If you're thinking "how can I find the college for me?" a college search engine could be a good place to start. However, as you try to narrow down a list of schools, you may come across information about a college's ranking. What is this and how important is it?
The college ranking system was created by U.S. News and World Report, and aims to provide students who are searching for a college with information about how well the school performs according to certain criteria. Colleges are assessed based on several factors, including student retention, peer assessments, financial resources, how selective the college admissions officials are, and graduation rates, among others.
Some experts say that the college rankings system benefits both students and schools. By creating a series of common guidelines to measure a school's performance, potential candidates have a better idea of how well a university is performing.
If you're considering filling out a college application to study in a competitive field such as law or medicine, the college ranking system can help you figure out which schools are a good bet in terms of the quality of the programs. Since the ranking criteria also includes financial information, you can use this to help you find a school that fits your budget, especially if you want to study in a less competitive field such as social work or nursing.
Using the college rankings system can also be very helpful when choosing a major. Schools are given scores based on the strength of individual departments, so if you want to study at a school with a great English department but aren't as concerned with the quality of the science programs, you can use the school's ranking to figure out which colleges have the best departments.
However, as useful as the college ranking information can be, it is just one more source to consider when you're thinking of filling out a college application. Many students use the rankings as an initial guideline before searching for more in-depth information about a school.
When you're trying to come up with a list of schools to apply to, make sure you do as much research as you can and don't rely purely on the college's rank. Do your homework and make sure you find as much information as you can about a school from several sources.