Hotcourses International Reveals Student Motivations When Searching for Options Abroad

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A study by Hotcourses International has provided several key insights into how prospective students research study abroad options.

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This finding clearly indicates that the message delivered to US students cannot be applied to international students too

According to a recent survey, HC International found that students overall began their search primarily by course/programme, rather than country or university. There were some exceptions when looking at individual markets, with Thai respondents prioritising country, while Middle Eastern respondents prioritised the university (meanwhile Korean students actually regarded both above course). Meanwhile 81% of respondents did have a specific country in mind when they began their search (63% of whom had a specific region within that country).

In the last twelve months, the subject of content has been the on the lips of many industries in figuring out how to better communicate their message online – unsurprisingly, learning more about attitudes towards content would be a key motivation here too. 71.8% of all respondents said they found video content ‘helpful’ or ‘very helpful’ (with slightly more saying the same of user-generated video, created by students from their country). However countries were split as to what they wanted to see featured: while applicants from Latin America, India and the Middle East wished to see a focus on university facilities specifically, applicants from China, Thailand and Vietnam were slightly broader in their preference for a ‘Day in the Life’ style video.

"While our reach throughout the globe is substantial, we still appreciate that no two audiences are identical," said Hotcourses CEO Mike Elms. He continued: "This finding clearly indicates that the message delivered to US students cannot be applied to international students too; while US students are concerned about finding graduate employment in a tough climate, international students care more about academic facilities available to them and the daily experience of studying in a foreign country."

Undoubtedly these findings will make for important reading for those in the education sector – whether institutions themselves or course portals like Hotcourses – in how they speak to students online (e.g. content they create, the architecture of their sites etc.). Additionally, the massive financial boost which international students bring to economies means governments around the world would be wise to take notice as well – especially when promoting themselves as premier study destinations.

Elms revealed all this past week at the annual NAFSA conference in St. Louis (US). The survey of just under 6,000 of the company’s users and social media followers spanned key markets across Europe, America and Asia. Respondents were also asked their thoughts on other topics including alternatives to traditional campus-based degrees, the influence of their parents and how they applied.

Full coverage of these findings is available on

Hotcourses Ltd is the leading publisher of education sites, domestically and internationally, offering the largest course database and advice in further, international and adult education.

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Ellie Boxall
Hotcourses Ltd.
0207 384 6035
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