When looking for colleges, most students dream to get into best universities in the world such as Harvard University, Yale University, Cambridge University and University of Oxford. But applying to these universities simply isn’t always an option. Living in a completely different culture from your own can be difficult, and there are often family issues.
So you may need to find ways to access the same quality of education elsewhere. The challenge then becomes how to find a good university closer to home.
A great way to judge whether a university is reputable or not is examining its regional or global ranking. Universities are often ranked to establish their relative position compared to other universities in their respective countries, regions and continents, as well as in comparison to other universities around the world.
There are many university ranking organizations, some more reputable than others. To determine the rank of a university, these organizations consider a variety of factors such as curriculum, diversity (international students), quality of the faculty, research productivity and a number of other factors determined by the ranking organization.
The rank of the university is a good indicator of the quality of education it offers. Even though universities that are ranked very high in these periodic rankings tend to be relatively expensive, it may be helpful to consult these lists to see how the universities you are interested in fare compared to others. Most of these ranking lists can be accessed for free online but others may require a fee to access them. A quick Internet search can help you learn the names of reputable ranking organizations you can consult.
One thing to consider when looking at rankings is that they don’t always properly take into account young universities. If the ranking criteria focus strongly on the research output of universities, those institutions that are younger may not rank as highly as other institutions that have been around for many years with long-established research programs.
In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, there are a few universities that have achieved coveted rankings in some reputable global ranking institutions.
In 2012, American University of Sharjah ranked in the world’s top 450 universities by the London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), one of the world's most trusted university rankings. Of more than 2,500 global institutions considered by the organization for 2012/2013, AUS was ranked in the top 401-450 bracket, a substantial climb from the previous year's 601+ bracket.
Gureni Lukwaro is a writer and editor at The Strategic Communications and Media Department of American University of Sharjah
You can download your copy of "How to Choose a University in the MENA Region" eBook at http://bit.ly/1m8pbey
For more information about American University of Sharjah, please visit www.aus.edu