Do you know how colleges are ranked? Find out here!

Accredited colleges and universities have been ranked by local and national organizations and periodicals like Forbes, the Princeton Review and US News & World Report for several years.  Company recruiters, parents and prospective college students review college and university rankings to increase their chances of hiring students who graduated from top schools or, in the latter case, to make sure that they and their children get a quality education.

Each ranking organization or periodical reviews different types of criteria to rank accredited postsecondary schools.  Colleges and universities that are accredited by regional and national organizations such as the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools may earn higher rankings than postsecondary schools that are only accredited by local organizations.  Additionally, colleges and universities that have their individual schools (e.g. School of Nursing, School of Engineering, School of Law) accredited by regional and/or national accrediting organizations may earn higher rankings than postsecondary schools that only have an overall accreditation for the entire school.

Evaluating Postsecondary Schools in America

Additional criteria reviewed during the college and university ranking process includes:

  • Numbers of undergraduate and/or graduate students enrolled at the postsecondary schools
  • Types of undergraduate and/or graduate degrees offered at the colleges and universities
  • How long the schools have been in operation
  • Costs of tuition
  • Percentage of student graduates who land jobs after earning one or more degrees from the schools
  • Teaching credentials and working experience professors at the schools have
  • Types and numbers of extracurricular activities and organizations available for students to participate in
  • Percentage of students graduating from the schools on time
  • Percentage of students accepted into the schools
  • Types of college entrance examinations accepted by the colleges and universities (as well as minimum college entrance examination scores accepted)
Schools are generally ranked according to items such as religious affiliation, whether or not the schools are private or public institutions of higher education, the teacher to student ratios and campus services offered to undergraduate and/or graduate students.  Furthermore, if you take the time to review the rankings for one or more colleges or universities you’re thinking about attending or transferring to you can learn important facts about the schools such as the typical numbers of students who attend the schools full-time as well as the numbers of students who typically attend the schools part-time.  You can also find out if the schools have on-campus housing, programs geared toward international students or are highly regarded as institutions of higher learning in the field (e.g. dentistry, creative writing, mathematics, education) you’re majoring in.  You and your parents can also learn about the colleges’ or universities’ extracurricular offerings.  For example, you can find out if the colleges or universities have athletic programs, sororities, fraternities, student government associations, theatre groups or organizations that give back to the community that you can get involved with.
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