Navigating College Rankings
In many countries, national colleges are the best way to learn about top colleges and universities; but America is different than the United States. Rankings are not developed by the U.S. government or the Department of Education, and how does each ranking system look at different variables at U.S. Rankings and how can you use it to help you choose the best college or university for you?
There are a number of non-governmental organizations that create their own versions of national and regional rankings, including popular listings created by Forbes and US News and World Report. When ranking organizations, they look at information such as tuition, type of university, number and variety of students, number and type of programs, research and internship opportunities, faculty to student ratio, graduation success rate, scholarships, and more. Each ranking system is unique in that variables use it and some organizations do not disclose how they choose to rank each organization.
If these lists are made by private companies and are made up of many different variables, how can you use them to help you decide which college or university is best for you? Start thinking about what kind of institution you want to study at: public vs. private; Large or small; Professional vs. research; Etc. Or there is a specific region or specialized program where you want to stay where you want to enroll. Consider what values and experiences are most important to you in your education and make a list.
Once you have narrowed down these few things, look at the ranking lists that suit your needs and wishes. Research the organizations on this list and use it as a guide. Study their Webpages and programs. Contact their admissions officer and ask questions. View photos and videos. If possible, go to campus. Try to imagine spending the next four years on that campus, because at the end of the day, you want to be in a place that fits you and supports your future.