Originally Posted by AndrewHurley
Australian universities are ranked quite low compared to the good ones in US and Europe. The quality of education is lower in Australia.
Or perhaps the US universities very effectively game the ratings system, try goggling "US university rankings manipulated" or similar.
Even with that issue, in both the World Universities rankings or the Shanghai rankings, there are 6 Australian universities in the top 100. That's roughly similar to the 3 in Sweden in the top 100, given Sweden's population is about half that of Australia.
Of course, that doesn't consider the perhaps 4000 or so other Universities in the US that are outside the top 100 and rate lower than most other Australian universities.
There are 14 non-UK European Universities in the top 100, and 8 from the UK. With respective populations of at least 20 times and 3 times that of Australia, which has 6 universities in the top 100. The UK has about the same results as Australia, population-wise, but Europe has much less. So Australia actually compares quite favourably.
In contrast to Europe, the 45 US universities in the top 100 seems amazingly high. But they have about 5 times the population of the UK for example, so in comparison to the UK (or Australia) you might expect that result.
The "loser" is not Australia, but actually Europe, which has a very low proportion of universities in the top 100 - based on non-UK EU population you might expect that to be several times higher.
So don't choose most European Universities, right? Well, no!
Before putting too much faith in the accuracy of University rankings, consider that European universities don't play the ratings game in the same way, and also are not part of the Anglo-sphere and its current University rating system. And perhaps they don't chronically game the rankings system as is done in the US.
The UK and Australia too are perhaps less proficient or less interested in manipulating their ratings, although I'm sure many would take their best shot at doing just that. And sometimes it genuinely isn't what some Universities see as desirable or ethical - and that applies to some US universities too, including a few top-rated ones.
U.S. News's corrupt college rankings
While there is no doubt that the very best US Universities are as good as any in the world, on a broader scale, perhaps the US is simply working a very well-practised and effective confidence trick.
In terms of all levels of education generally and pre-University education in particular, the top performing nations at present, according to the OECD, are Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Hong Kong, and Macao. Australia, along with the UK and much of Western Europe are not quite as good as these at the moment, but the US rates slightly lower than these.