Carmen Neghina
5 years ago

International students’ study search patterns


[REPORT] The number of students studying abroad has never been higher. Internationalization in higher education is on the rise and for universities that mean added pressure to recruit the most talented students from around the world.

While each student is unique, their study choice process bears some resemblances and follows some natural rhythms influenced by a number of factors such as the type of programme the students are looking for, the application deadlines influenced by which semester they want to commence their studies in, and of course, where they are from.

We decided to dive deeper into our own data and explore the study choice patterns of the 13 million visitors that use Studyportals’ platforms to find their next international study option. In particular, we asked ourselves when are students from around the world more likely to submit the highest amount of enquiries to universities directly. We chose to focus on this aspect of the study choice process as it corresponds to the most involved phase students on our portals go through, where they go from browsing for suitable options to actually making direct contact with the universities and showing genuine interest in submitting an application. If you are familiar with the study choice funnel, this phase corresponds to the Interested phase.

For this research, in particular, we looked at over 12,000 information requests students sent via our portals in 2014 where they indicated their intended start date.

We analysed our users’ search patterns to find out when students get in touch with universities. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­This information is not only useful in knowing when to intensify your recruitment efforts but also gives you additional geographical and study-level information that can be used to fine-tune existing marketing campaigns aimed at attracting international students.

Some key takeaways:

  1. Choosing a study programme is a critical point in the life of an international student that takes the shape of a study choice funnel with 5 distinct stages.
  2. For the autumn semester, students usually start submitting enquiries approximately 1.5 years in advance.
  3. Marketing and recruitment campaigns do not only impact that year’s enrollments but also spill over into the next year’s pool of prospective students.
  4. Marketing and recruitment activities should be spread out throughout the year to cater to regional differences in the study choice patterns of prospective students.

If you want to learn more about International Students Study Choice Patterns, this whitepaper gives you insights into the study search process. If you have any questions about the whitepaper or want to customise your campaign with Studyportals to increase the visibility of your programmes to a particular prospective student audience, then it is better to write to us directly

To download the full whitepaper about international students’ study choice patterns, please fill in the form, and learn about:

  • The study choice process
  • Tips for how to optimize your marketing and recruitment budget
  • The seasonal patterns for spring and autumn semesters
  • The geographical patterns for students around the world looking for a new study degree.
  • The patterns for students looking for a bachelor, master of Ph.D. degree
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