Research: Students don’t look at academic rankings when choosing a university

According to our new international survey, more than three out of four students think that academic rankings had no influence when choosing a university.

The research was carried out in order to better understand and compare student satisfaction and traditional academic rankings. A global survey compiled statistics on the satisfaction of 2049 student respondents, representing 77 different nationalities.

Choosing a university: Academic performance… or maybe student services?

These student respondents rated their universities on the following six categories: Teaching, Campus, Student Services, Internationality, Value for Money and Security. The ratings of these categories were then combined and evaluated to create a “Satisfaction Index” for the 231 participating universities of 54 different countries. These categories are the same Study Advisory uses on their popularity rating on our website.

Choosing university: Satisfaction Index measured (1) teaching, (2) campus, (3) student services, (4) internationality, (5) value for money and (6) security.

The student respondents rated an overwhelming 86% of their universities “Good” to “Very Good” overall on the “Satisfaction Index”. However, only 28,6% of these universities was listed in any of the top rankings of the four leading academic ranking platforms that were used for comparison.

Choosing university: 86% of students were quite satisfied with their institution, only 28,6% of these institutions were listed on top academic rankings

Academic rankings may not measure relevant factors for student audiences

In fact, when asked outright: “Did any traditional rankings of this university influence your decision to study at this university?” 77% of the student respondents answered “No”.

We are starting to see a trend that many students are still quite satisfied with their place of studies, even if it doesn’t currently shine on any of the traditional academic rankings. Academic rankings still have value to some, but many are looking for a place to study based on other very important elements instead.

Choosing university: 77% of students didn't look for academic rankings when choosing their higher education

Stay tuned for the final results

The final results of the research will be published as a bachelor’s degree thesis in August of 2016. To get the latest updates, follow Study Advisory on our social media platforms: FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

A real-life example

The survey was conducted by Melissa Demel, a US citizen completing her second higher education degree in Finland. The survey was carried out together with Study Advisory.

I am currently completing my studies at Savonia University of Applied Sciences. As it is a university of applied sciences, my institution is naturally not performing very well in academic rankings. Nevertheless, they offered me an excellent education, and a good start for my future career. Melissa explains.

– I ended up in Finland, firstly in Kajaani, by chance; in the US I could never have received such a good quality education without an enormous student loan. Young people need a way to find affordable and qualified smaller universities on a global level, and Study Advisory offers a solution to this.

A bridge between every university and every student

The Study Advisory Popularity rating aims to complement traditional academic rankings by bringing a whole new social aspect into ranking universities. We are offering a new alternative for everyone around the world to find the perfect university, based majorly on the satisfaction ratings of our peers. Study Advisory is also offering every university around the world a chance to showcase their value with the help of reviews from their satisfied students.

There is already a bridge between highly ranked universities and the small amount of students who have the ability to study there. This research proved something Study Advisory was fundamentally founded for: students need a bridge between every university in the world, and everyone looking for a higher education.

The 2049 reviews left by the student respondents of the research have already been published to the participating university profiles, giving these universities a head start on the nearly 12000 universities already listed in the Study Advisory platform.

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