Every year, the lists of the top universities are published by the best-known university rankings like Top Universities (QS Rankings), Times Higher Education (World University Rankings), U.S. News Rankings and more.
These rankings are highly sought after by prospective study abroad students and create a lot of hype and stress among students considering study abroad options for themselves. It’s obvious to feel anxious after looking at such rankings because no one would want to reduce their chances of securing a bright professional and personal future.
While the rankings of a few top-ranked universities of the world stay consistent across all the university rankings, there is a lot of variation in the rankings of the universities that don’t occupy the top10 or top 15 slots. For example, the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is ranked 33rd according to the Times Higher Education. However, the university is ranked 71st according to the QS Rankings. Considering the huge differences between the ranks given to the same universities, you must understand that these university rankings are not perfect all the time. You must, therefore, be aware of the downsides as well when checking out any of these university rankings. They are as follows:
1. Marketing budget plays an important role in the university rankings.
The marketing budget of universities plays an important role in their popularity and as a result, in the rankings, they manage to get. That is why the universities that don’t have a big budget to promote themselves tend to be lesser-known or often fail in meeting the criteria set by top rankings. But, it doesn’t mean that all those universities aren’t best suited to meet your study abroad needs or can’t offer you a rewarding study experience.
2. There might not be significant differences in universities ranked differently.
Different universities may have similar scores, with only minor differences in certain areas. This may lead to a lot of variation in their position or rank. However, there might not be any significant differences in the quality and level of education they provide along with the future career prospects they offer. You must, therefore, not immediately dismiss schools only on the basis of their rank.
3. Different rankings use different criteria.
The criteria used by different university rankings to come up with the final score or rank may vary considerably, thereby, affecting the rank of a university that is under your consideration.
While some may give more importance to the student-faculty ratio, there are rankings that prioritize internationality of faculty and students more than any other factor.
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When looking at the rankings, you must, therefore, give importance to those factors that matter to you the most than focussing on the overall rankings which may otherwise mislead you.
4. Some crucial factors remain immeasurable.
When we talk of studying abroad, it is not always the top-ranked universities and best reputation that counts. There is a lot more. It is about the life experiences the students gather during their study abroad journey and the education they get. Yet another important aspect of finding a suitable university is selecting a good university on the basis of location and affordability.
Furthermore, it’s not really possible for university rankings to capture subtle elements that, otherwise, are crucial in making your study abroad experience rewarding:
- The number of like-minded people you find in your study destination
- Number and types of activities that are offered on-campus and off-campus
- If the food of your taste is readily available
- The support you get from faculty members and fellow students
You must, therefore, try and find answers to these questions rather than just focussing on the rankings.
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