The Times higher education world rankings for 2016/2017 have been released and Canada has 8 Universities in the top 200 and 3 Universities in the top 50. While the 3 in the top 50 have dropped marginally, 4 of the 8 in the top 200 have had a significant improvement in the Times world University rankings, which are the most reputed and trusted rankings of their kind.
The University of Toronto ranks at number 22 and is the highest among the Canadian Universities, excluding the usually dominant American and British Universities, the University ranked second behind the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Unlike these top Universities in America and the UK who receive large financial donations from the private sector, Canadian University system is very competitive, tuition fees are low and funding is received exclusively from the government.
There are many World University rankings conducted each year and all of them vary in their area of interest, while the Times ranking focuses more on teaching and research. Times rankings rate Universities in 5 main categories, namely; Research, teaching performance, journal citations, international reputation, and income generated from the education industry.
Rankings not the only consideration
Canada is one of the leading countries that put higher education standards among its priorities in setting up policies and systems, with 8 countries represented in the top 200 from an estimated 26,000 Universities worldwide, and as Of July 2016, Canada had the fourth highest number of Universities in the top 100 Universities worldwide.
However, Michelle Stark an associate professor of educational studies at the University of British Columbia welcomed the news with a pinch of salt and advised to view the rankings with a bit of caution as many other factors are not included in its assessments. For example, important factors concerning international students, such as; costs, community involvement, quality of life, work and placement opportunities, all of which were not considered in the rankings.
Deciding on a University
Before deciding on a particular University, many foreign international students refer to University rankings. These act as quick reference points from experts in the field and save time from scouring through many institution websites. Potential students should, however, consider whether income from industry is important for someone who wants to focus on their academic studies and whether citation rankings are important for someone who is looking for job posting opportunities and hands-on experience.
Another often overlooked but equally, one important factor to consider by international students is the lifestyle. Moving to a new University will mean it is your new home for potentially a few years or more, so students would be wise to consider the community and culture of their intended destination, academic history, and reputation.