College and university ranking systems have been around at least since U.S. News & World Report released its first rankings of the best colleges in American in 1983 and have grown significantly in popularity and influence over the years. There are now numerous magazines and websites publishing their own annual college rankings. And as long as prospective students find independent, transparent, and well-researched rankings of colleges and universities useful as they navigate the college selection and admission process, college rankings will continue to fulfill an important need.
The same need exists in the realm of online college and university degree programs. With the explosion in popularity of online and distance education, there is a need for the same kind of independent, transparent, well-researched analysis and rankings available for traditional colleges and universities. Here’s four specific reasons why online college and degree rankings are valuable to prospective students:
1. Knowledge is power. The more you know about a product or service, whether a college degree or a new car, the more empowered you are to make a wise investment. The best online college ranking systems will be based on solid, independent data and research that gives prospective students the power to compare different online schools and programs before deciding which one is best for them.
2. Getting behind the ads. Every school website and advertisement is designed to paint an online school or degree program in the best possible light. But as with any advertisement, things may not always be as they seem. Quality, independent rankings of online colleges and degree programs can help prospective students see behind the ads to what’s really there and how each online school stacks up to others in the ways that really matter beyond a slick website or glossy ad.
3. Separating the good from the bad. With the increase in demand for online college degrees, more and more online degree programs have come into existence. And while most online degree programs are of reasonable quality and maintain high ethical standards, there are degree mills and other low quality and ethically questionable programs that are simply looking to make a quick buck off of unsuspecting students. Online university and college degree rankings can help students find the online schools that have legitimate accreditation and a proven track record in helping students succeed.