Comparative Analysis of the Role of the University Ranking Positions under Conditions of Globalization in the Motivation of Prospective Students in 2011-2014
Avralev NV*1, Rykhtik MI2, Baluev DG3 and Efimova IN4
1 Vice-Rector for Public Relations,
Candidate of Political Sciences,
Lobachevsky University, Russia
2 Professor, Director, Doctor of Political
Sciences, Lobachevsky University, Russia
3 Professor, Doctor of Political Sciences,
Institute of International Relations and
World History, Lobachevsky University,
4 Candidate of Social Sciences,
Department of Public Relations and
Mass Media, Lobachevsky University,
- Corresponding Author:
- Avralev NV
Avralev NV, Vice-Rector for Public Relations
Candidate of Political Sciences, Lobachevsky
Russia23 Prospekt Gagarina
Tel: +7 (831) 462 33-00
Received February 29, 2016; Accepted March 12, 2016; Published March 24, 2016
Citation: Avralev NV, Rykhtik MI, Baluev
DG. Comparative Analysis of the Role
of the University Ranking Positions
under Conditions of Globalization in the
Motivation of Prospective Students in 2011-2014. Global Media Journal. 2016, S2:10.
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The article describes Russian and foreign universities as subjects of the new trends of global competition and the integration into the world educational space in general, attempts to analyze the influence of the role of universities ranking positions and brand on the psychological aspects of the motivation of prospective students, as well as guidelines for the development of higher education in modern Russia in this context. It is an attempt to analyze the main trends in the development of higher education in modern Russia, aimed at forming a new innovation-oriented person, professional with a wide range of knowledge and skills and with the ability of continuous learning. It is analyzing the reasons, factors and criteria that have a decisive influence on the choice of the university; recent trends in world ranking practice of institutions of higher education, the variability in the concepts and approaches to the interpretation of the goals and objectives of the process. It is described the key mechanisms of formation the favorable information field for working with prospective students, determined the most effective channels and content of communication, opinion leaders, providing one of the determining influence to the choice of the university, a forecast of its kind in the communications policy, with both local prospective students, and prospects for development in the framework of international promotion nationwide trend to improve the quality of Russian higher education and competitiveness of Russian universities among the world's leading research and education centers. The value of research, according to the authors, is in analysis the dynamics of the most current trends in higher education in 2011-2014 years and prospects for further research.
Educational need; Motivation; Brand of the university; Rankings;
International recruiting; Global competitiveness; Psychology of choice.
The present level of development of any country and its place in
the global division of labor are increasingly determined by the
quality and quantity of human capital that it has. Improving the
human capital, accompanied by an increase in its value, allows
increasing the efficiency of using all resources. Therefore, the
level of development of the country depends on the creation
and maintaining at the proper level of an effective system of
reproduction of the human capital, the main component of which
is education. In these circumstances, the role of universities can
not be overestimated.
The change of Russian economic policy towards the innovative
way of development, focus on improving the efficiency of the
economy suggest qualitative changes, structural changes, new
approaches to the formation and development of the educational
sphere. Therefore, the formation of full and effective functioning
of the education market is an important factor in the creation of
human capital and it should be seen as a necessary condition, and
the main means of implementing a strategy aimed at maintaining
a high level of production and the country's competitiveness in
the global market.
Problems of competition in the field of higher education are particularly importance in terms of development of market
relations. Variability and dynamic environment of the market
environment in this period reached the highest degree. Adapting
to it and in conditions when universities are becoming as subjects
of market relations it leads to the need for assessment of their
competitive position. This is largely due to the same time as the
actual processes of reforming the education system, have a direct
impact on the development of competition between universities.
Identification of the competitive position of universities, in
addition, is directly related to improving the quality of education
in determining the status and effectiveness of the educational
process and is one of the most important elements of modern
Russian policy in the field of higher education.
Infiltrating in the higher education sector, market actualizes the
problem of improving the competitiveness of higher education
institutions, which come into competition with each other
for prospective students, as well as fighting for the factors of
production among themselves and with companies in other
industries. Raising the level of competitiveness of the university
impact to the quality and quantity of human capital positively,
which is the goal of the operation of any institution ultimately.
