NAFSA Annual Conference 2013May 31, 201303:15pm - 04:15pm Americas Center Room 276Student Insights: How StudentsResearch S...
A survey of 6,000 prospective international students• Across 20 local websites• With 12 million visitors• In April 2013• S...
Most international students search by program first‘When researching information about studyoptions, what do you search by...
However, for some countries, location and university arealso important010203040506070Location Program UniversityNote: Thai...
Most international students know the country they want tostudy in‘When choosing to study abroad, do you have a specific co...
Even down to a specific city or locationAverage 63% have a clear idea of specific location48.90%81.70%55.20% 53.90% 54.40%...
How important is it to have information in your ownlanguage?o Just over half of all respondents(53.2%) answered important ...
The role of parents – who may not speak English…01020304050601 Not Involved 2 3 4 5 Very InvolvedAbroad Vietnam Indonesia ...
Word of mouth “very important”‘How helpful would you find reviews by students from yourcountry, who have studied abroad?’8...
The influence of „other‟ student views highly ratedoverall01020304050607080901 Not Helpful 2 3 4 5 Very HelpfulAbroad Viet...
Nearly 70% of students rate video as Helpful or Veryhelpful01020304050607080Abroad Vietnam Indonesia India Malaysia LatinA...
Why is video important?37%Of internet Usage ismade up of videostreaming72%Prospects more likelyto “purchase” whenvideo is ...
Overall students would like to see students, and from theirown country…010203040506070Abroad Vietnam Indonesia India Malay...
1. A ‘Day in the Life’ video of an average International student, 40.5% of all respondents2. A video showing the universit...
If you do have video of your school – focus on studyfacilitiesAdditionally, of those whowanted to see universityfacilities...
How do International students feel aboutstudying US programs overseas?‘Some US universities offer their courses to student...
Is the quality the same?….overall, there didn’t seem to be a significantlyprevalent opinion across all markets:Is there en...
Is the future online?‘Do you believe the quality of an online degree to be the same as a campus-baseddegree?65.20%56.10%68...
Online Degrees – understanding international studentperceptionsApplicants from Latin America(76.1%), Middle East(76%), Bra...
How many applications will you make?‘In total, how many universities did you/ are you applyingto?’AbroadVietnamIndonesiaIn...
What are your expectations on response?‘What do you consider to be a suitable response to yourapplication?’•Email 2 – 4 we...
How far in advance did you start researchingstudy abroad before applying?Average months per countryMonthsChinese students ...
How much of the process can be done online?‘How comfortable are students whencompleting certain tasks online?’• Of all stu...
Thank you very much for your timemike.elms@hotcourses.comA small selection of sites from our network:
Take home summary…The Good (free)• List programs• Student reviews/posts• Student videosThe bad (almost free…)• Translate c...
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How Students Research Study Abroad Opportunities - NAFSA 2013

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Presentation given by Mike Elms, CEO of Hotcourses at NAFSA in St Louis, USA. Through the Hotcourses channels, we commissioned a questionnaire into how prospective students search online, the content they would like to see, views on different types of programme and feedback on universities’ response to inquiries. 6,000 students took part in the survey and these are the findings.

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  • Great slide Paul and love the infographic - http://www.hotcoursesabroad.com/study-abroad-info/study-abroad/nafsa-2013-10-things-we-learned-about-you/
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  • Rita Moriconi – REAC South America – 15k response – reasons why US, what want to study and potential obstaclesFanta Aw - Assistant Vice President of Campus Life and Director of International Student and Scholar Services at American University in Washington D.CAbout HC:
  • 6000 student surveyHow search onlineContent like to seeViews on different program typesFeedback on uni responseAim to:Provide low cost/no cost, ways of improving students online experiences
  • Different from US domestic – institution more important.Tells us international students very academically motivated – know the subject they want.Why we at HC – collect every program on offer from US schools because we know students search this way.
  • This is the case in most countries (program in red) – however a few exceptionsME university more importantChina – school importantS Korea – location and school equally important Why: China reputation is very keyME – education related to employment is v important so school reputation is importantThai – price sensitive, and location can influence price.
  • Cover all major markets. V few genuinely undecided = Serious enquiry – know subject and location.
  • Cities and regions yes in blue.Why is this:Other students from their country have studied – importance of case studies/alumni relations.Reputation of subject expertise at certain schools/locationsInfluence of the media over quality and negative concernsParents views on the above.Take out for unis – students enquiring will have though through their decision, will have pre-determined views about your school/location. Importance of bringing out the local benefits of where you are to reinforce this.
  • Straw poll of how many have translated sites/content?Doesn’t have to be the whole site, could be a pdf or just part of it.In part influenced by the role of parents – just under half said their parents were involved in the decision to study abroad.
