Who Ranks ‘Best’ World Universities?

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Many organizations publish rankings of universities, both international and American. So how do you find reliable rankings, and just how important are they anyway?

To get started, here is a list of a few sites to check out for international rankings:

Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities

This ranking provides a list of the World Top 500 Universities as well as a breakdown of top universities globally in specific subjects and fields. The website also features a list of national rankings for universities in a number of countries.

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR)

As CWUR’s website states, their ranking “measures the quality of education and training of students as well as the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research.” They publish a comprehensive list of the top 1000 global universities.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings

The Times Higher Education rankings feature a list of the top 800 world universities as well as an option to break results down by country.

Ranking Web of World Universities

This website offers a comprehensive ranking of world universities as well as rankings by continent/region and by country.

In addition to the many world rankings that are available, many organizations offer national college rankings. Here are a few:

The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review features a ranking of the top 380 U.S. colleges and universities as well as other lists such as Colleges That Pay You Back and what colleges have the happiest students.

U.S. News and World Report

U.S. News publishes rankings of top universities, colleges, and grad schools in the U.S. as well as lists such as Most Innovative Schools and Most Students Studying Abroad. They also feature a variety of articles related to the college search and application process.

U.S. Dept. of Education: College Scorecard

College Scorecard allows users to compare schools based on programs, location, size, and religious affiliation. It also lists schools with high salaries after graduation and low costs. College Scorecard is also a great resource for researching different types of aid, calculating your aid and GI Bill benefits.

So now you have a list of rankings to check out, but how much attention should you pay to them? If you are wondering about the benefits and drawbacks of college rankings and the process of ranking schools check out the following articles:

College Rankings: Good, Bad, Or Ugly?

What’s Wrong with College Rankings?

Hopefully, the sites listed above will give you a good starting point as you begin or continue your quest for universities. Rankings can certainly serve as good reference points as you compile your list of schools to apply to, however, remember that they are not absolute. More importantly, perhaps, is how they do in your area of study and how good of a fit the school is for you!

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