More than three-quarters (77%) of university websites have admissions content that is blocked in China, while those sites that are accessible take an average of 28.5 seconds to load, eduFair said.
“We have been approached by schools on six continents”
The company said it hopes to redress this by inviting schools to create an e-Booth on its platform where they can display content that is often blocked to students, such as student testimonials, campus tours, and online lectures.
eduFair wants applicants to “see beyond rankings and gain a more complete view of the campus experience” via its free offer for students and educators.
Sites like WeChat and Weibo require schools to have Chinese business licenses which “often restricts small schools or institutions that are new to China”, the organisation explained.
By offering first-hand information, the platform also expects to combat issues such as racism and anti-immigrant sentiments on campuses overseas, Chinese students’ over-reliance on agents and the use of fraudulent materials.
Since the launch on December 3, more than 500 Chinese organisations and 100 international schools are using the platform.
eduFair is on track to reach its goal of 1,000 organisations – including 500 international schools – in its first year, director of International Engagement Derrik Karst told The PIE News.
Karst added that he hopes to feature more than 3,000 organisations in eduFair’s second year.
“We are primarily focusing on schools in English-speaking countries – Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the US,” he explained.
eduFair is also bringing on schools in other countries that offer English-taught programs, Karst added.
“So far, the response has been very positive; we have been approached by schools on six continents.
“Early next year, we will add features so that schools instructing in languages other than English can present their programs,” he noted.
eduFair is primarily focused on personality and fit, Karst continued.
“We want schools to show off their most unique points and attract students that will thrive socially, academically, and professionally.
“We are also trying to help students discover less traditional routes like community colleges and pathway programs. These options offer great value and flexibility, bringing opportunities to students from different academic and economic backgrounds.”
With information directly from the school, eduFair aims to help more applicants “feel empowered” to apply directly to institutions overseas. Connecting with peers on campus will also help students ensure they are a good fit once they arrive on campus.
“When students can interact, they can help guide each other through the process. After all, who is better qualified to speak about a school’s welcoming environment than someone who lives on campus?” said Karst.
“We are also trying to help students discover less traditional routes”
“It’s incredibly important for schools to engage their current students and alumni. Word-of-mouth is a powerful recruitment tool, especially in China. And we are seeing enrolments shift towards schools that demonstrate their graduates’ success.”
eduFair plans to reach more than 500,000 student, alumni, and parent users by partnering with Chinese social networks and large financial institutions.
“Domestic schools are also a large source of our users,” Karst added.
“Each Chinese organisation brings hundreds of students preparing to go abroad. eduFair helps them research schools and stand out as competitive applicants.”