US and Canadian universities slow in responding to inquiries from prospective international students, says study

International students have different information needs but are universities responding those needs with accuracy and speed? 

A new report reveals that the US and Canadian universities, which currently enroll the largest share of international students worldwide, are slow in responding to international student’s information needs.

This study was conducted using a “mystery-shopping” data collection technique, wherein a team of international
students explored university websites. This allowed us to measure and compare the performance of the world’s and the US and Canadian top 500 universities in terms of online information and findability – as well as how well they replied to inquiries and followed up with potential students.

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The universities for this study were chosen based on their standing in the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities. All universities in the top 100 of the most recent US News & World Report rankings, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (the Shanghai ranking) were included in the research.

Universities in the US and Canada rank 5th when it came to communicating effectively with prospective international students, according to a report done by Study portals in collaboration with the British Council IELTS

When it came to providing basic information, US and Canadian universities are good at this as information is presented in a comprehensive format as well as most (67%) of university websites pass the Google Mobile Friendliness test.

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However, being user-friendly isn’t enough as most US and Canadian universities fail to address important programme-related information such as study accreditation, duration and start dates – information that are deemed necessary for prospective international students.

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When it came to responding to student inquiries, more than half (52%) of the US & Canada universities try their best to respond within 24 hours. This is a remarkable number, especially since for universities in other English-speaking countries, the number is lower (42% for Australia and New Zealand, and 33% for the UK and Ireland). However, most do not send follow-up emails within the day to students who have shown interest.

Do note that the insights in this report are based on the experiences of student’s mystery-shopping. Although the students have done their utmost to record their experiences in the most accurate way (through professional training and support), information may have been overlooked. Results should be interpreted as indicative.

Top things international students value when studying in the UK

Hobsons’ International Student Survey 2015, showed the general sentiment of 17,336 international students, from 210 countries, on what they value most from a UK education.

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If you’re an international student who has recently enquired about a UK institution, chances are you share the same interest with the 17,336 students that Hobsons’ has surveyed. Here are the results:

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Hobsons’ International Student Survey 2015 shows that those in poorer countries tended to focus more on future earnings than those in wealthier ones – 93 per cent of prospective students in Nigeria and in Malaysia rated this factor on the important side of the scale. But the opposite was true when respondents were asked about better employment prospects, with the highest proportion of prospective students in the US (96 per cent) and Canada (95 per cent) seeing this as essential.

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Although students need to balance their student life with more social activities, the report shows that social life, joining a society and even a joining a sports club were the least important when studying in the UK.

5 Tips to generate more student leads

Quantity of the leads doesn’t matter, it’s the quality that matters most to you, although  getting quality leads is not easy, it is doable. Here are some tried-and-tested tips to help you engage, entertain and educate prospective students throughout their decision-making process.

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1. Be proficient in Google Analytics

You may have invested a lot in building an awesome website complete with quality content, however do you know if there’s anyone actually reading it? Is your hardwork paying off? To get quality leads, you must understand the traffic you’re getting now.

Aside from understanding traffic, Google Analytics help you understand behaviour patterns of visitors and translate your business goals into key performance indicators and goals within analytics. It really helps you to find out exactly how your website is performing and what you should be improving on in order to meet your marketing objectives.

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2. Invest in your On-page SEO

On-Page SEO optimizes the content of your pages so that search engines find it and rank you highly for the keywords that your audience is using to search for on the web. An optimised page must have these characteristics:

  • unique content that stands apart from other websites and can be shared through social network
  • great user experience which means good design aesthetics and navigation elements that are easily understood by users
  • keyword-targeted which means the content employs keywords/keyword phrases relevant to your readers
  • multi-device ready which means your site can easily be viewed in any browser, OS and any mobile device

3. Develop and refine your content strategy

Paid traffic can only help you at a certain extent. With that being said, you need to create content that will drive organic traffic and how do you do it? You need to do some research about your audience – find out what interests them and how they get to find your site, and so forth. From that information, you can start to determine and build the best content for your readers, tailor it to their needs and use keywords that they would often use to find your site.

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4. Know your social media

So you have great website with all the right content, so how do you let your readers know about it? This is where social media comes into play. In this caes, you’ll need to identify which content to share and which social media platform to use.

There’s Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIN, Pinterest, and so many others but you don’t need to be in all social media platforms. Choose the ones where your target readers are most often online and track social media activity using Google Analytics.

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5. Have a mobile version of your website

As most users now rely on their mobile devices, it makes sense to have your site mobile friendly. You may have the right content but if your viewers are squinting at the small fonts of your site that can’t fit on their mobile sceens, there’s a huge chance that they’ll abandon ship! With that being said, you’ll need to redesign your site using responsive web design (RWD).

Australia’s education system has been ranked the best in the world by a new report into global prosperity.

Out of the 142 nations, the Legatum Prosperity Index ranked Australia 7th in the overall prosperity ranking but was awarded top marks for education. The index ranks countries according to wealth and wellbeing.australia_exam

The education ranking was determined through analysing data around class size, girls to boys enrolment ratio, secondary and tertiary enrolment, perceptions that children learn and satisfaction with educational quality.

For the third year in a row, Australia has occupied the #7 spot. For the full copy of the report, view here.

The top positions were, dominated by Scandinavian nations. Norway topped the list, followed by Switzerland and Denmark, but our trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand now occupy fourth spot on the global prosperity index.