Trying to decide which university to attend can be overwhelming when there are endless rankings telling you different statistics and analyses.
How are you supposed to choose the ‘best’ university when different rankings tell you different universities are top?
The problem is every ranking uses different measures to evaluate an institution. Some order the universities according to quality of research, others on the number of First Class degrees obtained. While these are important considerations when choosing a university, the sheer number of rankings available just makes the process all the more confusing.
But as an international student, it's not always possible for you to visit universities and meet your future lecturers, so you've little choice but to rely on these rankings to decide where to study.
If you're finding it difficult trying to make sense of what matters most to you, here's a tip: focus on the student satisfaction category on rankings. As an undergraduate student, it is essential to find a campus culture that is going to make you happy and help you academically excel.
The rise of the experience industry on campus (academic libraries included) Universities prioritize students' personal satisfaction and positive experiences over their education #CDNPSE #HEhttps://t.co/3MWzUglr5m via @ua_magazine
— karen nicholson (@nicholsonkp) March 14, 2018
Looking at student satisfaction rates can help you pick a university you will enjoy, rather than one that is prestigious and renowned for its academically leading research.
Student satisfaction statistics are based on how much students at the university enjoyed their experience studying there. This includes everything about student life including teaching quality, how much support they received from their lectures, quality of life while studying, well being, social life and more.
“Student satisfaction is by far the most important,” Fred Dayley, a recent international graduate from University of Groningen in the Netherlands told Study International.
“It shows you whether people enjoyed their experience and felt comfortable, two essential components to helping students thrive," he added.
Dundee ranked in UK’s top 10 for student satisfaction!!!
Ranking 9th in the UK in the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS) pic.twitter.com/C942IqDloz
— University of Dundee (@dundeeuni) August 8, 2017
Stephan Batelio told Study International that looking at student satisfaction rankings helped him decide which university to go to when he knew he could choose to study anywhere in the world.
“I chose to go to the University of Sydney based on its high student satisfaction rate because I thought this would show me what my life will be like at the university," he said. “Yes, I could have gone to Oxbridge, or an Ivy League College but I wanted to go somewhere I knew I would also have fun. Student satisfaction showed me I could go to a top university and have a good time as well."
Choosing to go to a university due to employer reputation or research quality might mean you graduate with a prestigious degree, but you may have also had an unpleasant few years where you have not been respected or helped in the way you envisaged.
In fact, the student experience is so crucial to a university's quality the National Student Survey compiles a specific ranking published on Unistats based solely on student's experiences of their university and course in the UK.
This gives prospective students a good idea of what life will be like at their new home, based on people’s personal experiences. Most other rankings can also be filtered only to show the ‘student satisfaction’ criteria, to help simplify the statistics and find a university that truly suits you.