What are University rankings?

Universities are ranked all over the world and ranking gives both students, their parents, funding agencies, governments, other universities, faculties and a host of other agencies, an idea of the quality of the university and the standard of education that the university maintains. There are different type of ranking techniques. The THES technique which is often used, gives weightage to the research output of the faculty at a university. For many universities this is not an acceptable ranking technique. This is because many departments employ a variety of ways to progress in their fields. Not all academic fields use quantitative research publications to showcase their talent, for example, art and literature use more aesthetic pieces to display their talent. For those in Cyberforensics, Digital Humanities or even Anthropology, there are a host of projects that are better ways to assess the department’s ranking.

QSR and THE rankings have become popular in the last two decades. But many Asian universities that feel that they have been overlooked have decided to regionally rank themselves. These rankings can be seen as more divisional and such groups and subdivisions encourage a watered- down approach to idea of ranking. For universities in Pakistan, ranking is extremely important for students who need to go overseas as their parent institution is an indicator of the quality of instruction that is meted out.

So how does your university rank? The best way to choose a university is to have a quick look at their faculty page – for all departments- and specifically the department that you are applying to. Feedback from senior students carries weight but not a lot as many students have personal experiences through which the truth is filtered. A general vibe of the university will show that its staff are caring and willing to listen. Another important aspect that can help in forming an opinion, is how young or old the university is. Younger institutions typically put in more effort to help their students as they need to build a reputation and the teacher-to-student ratio is smaller.