The internationalization of higher education has opened a whole new market for tertiary institutions. Though it means more potential students, it also meant increased competition since you’re now competing with both local and foreign universities to gain sizable market share. 

Colleges and universities need to rethink their marketing plan to make them stand out, and the first step is understanding the students’ decision-making process. Knowing the factors that influence how a student chooses a university or college will help you institute the right changes.



According to surveys, students consider the quality of teaching one of the most important factors when deciding on a university. Around 59 percent of students list it as their top priority, and having a highly qualified and prestigious faculty is the best indicator of quality of teaching, says 70 percent of students. Conversely, less than half believe that university ranking implies teaching quality.


Both affordability of the programs and access to financial aid are important factors for students, especially during with the steadily rising cost of higher education. There are families around the world that consider higher education a privilege, and providing financial packages that ease the burden can greatly increase their chances of choosing your institution over more costly ones with the same programs and offerings.


Employability is a key factor when deciding on what college or university to go to, especially for international students. They look at graduate employment rates, which they also believe is a sign of quality education. Students also check if internships and work placement are available to improve their chances of finding work after studying.


Although it is not the sole determinant, reputation is still high on the list since rankings carry certain merits. Around 23.5 percent of students consider it a top priority when deciding. This is a common mindset among students who choose to go to private colleges, according to studies. For international students in particular, rank also carries post-study work prospects and safety.


Both the number of foreign students and the atmosphere of being welcomed is important to 54 percent of students. This can come in a variety of forms, from friendly student support services to extra-curricular activities that help them socialize and live abroad.

Aside from those mentioned above, other factors that can influence their judgment include the distance from the university to the student housing, accommodation, and facilities available on campus. However, some of those factors are beyond your control, so the most you can do is provide students with enough resources and helpful information through your website and social channels.

Another thing to consider is the availability of information. Your awards and grants won’t do you any good if students don’t even know about them. Unfortunately, 42 percent of students say that they can’t find the info they need even after searching online. 

If you think that you’re not doing enough to showcase the unique proposition and offerings of your institution, then you can always seek professional expertise to shape and market your brand. A tailored marketing strategy for educational institutions expands your reach and boosts student recruitment.