One of the best ways to get a feel for the registered nursing programs available is to check out professional rankings available for college students. Every publication has its own ways of measuring the value of a program, and you certainly should not make your educational choices solely on a school’s ranking, but this is a great way to get started with your college research so you can find the best school for you.
Nursing School Rankings
Some college rankings include programs covering all educational majors, but for the most help in choosing an RN program, it is best to look at rankings that specifically cover nursing schools. U.S. News and World Report is a great resource for this, as they provide a supplemental nursing list in addition to their main college ranking list. The National Health Institute also provides a great list of nursing schools ranked by value, and you can look to your state nursing board to find out more about schools in your specific area.
Rankings are usually published annually, but some lists are published more or less frequently. Use the most updated
Every rankings list has its own way of rating nursing programs. Some of the common factors used by publications to rank nursing schools include the following:
- Class size and student-to-professor ratio
- Standardized test scores of incoming students
- Percentage of students with jobs after graduation
- Publications by students and professors
- Availability of financial aid and scholarships
- Amount of money spent on research projects
- Library resources for students
- Student retention rate
In addition, some rankings use a peer evaluation score to rate schools. They ask professors or school administrators from similar schools to rate programs on personal opinion, and this score is factored into a program’s overall total.
The Pros and Cons of Rankings
The biggest advantage to nursing school program rankings is that you’re able to read a lot of information in one place. Rankings lists organize statistics about a college, giving you an overview of all the programs you’re considering. Of course, these lists aren’t perfect. Keep in mind that college rankings can leave out important pieces of information, which sometimes skews the favor to a certain nursing program, even though it may not be the best for you. Rankings information is also a bit outdated, even with lists that are compiled annually, since it takes time to collect and analyze the data.
What Else to Consider
Don’t stop your nursing school program research with college rankings. There’s a lot to learn about each program you’re considering that the rankings won’t tell you. Take a tour of the campus to get a feel for the atmosphere. Even if your program is online, you can still take a virtual tour to find out what it is like as a distance learning student. It also helps to talk to current and previous students, as they can tell you what they really like and dislike about their program. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more you learn about each program, the better decision you can make about which school to attend.
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