Com-me.com, Cost, location and career prospects are all key considerations for would-be students choosing a university.
But reputation plays an important role, too.
The annual World University Rankings, released by Times Higher Education (THE) on Wednesday, analysed more than 1,300 institutions around the world.
Considered the most comprehensive global ranking, it uses 13 “performance indicators” to judge institutions’ excellence in teaching, research, income and international outlook.
There was no change at the top this year, where European and North American universities continue to dominate.
The hallowed University of Oxford took the top spot for the fourth year in a row, with its traditional rival the University of Cambridge dropping to third place behind the California Institute of Technology.
Switzerland, was the only country outside the United Kingdom, and North America to break into the top 20, with the ETH Zurich coming in joint 13th place.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 includes more than 1,250 universities, making it our biggest international league table to date.
It is the only global university performance table to judge research-intensive universities across all of their core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. We use 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons, trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.
The calculation of the rankings for 2019 has been audited by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), making these the only global university rankings to be subjected to full, independent scrutiny of this nature.
This year’s list of the best universities in the world is led by the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge for the second year in a row.
Yale University is the only newcomer to the top 10, joining at eighth place, up from 12th. Meanwhile, Switzerland’s ETH Zurich has fallen out of this elite group, dropping from joint 10th to 11th place.
Tsinghua University is now the top university in Asia, after rising eight places to 22nd, becoming the first Chinese institution to lead the continent under the current methodology (since 2011). China as a whole has increased its standing, driven by improvements in citation impact.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan has overtaken the UK as the second most-represented nation in the world, with 103 institutions (the UK has 98).
There is also good news for France, which has a top 50 university for the first time since 2011, while several leading universities in Italy, Spain and Canada have risen.
Overall, 86 countries are represented, including Iraq, Jamaica, Nepal, T