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University Rankings Explained

Millions of students across the world are faced with many choices when applying for the right university?

Multiple factors influence student decisions when it comes to exploring potential avenues and weighing their options. But today, at Times International, we wish to look at which factors make it worth going to a top university. And which factors are less likely to be worth your time? You be the judge!

What are University Rankings?

Rankings are commonly used to create a shortlist of ideal study destinations. It is there to help in decision-making and comparisons of universities. If a student has already decided on their preferred country, state, or university to study in, rankings represent an ideal method for narrowing down the choices.

When making a comparison, we have to ask ourselves one question. Can we distinguish ourselves from other graduates with the same degree from lesser-known institutions?

Usually the rankings to that for us. But how reliable are they? Are prestigious universities and colleges worth their money and time? The US and UK have some of the best universities AND the highest tuition fees. Would all the money and years be worth it? The short answer is yes… but the long answer is: maybe!

Top 10 According to Times Higher Education

What do university rankings tell us?

According to the QS University rankings, rankings can highlight institutions’ strengths. Rankings provide a simple, numerical way to compare universities and make informed decisions about how highly regarded they are. But I believe this is a poor judgment.

Let’s break down the facts and make an estimation. According to Webometrics, since 2018 there have been around 28,000 institutions of higher education. Yet only around 1000 of them are accounted for in TopUniversities and more than 1250 in Times Higher Education.

So does it really matter where your current or future university will rank? The main question we have to ask ourselves: What is my dream degree really worth? And how will the job market pay me for my skills?

To make a quick estimation, you can click on the image below to get yourself a number.

university degree calculator
Source: adzuna.co.uk

While it is difficult to answer a true value, there are certain deductions associated with the number you’ve probably seen from Adzuna. This article is, of course, generalized here, but also tries to be realistic. If the job market cannot use your skills and abilities, if the demand isn’t high enough, one must think twice. So the course is probably more important, than the university itself.

Even if you study at Oxford or Cambridge, and get a degree in Culinary Arts, you will have a harder time finding a job than an IT major from a random school. And quietly sadly, in this case, you have wasted many years of your life and possibly a lot of money in advance.

graduate walking

What should you study?

Our advice is, of course, is to follow your passion and believe in it strongly. But also be open to advice and have a vision ahead of yourself. Higher Education is just another part of your life, a journey that should be enjoyed where one meets new challenges and obstacles and learn to overcome them.

Unfortunately, many institutions are only there for your wallet. And for this reason in the 21st century, since there is such a high markup price on education and “temptation” to enroll, one must be more careful than ever.

You must consider the opportunity cost of your education, the years you spend on acquiring your degree, and the payoff. Many expensive universities in the US will put debt on students so hefty, that they can only pay it off years, even decades later.

preparation for school

How to interpret university rankings?

Universities listed as top facilities of education in a country or the world are more worthy of spending that extra buck. The name of the university means that it gathers the best minds, meaning that people sitting next to you will have a higher chance of becoming global leaders in their field. And evidently, networking with smart, rich, or influential students is always a plus.

Furthermore, the education structure of top universities equips their students with more practical, up-to-date, and useable knowledge. This really depends on the course you will have, but by all accounts, a university is only worth its money if a specific field of study is on the top of all rankings.


Consider the market demand for your skills. Listen to other’s advice regarding applications, apply for the most acknowledged courses, and have a vision for the future. You must make sure that you will love what you will do and be able to make a living out of it. At least that is what our parents usually say.

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