The obvious reason for the growth of the relevance studying the
problems of education and motivation of learning is increasingly
close relationship with these problems of socio-economic
development of society, as education provides feedback to all
spheres of social life: economic, political and cultural. Experiencing
the social pressure of these subsystems, it turns them into stable
forms of knowledge about the world as repetitive behaviors of
students and forms the value system of the young generation,
which creates the possibility of further development of society.
The effectiveness of higher education in the new economy
becomes a strategic trend of innovation policy in a growing number
of countries. Recently, more attention is paid to the importance
of research of leading universities and their contribution to the
solution of major global problems of mankind. Thus the main
objective of higher education is the goal of helping its region in
the alignment and acceleration of economic development in the
fight against poverty and social inequality .
Support for higher education is always has double requirements.
On the one hand, society is interested in the system of mass
higher education for a large number of students, and on the
other hand it is always striving to create the conditions for worldclass
World-class universities may have different concepts and not be
perfect in all areas; however they should always serve as reference
models for other universities. This applies not only to scientific
research but also to other areas such as ethical behavior, respect
for democratic principles and transparent student recruitment,
career development practice.
The history of higher education shows that a world-class
educational institution cannot be created by government order.
Most of these schools have evolved gradually over a long time
cultivating links with scientific communities by supporting
initiatives in the area of teaching and research. Taking into account the needs of society, the labor market and
the reasons associated with decision-making, there is a need to
assess the activities of the universities.
One approach which is associated with the "quality challenge" is
to determine the rankings and the compilation of lists of leading
universities. A brief definition of the ranking can be a constant
approach with appropriate methodologies and procedures
for displaying the status of comparative education as whole or
certain areas of their activities .
Often it is expressed in idea that higher education institutions
should cooperate and compete for high standard of education
quality. Borrowing experience as a self-help tool for institutions,
combining the advantages of quality improvement it is mainly
based on an internal evaluation, sharing of best practices, it
fits well with the spirit of cooperation. On the other hand,
the rankings primarily stimulate competition between higher
education institutions at the national and international levels,
the latter contributing to the formation of the so-called worldclass
university . Some scholars are even regarding universities
not merely as state instruments but as semi-independent as
actors in the political arena . The world has enough criteria
and indicators to evaluate the development of a country and
to see the perspective necessary to pay more attention to the
fundamental sources of development and primarily education.
Arguments about human capital are meaningless without
education. In the 21st century people need to get new skills and
knowledge than earlier and the modern education system must
adapt to this requirements. Globalization of higher education
is the most important part of the global innovation economy
. Educational and research functions of universities are
increasingly become a critical link in global innovation linkages.
Today, the effectiveness of the integration of education, science
and business to a large extent depends on the prospects for
socio-economic development, competitiveness and effectiveness
of responses to the new challenges of the global economy .
Materials and Methods
One of the main mechanisms for promoting higher education
institutions in the rankings is to integrate the resources, talents
and motivated young people aimed at the result. International
practice shows the increase of competitiveness, it is necessary to
create a set of strategic initiatives of the world's leading centers .
In recent years the number of international and national rankings
is significantly increased, as well as their importance grew for the
functioning of institutions of higher education at the level of the
higher education system as a whole and individual institutions in
particular. In this context, the rapid quantitative growth of higher
education in Russian definition of rankings should be seen as a
logical step aimed at improving the quality.
Analysis of both rankings and motivations of consumers of
educational services provides a basis for adjustment of curricula,
and to improve governance in the educational process, as well as
to improve the whole university policy aimed at the development
of methods to find candidates and attract potential students to
The motivation for higher education is one of the leading
places in the structure of personality. Changes in the higher
education system are the result of our country's reform and new
requirements to all aspects of social activity. The problem of goalsetting
in terms of reforming the education of society becomes
more actual and as a consequence of it the reform of the higher
education system started. The speed and depth of the changes
occurring in the environment encourage universities to seek new
ideas, build systems and structures that are adequate to the
requirements of the labor market and educational services .
Analysis of educational needs and motivations of entrants we can
see that rankings of universities serve as a tool to detect changes
in the prospects for higher education. The reforms of social life in
our country have significantly changed the situation in the field
of higher education, the system of values in life, the hierarchy of
motives for choice of profession by young people.
Any education system is characterized by its main function to
create all conditions for adequate human adaptation to the
socio-cultural realities that prevail in a given society. The internal
content of education depends on the ideas, needs, ideals that
exist in a given socio-cultural environment, and aims to maintain
its foundations by creating a certain image of man.
