Conducted by Intead and Unibuddy, the research draws on surveys from 370,000 conversations amongst 26,000 prospective students from 57 countries, including Africa (comprising 18% of conversations), Europe (36%), and Asia (38%).
“Student to student connection has taken over as the most influential… even more than friends and family”
It found that more than half of prospective students who chatted with Unibuddy student ambassadors across all regions and degree levels chose to apply to that university.
In Africa, three quarters (75%) said they had chosen to apply to that university, followed by 71% in Europe and 54% in Asia. In terms of enrolments, however, just 19% in Africa enrolled compared with 32% in Europe and 30% in Asia.
When asked ‘did chatting with a Unibuddy student ambassador affect your decision about whether to apply to a university?’, 69% of respondents in Africa, 62% in Europe and 51% in Asia said it had.
In terms of study level, 43% of undergraduate and 56% of graduate-level students agreed with the statement.
But while the total prospective graduate students said they valued peer-to-peer interactions (47%), they were the one group still valuing family and friends more (63%) as aids to their decision making.
“Student to student connection has taken over as the most influential and helpful factor when deciding where to apply to university. Even more influential than friends and family – this is a huge shift for universities and colleges,” Diego Fanara, CEO of Unibuddy said.
“Students are the heart and soul of institutions so it’s no surprise that prospective students value the authenticity of their experience above all else.”