Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nursing Schools Ratings and Rankings

As you start your research on which nursing programs to apply to, you may find yourself blown away by the different websites that proclaim to give you the top nursing schools ratings and rankings. Each list seems to be different, and each list has its own criterion for selecting its picks. How do you know which ones are best?  It’s a difficult task, but it is possible to develop your own top list based on a conglomeration of all of these other rankings.

First things first, you have to realize that these top nursing schools ratings and rankings are tremendously subjective. Some require that the schools have dual accreditation just to be considered. Others have no requirements for accreditation whatsoever. Other lists create their rankings based on student reviews, while some base their scores on test results, and still others use the feedback of professors across the board from all of the schools to determine placement. Because the criterion used for ranking differs across the board, it is extremely rare to see the same rankings on even ten lists. How do you decide which methodology is best? You don’t. Instead, look for repeats across the board. If one school is listed on nearly every list in the top five, it might be worth looking into.

Second, remember that these top nursing schools ratings and rankings are typically based on strictly academic perceptions. It may have little to do with the qualities that you find important. That’s why it’s so important to evaluate the schools you do see on these lists on your own, instead of just assuming that the lists give you a series of schools that you should definitely apply to. If you’re someone who values small class sizes and accessibility of professors, some of the larger schools that appear on these lists may not give you the kind of education you need. If you’re looking to work one on one with some of the brightest minds in the industry, you’ll have to do separate research as well, just to make sure that the names affiliated with a program actually participate in the classes.

Finally, make sure the list of top nursing schools ratings and rankings are up to date and credible. If you’re doing research online, which most people do, you may find a lot of outdated information. People may post rankings from six years ago which put one school on top, but current ratings may have different schools rated highly. Moreover, the ratings that are posted aren’t always from a credible source. The Princeton Review and US News Guide tend to publish pretty authentic lists, but other websites will post “top ranked” schools as a means of advertising alone. Make sure that you vet any information you find online, and confirm the information from several sources before you give a school serious consideration.

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