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Will My Undergraduate College’s Ranking Hurt My Chances of Getting into Grad School?

Here’s a great guest post from Dr. Thomas of Your Grad School Coach, enjoy!

Colleges and universities earn bragging rights for appearing at the top of magazine “America’s Best College” lists, but what do these rankings really mean? What kind of impact does it translate to for the student who is going onto graduate school?

As a student, you would have to be clueless to NOT be concerned about whether college rankings really impact your chances of getting into grad school after leaving campus for good. After all, the competition can be pretty stiff, and getting an acceptance letter can feel like… well, life or death.

You can breathe a little bit easier knowing that you have not dashed your chances of getting into grad school if your college or university isn’t sitting pretty at the top of a rankings list. As a matter of fact, you still have a shot of getting into a TOP ranked graduate program. Why? Because of a little factor called diversity.


Admissions Committees Love Diversity

When it comes to grad school admissions, diversity doesn’t just deal with ethnic/cultural background, as many falsely believe. Your undergraduate institution also figures in as well. Higher education beyond the undergraduate level has a whole lot to do with creativity, innovation, critical thinking and exchange of ideas. This environment is actually fostered by bringing together students of different background and from different types of institutions.

Whichever undergraduate institution stamps your diploma, it is your responsibility to make sure that they are indeed accredited. Accreditation gives you peace of mind that you have covered all basic educational requirements. You definitely the basic plus EXTRAS in the form of specialized courses in your major that prepare you for the rigors of graduate study.


Ease Your Own Anxiety

Also, to ease your anxiety levels, do some investigative work of your own. Ask undergraduate advisors or initiate conversation with your professors about your grad school plans. Inquire whether they have ever worked closely with students who have been admitted to graduate programs. Ask for suggestions or pointers on how you can best follow in their footsteps. Best case scenario – they may be able to put you in contact with this student who can offer highly specific pointed advice.

Your grade point average, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and admissions essay also figure in to final admissions decisiona. Many applicants fear that because they didn’t go to the “right” school, they’ll never get into a great graduate program, and this is far from the truth. Barring lack of accreditation, know that your undergraduate institution has not placed you at any sort of disadvantage, and know that the “successful” in the grad school admissions game are not only bred at colleges on Top Ten lists.



Dr. Khia Thomas is the founder of Your Grad School Coach. She blogs about how to “get into grad school and get on with your life.”

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2 Responses to Will My Undergraduate College’s Ranking Hurt My Chances of Getting into Grad School?

  1. Divy July 29, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Hi Margarette, these posts are very helpful but why there aren’t many posts related to grad school application like these in recent time ?

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette July 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      Hi, Divy

      Thanks for letting us know you found this kind of post helpful! We’ll work on getting more posts like this from our graduate admissions partners– I’m glad to hear that there’s interest! 🙂 If you have any other suggestions for topics you’d like to see us write more on, please let us know and we’ll do our best!


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