Education reflects the level of development of society, its
interests and needs, embodies the particular individual as a
typical representative of this society. Education contributes to the
formation of just such a man who express the interests of society
in which he/she was educated.
Currently, Russian education is characterized by high standards of
educational services and increasing competition from both public
and private universities in order to attract new students. In this
regard, an important component is to conduct a serious research
of socio-typological characteristics of prospective students. It is
also important to study the social status of the parents paying for
their children's education, thus expanding the target audience of
consumers of educational services.
In a globalized world, education is becoming an international
institution. Education becomes a continuous process that
occurs throughout life, providing the professional growth of the
Every university has a definite place in total mass of universities.
The different criteria may be the basis of a hierarchy of universities,
such as number of students, the width of coverage areas and
specialties of higher education, the possibility of providing
additional educational services (presence of study centers, short
and long term rates), the quality of the university services, etc.
Analysis of consumers of educational services, the extent of their
interest and motivation creates a foundation for adjustment of
curricula, improving the management of the educational process,
and for improving the policy of the university, aimed at the
development of methods to search for new prospective students
and to attract potential students.
The relevance of the study is due to the reform of the education
system. Over the past ten years in Russia the market of educational
services emerged, on which a large number of both public and private higher education institutions are competing for attracting
One of the main target audience and subject of perceiving the
image of the university are prospective students. Boys and
girls are able to select one or another institution, and external
branding university indicators have a certain influence on their
choice place of learning. Certain characteristics of the image are
motivators in choice of the university. Perceiving the image of
the university as an image representation, students compare the
characteristics of the image of the university with own motives
and general cognitive learning motives, and based on this
comparison, decide to study at a particular university .
International rankings are traditionally perceived as an important
component of economic development evaluation and comparison
of the achievements of higher education around the world .
In general we can say that the objectives of determining the
- Providing the public with information regarding the university
to make a decision on an individual or group level
(prospective students, parents, politicians, foundations,
- Developing of competition;
- Stimulating the growth of centers of excellence;
- Providing additional confirmation for the allocation of funds.
Thus, the global rankings already tightly joined the life of the
university and national policies of many countries, becoming a
prominent factor of the education market.
Meanwhile it is problematic to determine by several reasons
which universities are better and which are worse. When it comes
to universities in different countries, the assessment of their
quality is further complicated. In this regard, in many countries
a lot of work related to the development of the global university
rankings, designed to inform the public, at least, about the best
universities of the world.
Russian universities are increasingly integrated into the global
educational environment, engaging also in fierce competition with
the leading universities of the world, promoting its educational
programs and services to the global education market, increasing
the level of internationalization and recruitment foreign students
and teachers, as well as leading scientists. Therefore it is very
important for students, both Russian and foreign, in the choice
of the university to account for rated characteristics, image and
reputation of the university in the global educational space .
The typical modern Russian student has a number of dominant
characteristics. Students have a high level of claims in relation to
training, aimed at obtaining the profession which will be demand
in society. This social group is characterized by an independent
decision-making. Pragmatism in professional work continues to
play a dominant role among the goals of student’s learning.
Relevance of the topic is high due to the fact that the issue ranking
of universities is closely linked with motivation, and is essentially a
question of the quality of the education, the success of social and psychological adaptation of young people in terms of university
studies, the effectiveness of training future specialists.
Choice of high ranking universities by prospective students is a task
with many unknowns and their future depends on the successful
solution in this question. Each entrant understands that education
is now an integral part of his/her life. Therefore, the demand for
educational services is enough high. Competitive advantages are
provided by universities that have a high intellectual potential to
create unique expertise implementing the concept of "education
throughout life." [Development Strategy of Lobachevsky State
University of Nizhni Novgorod – National Research University
until 2020] .
At present, the task of universities is not only to give young
people the prerequisites for permanent, continuous lifelong
education, which is an important feature of the modern system of
higher education, but also to prepare them for a flexible change
of professions and occupations that requires the formation in the
young people of relevant personal qualities, skills, competencies,
As part of the policy of the Lobachevsky University in the
implementation of new forms and methods of working with
students, forming an integrated image of the University in the
school environment, as well as the objectives of the definition
of motivational components of the prospective students in 2011-
2014 years, during the summer admission campaign, a series of
sociological researchs .
