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Does the university you go to make much of a difference?

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Being a fresh graduate from one of the UK’s top universities (insert self-gloat here) I would consider myself quite qualified to be giving you future graduates, or people looking to pursue a degree at university some advice regarding the institution you decide upon.

Does it really matter where? What really is the importance? Who really cares? Just because one person may know how a good a certain university is, does not necessarily mean someone else will feel the same. It’s all so subjective. But is it really?

League tables

University rankings exist for a reason. Mostly I would say they exist as a benchmark for all universities, a standard code of conduct, you could say. After all, students are paying a significant amount of money to a specific institution, and would only hope that it delivers and makes the investment worth it. Highly-ranked universities are able to provide stellar education because they have the means to hire the top professors, purchase and use top quality resources and provide access to an endless supply of extracurricular activities. People dream about going to the Ivy League schools in the United States, comparable to the Oxfords and Cambridges of the UK. Myself included.

Use your knowledge

But once you have that piece of paper in hand, signifying your time at an institution; is it worth it? It does not really matter. You could go to any university in the world, do as well as you want to. But ultimately, what matters is what you are able to do once completing your degree. The power of education and knowledge is such that it can never be taken away from you. People can take away your happiness, your money, those close to you; but no one can ever take away your knowledge.

If you are privileged enough to attend a top-ranked university, it will make a difference once you take everything you learned and make a difference in the world. Whereas someone who went to an average school, not ranked in any league tables could go on to conquer and achieve great things. Some people might not even go to university! Let’s not forget that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both dropped out of university. But they took the knowledge gained in those years they spent in a classroom and turned it into something great, products and companies and brands that people idolise.

Opportunities are endless

So when selecting a university, try not to keep the rankings as the top priority. If you are specialising in a certain field, those rankings help. But what is the point of spending your parents’ entire savings at a university if you don’t plan on taking much advantage of it? Feel lucky to be living in a world where you have the power to choose and the power to choose who and where you get your knowledge from. The world is vast and the opportunities are endless, so take a deep breath and dive right in!

Do you think the university you go to matters that much really? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Martijn van Sabben / Flickr

Nandini SehgalDoes the university you go to make much of a difference?

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