University admissions representatives are more influential in some South American countries, such as Ecuador and Venezuela, while in southeast Asian countries, more students value the opinion of an “unbiased” education agent representing multiple institutions, a new study by Intead, and FPP EDU Media, has found.
The findings were presented in a report, ‘Know Your Neighbourhood‘, which attempts to show that cultural preference for one type of recruitment approach over another needs to be understood by any institution with global recruitment ambition.
“Their thinking [on uni staff] is: Given this paid position, they are biased”
The study collected survey responses from 35,390 students in 15 different markets over two days, who are looking to pursue study abroad, in order to explore their motivations, who influences them and how they evaluate their choices.
Survey results show university admissions representatives tend to have more influence in Central and South America, with 65% of students from Ecuador and Venezuela saying they trust them more than education agents or a student who studies in the country.
However in Asia, only 34% of students from Thailand and 25% from Vietnam said they trusted university admissions advisors, while 48% of Thai students and 40% of Malaysian students said they trusted education agents who know them.
“Their thinking [on uni staff] is: Given this paid position, they are biased and will not provide trustworthy information,” the report states.
“Recruiting agents, on the other hand, represent many universities and therefore have more perspective on the benefits of a variety of schools.”
It goes on to say that, “local recruiting agents are often well connected to the community and may be considered a more trustworthy source of information than a ‘foreigner’.”
The survey was sent to 807,719 students in total, sourced from a FPP EDU’s database of prospective international students. Countries where the fair organiser does not operate in, including China and India, are notably not included.
Benjamin Waxman, CEO of Intead, also indicated that previous travel experience was an indicator that students are more likely to go ahead and apply to their institution.
“It would seem to me that someone who’s travelled before is more acclimated to it and excited about it,” he told The PIE News.
“They’ve already tested the waters and they already know what they’re looking for.”