The main purpose of this study is to analyze how Russian and
international rankings of universities influence to the choice of
prospective students, as well as the causes and factors that have
a decisive influence on their choice.
The researchers raised a number of problems, the main are as
- To determine the demographic portrait of UNN entrant
for 2011-2014 years (sex, place of residence, marital
status), as well as an educational institution, which he/she
- To identify the most popular sources of information on high
- To determine the efficiency of the official website of the
university, the achievement of its goals and objectives in
the context of attracting applicants for admission;
- To identify the level of student’s awareness about the
participation of Russian universities in the domestic
and international ranking systems and in particular the
inclusion of UNN into QS World University Ranking with
position of 701+;
- To analyze the effect of rankings to the motivation of
prospective students when they choose the university.
It was conducted the research with aim to identify the motivation
of students when they choose university, specifically Lobachevsky
University (University of Nizhni Novgorod, UNN) in 2011-2014
years . The research was conducted with the help of the working tools like questionnaire. It was answered by 753 to 913
respondents each year. Time period of research was June, 20 to
July 20 every year.
General population in our research was the number of students
who applied to the UNN in 2011-2014 years. It is about 3,700
people each year. The sample size is calculated by using traditional
statistical methods was:
Where n – the amount of the general population
δ – the dispersion of the studied trait
Δ – set limit sampling error
t – confidence
Thus, the representativeness of the sample is to be achieved
through a research of at least 724 students. Due to the certain
time limitations and heterogeneity of stream prospective students
sample size ranged from 753 to 913 respondents, which satisfies
the minimum value required to achieve representativeness.
In this research, applicants were asked a series of questions
regarding their awareness of the world rankings of universities
and the importance of ranking performance when choosing the
university (Table 2).
As we can see from the table above, the majority of respondents
have information about the rankings, although it should be noted
that there is a tendency to increase the number of students who
have heard of the ranking (in the sum of 1 and 2 responses) from
58.8% in 2011 to 73.8% in 2014. This trend illustrates the growing
interest of students to the university rankings, so it is needed
to continue working to inform students, future students about
university rankings, so they can see the rank of the institution
where they are going to enter, any of its ranking compared to the
other, etc. (Table 3).
Comparative analysis shows that the majority of respondents
answered that the ranking of the university is an important factor
Comparative analysis of 2011-2014 years shows that if in 2011 year the majority of respondents (59.9%) have heard about this
ranking in first time, then in 2014 year, only one of 5 respondents
answered that they hear about the QS World University Rankings
in first time.
Table 1: Selection of UNN applicants in 2011-2014.
||I know, it is important
||I know, but do not attach importance
||I've never heard
Table 2: Awareness of students of Russian and world rankings.
||Yes, it affected my choice
||No, it does not affect the choice of institution
||It is difficult to answer
Table 3: Comparative analysis of the importance of ranking positions for
high school students.
||Yes, it affected my choice
||Yes, but it did not affect my choice
||I’ve never heard
Table 4: Awareness of applicants to join UNN in the Top-700 QS World
A sociological research devoted the causes and factors that
influence the motivation of students when choosing the
university, we carried out a systematic analysis of primary and
secondary information. For primary data collection we asked
respondents to answer the questionnaire, after which all data
was obtained and reduced to a more compressed view and then
We came to the following conclusions when analyzed the results
of this research:
– It showed that 27.8% of respondents have heard mostly
about the world ranking of universities QS, and 15.5% of the
total number have not just heard about fact that Lobachevsky
University entered into QS World University Rankings, but also it
is stated that it affected their choice.
– 59.4% of the respondents when answering another question
noted that the ranking of the University is important factor
whenever choosing an educational institution in general;
– Respondents mainly focus on the information obtained from
representatives of the University's Open Days, the advice of
friends or parents, acquaintances and on their own opinion.
Currently in a period of fierce competition, the role of rankings
of universities is important, reflecting the position of universities
and forming in the minds of consumers of educational services,
the reputation and image of the university.
This research illustrates the current state of awareness of
students, the criteria of choice the university, determines the
degree of influence of various factors upon admission and many
The results can be used for more detailed research aimed at
investigating the characteristics and motivation of students when choosing a university, and the impact of ranking on the choice of
In the new conditions in global educational market rankings must
meet such additional requirements as objectivity in the reflection
of the strengths and weaknesses of each university, the increasing
focus on applied research results and work.
