I hadn’t even heard of the University of Rochester until today,” my interviewer said. “But from what I have seen, it’s a pretty good school.”

That’s what I faced in my first real interview – my previous interviewer was more interested in my achievements in elementary school than in college. By the way, I was captain of the soccer team in fifth grade.

While this wasn’t the best of interviews, it got me thinking about how many more times I will have to explain what UR is.

We have a fantastic school with great professors and a free and innovative curriculum. But while we do acknowledge that we aren’t Harvard University or Princeton University, we should also realize that we shouldn’t be ranked with the schools we are currently alongside.

What’s even more disturbing is that the administrators don’t seem to mind it. For about the past decade, Dean of The College William Green has talked about how, “In the long run, our numbers will catch up.”

Obviously, Green forgot that John Maynard Keynes said, “In the long run, we’re all dead.” Now, I realize that these rankings change every year and that the methodologies are very controversial, but the fact that we are undervalued should spur the administration to rectify this problem and not take a nonchalant attitude.

The only people allowed to take this approach toward the rankings are the ones who are at the top of it and have been since its introduction. We aren’t there yet and won’t be if we don’t revamp our advertising campaign.

The administration will probably pull out statistics about how the rankings don’t affect prospective students’ decisions.

Assuming this is indeed the case, we’re still forgetting the other reason we attend college – post-graduation employment opportunities.

Employers have two options – either take the time to calculate the true value of the top 50 colleges or read the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings for $9.95. Unsurprisingly, employers have more money than time and, hence, will base their decisions on these magazines.

Furthermore, the employers will probably only see the schools ranked 10-20, considering they have already jotted down Harvard, Yale and the like. This is precisely why being at least in the top 20 will greatly increase the chances of obtaining well-paying and well-reputed jobs for our graduates. And the fact that UR definitely qualifies for that league.

If the university doesn’t start thinking more seriously about these matters, the real losers are us students looking for a post-graduation job.

After all, isn’t this the university’s return gift for the close to $40,000 we shell out every year – being able to earn much more than that in the future? It’s time we got more bang for our buck.

Madhur can be reached at smadhur@campustimes.org.



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