This week, we interview Solange Da Silva of agency Laisra Ltd, an agency with offices in the UK and Brazil, gives her opinion on how important university ranking systems are for students when considering study abroad options. 

Whilst choosing university studies overseas, many students believe the university’s league table position and its ranking in particular courses to be important factors of consideration.

One reason is because some employers consider graduates from higher-ranked universities to be more appealing candidates.  However, a reality that is often overlooked is the percentages of students who enter high-ranking universities, only to finish with poor grades, or even worse, those who don’t complete the study at all. 

Certainly, in addition to league table positions, there are many other factors to be considered that are equally crucial for the student’s academic success. For example, the quality and amount of Academic English support an institution offers should also be considered. As an international student myself, at two universities in the UK, I am aware of the important role a high level of academic English plays in the success of students. University lecturers are frequently complaining about the lack of this skill in many home and international students, but it is the latter that truly have more difficulty with this task. That is because many overseas students are unaware of the British academic style of writing, where, for instance, students are encouraged to use critical thinking and offer their personal opinion.

Another essential factor for overseas students to consider is the cost of the university, including all applicable fees, as in the UK they can exceed £14,000.00.  In many countries the fact that a candidate has an international education is sufficient for employers and the university’s ranking does not play a major part in the recruitment process. Still, the final factor influencing this decision is the level of a student’s satisfaction. A student should be happy and find it easy to adapt within the university environment. Ultimately, both the students’ state of mind and performance will impact their final grades and consequently their employability. How can students perform well if they are unhappy with their chosen university?

I suggest students pondering a university overseas carefully analyse all the factors that may influence their professional success and not simply choose a university based on its ranking. Ignoring other factors such as cost, facilities and support could prove to be detrimental.

This article is the unabridged version of a contribution to the ‘Inside the Industry’ section of this month’s Study Travel Magazine. See the full article for further agent opinions on this topic.

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