The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Foreign Students Shop for Schools Online

Many millennials check websites and social media for information and commentary about colleges and universities before deciding where to apply. However, international students planning to study in the U.S. are even more likely than their American counterparts to seek out—and be influenced by—online sources while researching schools.

World Education Services, a New York City-based not-for-profit organization that evaluates foreign academic credentials, surveyed 4,852 foreign nationals aged 17-36 who wanted to come to the U.S. to obtain a degree. Those students already tended to use electronic media more for reading and information-gathering than for posting content of their own, according to the survey report.

In researching U.S. schools, 91% of survey participants accessed online information via a computer, 56% used a smartphone, and 26% employed a tablet. They looked at websites, social media, blogs, and discussion forums. It turns out that information put out by an institution’s network (faculty, admissions counselors, alumni, and current students) often carried more weight with students than the preferences of their families.

Bachelor’s degree candidates typically were concerned with details about cost: tuition, fees, and living expenses. They also wanted to know about student services available to help them if needed. Those considering a master’s program often probed online discussion forums to learn what current enrollees had to say.

The survey report noted that usage of mobile devices is rising overseas and advised U.S. colleges and universities to ensure their online communications are mobile-friendly.

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