Accreditation is usually missed out when the candidate’s hurried focus is on applying to recognized or “Top Ranked Institutions.” Most of the top rated institutions themselves promote their rankings through a number of outlets, such as the Times Higher Education, U.S. News, World Report and Forbes, to name a few of the most well-known publishers.
Those who are familiar with studying in the USA or who are aiming to study there are a variety of factors to decide which university they would like to attend. The prime focus is on the courses offered, location, word of mouth reviews, budget and rankings. That is not it. There are various other things that also need to be considered. In this article, we are going to talk about accreditation of a particular university or course and clarify some myths about it.
What is Accreditation?
Higher education institutions go through a systematic process to verify their compliance with strict educational requirements. This is referred to as accreditation. A number of private and non-government organisations (NGOs) assess courses and institutions on a voluntary basis, which in turn are often evaluated by bodies such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for their own quality measures. This external quality management is carried out on a voluntary basis by industry professionals. Both institutions and individual courses can be accredited regionally and nationally, meaning that one institution can hold several valid accreditations at the same time.
Why is Accreditation important?
Accreditation helps institutions to meet and uphold their high expectations, increasing public trust and confidence in them and boosting transparency. This allows prospective students and their families to put a certain degree of trust in the institution and on the basis of the accreditation they have earned.
As a foreign student it is really important to spend good time and energy in understanding the importance of the accreditation of a particular institution or university before you invest in it. It is fundamental to keep in mind that prospective employers place high importance on degrees from accredited institutions over non-accredited ones.
Let us reiterate here that rankings are not bad! It’s just that perception can sometimes overshadow more subtle aspects to be considered in the decision-making process. Institutions may choose to engage in different rating surveys; students may be surveyed or administrators may be asked to perform self-assessments or peer reviews. Some may prefer not to participate in rankings at all. Therefore an organisation or course without a ranking may not necessarily be “bad,” just as one with a high ranking may not be exactly what you expected.
Accreditation for an organisation or a particular course or department is compatible with a specific set of criteria that must be followed and retained in order to be validated at the base level fulfilling the requirements of the industry.
Do focus on this and keep it in mind while shortlisting and finally choosing your university. Keep an eye on the accreditations of the institution as a whole and the particular course you are interested in.
Our goal in writing this article was not to encourage you not to look at rankings. Instead, expand your outlook and also consider this very important aspect in your decision-making to study in the USA. Our counsellors at Kanan International, Vadodara are well-versed and can guide you as you navigate your journey to the USA and assist in making an informed decision for your future growth path.