United Inscriptic Committee
· Advice

Students cautioned over university rankings and top university league tables

There are many ways in which universities and colleges are ranked around the world (usually in an order where the 'best' institutions at the top and worst at the bottom). These rankings are created using varying criteria for assessing a university's standing, including surveys, statistics about staff and students, and a combination of other things.

You might also find that degrees programmes, faculties, and other departments also get ranked in the media.

Some of the most common systems are:

  • The US News & World Report
  • The Shanghai Rankings
  • Washington Monthly’s College Rankings
  • The Times Higher Education World University Rankings
  • The QS World University Rankings

You may think about using rankings to simplify making complex choices about what and where you wanted to study, but they shouldn't be relied upon to find the best degrees or top universities.

The problem is that all the rankings use different ways of scoring what rank a university gets. Some of the metrics used to measure 'quality' are given a higher priority than others, and may not contribute much at all to the quality of education you will receive. Statistics submitted are often manipulated by institutions to target each particular ranking methodology and they don't tell you what kind of student experience you can expect.  Because of this, the current ranking systems are increasingly being questioned for not telling the whole story and leaving out important details.

For example, you could find that a middle-ranking university has one of the best business schools. Equally a top-ranking university may have a poor degree program in the subject you are interested in and also deliver a terrible student experience.

The UIC will be launching the Inscriptic International University Rankings system which classifies international universities and colleges on a number of criteria including:

  • Affordability
  • Availability of scholarships
  • Employment outcomes and earnings after graduation
  • Crime statistics
  • Internship placement possibilities
  • International student support
  • Number of students from your home country
  • Travel distances
  • City amenities and tourist attractions
  • Feedback from verified students about their experience

We hope the new ranking system will help find a university and course that is the best fit for you, aligned to your interests and abilities.