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Do Rankings Matter?

April 16, 2020 by Karen Grossman |

iStock-890158188_blogBest colleges. Best online graduate programs. Most affordable. With so many college rankings out there, it can be hard to filter through them and decide what’s important to you. Rankings can play an important part in your decision-making process, but they shouldn’t be the main factor when looking at schools.

Here’s what you need to know:

What do rankings mean?
Rankings show recognition. They can mean a school has a good reputation, a program is respected, or that the school is doing a good job in a certain area, such as online learning or undergraduate programs.

UNC Greensboro has ranked on the list of Best Online Colleges in North Carolina, and several online graduate programs have been nationally recognized as well. More UNC Greensboro rankings can be found here.

Rankings methodology varies but can include things like student retention and graduation rates, academic quality, admissions selectivity, resources available to faculty, and reputation. There are no regulations for creating rankings, and every organization follows their own guidelines. Some create rankings based on student surveys or criteria such as quality of faculty, while others depend on feedback from universities.

Why are they important?
While the creation of rankings may be inconsistent, they can play an important role in your decision.

According to an article in USA Today, the information gathered from rankings, college profiles, college visits, interviews, and your own opinion can all be powerful in your college decision. Rankings provide an overview of colleges, including information like cost and application deadlines, as well as reputation, which may be important when it comes to potential employers.

What’s more important than rankings?
Ultimately, your decision shouldn’t come down to rankings. There are other important things to consider, such as the following:

  • Accreditation is important. This means the institution has met quality standards, helps students find acceptable institutions, ensures credits will transfer, affects financial aid eligibility, and is often required by employers. Online degrees should come from accredited programs or schools.
  • Experience is key. UNCG has a long history of providing opportunities for students to learn and succeed. Online learning is no exception. We’ve offered bachelor’s programs online since 2004. Our online courses meet the same academic standards as our face-to-face courses.
  • Look for value. UNCG’s online education is both exceptional and affordable. Online courses are often less expensive than face-to-face courses, and you’ll save money on things like fees, parking, and meal plans.
  • What else does the institution offer? Is doctoral granting important to you? What about financial aid, school size, or a strong nursing program? Can you participate in research as an undergraduate?

Take all of these factors into consideration when looking for the college that’s right for you.

Learn More
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