Education Universities

Top Tips on Rankings Universities

Introduction

Numerical rankings universities receive in comparison to other schools have become a determining factor that parents and students use when narrowing choices. Similar to an investment in a home and real estate, people invest money in education, hoping for a return later on. Most investors whether it is the stock market or in a college education, want hard facts before they hand over their hard earned money.

Of course, the numerical rankings universities receive are mostly generated by third-party entities such as news publications, educational associations and other organizations who are consumer advocates. Most of the university statistics and information put forth for the sake of the public is objective, but parents and students must still use a bit of caution when basing their final school choices on just a single ranking. Everybody needs college, but you've got to be careful from where you obtain your knowledge. The following tips about university rankings can help you during the decision process.

Step 1

Use more than one source for rankings universities receive in relation to other schools. First of all, it just makes good business sense to corroborate the rankings and findings of one authority with those of other authorities. There is not only the possibility of human error, but in some cases the data that is used to determine rankings can be intentionally falsified or altered. For example, some university rankings are based on the number of freshmen who have a high standardized test scores. Recently, some colleges have been reported as altering test scores to make it appear that students with very high scores are choosing to attend the college. Naturally, prospective parents and students will assume that some of the "smartest" kids are choosing to attend a particular school, when in fact that may not be case.

The entities who supply the university rankings may have different quality control systems in place to ensure the integrity of the data. Using more than one source for rankings means you aren't dependent on one system of controls that may be lacking or corrupt.

 

Step 2

Learn the methodology behind numerical rankings universities receive. Don't just rely on a number "1," "2" or "3." Understand that factors that allowed the school to earn this ranking. For example, some entities might rank schools based on access to financial aid. However, parents and students who have saved money and built up a sizable college fund may not think that access to financial aid is important to them.

As an example, if rankings are issued based on three factors -- graduation rates, crime and financial aid -- but only one factor is of major concern to you, you may want to discard the rankings issued by a particular entity or recalculate your own, omitting unnecessary factors.

 

Step 3

Explore numerical rankings universities receive that are on the personal to abstract side. For example, gaining knowledge should be paramount to anything else that concerns attending college. However, some students might want a multicultural experience as well, especially if they grew up in a neighborhood setting that did not have much diversity. This may bode well after graduation in an international business environment that is increasingly becoming more globalized instead of localized.

Sources and Citations

"Frequently Asked Questions: College Rankings - US News and World Report." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/09/12/frequently-asked-questions-college-rankings-2012>.

"Best Colleges | Find the Best College for You | US News Education." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges>.

"How We Ranked the Top Private College Values for 2011-12." Kiplinger - Personal Finance, Business, Investing, Retirement, and Financial Advice. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.kiplinger.com/magazine/archives/how-we-ranked-the-private-colleges-2012.html>.

"College Rankings - Wsj.com." Business News & Financial News - The Wall Street Journal - Wsj.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://online.wsj.com/public/page/rankings-career-college-majors.html?refresh=on>.

"Engineering Schools: Tips and Stats - US News and World Report." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2010/04/15/engineering-schools-tips-and-stats>.

"Find Ways to Narrow Your College Choices - US News and World Report." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/09/13/find-ways-to-narrow-your-college-choices>.

"Ranking Universities by 'Greenness' - NYTimes.com." Energy and Environment - Green Blog - NYTimes.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/ranking-universities-by-greenness/>.

"How U.S. News Calculates the College Rankings - US News and World Report." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/09/12/how-us-news-calculates-the-college-rankings-2012>.

"How to Use the College Rankings Wisely - US News and World Report." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/09/12/how-to-use-the-college-rankings-wisely-2012>.

"Methodology: Best Colleges Ranking Category Definitions - US News and World Report." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/09/05/methodology-best-colleges-ranking-category-definitions>.

"Top 4 Tips for Making Your College Application List - Professors' Guide (usnews.com)." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/professors-guide/2010/06/09/top-4-tips-for-making-your-college-application-list>.

"World's Best Universities: About the Rankings - US News and World Report." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usnews.com/education/worlds-best-universities-rankings/articles/2011/10/18/worlds-best-universities-about-the-rankings-2011>.

"World's Best Universities: About the Rankings Methodology - US News and World Report." US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usnews.com/education/worlds-best-universities-rankings/articles/2011/10/18/worlds-best-universities-about-the-rankings-methodology>.

By Adri Buckminster, published at 02/22/2012
   Rating: 3/5 (10 votes)
Top Tips on Rankings Universities. 3 of 5 based on 10 votes.

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