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.

capture1

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.

difficulty

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.

capture2

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.

table1
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:

table2
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.

table3

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.

leads

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.

desk

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.

social media

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.

google

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.

UCAS Applications To Be Anonymous

To prevent unconscious bias against candidates from minority groups, Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed plans to remove names from university applications forms starting 2017.

In response to this UCAS chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook, said it would consult with degree-awarding institutions on name-blind applications as this would impact applications from black and ethnic minority students.


ucas acceptance rate

Read more

US Schools Most Innovative as Asia Rises in Power

With the advent of the new era of technology over the last two decades, perhaps the most oft-cited buzzwords circling around both academia and businesses is “innovation”. However, its usage is anything but consistent. While it can mean encouraging a team to think creatively with disruptive ideas, it can also mean an organization consistently creating new ideas or products or even that its internal processes and procedures are different from its competitors.

(Source: www.theshalominstitute.org.au)

Read more

New Travel Authorisation Requirement For Canada

Highlights

– Canada  new Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for visitors from visa-exempt countries

– All prospective international students planning to study in Canada are affected

– The Electronic Travel Authorization will be mandatory from March 15, 2016; applications can be done online from August 1, 2015

 

Source: worldreach.com

Read more

Key Trends Boosting Technology Adoption In Higher Education Sector

The “Horizon Report > 2015 Higher Education Edition” report by New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative studies key developments in education technology pertaining to the higher education sector. The report predicts emerging edtech trends that will shape and impact higher learning for the next five years.

For this report, an expert panel of 56 technology experts across 17 countries explored trends, policies, technologies as well as challenges in the near, mid and long term in the higher ed landscape. From these discussions, six trends and six technologies were identified as being the most likely to impact technology-planning and decision-making for varsities over the next five years.

Trends Boosting the Adoption of Technology in Higher Education

Futuristic learning spaces

(Source: http://www.olasikora.cz/)

Short term: 1 – 2 years
Rising Use of Blended Learning
Blended learning – where students learning through content and material delivered via digital and online media – has given rise to non-traditional schools and students the freedom to learn in alternative ways. The focus on data collection allows in-depth understanding of students and customization of instruction with more flexibility and ease to deliver course materials and support. Online learning will continue to mature leading to more stability and recognized acceptance thereby driving growth in this area. Read more

Student Recruitment Funnel: Focus On Prospects You Have For Better Results

students happy

(Source: bosnahersekuniversitesi.net)

The number of students pursuing international study for higher education are at an all-time for popular study countries like US, UK and Australia. Much of this growth has been attributed to the increase in overall demand, led primarily by students from emerging countries like China, India, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Another factor contributing to this trend is the Internet, by making it easier for students to file queries – through forms, social media or email – to multiple schools at once. Moreover, centralized application systems and online applications gives additional convenience and ease for prospects to file a wide field of applications.

The web is home a tremendous amount of information about pursuing education; in turn, this has resulted in a new prospect category known as the “stealth applicant.” These are applicants who remain anonymous until the point of application and hence remain out of the tracking and communications processes of schools. Some even go as far as not to opt in to formal enquiries hence preventing schools from contacting them. Others are more comfortable to find the information they need online prior to submitting their application.

As you can imagine, these factors are a big headache and troubling concern for educational institutions as they struggle to acquire, qualify and manage prospect students. In addition, these factors are seemingly pointing to lower yield rates as well – the number of enquiries that convert to paying students.

Read more

Malaysia To Roll Out iCGPA Programme

Merdeka square Malaysia

(Source: http://images.placesonline.com/)

 

The Higher Education Ministry of Malaysia recently announced that it is now ready to roll out its new grading system, an initiative the ministry has been working on over the last 6 years.Some 300 students from five public universities will take part in the pilot programme for the implementation of the new student assessment system, Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (iCGPA). Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh stated that between 40 to 60 new students in each programme will take part in this roll out starting from the intake in September 2015.

“The five universities that will take part in the pilot project are Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP)”, he added.

Idris said that iCGPA concept was something the ministry explored since 2009, collaborating with experts from public universities including UKM and UiTM and getting advice from the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), while the Ministry of Higher Education facilitating the entire process. He added, “The efforts have been time consuming in view of the data, research and efforts required to this initiative a success.”

According to Idris, the mission of the iCGPA is to help overcome the discrepancy between the quality of graduates and requirements of employers, with the current system solely measuring academic ability. “We always hear comments wanting graduates who are holistic, have entrepreneurial characteristics and well balanced. This is what we hope to create through iCGPA,” he told reporters.

The new system will offer a more comprehensive and holistic approach covering areas such as academic understanding and skills, critical and scientific thinking, communication and social skills, teamwork, entrepreneurship and leadership. It will also include assessing fields like humanity, ethics, morality, information management and inculcate lifelong learning, all of which will be reported in student scorecards via the “Spider Web” method, listing down students’ performance. In addition, the assessment goes beyond the classroom and also covers activities on campus.
When asked to why only such a small number – 0.0075% of the 40,000 students enrolled in public universities – were included in this pilot programme, Idris mentioned it was due to the fact that only one faculty is chosen per university.

He further added, “We are still in discussion with universities and will look at how ready the faculties are to apply the system before making a decision.”

MQA’s Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Prof Dr Rujhan Mustafa said, “MQA supports the Higher Education Ministry’s intention to implement the iCGPA [as] it allows the employer to have an idea of the true potential of graduates.”

The iCGPA marks one of the plans under Shift 1 of Malaysia’s Education Blueprint 2015-2025, also known as Higher Education Blueprint, which was launched in April 2015.