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A student’s take on the Impact Rankings: how and why to use them

Students can use the Impact Rankings to assess which universities are most aligned to their values and explore lesser-known institutions making a commitment to real change

  • Rankings for Students
Sushant Shrestha 's avatar

Sushant Shrestha

International student from Nepal, studying at Tongji University
April 19 2021
Wind turbines in the ocean


The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The rankings, which started in 2019, have seen growing numbers of universities across the globe participating. Their evaluation criteria explore the research, stewardship, outreach and teaching universities are conducting to support the SDGs.

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The rankings have also helped universities expand their market reach, while contributing to social change and policy support. But why does an Impact Ranking matter to a student?

  1. Assessing the most appropriate fit

After education quality and affordability, assessing the best fit is perhaps one of the most important aspects students consider when choosing a prospective university.

And universities also look for applicants who have a good understanding of and alignment with their values and missions.

In this context, the Impact Rankings are a great tool for researching a university’s values and how it practises them. Whether what matters most to you is climate change, gender equality, poverty eradication or anything else, the Impact Ranking can help you pick the most appropriate university for your values.

2. Career-oriented exposure and networks

As students, we are always thinking about life after graduation and career development.

In this quest to further our careers, the topics we study and the problems that interest us are vital.

The Impact Rankings reflect the ways universities prioritise the SDGs, and the opportunities to further our professional interests and engage with issues that interest and excite us.

  1. Exploring a wide variety of universities

The Impact Rankings are a great way to explore universities that do not feature in other THE rankings and thus are a useful parameter for prospective applicants.

These rankings can help you discover excellent but underrated schools and regions with values that are strongly aligned to your interests and concerns.

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