Students enjoying the convocation ceremony - Do university rankings reflect reality Students enjoying the convocation ceremony - Do university rankings reflect reality


How University Rankings Work And Do They Reflect Reality?

#studentvisa #university

You will consider numerous factors when selecting a university, such as academic possibilities, job prospects, campus life, exchange opportunities, where your friends go and a lot more. Likewise, we also have rankings for universities. And as it happens, the university rankings are evidently becoming a reason for anyone to choose a university.

University rankings, as the name implies, place universities in a particular order. Each ranking organisation, however, evaluates institutions differently, employing unique criteria and varying weights for comparable qualities. For instance, the calibre of the instruction, the calibre of the research, and the staff-to-student ratio are all crucial.

You should think about the things that are most significant to you individually if you're trying to determine which university ranking system is the most accurate or reliable. Which is more important to you: a university's teaching staff or its researchers? Are you more concerned with affordable or low-cost universities in a country?

An image of the University of Oxford, one of teh top universities in the world - Reality of university rankings

How Does University Ranking Work

As previously indicated, indications for teaching and research are considered, together with budget and staff resources, when ranking an institution. An evaluation is then created by combining these elements. Surveys are a standard part of their methodology, which they utilise to rate various colleges according to their specialisations.

Here we have discussed the ranking system of some of the best University Rankings, which can help you understand how it all works.

QS World University Ranking

QS University Rankings is one of the universities' most famous, authentic, and well-comprehended ranking systems. A university's performance in terms of research, teaching, employability, etc., is evaluated by the QS World Ranking of Universities. Different metrics are used to calculate the total score's criteria.

In reality, they use six parameters in varying percentages to give the rankings. The four of these indicators are based on "concrete" data that has been gathered. Whereas the remaining two, academic standing and employer reputation, rely on international surveys.

  • Academic standings (40%)
  • Student/faculty ratio (20%)
  • Citation per faculty (20%)
  • Employee Reputation (10%)
  • Foreign student ratio (5%)
  • International faculty ratio (5%)

Times Higher Education

The 13 performance metrics included in the Times Higher Education University Rankings have been carefully adjusted. It offers a thorough and fair comparison using data from Elsevier's Scopus database, which is used by universities, researchers, and business executives.

Out of all the 13 indicators, we have mentioned some of the most important ones.

  • Teaching (30%)
  • Research citation (30%)
  • Research (30%)
  • International outlook (7.5%)
  • Industry income (2.5%)

Do University Rankings Reflect Reality?

For students who want to evaluate an institution's qualities, these rankings are helpful. Everyone, from employers to governments, uses these rankings to understand their position in a market that is becoming more and more competitive. This benefits students who want to take particular factors into account when selecting a school.

Students in a university classroom - Reality of university rankings

The overall reputation of a university is indeed crucial. But so is receiving emotional support from a place that will define your career. Plus, the capability of teachers who are interested in your development and classmates who share your interests. So, the ranking can be helpful only to a limit.

The issues with the criteria

Unfortunately, the university rankings have differentiated the universities as blockbuster movies and independent films. They will make you believe that the low-ranked universities will in no way impress you, but that is not entirely true.

In other words, while a university may not be the best at everything, it may be perfect in a few things. However, if it works out well for you, you may have found a match made in heaven that doesn't even rank in the top 300 universities. 

All the indicators are not measured

The highest reputation, research, wages, and internationality are not the only indicators when considering higher education overseas. Finding an education you can afford or a campus you enjoy living on is a critical factor in choosing a good university.

It's about all the experiences you have with your peers and other academics you'll meet over your study years. It depends on who motivates you to carry on down your chosen route after graduation. All of this leads to a mixture that is highly individual and frequently distinct for each prospective student, something an aggregate ranking might not be able to offer.

Not Being able to choose a program of your liking

Which would you prefer: finishing a programme at a prestigious university only to find you didn't enjoy it or finding the programme that best suited your growth? When it comes to social sciences, a university could be excellent in business studies but simply "OK" in others. Or perhaps they offer excellent instruction but don't offer the practical classes you're actually interested in.

Reputation factors can also be somewhat arbitrary, as professors are asked to name the university they believe to be the best in their particular discipline. They may simply be repeating what the institutions previously regarded as famous in their responses.

Final Thoughts

Nowadays, systemised university rankings have made it easier for anyone to choose the best university. A criterion is used to provide an overall of where any institute stands. No doubt, it can be fruitful in so many ways, but it does have its shortcomings. So, those who rely on it must know the details to make a better choice.


What are the most credible rankings for universities?

Of all the ranking systems, the most credible or the most reliable rankings for universities are Academic Rankings of World Universities (ARWU), QS World University Ranking and Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Do employers consider university rankings while hiring?

Employers tend to select colleges with the highest reputations overall and those that have historically produced the top applicants when they don't have a specific degree subject need.


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