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New Report Reveals Global Trends on Students Digital Usage


Indisputable today is the widespread use of digital resources in all aspects of life, which is only increasing for students. However, despite the investments made by universities in this area, there is still little evidence about how digital resources are utilised by prospective students as part of their search process; and whether they now outweigh traditional methods.

The Students Online: Global Trends 2014 report, compiled by QS, the publisher of the World University Rankings, endeavours to partially fill the gap in research concerning specifically how prospective students will utilise technology as well as traditional sources in their decision making process.  This report is essential to the future university outreach efforts for prospective students through new insights concerning preferences.

2012 US-based study from Google and Compete found that nine in ten enrolled students had used the internet to research higher education institutions, with one in ten exclusively using online sources of information. 

 A year earlier, the 2011 E-Expectations Report1 from Noel-Levitz published the alarming finding that one in five surveyed prospective students said they’d removed a college from their list as a result of a bad experience on the institution’s website.
Laura Bridgestock, author of the report says: “While universities know the online sphere is essential when communicating with prospective students, there’s little information available about how students use the internet during their research. This report shows that it is important to use a wide range of tools and not to underestimate the importance of traditional communication methods even in the Web 3.0 era.”
Highlights of report include:

  • Distinct audiences use different methods of higher education search
  • Third party resources considered highly in university evaluations
  • Social media is widely used in prospective students’ research, though considered a comparatively less important than other resources
  • Online and offline resources are considered equally important
  • The surveyed prospective students reported that information on scholarships or funding is the most difficult to find

The scope of this study extended across 35 countries, providing insight not solely into overarching trends but also regional specific, gender specific, and age specific trends.

“In a competitive global market for higher education, universities must ensure the most efficient use of outreach resources, new and old, to tap into the best potential students,” says Monica Vannozzi, project manager of the research.

To download a copy of this free report, please click here.

To access QS World University Rankings, and one of the largest higher education community online complete with articles, tips, and expert advice visit: www.TopUniversities.com

- Ends-

1- E-Expectations Report: The Online Expectations of Prospective College Students and Their Parents, www.noellevitz.com

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