Students Online: Global trends 2014

How do prospective students use digital resources to research higher education? QS has just published the results of a survey conducted amongst 2,215 students from 49 cities in 35 countries across Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America and Africa. The majority of these students were interested in pursuing further study at postgraduate level. 3% were 17 or younger, almost a third of respondents (30%) were aged 18-21 years old, 43% were aged 22-25, 14% were aged 26-29 and 10% were 30 or older. The report provides useful feedback on global trends in students’ online usage.

Some interesting results include:

  • 99% of respondents said an institution’s website is important (quite important, very important and essential) when researching institutions.
  • Only 1.3% of respondents don’t use university rankings websites in general, revealing this is clearly something universities should take into consideration. However, 40.2% think such websites are very important and 29.4% think they are essential.
  • 62.1% of respondents think social media is important (quite important, very important and essential) when researching universities and courses so this should not be neglected.
  • Facebook is the most used social network amongst all age ranges. The second most popular social network is less obvious and vary from regions in the world and age of respondents.

The chart below reveals offline resources only play a minor part in helping students to make a decision about their education, while online resources only have a greater impact, with 26-29 years old representing the group that has the highest proportion (35.1%). Finally a combination of both online and offline generated significant results.

Chart 4
Would you say online or offline resources are more important in helping you making decisions about your education?

The chart below displays which information is the most difficult to find when searching online according the three main groups of students (Undergraduate, Master’s and PhD). This reveals that access to scholarships is clearly the most challenging information for the three groups.

Which of these have you had difficulty finding information about when searching online?
Which of these have you had difficulty finding information about when searching online?

The full report can be downloaded here.

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