In recent years, rankings have begun to be talked about within Italian universities. Rankings actually began in the ‘80s in the United States, mainly in periodicals, as a guide for students and their families in choosing a school or a program, or for gathering information. They are created by giving each university a score defined on the basis of a few predetermined indicators. Universities are listed in order based on this score, allowing readers to quickly and easily compare institutions with different characteristics.
Over the years, the number of young people interested in choosing a university from within a global perspective has increased considerably. Rankings have been evolving, improving and specializing, with differing methods and by different actors.
The main objective is still to help students when choosing higher education, but other objectives have emerged. Rankings are no longer published only by industry periodicals or newspapers but also consulting companies, research organizations and several universities themselves. Depending on the aims and the intended audience, the parameters used may vary greatly and the same institution may be placed differently on different rankings.
Overall, rankings are therefore an important evaluating factor and, if used correctly, can be both an incentive for university improvement and one of the elements used to compare universities, emphasizing viewpoints that focus on everything from research quality to the reputation and quality of specific study programs.