Those Folks Who Argue College Rankings Don’t Matter

College Rankings, College Rankings Matter, Admissions Rankings
College rankings matter — even to folks who publicly say they don’t matter (photo credit: Namkota).

Do you know how just about everyone — from college admissions officers to high school counselors to parents — is quick to criticize the annual college rankings? Do you know how admissions officers so often tell parents and students that they don’t care about the rankings and students and parents shouldn’t either? Well, as our loyal readers know all too well, we’ve always said all these folks are full of peanut butter and jelly. Of course the rankings matter. They matter to college admissions officers. They matter to high school counselors. They matter to students and parents. Big time.

A Parent Publicly Criticizes Obsessing Over College Rankings

Today, we thought we’d shine a lantern on one particular parent, Beth Kobliner, who, according to her own website, believes it her mission “to help people improve their financial lives” and fancies herself to be “a money guru.” As Ava Kofman and Daniel Golden reported in their piece for ProPublica entitled “The Hedge Fund Billionaire’s Guide to Buying Your Kids a Better Shot at Not Just One Elite College, but Lots of Them,” “One of her areas of expertise is how to pay for college. In her writing, media interviews and YouTube videos, she cautions parents not to ‘follow the herd with your donating dollars’ or pin their hopes for their children on getting into brand-name colleges. ‘Don’t believe the hype,’ she tells them. ‘You might find yourself obsessing over those annual college rankings. Don’t take them too seriously.’ The sensible solution, she argues, is for families to ‘pick a few financial safety schools’ — public universities close to home. A degree from an elite college, she reminds readers, may not translate into higher earnings in later life. ‘The Ivy League isn’t necessarily the gravy train.'”

We Believe That Same Parent is Obsessed with College Rankings

It seems that Ms. Kobliner got caught with her hand in the cookie jar. You see, Ms. Kobliner, herself an Ivy League graduate (of Brown University), sent her first two children off to Yale University. We have little doubt her third child will end up at an Ivy League university, too (unless he goes to Stanford or, less likely, MIT). And as the ProPublica piece makes plain for the world to see, her husband, hedge fund billionaire David E. Shaw, made over $37 million in donations in recent years to several of our nation’s elite universities, including Yale. So, for the sake of clarity, as this “of the people” financial guru preaches about how people shouldn’t be captivated by brand-name colleges or college rankings and as she warns against following the herd by donating to these elite schools, she herself seems to be captivated by brand-name schools, by rankings, and she seems to be leading the herd in donating to colleges. Oh, the irony. If only Ms. Kobliner were alone. But, alas, she’s not. There are lots of folks out there who are full of peanut butter and jelly.


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