How can using university rankings help students with making a difficult decision?

Valentin Schinnerl and John Roman, U-Multirank

Nov 18, 2020 12:58 (CET)

How can using university rankings help students with making a difficult decision
  1. What do you use university rankings for?

One of the most common ways to use university rankings is to create short lists, which can be used to get an overview. Additionally, you can find out which universities do particularly well in your fields of interest. After creating these short lists, you can then move on to more intensive research and review tuition fees and special study programmes for yourself.

Another exciting point is that the comparison of universities allows you to think outside the box and consider universities and subjects you might have not thought about yet.

  1. Can I make a personalised university ranking?

As indicated in the last point, universities will appear in university rankings that you may have not thought of yet - and that's a good thing, because you will be given new opportunities. U-Multirank’s university rankings for example, contains 1759 higher education institutions (HEI) from 92 countries worldwide. In addition to providing you with top universities, you can also personalise your list and sort it so that universities are shown according to your performance measures. For example, U-Multirank allows you to compare universities based on broad dimensions, like Teaching & Learning, Research, Knowledge Transfer, International Orientation and Regional Engagement to find your best matching university or study programme. Rankings can therefore be a useful way to compare universities in more detail and to reveal some of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the institutions you are interested in.

  1. What does it mean if a university does not appear in a ranking?

If you want to study internationally, you will always come across universities you aren’t aware of. This is a normal process when you are looking for your best matching university. In this search you can always find programmes that match your interests. Nevertheless, you should also make sure that the university meets your interests and needs. One of the best forms of feedback, are from student opinions. On the one hand, you can look in ranking tables to see if the university appears or on the other hand, you can listen to recommendations of other students. In U-Multirank’s university rankings, the opinions of more than 100,000 students from all over the world participate in U-Multirank offering their feedback in the area of Teaching & Learning. However, keep in mind that many global rankings only cover a relatively small percentage of universities around the world -typically research-intensive universities. Just because an institution is missing from some global rankings does not mean that it is not good or well-known. To expand your search, explore alternative student information sites and national rankings. U-Multirank offers all universities alike the opportunity to be included in its annual university rankings – covering the most expansive list of university types from more than 90 countries worldwide.

University rankings also try to grow each year to provide more information for students.

  1. Make a final decision between two or more universities.

An example of how rankings can help is that rankings can allow for direct comparison and thus assist in your final decision for a university. If you have to choose between two or three universities, you can see how they have performed in the ranking. You can compare whole universities, subjects or based on the performance measures you consider most important.

Of course, there are other important factors to consider when deciding on a university, such as the location, course content and tuition fees; even conversations with current students can be very helpful.

To help, U-Multirank offers side-by-side comparisons of up to three universities via its ‘University rankings’ track, under ‘Compare universities by name’. Here you can compare your top three universities from your shortlist and see how they differ in performance when compared against each other.

  1. What opportunities does U-Multirank offer me?

Some information about U-Multirank has already been scattered in the text. More than 100,000 students take part in the U-Multirank surveys giving valuable peer-to-peer feedback and includes information on 1,759 HEIs from 92 countries worldwide. From this information you can create your own personalised university rankings, comparing them in the areas of Teaching & Learning, Research, Knowledge Transfer, International Orientation and Regional Engagement. Particularly for students, U-Multirank offers quick comparisons to help you find your best matching university in just four easy steps. By selecting what and where you want to study and saying which factors are most important to you, we suggest the best matching universities for you based on our comprehensive and comparative data.

Users can also use pre-made rankings (Readymade Rankings) created by our ranking experts for broad categories like, research, internationalisation, teaching & learning, technical universities, etcetera. Another option is that you can also look at our ‘top performing universities’ – these are the highest performing universities on a select group of performance measures and give you a good insight into the specific strengths of these universities.

In addition, U-Multirank offers a wide range of information about student life in different countries and different cities, via our ‘universities by countries’ and ‘universities by cities’, as well as our ‘universities by subject’ pages.

University rankings can’t guarantee that a university is the best in the world; ‘best’ is defined by you. To do so, you will need to make that choice based on far wider criteria, but we can help with that too. Take a look at our articles about how to choose a university and explore the profiles of the universities recommended by our best-matching university tool.


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