School rankings do not determine value of education



UK might officially rank behind the Harvards and Princetons in the nation, but we don’t lack any opportunities for education.

What I’ve realized over the past year is that most universities supply ample resources for learning.

Between three semesters at Vanderbilt University, a summer at the University of Louisville, and now more than a year at UK, I’ve seen that learning comes down to individual effort.

Mathematical concepts don’t change, economic principles stay the same and scientific research is conducted no differently from school to school.

Any student who really wants to learn can find all the tools they need to excel. Here at UK, we have one of the most impressive libraries in the world, as well as hundreds of accomplished professors.

If anything changes among universities, it’s mostly the amount of pressure students and professors put on each other.

However, a self-motivated student can find all they want at almost any university.

There is also evidence to show that students have equal perception of their professor’s abilities, even at very different universities.

For example, shows that the average rating of professors at my old school, Vanderbilt, is almost exactly the same as the average rating of professors at UK.

This remains true for me, too. I have come across genius professors, as well as dull ones, at every institution.

Classroom material can be understood at various levels, and each student can dive in as deeply as they want with their professor over reading or material-based problems.

Yet, because we don’t wade in the pressure of a “top tier” school, it may be more of a challenge to push ourselves to a deep understanding.

On the other hand, since we have to carve our own path of learning, the understanding gained is unforced and seems more genuine.

To be sure, there are certainly some unique opportunities only expensive private schools can offer, but when it comes to the characteristic which defines universities — education — it is up to each individual to decide the quality.

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