London Specials: Rankings, Social Construct or Practical Indicator? (English)

Rankings are one of the main comparative indicators for university courses. Rankings that are commonly used either in tandem or exclusively are university rankings and course rankings. These two rankings are often interchangeable in the scale of priority which depends on the students who are considering them.This has called for the necessity of students being aware of the debates that are taking place on both sides: Social and Practical.

Social

Course rankings and university rankings are two things that should be looked at differently. University rankings are usually what makes or breaks a student’s social status as they are often viewed as a means to boost your social status in the context of university education. This is possible because usually the higher the rank the more competitive admission into the course is and the better the program is. As a result, students often disregard course rankings in favor of university rankings. The implications of this thought process is that students might not be able to get a high-quality education when considering uni rankings first. This is because course rankings are what really reflect what you will learn in uni and give more insight to how those learning experiences in different places compare to each other. So in the context of social comparison, university rankings are usually prioritised over course rankings to the detriment of the learning experience a student will experience.

Practical

The practical approach towards rankings is that course rankings are the most important comparative indicator in regards to the education offered by the course. This is because course rankings are much more specific and insightful to the learning experience a student will experience. However, this approach is not usually undertaken due to the lack of social reward. This is because there are many cases where the fame and competitiveness of a uni are not parallel to the course. This means that there a lot of cases where good courses are in unis that are easy to get into which doesn’t garner significant social recognition. In conclusion, being practical and choosing a uni for its course ranking instead of its uni ranking is a smart choice educationally but not of much use socially.

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