Online Degree Rankings and You: What Does it all Mean?

Jan 12th, 2010

Rankings have become a way of life: we rank music, movies, and most importantly online degree programs as we become more technologically advanced.  This gives us a forum of feedback if we are involved in the ranking process or gives us a research tool for discovering what many people consider to be the top ranked online degree program or top ranked professor.  With sites popping up all over the internet that cater exclusively to rankings within the online education world, it has become essential to understand the ranking process as a potential distance learning student. 

Online degree rankings rate the many different types of degree programs that online schools now offer.  Ranging from liberal arts programs at University of Phoenix to a brand new nursing program in a newly created institute, the ranking system offers valuable insight to the possibility of growth within the school and the notoriety it has received from outside sources.  While history is typically the prominent indicator of a school’s worth (because an older school has typically built up a more impressive degree program), this is not always the case and many newly created schools have blown older schools out of the water with their advanced degree programs. 

Rankings for online degree programs are based on a variety of topics including the type of courses offered, the number of students who graduate from the programs, and the success of past graduates.  Most ranking sites piece all of these options together in order to come up with the most viable options for a potential student.  This cuts down on doing much of the research yourself, but further research must still be done to determine the exact online degree ranking of each specific major and course if you want to ensure the best possible success.  Online degree rankings are by no means an exact science and are open to their own interpretation, which is why some degree programs fluctuate within different ranking systems. 

However, the best choices for schools usually make it on most Top Ten lists, regardless of the degree program.  The fact that the school itself is constantly ranked high is a clear indication that their degree programs are all found to be exceptional.  Ranking systems have been around for decades and will continue to be utilized throughout the online education evolution as more schools pop up from the interwebs and new degree programs open up every semester.  This system has proved its worth on a number of times and online degree rankings have proven to be a vital source for many students of online colleges. 


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