New trends in the ranking of universities, scientific research,
both fundamental and applied nature, shows that it is needed
for Russian authorities to support national educational initiative
and enhance competitiveness of Russian high school. It is clear
that global rankings may not be the only criterion for inclusion of
Russian universities in the global educational space. However, the
rankings reflect part of the formal indicators such as the share of
foreign students and professors, and largely affect the opinion of
the academic community regarding domestic universities.
The involvement of Russian universities in the global educational
space can be described with the help of the positions of
universities in the rankings. The positions of Russian universities
in the indicated rankings today are extremely low and and
does not fully reflect the peculiarities of Russian education and
In the modern world there is a constantly growing demand for
transparent and objective tools to assess the quality of education
. For these purposes there are different accreditation centers
and specialized agencies. However, the accreditation process
does not solve all the problems associated with the choice of
institution and field of study, with the placement of the state
order for training of specialists with opening/closing of certain
educational programs at the university, etc.
In these conditions the popularity of universities rankings is
increasing. Appearing as a tool for internal comparisons (students,
faculty, departments), the rankings have gradually become part of
the infrastructure of national education and innovation systems.
They are largely allowed to make informed decisions at the state
level representatives of different target audiences: prospective
students and their parents, employers and human resources, the
management of universities, the education authorities .
Globalization has also affected the field of higher education:
in recent years there has been rapid growth of academic and
student mobility, dramatically increased the number of programs
of "double degree", significantly increased the interest solvent
applicants and their parents to foreign training. It is formed the
international market of educational services by the end of the
20th century. The annual market is about several tens of billions
of dollars. According to some estimates, more than 2.5 million
students studying outside their home country annually and this
figure is increasing by 20% on average. It is therefore particularly
important today, in light of the impact of the ranking position of
the university on the preferences of entrants, it is the promotion
of the university in the largest and reputable ranking agencies,
which in the future will be improving the research climate, the
increasing amount internationalization and commercialization
of products of intellectual activity in the university, the increase
of the interaction with the largest scientific centers of the world
of innovative projects, implementation of new management standards, qualitative transformation of the higher education
system in Russia in accordance with the best international
The education system is the leading social institution that creates
and produces intellectual potential of society, with the starting
point, the catalyst of the system of education, in high school.
The core activities of universities are the interaction of students,
prospective students and teachers, the principal actors in the
field of higher education. It is a process of interaction between
the quality and quantity of the intellectual potential of society,
its human resources, which have received increasing attention in
our country in recent years. It should be noted that education is a
significant sphere of human activity that provides social progress,
the level of civilization and development of spiritual and cultural
sphere. The level of development and characteristics of the
formation of the higher education system can be judged from an
economic, moral and cultural development of our society.
Ranking is currently one of the different types of systems,
comparative evaluation of the educational institution in the
field of higher education. Comparative evaluation of universities
is interest not only for students and their parents, but also
for employers, professional associations and associations
of universities, as well as for education authorities. Ranking
eases the process of choice the university. Currently in a highly
competitive environment, the role of university rankings reflects
the position of universities and forming image of the university in
the minds of consumers of educational services.
Involvement of Russian universities in the world educational
space can be characterized by the position of universities in the
rankings. The position of Russian universities in the designated rankings to date is very low and can satisfy neither the domestic
academic community, education authorities, students or the
Today there is an increasing demand for transparent and objective
assessment tools of quality of education. For this purpose it
is various accreditation centers and agencies. However, the
accreditation procedure can not solve all the problems related to
the choice of institution and specialty, with the placement of the
state order for training of specialists, with the opening/closing of
certain educational programs in high school, etc. .
Under these conditions the popularity of universities rankings
is growing. Appearing as a tool for intrahigh comparisons,
rankings have gradually become part of the infrastructure of
national education and innovation systems. It is largely allowed
to make informed decisions across the state representatives
of different target audiences: students and their parents,
employers and professional recruitment agencies, leadership
of universities, educational authorities .
It becomes important today, in situation of the impact of
university ranking positions to preferences of prospective
students, to develop mechanisms of promotion university, the
consequence of which in the future will improve the research
climate, increasing the volume of internationalization and
commercialization of intellectual activity in high school, an
increase in jointly implemented innovation projects with global
major research centers, introduction of new management
standards, qualitative transformation of the system of higher
education in Russia in accordance with the best international
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