College guidance

Ease the college research with QS World University Rankings 2023

Students can benefit from listings like QS world university rankings when they know the criteria on which the rankings are based and align their preferences with them. Find the factors, their values and links to the listings here.

Anukriti Ganesh
September 28, 2022
3 min
Ease the college research with QS World University Rankings 2023
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Ease the college research with QS World University Rankings 2023

Every student wants to attend their dream college that will catapult them closer to their academic goals. The college should help one become a specialist in the chosen subject. Most students are in a dilemma about which college will hone their skills, how easy it is to secure a job after graduation, and how to choose the perfect country to study. Finding answers to these questions can get overwhelming. 

This study of the global university rankings will help students understand what they are, how they work, and how they can help one find the best-fit college. 

Understanding the QS Ranking methodology

QS World University Rankings is a comprehensive and interactive college ranking system that evaluates colleges based on regional criteria, allowing prospective students and their parents to compare universities from around the world. 

It gives students a starting point to discover their dream university by providing information about the pedagogy styles, courses, student-teacher ratios, employability, etc. 

For the 2023 edition, QS analyzed 2,462 institutions and ranked 1,422 institutions globally, making this edition of QS World University Ranking the largest to date. 

Check this list of top-ranked universities across the globe. 

The key indicators for QS World University Rankings

Academic reputation accounts for 40% of the final score. It evaluates the quality of curriculum and pedagogy and the research opportunities that a university provides. This academic opinion survey is the largest ever conducted, with over 130,000 expert opinions from the higher education industry.

The faculty-student ratio weighs 20% of the overall mark. It reflects the balance between the total number of academic staff in an institution and the total number of students. Having a high number of professors per student ensures higher interaction, effective teaching, and tutor support, apart from fostering a positive learning environment. 

The number of Citations per faculty contributes 20% to the final score. This score evaluates the quality of the research conducted at a university by looking at the total number of academic citations that the faculty members have achieved in papers published over five years.

Employer reputation holds 10% of the final score. It analyzes universities based on how well they prepare students for successful careers and the employment market. Additionally, the score shows how good a university is at developing soft skills, nurturing creativity and productivity, and establishing industry connections with potential employers during the years on campus. Universities across countries are working on creating strong industry relations so that the prospects for their students are positive. 

The international student ratio and international faculty ratio account for 5% each. The former examines the proportion of international students to total students, while the latter shows the proportion of international academics to the overall faculty members.

It stands to reason that a larger international student population promotes beneficial cultural exchanges and student networking. Collaborating with people from different cultural backgrounds broadens learning experiences and opens new avenues for the future. 

Similarly, more international academics indicates a diversity of views and fruitful collaborations.

Using QS rankings to find the best-fit college

After knowing which universities rank the highest and the criteria for ranking, should students apply only to the top universities? Certainly not! To find the best-fit college, they need to learn how to analyze these rankings. 

  • Relevance: Students should research each indicator in-depth and understand which ones are the most relevant to them. For example, if their field of study is research-based, they probably would want to look at the Citation per faculty rankings and not just the International student ratio. For students preferring small class sizes and mentoring, the Student-faculty ratio will be a vital factor. 
  • Secondary research: While the rankings are a great place to start, it is equally important to visit university websites and find out the approach to teaching the chosen subject. Attending open days, watching videos, and interacting with students about their experiences are some excellent ways to explore the college experience. They can also check Cialfo’s School section for details about colleges and curricula.  
  • Ideologies and culture: Some colleges have a better social impact, while others are more environmentally conscious. Reading each indicator carefully will help students align their perspective with the college and help them make an informed decision. 
  • Broader review: Students must also consider other deciding factors like city, region, subject, and employability. 

Students can view a comprehensive list of the top 10 QS Ranked Universities in the United States, UK, Asia, Australia, Canada, and Europe

Utilizing Cialfo’s Preference Fit 

To further guide students in their decision-making journey, we have a test that can help them apply to right-fit universities. 

Cialfo's Preference Fit helps students and counselors optimize the college search process by considering the factors mentioned below.

  • Academic: How important is the learning and research support offered by the faculty? 
  • Location: In which country would they study? Whether they prefer a campus-based university or a vibrant city environment? 
  • Financial: Are students looking for scholarships/ grants, or will they self-finance the program? 
  • People: Does the community at college matter for a student?    
  • Facilities: What are the students expecting in terms of the facilities offered by a university?
  • Demographics: Will the student demographics be a deciding factor?
  • Others: This section allows the user to provide more context on what is important to them. 

Help your students take the Preference Fit test by logging into the Cialfo platform and finding their best-fit university. 

Many factors are significant when deciding on a university. Rankings alone may not be enough to make the right call. Students can learn a lot about a university from its alumni events, graduate employment, and the relationship they have built with employers over time. Rankings may not emphasize these crucial factors, but most universities offer numerous opportunities to learn about campus life and explore study options.

While the rankings provide a birds-eye view of the university rankings based on certain criteria, students ought to start the research early to go deeper and see if their specific requirements are met. We wish them success in choosing their college!

Images: Pixabay, Keira Burton

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