When choosing a university to continue your education as an adult student, will the university rankings be important for you? Find out in this article if you should consider the university rankings when choosing the right college for your back-to-school journey
Ideally, you want to go to the highest-ranked University for your subject because in theory the higher the rank, the better quality of teaching, the campus’s facilities, the student satisfaction et cetera.
Plus, employers seek the best of the best candidates for their companies and are likely to think that the higher the rankings/status of the university you study at, the more qualified you’ll be as an employee.
If you’re trying to get into a competitive industry, you want to give yourself the best chance possible to succeed. Therefore, even though I wouldn’t suggest you pick a university solely because of its rankings, you can’t just dismiss the possibility of continuing your study in top universities simply because you thought you might not going to be able to keep up with the study, considering your status as an adult student and a non-traditional student mom and dad with plenty of responsibilities.
Deciding which university to go to and what degree you are going to study is not easy. There are a lot of things to take into consideration.
As adult students and perhaps also non-traditional student moms and dads you might consider different things than your younger peers when it comes to choosing a university to continue your education.
Since most likely you have to juggle many responsibilities such as work and family, you might think high-ranking universities are not going to be the perfect fit for you.
The study will be rigorous, that’s one of the reasons why they have a good reputation and earn that high ranking after all. With all the craziness that’s going on in your life, you thought you are lucky to be able to go back to school at all.
You might be unsure if you’ll be able to keep up with your study, let alone study in a competitive environment in a top-notch school.
But don’t be discouraged before you even start yet, and most importantly, don’t just dismiss the possibility of going back to school and studying at top universities simply because of your status as an adult student or a non-traditional student mom or dad.
Will it be hard for you? Yes definitely, but it doesn’t mean that it will be impossible. One thing is for sure, the benefits of continuing your study in high-ranking universities will outweigh the difficulties.
True that you’ll take a big risk, but it will be a risk worth taking, for you to have a better future since all the hardships you’ll have to go through during your study period in a top-notch university will be worth it someday.
1. High-Quality Programs/ Subjects
According to Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, to be able to decide on their rankings, each university is judged in five categories covering the core missions of all world-class, global universities: Teaching, Research, Citations (research influence), Industry Income, and International Outlook.
Each category is measured by performance indicators, which will be a good indication of the prestige, facilities, and resources of the teaching and studying environment, which would have a direct impact on the students.
They also provide “key statistics” for each university, which are the number of students, the student-gender ratio, the staff-to-student ratio, and the percentage of international students
The better the overall score, the higher the university ranking will be. But bear in mind that you shouldn’t only focus on the university’s overall ranking.
While this is important, you should also consider the rank of the subject area of your choosing. For example, if you are interested in studying Engineering, you should find out not just which universities rank well, but which universities specifically rank well for their Engineering programs.
Looking at subject rankings is particularly important if your subject is quite technical, or if you have a particular career in mind. You will want to make sure your choice of university offers excellent teaching and facilities for your chosen subject.
2. Solid Alumni Network
Top-notch universities such as the Ivy League Universities in the US and the members of Russel Group universities in the UK, for example, are mostly older universities that already have thousands of alumni and a solid alumni network.
They provide donations to their alma mater, information on job openings, scholarship programs, et cetera, as well as contributing their time and sharing their knowledge by coming to their campus’s career days and giving presentations about job interview tips, and so on.
Most importantly, they will be open to the current students who reach out to them and wants to connect via Linkedln, to meet with them and share knowledge and information, introduce them to certain people who could further help with their needs regarding their study and career plan, would happily give recommendations and referrals, et cetera.
Therefore, choosing to study at a top university will not only going to be beneficial for you academically but also professionally, as it will provide you with a strong support system from their solid alumni network
3. Strong Connections with Other Universities and Industries
As mentioned above, top universities are mostly older universities. Being old, they have time to build networks and connections with other universities and industries.
Being a student of one of these universities give you opportunities to work on projects with students and academics from different universities, or have the chance to work with international companies, through various collaborations programs that they provided.
For example, a couple of years ago, I went back to school as a student mom and an international student. I studied in Italy and brought my husband and (then) 4 years old daughter with me.
I chose this university because they have an internship program. I thought that it will be a good opportunity for me to have the experience of working in a company before I even graduate.
I thought we will get the chance to work in some Italian company, but to my surprise, it was big multinational companies, such as Google, 3M, Disney, Leo Burnett, and the like of it.
My university has some collaborations with these companies, where their students could have a chance to do internships or involve in projects, and gain some work experience before they even graduate.
As for the companies, they could have interns, which could be shifted into a more permanent position, if both parties agree. Because of that, I got a chance to experience working on a consultancy project at Google Italia.
Looking back, I shouldn’t be surprised though, since the university that I’ve chosen is one of the oldest and the best ones in Italy, of course, they would have a good connection with big and reputable companies.
So, if boosting your career is one of the main reasons why you want to go back to school even though now you are an adult, and a mom or dad, you should really consider enrolling yourself at top universities.
It doesn’t have to be one of the top universities in the world though, just the top university in your country or in the country of your study abroad destination is already good enough.
