Ranking Online Universities for Prospective College Students
The numbers of students enrolled at colleges and universities in the United States increased by as much as 26 percent from 1997 through 2007 according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In fact, by 2007 nearly 30 million students between the ages of 18 and 24 years attended a postsecondary school. Online university rankings measure key features and offerings at schools, making it easier for you to decide which colleges and universities are designed to best meet your academic, social, professional and personal needs.
For several years, U.S. News and World Report has ranked online schools as part of its annual college and university rankings. Some top online universities ranking reports only review certain undergraduate and/or graduate degree programs. For example, Inside Higher Education reports that U.S. News and World Report focused on reviewing online degree programs like business Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in education, engineering, nursing and information technology programs, disciplines that were mentioned as possibly having some of the highest online enrollments.
Understanding Online University Rankings
Types of information reviewed during online university rankings include:
- Numbers of students enrolled at the postsecondary school
- Undergraduate and/or graduate degrees offered
- Professor teaching credentials
- Percentage of students who graduate on time
- Percentage of students who get jobs after they graduate from the school
- Extracurricular activities available to students
- Academic support offered
- Number of years the school has been in operation
- Accreditations recognized by the United States Department of Education the online school has
As online universities and colleges continue to get reviewed and measured, reports by publications like U.S. News and World Report, the Princeton Review and Newsweek (publications that review and rank colleges and universities) may start to include peer review categories for online schools. This way accredited colleges and universities can review one another’s performance, possibly offering a more balanced review of the schools.
To complement online university rankings, students and parents can visit blogs and discussion forums for online schools they’re interested in enrolling at. Keyword searches for items like “student enrollment,” “social events,” “tutoring programs,” “professor support” and “numbers of students who get jobs after they graduate with degrees” may provide information to prospective students that rankings and college admissions and enrollment counselors do not. Overall, the advent of the Internet is making it increasingly convenient and easier for students to find out details and facts about schools from a variety of sources (e.g. college administrators, rankings organizations, current students and faculty members).
Online university rankings give you a broad overview of degrees, student activities, books and tuition costs, etc. associated with individual distance learning schools. Current reports such as online university rankings 2010 capture recent administrative, financial and academic changes that have taken place at distance learning institutions of higher education. These and other best online university ranking reports can save you the time and money of scheduling meetings with admissions counselors at each school you’re interested in attending to ask them pertinent questions about their schools.