  • Not just parents, views of other students rated very important. Existing students and alumni are your best recruiters!How can you use them?Reviews- comments on forum sitesPost comments on social media
  • Universally the caseVietnam 92% rating (orange)Indonesia light green Brazil dark green around 75%
  • What media – video particularly from non English lang sites/countries
  • Much easier to communicate what it’s really like via videoThink about parallel purchases – holidays, renting a villa, hotels
  • Again, similar to reviews – but in video form. Comes back to personal recommendation – speaking in a way that prospective students understand. Hard for us to 2nd guess issues that are important. Things you wished you had known.
  • Shows international students are serious by nature – academically orientated. Different message from the one given out to US home students.
  • New trends in degree delivery.First – transnational education or studying at branch campuses, joint degree programs – difficult concept to communicate online – important trend in the UK, more students studying a UK degree on a foreign campus than in the UK itself (2012)
  • Strong appetite for this , particularly if price incentive.
  • Majority feel quality would be the same, better of uncertain.Overall a reasonably positive perception towards this delivery method.
  • Different story online…Definite concerns about quality – particularly in China, but also Brazil, ME and LA
  • Expectation is that they should be cheaper -
  • Indian, S Korean, Malaysian highest with Latin American the most saying less than 2. Main finding is that most students apply to about 2 schools , so serious applicants
  • Response is key Mystery shopper = 52% of US enquiries go unanswered (from India)30 institutions from China – 7 never replied 23%
  • China – longest UG 2nd yr of high school preparation starts – 3 yrs in totalGrad – 2nd or 3rd yr of university (1 year in advance)Saudi – research shows influenced by scholarships and gov nominated students, after which they have 3 months to supply their documents.S Korea – fast paced lifestyle and temperament - 1 week visa turnaround. Shapes expectations.
  • Primary research now done onlineEven to the point of being comfortable making an application 53%Less so when it comes to visas and accommodationSupported by Education USA research which revealed the importance of primary sources of information being online
  • How Students Research Study Abroad Opportunities - NAFSA 2013

    1. 1. NAFSA Annual Conference 2013May 31, 201303:15pm - 04:15pm Americas Center Room 276Student Insights: How StudentsResearch Study AbroadOpportunitiesMike Elms, CEOHotcourses Inc.
    2. 2. A survey of 6,000 prospective international students• Across 20 local websites• With 12 million visitors• In April 2013• Search• Content• Perceptions on types of program• Application expectations & response
    3. 3. Most international students search by program first‘When researching information about studyoptions, what do you search by first?’43.50%22.50%27.10%Program Location University
    4. 4. However, for some countries, location and university arealso important010203040506070Location Program UniversityNote: Thai(40.5%)PrioritiseLocationNote:KoreansPrioritiseLocation &UniversityNote: MiddleEast (38.9%)PrioritiseUniversity
    5. 5. Most international students know the country they want tostudy in‘When choosing to study abroad, do you have a specific country inmind?’83%17%Yes No
    6. 6. Even down to a specific city or locationAverage 63% have a clear idea of specific location48.90%81.70%55.20% 53.90% 54.40%63.10%51.10%63% 63.30%75.40% 76.90%70%Yes No
    7. 7. How important is it to have information in your ownlanguage?o Just over half of all respondents(53.2%) answered important orvery importanto 90% of S. Korean respondentsanswered important or veryimportanto 72% of Latin-Americanrespondents answeredimportant or very importanto 50.8% of Indonesianrespondents answered ‘5’(‘Very Important)Tip: Do you offer content in locallanguages on your web, FB orother marketing materials? Canyou offer local language reps tospeak to/IM?
    8. 8. The role of parents – who may not speak English…01020304050601 Not Involved 2 3 4 5 Very InvolvedAbroad Vietnam Indonesia India Malaysia Latin America Middle East Singapore Brazil Thai China KoreaVietnam (53.2%), India (51.2%)and Singapore (52.9%) answered4 and above – parents morelikely to be involved in decisionS. Korean applicants areslightly more independentthan other countries45.16% of all applicants replied involved or very involved
    9. 9. Word of mouth “very important”‘How helpful would you find reviews by students from yourcountry, who have studied abroad?’81%19%Very Important less important
    10. 10. The influence of „other‟ student views highly ratedoverall01020304050607080901 Not Helpful 2 3 4 5 Very HelpfulAbroad Vietnam Indonesia India Malaysia Latin America Middle East Singapore Brazil Thai China Korea92% of Vietnamrespondents answered “4”and aboveReviews considered “Very Helpful” by Indonesian(75.4%), Brazil (76.9%) and Thai (76.6%) especially.