4. Has Strong Funding
Older and established universities most likely will have strong funding; donations from corporations and their alumni, making their own money, funding from the government et cetera. They have a well-oiled machine funding mechanism and extensive experience in raising funds.
As a result, they tend to have complete facilities in optimal condition, even state-of-the-art facilities with the latest technologies. All are well maintained so that you can use them for free or with a little fee.
This could be a strong added value, especially if you specialized in programs that will need plenty of lab work, for example. Even if you don’t, let’s say you major in Marketing Communication, you could still have the advantage of using the university’s big name and strong connections with corporations to land yourself a job interview.
5. More Scholarships, Grants, and Bursaries Opportunities
Still related to the previous point, when a university has strong funding, they have the capability of offering more scholarships, grants, bursaries, and other financial aid.
These funds could help potential students with outstanding profiles and achievements, whose attendance in the institution could help raise the university’s profile and ranking, but couldn’t afford to finance their studies.
It’s a win-win solution for both parties. The more fund the universities have, the bigger your chance to get financial aid to continue your study since the selection process might not be as competitive as universities with significantly fewer funds to offer.
But the keyword here is “funding”, not the university itself. So, universities with strong funding are not only limited to older and established ones.
Plenty of new universities built by prominent people in their field have strong funding, thanks to their vast network building in such a short amount of time. If you need scholarships, do your research. Find a university with all the mentioned above qualities, as well as offer a bigger chance to score financial aid.
6. They are Very Competitive
By far the number one factor considered by most organizations that hire people is the individual – his or her accomplishments, attitude, and demonstrated knowledge and skills.
But still, the university’s reputation matters somewhat. For example, a government agency is more likely to find a university’s reputation important than an industrial company, high-tech company, etc.
This is because companies in high-tech succeed by having employees who produce outstanding results, not by having employees with outstanding resumes. So, basically, whether it matters or not depends on the nature of the job and the employer.
But the general consensus is, the better the university’s reputation, the more selective its recruitment process will be.
Then, once they are accepted, these “chosen” individuals will have to go through rigorous study periods in a highly competitive environment, supported by the best facilities, curriculum, and an array of outstanding academists and professionals in their industry as their lecturers, and are used to push themselves to the max to be able to survive and even thrive in their studies.
Thus, the better the “output” will be. That’s why some universities and some majors have better employment rates for their graduates.
7. The Branding Creates a “Halo” Effect
When applying to your job straight out of school, having a degree from Harvard, Stanford, Oxford or Cambridge is going to count more than a state school, and whether you like to admit it or not, that makes for a significant career difference overall.
The graduates from the Ivies, the Russel Group Members, and other high-profile private schools tend to earn higher average incomes, have more publications, positions in government bodies, and so on.
Although now that is not always the case since based on the research conducted by Forbes, going to an Ivy League school is no longer a requirement for Fortune 100 CEOs, it is still able to create a “halo” effect.
So, the name and reputation of the institution where you got your degree, to a certain extent, still make some impact on your future career.
Over to You…
When you want to go back to school, deciding which university to attend is one of the most important decisions that are crucial for your future endeavor.
As an adult student, and perhaps also a non-traditional student mom and dad, you have a lot at stake and make great sacrifices in order to make your dreams of going back to school happen, thus, you can’t afford to make mistakes by choosing the wrong university to attend.
Even though as an adult with many responsibilities, you think that most likely the top universities will not be a perfect fit for you (because e.g, too much pressure, too expensive, and so on) don’t just rule them out yet.
There are still plenty of advantages that they could offer you and will be beneficial for your future career because these high-ranking universities most likely have high-quality programs/subjects, a solid alumni network, and strong funding and therefore, could give you more opportunities for you to get some financial aid for your study.
They are also very competitive. You will have to work hard to survive and thrive. But the good news is, you will become so used to always giving your best and competing with the best of the best, traits that are highly appreciated by employers.
Top universities are known for accepting only the best talents and nurturing them in a competitive environment with the best facilities to support study activities.
Thus, employers think that the graduates from those schools will be going to be the best assets for their companies. It will create a “halo” effect for everyone who graduates from there, including you.
So, don’t hesitate to enroll in high-ranking universities, and have more faith in yourself, YOU GOT THIS!!! By the way, if you need help in your back-to-school preparation, check out my Mini Ebook on University Application here.
Document your research on the university you have your eyes on in this done for your University Research workbook. You can study them later, make notes and comparisons, and help you make one of the biggest decisions in your life.
If you worry about the financial aspect of your study, check this budget tracker. I’ve put out a comprehensive list of all the expenses you might have to spend throughout your study, from the research phase to your monthly expenses during your studies.
From there, you can make an estimation of how much money you need to prepare. Put on the amount you actually spend on those lists to track your spending in the designated places to calculate everything.
You could also use them if you want to study abroad, it has details about things you’ll need to prepare before you can start your new adventure abroad, and a worksheet listing your potential monthly expenses to track your monthly budget throughout your study period.
So, what do you think? Ready to enroll in those top universities? Let me know in the comment section down below. Pin this for later and share them on social media…
Thanks so much and till next time!!!