International students turn to university websites and not just its social media while checking out a particular varsity, reveals a latest research survey by the Uniquest (UQ). According to the findings of the survey published by The Pie News, the study found that almost 91 percent among the UQ’s partner universities consisted of stealth applicants- learners who apply to varsity without making any formal contact with its administration.

Uniquest is a UK-based organisation that provides personalised services to their clients in order to improve student engagement, along with ensuring student recruitment and retention. These new statistics by the Uniquest also indicate an increase from the prior research, whereby 85 percent students had applied without making formal contact with the varsities in the academic year 2016-17. The study found  that the decision made by the student in relation to applying to a particular varsity seems to be based upon their initial scrutiny of the institute’s official website.

The results also highlighted that over half of the student populace surveyed by the Uniquest admitted that the institute’s website was the only source of information which consequently helped in making the final decision. Moreover, the most common amalgamation of information sources for students was the institutes’ website with ranking publications. Almost three percent of the enrolled respondents used the latter, while over three percent relied on their friends for information. Unexpectedly, the survey also found the social media channels of the institute “were not significantly represented and were just a part of the channel mix for a handful of students who went to enrol.”

Uniquest Director Marketing and Insights Jennifer Parsons in her exclusive interview to The PIE News said: “We already knew from monitoring the data at offer holder stage that the university website was the most important information source for international stealth applicants. What surprised us in doing a deeper analysis of the combination of research channels for those students who went on to enrol, is that for a staggering 50% of enrolled students, the university website wasn’t just the most important channel, it was the only channel used.”

Uniquest also reviewed more than 55 higher education websites in the United States and pinpointed some common areas of improvement in their content and structure to attract potential international scholars and learners. Some of the suggestions by the Uniquest included to make a dedicated page with relevant information for potential international students, developing a user friendly and eye-catching website that is easy to navigate, to emphasise and highlight international student experience with testimonials from current international scholars, to ensure clear and effective communication with foreign students by eliminating all sorts of language barriers and to make the varsity contact information a stand-out on the official website.

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