopping 67 percent responded that while college rankings were a large factor contributing to their decisions, it was only “among other considerations.” Only 10 percent of respondents stated that rankings weren’t a major factor in their decisions. It seems that while parents and community members tend to push the importance of college rankings, students don’t let the rankings sway their final decisions completely. So, while rankings are a large factor in the majority of decisions to attend UC Berkeley, they very rarely have the final say.

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Our survey also explored the potential ability of an applicant’s environment to sway his or her final decision. While it certainly doesn’t encompass the full variety of students at UC Berkeley, the survey did offer some keen insights. For example, 74 percent of respondents come from communities in which UC Berkeley is considered “highly prestigious,” while only 23 percent moved from communities in which UC Berkeley was either “not well known” or not considered prestigious. As UC Berkeley’s prestige and influence continues to grow internationally, it seems to be pretty stagnant for respondents from California. After all, it’s natural for those living closer to a campus to “take things for granted” and overlook its contributions to the greater world of higher education.

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Were college rankings a main factor in your decision to attend UC Berkeley? Let us know in the comments below.

Contact Nitisha Baronia at [email protected].