    11. 11. Nearly 70% of students rate video as Helpful or Veryhelpful01020304050607080Abroad Vietnam Indonesia India Malaysia LatinAmericaMiddle East Singapore Brazil Thai China Korea1 Not Helpful 2 3 4 5 Very HelpfulVeryHelpfulHelpful
    12. 12. Why is video important?37%Of internet Usage ismade up of videostreaming72%Prospects more likelyto “purchase” whenvideo is used94%Of people who view avideo they receivedsame day, will share itVideo = EmotionThe decision of whereto study abroad is ahighly emotional oneSource: Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania 2011
    13. 13. Overall students would like to see students, and from theirown country…010203040506070Abroad Vietnam Indonesia India Malaysia Latin America Middle East Singapore Brazil Thai China Korea1 Not Helpful 2 3 4 5 Very HelpfulHelpfulVeryHelpfulHow helpful would it be to see a video of a student from your country?
    14. 14. 1. A ‘Day in the Life’ video of an average International student, 40.5% of all respondents2. A video showing the university’s facilities, 36.1% of all respondents3. A video interview with alumni of that university, 23.3% of all respondentsIndonesia, India,Malaysia, Lat-Am& M. East wantedto see universitystudy facilitiesVietnam, Singapore, Brazil, Thai, Chinapreferred a ‘Day in the Life’ videoIn addition to people – videos showing university studyfacilities are also popularThis included 91.7% of Chinese applicants, and 75.6% of Latin Americanapplicants.
    15. 15. If you do have video of your school – focus on studyfacilitiesAdditionally, of those whowanted to see universityfacilities featured invideo, almost all marketswished to see auniversity‟s studyfacilities rather than itsaccommodation or socialspaces/sports facilities.However 60% of Thaiapplicants were moreconcerned with seeingaccommodation featured insuch a video.
    16. 16. How do International students feel aboutstudying US programs overseas?‘Some US universities offer their courses to students at overseasuniversities. Would you consider this option?’Additionally, of those who said ‘No’, 31% would reconsiderif it meant a reduction in tuition fees.58.10%20.30%21.60%YESNOUncertain
    17. 17. Is the quality the same?….overall, there didn’t seem to be a significantlyprevalent opinion across all markets:Is there enough information available to students?17.80%27.40%27.90%26.80% BetterWorseSame QualityUncertain
    18. 18. Is the future online?‘Do you believe the quality of an online degree to be the same as a campus-baseddegree?65.20%56.10%68.50%64.40% 62.90%76.10% 76%55.90%74.90%52.40%79.30%66.70%Yes No UncertainAverage “NO” is66.53%
    19. 19. Online Degrees – understanding international studentperceptionsApplicants from Latin America(76.1%), Middle East(76%), Brazil (74.9%) and China(79.3%) clearly feel negativelyabout themApplicants fromIndonesia, Singapore, Malaysiaand Thailand might benefit frommore information about onlinedegreesUnsurprisingly, the majority ofmost markets believed theyshould be less expensive than acampus-based degree (73.6% ofall respondents)
    20. 20. How many applications will you make?‘In total, how many universities did you/ are you applyingto?’AbroadVietnamIndonesiaIndiaMalaysiaLatin AmericaMiddle EastSingaporeBrazilThaiChinaKorea4+ 3 to 4 0 to 2…while S.Korean, Indian, Malaysian applicantsapplied to slightlymore
    21. 21. What are your expectations on response?‘What do you consider to be a suitable response to yourapplication?’•Email 2 – 4 weeksafterapplying*Our Mystery Shopper research shows that52% of queries go unansweredLooking closer, Thai (51.1%) and Brazil(53.1%) applicants felt a prospectusthrough the mail would be suitable;meanwhile 51.7% of Chinese applicantsfelt a letter is official.
    22. 22. How far in advance did you start researchingstudy abroad before applying?Average months per countryMonthsChinese students spendlonger doing researchME/Saudi may beinfluenced by scholarshipfunding10.612.911 10 9.88.15.61011.3 11.518.86
    23. 23. How much of the process can be done online?‘How comfortable are students whencompleting certain tasks online?’• Of all students fellcomfortable finding aprogram70%• Feel comfortable applying toa program53%• Feel comfortable finding ascholarship59%•Of all students fell comfortableapplying for a VISA online30%•Feel comfortable findingaccommodation online34.8%•Would not feel comfortablecompleting any of the above tasksonline4.6%We envisage this increasing as future generations will be more internet-savvy, and further processes become digitised
    24. 24. Thank you very much for your timemike.elms@hotcourses.comA small selection of sites from our network:
    25. 25. Take home summary…The Good (free)• List programs• Student reviews/posts• Student videosThe bad (almost free…)• Translate content/microsite• Translate video• Student ambassadors• Local area siteThe Ugly (expensive)• Online programs• In-country visits• Partnerships$$$

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