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The Importance of College Rankings

November 09, 2009 By: Chad Category: US College rankings

Today we have a guest from Emily Goll. Emily is a graduate of Whitman College with a degree in English literature. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington and writes for, a publisher of accredited online college and online degree information.

The reputation of your college is incredibly important. It will help to determine the rigors of your academics, the jobs you are eligible for, and the quality of faculty that teach at your school. As a result, most graduating seniors who hope to attend a four-year institution spend the months before their applications are due pouring over books and magazine articles that feature college rankings.

Such articles and books cover everything about a school from the cost of tuition, to the student to faculty ratio, to the academic rating, and to the admissions selectivity rating. Not only do these types of lists help students narrow down their choices, but they paint a clearer picture of the schools for each individual. This can strongly help a student make a well-thought out, informed decision when choosing where to obtain his or her bachelor’s degree.

Online schools are no different. Like traditional universities, online schools vary in prestige and academic prowess. Conversely, their new popularity means that little is known about many institutions and prospective students are forced to find what they can through the Internet. Here is where school rankings become fundamentally crucial to the selection process.

The practice of reviewing a school adds a level of transparency to institutions that simply cannot be discovered through most Web sites and school biographies. This is especially important for online schools because degree mills and diploma scams run rampant over the Internet. By choosing a school that has been rated by several authoritative and trustworthy organizations, prospective individuals know that they are dealing with an institution that will provide them with a quality education. Without school rankings, there is little accountability for the millions of schools that operate through the use of the Internet.

Of course, not every school ranking you run across will help you. When viewing a ranking system, make sure you understand the metric they used to determine the placement of each school on the list. Some criterion may not be as important to you, while some (like cost) may be very important.

Whatever you choose, taking a look at online college rankings and factoring the findings into your eventual decision can’t hurt. At the end of the day, most will provide you with more concrete and compelling information on the schools which interest you.