University rankings and ratings

If you’re thinking about entering tertiary study, it’s likely that you’re considering a few different things, such as course availability, the institution’s location, course specialisations or career outcomes. In this process, you may have heard mention of university rankings and ratings — but what’s the difference between the two? You may have been told, for example, that an institution you’re considering has a high ranking among other Australian universities, but that another university that doesn’t rank as highly has received a better rating for its teaching quality or graduate starting salary.

University rankings versus ratings:

  • University rankings refer to an institution’s overall place in a global or national scale measured up against its competitors. Rankings are usually related to academia and may be decided based on points awarded for criteria such as academic reputation, student to teacher ratio and research produced. These rankings are based on statistics and concrete evidence of a university’s performance.
  • University ratings, on the other hand, may be more concerned with how well a university performs in a specific area or its student satisfaction rate. Ratings are awarded based on a wide range of criteria, rather than simply academia, such as career outcomes, student experience feedback and graduate starting salaries.

While universities may have an overall ranking, each will receive different ratings according to their performance in various areas. You may well find that a high-ranking Australian university does not rate as well when it comes to specific criteria, such as its delivery of a specific subject area or its student support services. Certain degrees may be better executed by smaller universities that don't rank as well. You may also find that some low-ranking universities excel in other areas, such as teaching quality.

You may also have requirements that some universities cater to better than others that you will need to keep in mind when choosing a university, such as studying via online or distance education.

So, as you can see, it’s not as simple as saying that the university that ranks highest is the best choice, as a number of other factors may come into play when you make your final decision. Above all, you will need to choose a university based on what you would like to get from your tertiary experience and selecting one that can best cater for your needs.

The best place to start is our Ratings Search !