Carmen Neghina
9 years ago

Through student eyes benchmark


[REPORT] In cooperation with the British Council, Studyportals mystery shopped the world’s top universities – through students’ eyes.

Following-up on our study from 2014, when we focused on the World’s Top 500 Universities, this year’s analysis focuses on the top 1,000 universities in the world and takes a regional approach by focusing on the US and Canada, UK and Ireland and Australia and New Zealand. Alongside the macro report of the main findings, we also developed individual reports for each university we researched, which contrasts their scores with those of the regional scores, as well as the World’s Top 500 Universities.

With more than 4.5 million students being globally mobile, the number of students being interested in studying abroad is at a record high. To enable international students to choose the programme that fits them best students have to go through a lengthy and scattered search process. Students rely to a large extent on online information to find their dream study opportunity but the process of gathering information is not always straightforward. Universities display information on their websites in various formats, often using jargon that is complex and unfamiliar to students with international study ambitions. The challenge of filtering information from multiple institutions across many countries is difficult and very time-consuming especially considering the global and intercultural context of the student audience.

It was this challenge which prompted us to analyse the world’s top 500 universities in 2014 through student eyes. Since the initial research was well-received, we decided to expand our research to include the world’s top 1,000 universities in 2015 and produce regional report for the top 500 universities in the US and Canada, UK and Ireland and Australia and New Zealand.

Within the research, a team of international students explored the websites of the world’s top universities. They assessed the official homepages as well as selected programme pages and evaluated the difficulty in finding a predefined set of information. They also contacted the institutions asking a specific set of questions and assessed the replies received. All together more than 40 individual data points of each university’s performance were analysed and rated. This allowed the researchers to measure and compare the world top universities’ performance in terms of online information provision and findability, as well as inquiry response and the follow-up rate.

World’s Top Universities Through Student Eyes

Download both reports by submitting the form below:


October 2015 – Tips for communicating with your future students

June 2015 – 67% of US and Canadian Universities Are Now Mobile-Friendly

June 2015 – Through Student Eyes – A Regional Perspective 

September 2014 – Through Student Eyes Overview

Press releases

2015 – US universities face challenges in communicating effectively with prospective international students

2014 – One in five of the world’s top universities ignore enquiries from international students

In the media

August 2015 – BizEd Magazine – Global Allure

July 2015 – Times Higher Education – US universities slow to respond to prospective international students

July 2015 – The Des Moines Register – Iowa schools responding well to international applicants

July 2015 – The Daily Iowan – UI stresses int’l communication

June 2015 – The PIE News – North American universities ranked fifth in StudyPortals report

June 2015 – The Evolllution – Simplified enrollments and improved communication central to global competitiveness

June 2015 – eCampusNews – This is how your institution looks to international students

June 2015 – EducationDive – US lags in responsiveness to prospective international students

June 2015 – College Planning & Management – North American Universities Rank Fifth in Communication With Prospective International Students

May 2015 – Campus Technology – Report: U.S. schools do lousy job of recruiting international students

December 2014 – Forward Geek – US Institutions quickest to respond to student enquiries

October 2014 – British Council – Are international students given the information they need? 

September 2014 – Times Higher Education – UK and Ireland rated best for overseas applicant service 

September 2014 – NUFFIC – Universiteiten negeren 1 op 5 vragen uit buitenland

September 2014 – Al Fanar Media – New Surveys Peek Into International Students’ Searches for Universities

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