The 'best' is not just a number

The 'best' is not just a number

According to QS 2012-13 World University Ranking, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the best university in the world. It is followed by Cambridge and Harvard. My university - the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) - is ranked 12th on the list.

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Chinese University of Hong Kong are ranked 23rd, 33rd and 40th, respectively.

Some of my classmates at UPenn complain about how our school dropped from ninth place last year and how the new ranking did not do our school justice. Back when I was in secondary school, I cared a lot about rankings. I wanted to go to one of the top universities on the list. However, after completing my first year of tertiary education, I realised that university is much more than just a number.

It's true that university rankings do matter. Rankings are based on a variety of factors, including financial resources, graduation rates and peer assessments. But to me, a university is more than that: it's a living collection of experiences, trials and errors. How could that be quantified?

At UPenn, I've learned more about myself than ever before. I've realised where my true interests lie, and what I want to achieve in the future. I've been able to learn about stocks and bonds in class and work with non-government organisations in Philadelphia after class. I've made friends from different parts of the world. I've travelled to New York on weekends. Being here has enabled me to grow, both personally and academically.

For me, UPenn is definitely number one. So take it from me: it's your own ranking that matters, not that of others.

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