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New survey findings: What do students expect from a university response?

Hotcourses recently surveyed 4,500 students to find out their expectations when they enquire to a university prior to appying. The results were a part of the company's presentation at the NAFSA 2014 conference. Read the full findings below. Do you

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A survey by Hotcourses has revealed just what international students expect in a response when they ask a university a question.

72% of international students expect a response within 48 hours of enquiring. The difference in response time would even influence who a student applied to or enrolled with; students from Hotcourses’ Abroad Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, India and China sites all indicated that when faced with choosing between two universities, they would choose the one who replied soonest.

Almost all students preferred a personalised response from a named member of staff at the university too, with most indicating that they would want to carry on the chain of communication with the same person throughout.

The findings of the survey were revealed during Hotcourses’ talk at NAFSA 2014, presented by the organisation’s CEO Mike Elms. The talk was lauded as one of the best of the whole conference. 4,500 students from across Hotcourses’ dozen international sites were surveyed for the student survey portion of the presentation.

88% indicated that email would be a sufficient mode of communication, with 83% of those students expecting these correspondences to be in their own language too. Latin American and Malaysian students strongly favoured phone as a mode of communication, while Russian students expected video chat communication to be in their own language.

Most students would also be happy to receive further content in addition to the response to their enquiry. 88% said that they would be happy to be sent messages about the latest news from campus and other subjects.

Australian universities had the highest response rate according to Hotcourses’ own mystery shopper exercise. However, universities in New Zealand were quicker to actually respond.

Time was also spent highlighting what leading organisations in other sectors are doing to engage and re-engage with potential customers and clients. This included automobile companies like Skoda, as well as companies in the technology and hospitality & tourism sectors. Lessons learned included the importance of a variety of communication channels and persistence in general.

NAFSA is the leading professional association for international education which Hotcourses attend every year. This year’s annual conference took place in San Diego in the last week of May.


What do you expect when you ask a university a question? Have you even enquired to a university yet?

You can contact a university at any time on our site, by clicking on the ‘Contact institution’ button when you see it next to a university or college.


View the full presentation given at NAFSA 2014 below:


About Author

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Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.