4 Reasons why Rankings Matter in Higher Education

The first global university ranking came to fruition in 2004…

Nearly 15 years on, and the overall growth both in terms of publicity and data curation has paved the way for rankings to play a pivotal role when it comes to the reputability of institutions in higher education.

In the QS World University Rankings for 2019 – as explained in full depth on our webinar -over 1,000 of the world’s top universities made it onto the list. When compared with previous years, this illustrates the breath and year-on-year development of this particular ranking, however paralleled trends can be seen throughout the industry.

Here are 4 reasons as to why rankings continue to be valuable indicators for institutions:

1 – Branding Your Institution 

Rankings have been proven to significantly help maintain and build institutional position and reputation. Having your institution rank as highly as possible only improves the chances of falling into a prospective students shortlisting process.

According to the QS Enrollment Solutions International Student Survey from 2017 just under a quarter (23.5%) of prospective students who took part said that institutional ranking was the most important factor in their choice of university. To rank above a competitor in this context – and having the stronger ‘brand image’ would be advantageous in terms of student recruitment.

2- Improve Organization and Management 

Over the years, policymakers at universities and business schools have utilized rankings as a benchmark to work off in order to achieve institutional progression. Research has suggested that as many as 68% of key stakeholders at universities use rankings as a management tool to bring about strategic and academic change.

Examples of this include leveraging rankings to create overall target agreements or within specific faculties, offering more scholarships and staff appointments, or even creating a division to monitor rankings.

3 – A Basis For Important Decisions  

Rankings can be deemed as a reliable sources to help encourage the collection and publication of reliable national data in higher education. The results of global rankings can stimulate national debate and focused analysis of key factors that may determine regional, or institutional successes in rankings.

Such reports and findings could even be leveraged to make positive, internal policy changes.

4 – Influence Partnerships and Collaborations 

University rankings can influence national and international partnerships and collaborations. This ties in with the positive branding that manifests from rankings, but for institutions with an advantageous rank, it will improve willingness of others to partner with them or support their membership of academic or professional associations.

To follow on from this, leaders say that they consider a potential partner’s rank prior to entering into discussion about the same research or academic associations stated above.

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