You would generally assume that the ranking of universities and their programs are the best indicators of their quality right? But, it seems you’re wrong. This is because Educations.com found in their study that rankings aren’t a big consideration for international students. It also found that this disregard for university rankings was common among students from Northern Europe, Western Europe, Northern America and Southeast Asia.
So what is really important to students?
1. Living expenses
This study shows that students place more importance on living expenses and campus life. This is because living expenses are a significant cost to international students. So, Universities should focus on providing more information about costs related to food, transportation and accommodation to their prospective students. In this way, students will have an idea about the average cost of living in that particular country.
2. Tuition costs
Students also keep close tabs about the tuition costs of international study destinations. This is the number one consideration for students from North America. The study found that the students would first look at the cost even before choosing a subject that they are very passionate about. When thinking about tuition costs, most international students also prioritize loans and scholarships that are available to them.
3. Teaching quality
The study also shows that students are concerned about the reputation of the particular programs when they’re making their decisions. Teaching quality and entry requirements are significant factors that contribute towards the reputation of these programs. It seems that this factor was most important to Southeast Asian students.
4. Opportunities to work after graduation
Another fundamental interest that drives students’ choice of a university is the potential to work in that particular country after they graduate. Students are more concerned about this because the ability to work in that country provides them a guarantee about their future. This factor is especially a concern for students from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania. In this regard, Australia and the UK offer the students with a key advantage of staying temporarily for 2 years on a post-study working visa after their studies to gain some International experience which can add significant value to their profiles.
5. Cultural experience
The ability to experience a new culture is another important pull factor that drives international students to choose a specific university. The study shows that this is an important factor particularly for students from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Monaco and Luxembourg.
On the other hand, students from Southeast Asia also take into account the openness and friendliness of a country’s culture. This shows that universities should highlight the unique cultural experience that students will be able to witness in that country. It is an added advantage if the university has a multicultural student body.
Based on its findings, this study suggested that universities should promote their teaching quality, campus life and living costs. This is because students are more interested to know this information when forming an opinion about the university.
Apart from the information provided by the university, students also take information from their friends into consideration when making decisions about their studies. The study shows that nearly 33% of students value the opinions of the students of the university!