Andrew Pazdon: GW succeeds despite rankings

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I’ll be honest with the world – GW was not my first choice in institutions of higher learning. It was my childhood dream to attend a school that was ranked 50th or better on the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings. Being the 53rd ranked school is a depressing fate. If the success of graduates depends on the rankings of their school, then students of the Universities of Rochester and Wisconsin have much brighter futures than GW Colonials.

Obviously, I jest. The point here is that the rankings found in a magazine can be skewed.

Those who read my columns with any regularity should know by now that I have a tendency to hate on our fair University for a wide range of problems. There are certainly faults in our physical infrastructure ranging from the lack of attention to the library to the falling ceilings of residence halls. I feel there are students who get bigger allowances from their parents than Gelman gets from the University. There is a plethora of red tape that intertwines and strangles nearly every level of life at GW. There are the questionable spending habits of the administration and their connectivity to the student body.

Yet despite these problems, I’m still here. The main reason for my refusal to leave is because GW does a fundamentally good job in the education business. Twenty-three GW alums received Fulbright Scholarships this year, the sixth most of any college in the country. The Fulbright Scholarship itself was created by GW Law School alumnus and former Senator J. William Fulbright. That’s quite a strong showing of excellence from the 53rd best school. Take that, Wake Forest.

Therefore, as much as I would like to see GW climb the ranking ladder, we shouldn’t pay it much attention. The rankings are an amalgamation of matrices that are arguably an affront to academia and education. GW scores notoriously less because it has many adjunct and part-time professors. Some of my best, most meaningful and inspirational professors only teach a class or two because they’re quite busy in the real world. The ratings are too focused on the prevalence of adjunct professors at a school, though many of GW’s adjunct professors are the some of the best professionals in D.C.

GW’s record of motivated graduates speaks for itself. We don’t need to alter our model to fit the parameters of the U.S. News and World Report’s version of “reality.” The law school reportedly decided to reduce the number of night school students as an attempt to bump up rankings. They should not have taken this measure, because cutting the number of students isn’t going to improve the school. We have to acknowledge the rankings’ lack of merit and try to improve the University through more meaningful actions.

GW, despite all of its short comings and idiosyncrasies, produces successful graduates and well-educated leaders of the next generation. The University doesn’t need to feel secure in itself because of a silly and contemptible ranking system that has been stagnant since the tradition’s inception.

The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

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