I am preparing to pursue higher education and I was reading articles about schools. In one of the articles it was mentioned that the author attended a "high teens" ranked school. There was no mention of who ranked this school, how it was ranked, or why. I assume the idea was that I should be impressed by the implication that his school was ranked between 19-16 (my scale for "high" teens).

Who is ranking these schools and what does this number mean? How do I find out my schools ranking?

  • 1
    Lots of places do rankings. See e.g. academia.stackexchange.com/q/1178/19607
    – Kimball
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 15:09
  • 2
    This question excellently summarizes how rankings work: The reader of a mentioned ranking is unsure about the source of a ranking and about the concrete meaning of the score, but they are left with a vague feeling that they should probably be impressed by the ranking nonetheless ;) Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 15:26
  • As a tangential comment, I am not sure whether I would interpret "high teens" to mean "11-15" in this context or "16-19"; both seem equally likely (and equally ambiguous).
    – Tom Church
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 19:05

1 Answer 1


Anyone can rank schools.

Some rankings are more popular than others (e.g., US News) and some may do so based on particular metrics but there is no de facto ranking system in the world.

What they actually mean is up for interpretation, and unless they provide the complete methodology then it is rather difficult to find meaning in them at all.

  • That answers that. I assumed there was a central ranking authority or government authority who provides a blessing of sort for programs. Thanks a bunch! Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 15:16
  • 3
    @ILikeTurtles I don't doubt that governments and communities have their own accepted ranking systems, but nothing is globally accepted and they would still have the same faults. Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 15:19
  • Relevant xkcd
    – JeffE
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 20:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .