Alumni are the most reliable source of accurate information for international students looking to study in the UK (74%) and elsewhere in Europe (79%) according to the results of a new survey. However, relatively few respondents cited alumni as their primary source of information about international study.
Published by Cturtle, the ISEOS 2020 report examines how international student experience, study destination, study mode and graduate employment outcomes affect international alumni’s likelihood to recommend their university and country of education to future students.
“From our experience universities have preferred the ‘poster child’ approach with alumni”
Between June and September 2019, 16,830 responses to online surveys were collected – of which 4,673 participants were educated in the UK, and an additional 479 were educated in other European countries.
Of the combined participants educated in the UK and Europe, the majority (36%) were from Malaysia, 21% were from India, 11% from Vietnam, and 10% from Singapore.
A total of 95% of the survey participants had already completed their studies.
According to the survey report, an almost equal number who studied in the UK (83%) and Europe (82%) said they chose to study abroad to improve their career opportunities.
It showed that ‘university ranking’ was the top reason for choosing the UK (57%) and Europe (52%), followed by ‘location’ (51% and 50% respectively), ‘price’ (41% and 38%) and ‘job opportunities’ (18% and 28%).
By comparison, ‘alumni engagement’ was a factor for just 10% of UK and 12% of Europe educated respondents.
Despite some similarities in figures, there were some clear differences when it came to the primary source of study abroad information for both cohorts.
According to the report, education counsellors and agents were the primary sources of information for 35% of UK educated participants, compared to 44% of those who studied in Europe.
Meanwhile, websites or contacts at the school were important sources for 29% of those educated in the UK compared to just 12% of those who noted Europe as their country of study.
“I believe there needs to be better access to reliable information for future international students whether that is from universities, agents or third parties like Cturtle and UniAdvisor,” Cturtle founder and CEO, Shane Dillon, told The PIE News.
“In general, universities need to modernise their approach, leverage technology and alumni to better engage future students and improve the reliability of that information.”
And despite alumni being noted among the most reliable sources of accurate information with regards to ‘life in the UK and Europe’ (74% and 79% respectively), as well as ‘migration opportunities’, ‘job opportunities’ and ‘work rights’, just 6% of UK educated and 7% of Europe educated respondents cited alumni as their primary source of information.