How do students find their ideal university?

“Students are wary of university marketing gimmicks, and do not pay any heed to them”

Students researching to study at international universities are pretty selective about the sources of information on which they rely.

In recent research done by Media Minds, they found that students rely significantly on verified student reviews on independent websites. Verified student reviews are a vital part of deciding on a university.

Trusted Sources for Students

The only more credible source of information for students is feedback from people they know personally. Since student reviews have started influencing decisions for students as to which courses to study or which university to enrol in, verified student platforms are now playing a great role. In fact, verified student reviews are as trustworthy as the University website. That’s a big thumbs up to these trusted student review sites.

As for the least credible sources, students do not trust articles in the media by universities themselves. They think of it as a paid tool. These articles account for just 5% of a student’s decision-making process.

Students also don’t trust the ads that are run by universities on social media and billboards. These are cited as the least credible source. They rank at just about the same percentage as the anonymous comments in forums online. This makes it pretty clear that students these days look for genuine sources of information while researching something as important as a university. They are wary of university marketing gimmicks and do not pay any heed to them.

“Students do not trust articles in the media by universities themselves”

Teaching Quality

When asked about the most trusted source on the teaching quality at a university, more than 15% of students said they would ask the people who have studied there for feedback. The second source of information they would trust are the verified student reviews online.

It is clear that simply advertising the excellent faculty will not do the university any good. These days, students trust word of mouth rather than paid media online. Only 2% of students placed their trust in University advertising. Student reviews online have more weight at just a bit more than 12%. It is a clear picture as to where the students go to make up their minds about universities.

Influential Sources 
Students cited that the sources of information they trust to find out about the reputation of the university are the university website, official social media of the university, and authentic student reviews online.

While more than 25% of students trust the university website, around 15% of students trust the verified student reviews. Less than 5% of students consider the advice of the faculty working at the university as a trusted source. Verified reviews are three times more influential than university rankings. They are twice as influential as course listing websites.

Even when a student has narrowed down the decision to two universities, they still seem to trust their own friend’s opinions (25%) or the opinions of verified students on websites online (around 15%). The least likely source of information which they trust is the university advertising campaigns.

About the author: Nikita Das is a lover of all things related to travel and anything that smells like coffee, as well as a  digital nomad, writer and social media manager who is currently writing for EDUopinions.