What do students care about when they choose where to study?

The key to increased ROI in international student marketing is to leverage your understanding of prospective students’ decision-making process. That’s how you make sure you have the right type of messaging, reaching the student through the right channel, at the right time, to spark a connection that will lead to a submitted application.

When you start to understand when and how your prospective students are making their decisions about which institutions to apply to, you can use that information to structure a marketing plan that makes the most out of content investments that you’ve already made and steers your advertising budget to the right space and message at the right time.

Sqore recently conducted a student survey to help you out

The findings back up what we already know about how students think, but we also discovered some very interesting things:

  • A university’s chance to position itself in the student’s line of sight begins much earlier than previously thought.
  • The most important factor in student decision making process by far is the type of programme you are offering. This out-ranks study destination, ratings and reputation when it comes to attracting applicants.
  • A staggering 87% of international students have not visited the country of the school they’re applying to before submitting their application.

What Does This Mean?

Students start thinking and planning ahead early

Education isn’t a decision that is made lightly, as evidenced by the survey respondents. It’s clearly not an impulsive decision, with students spending a lot of time and effort several years before enrollment to reach their goal.
You need to adapt your marketing strategy to support their selection process both online, at fairs and in your material, so that it attracts and engages them every step of the way.

The programme matters most

With this in mind, the communication focus needs to be on the programme and clearly communicating and engaging with prospective students to evaluate if indeed the programme is right for them.
The benefits are twofold; the student won’t waste time and effort on programmes that they will not enjoy, and you can focus on candidates that are the right fit, saving time, effort and internal resources.

Students decide for themselves

No one else It’s important for universities to reach the individuals to influence them directly, putting extra weight on the marketing strategy and including relevant information.
This means analysing student behavior and constantly evaluating your marketing efforts for ROI – i.e. including relevant information and prune the channels that provide little value and be creative in using activities that can complement your traditional efforts.

Students don’t put all their eggs in one basket

The student recruitment process doesn’t end with an offer of admission. The fact is that the majority of students apply to several universities and are accepted by more than one. This means that they are directly comparing you to others all through to the final decision-making stage.

The Key Takeaway

As a student recruitment marketer, you need to keep engaging with the student from the moment they notice your programme name, all the way until enrollment day.
So here’s what you have to think about: What are you doing to ensure that they end up choosing you?

Get seven more insights from the survey in detail!

Interested to find out how Sqore has helped other higher education institutions?
Read here on how Sqore helped TuDelft, the oldest public technological university in the Netherlands.

Want to read more from Sqore?

Sqore student survey 2019
International Student Decision-Making Survey 2019
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Digital Marketing Options for International Student Recruiters: A Quick Guide
Get your branding, conversion and CRM right - here’s a quick guide what to think about.
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