Skip to main navigation Skip to content
We use cookies on this website. If you continue to use the website, we will use cookies to maximise your experience and help us to improve.

To find out more about cookies, how we use them and how to remove them, see our privacy and cookies statement.

Students online: global trends 2014

Publication type
Top Universities. (2014) Students online: global trends 2014 . Students online: global trends. How do prospective students use digital resources to research higher education, ( ). pp. 1-24.


The survey was conducted via a paper-based questionnaire distributed to attendees of the QS World Grad School Tour in 2013 and 2014. A total of 2,215 responses were collected from 49 cities in 35 countries across Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America and Africa. Throughout the survey, globally applicable patterns were observable, though often accompanied by notable differences correlated to prospective students’ location, age and (to a lesser extent) gender. Some of the most significant findings were that, online resources are indispensable for most prospective students – but offline resources remain almost equally valued, research about higher education is often conducted across multiple devices, different types of online resource are perceived within a clear hierarchy of importance, different online resources fulfil differentiated functions in prospective students’ research, but there is significant overlap, social media is widely used in prospective students’ research, though considered a comparatively less important resource. The survey also revealed clear trends in the tasks with which applicants associate different types of online resource. Rankings websites, for example, were most commonly associated with comparing universities, while social media and forums were perceived mainly as sources of inspiration. However, there was significant cross-over, indicating that prospective students draw on a diverse portfolio of resources at each stage of their research.
Publication type:
Theme(s) and sub-theme(s):
Student experience > Reasons for study and choice of course
Top Universities
Publication title:
Students online: global trends. How do prospective students use digital resources to research higher education
Official URL:
Reference number:
Summary deposited on:
8 Aug 2014
Download Adobe Reader here