Beyond Athletics Career-Match

Can LinkedIn University Rankings Help You Find the Right School?

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There are tons of different ways to rank colleges. For example, our annual Collegiate Rankings help student-athletes make informed decisions about the overall academic and athletic quality of programs they’re interested in, and within your NCSA digital profile you can specify which colleges interest you and see which ones you match with.

Those are great tools to help you gauge if you’re a good match academically, athletically and socially. But, as the admissions experts at Admitster recently wrote, you might be thinking even further into the future. In that case, you might be interested in seeing which schools match best with your future career.

LinkedIn University Rankings — Big Data!

This blog has visited the subject of college rankings many times before – see, for instance, here and here. Furthermore, the College Scorecard, while NOT a ranking, does allow you to compare schools on different measures, including average annual cost, graduation rates, and salary after attending. There is no single ranking system or tool that you should definitely be using to assess possible colleges to which you may apply, but it is advisable to be aware of the different options that are out there for comparing schools. Some examples include:

  • U.S. News & World Report – Our rankings “allow you to compare at a glance the relative quality of institutions based on such widely accepted indicators of excellence as freshman retention and graduation rates and the strength of the faculty.” For more information on their methodology, click here. To see the full ranking, click here.
  • Forbes – “We ignore the abstract (reputation) and wasteful (spending-per-student) to focus on one measurement: outcome. From student satisfaction and graduation rates, to career success and student debt, this ranking counts what matters.” Click here for their ranking.
  • Money Magazine – Our rankings indicate which schools “deliver the most value—that is, a great education, at an affordable price, that helps students launch promising careers.” See here for more information on their methodology, and here for Money’s Best Colleges.
  • The Times Higher Education – Our list “judges world-class universities across all of their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.” Click here for more information.

LinkedIn University Rankings are based on career outcomes

Today I want to introduce you to yet another ranking system, and one that I think you’ll appreciate! It’s the LinkedIn University Rankings, which is based on career outcomes – “From university to career, see which universities are launching graduates into desirable jobs.” That is, these rankings are based on the career paths / employment patterns of the 396 million LinkedIn members – it’s really very cool! For instance:

You can also search for more specific career outcomes. For example, are you interested in working at Pixar? Then perhaps you should consider the Character Animation Program at the California Institute of the Arts. Beyond the lists, there’s also a university finder tool – “Tell us what you want to do, and we’ll show you which universities send the most alumni into that career.”

As this article from The Wall Street Journal points out,

“The results from LinkedIn – by virtue of the size of its membership – offer the latest significant development in the way big data are reordering perceptions into how college influences a person’s career.”

The article, however, also points out that these rankings must be taken with a grain of salt, as LinkedIn

“doesn’t collect information on income, wealth, race or gender, and only considers graduates who obtained their degrees within the past eight years.”

Still, the LinkedIn University Rankings definitely have the potential to contribute interesting and relevant information in helping you to address the ever-important “Where should I apply?” question, as the data allows you to further assess a potential college’s value, in terms of life post-graduation. Check it out!


Interested in learning more about how to find the right college matches for you? Unlock NCSA tools to help with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.