Importance of undergraduate ranking

I had my heart set on attending a top thirty school due to the flexibility in its art program. However, I was deferred early action and accepted to my second choice, a top sixty school. The second school has recently grown on me for several reasons, particularly because I could easily become a history major if I for some reason decided that I no longer wanted to pursue art, whereas at the first school I would not necessarily be able to do so since I would have to apply to another school within the university beforehand.

That being said, I do have one reservation about the second school. Like the majority of students on this website, I’m influenced by the USNWR rankings. If I attend the second school, would this significantly impact which graduate school I could attend (assuming I continue getting good grades)? Would this be the same if I graduated with an undergraduate degree in art and then decided to pursue a degree in history in graduate school? Thanks.

For art, I believe your portfolio is what matters, not the USNWR ranking of where you went for undergrad.

Ignore the USNWR. Grad school admission is not affected by a difference between “top 30” and “top 60”.

You don’t need to major in history to apply to grad school in that field, however you will need to pick up enough classes in history and related topics and get good LORs to be a viable candidate. When you get closer to that point in your life, take a look at what your target grad programs indicate about their expectations for applicants, and see what coursework you should have.

^You don’t need to have majored in history, but it is a whole lot easier if you have - or if you are pretty close. This is particularly the case if you want a PhD. Also, it’s useful to pick one one additional language as a reading language. You will learn a second one in graduate school, and top doctoral programs usually like to see that you are at least well on your way towards being proficient in one. French and German are popular choices, although which exactly you pick will be based upon the area of history you want to study (a scholar of 18th century Russian history might want to learn Russian and French; a scholar of early modern Indian history might want to study Hindi and Bengali.)

But no, the difference between top 30 and top 60 is unlikely to be any meaningful difference in graduate school admissions.

The school matters less than the work you do while you’re there, and who you’re working with as you set forth into new territory…Well connected folks are scattered all about this university experience. Best to you.

Thank you all for the advice, I really appreciate it! I intend on at least minoring in history (possibly even double-majoring if I can handle that alongside extracurriculars) during my undergraduate experience, so this is very helpful. :slight_smile: