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topuniversities - 19 days ago

How TopUniversities is helping you discover the right university and program

How TopUniversities is helping you discover the right university and program rachelwalker88… Thu, 04/15/2021 - 11:40 How TopUniversities can help you find the right university Easily accessible information for universities around the world - all available in English Career guidance and planning tools - which degree will best prepare you for your chosen field? Providing an alternative to the agency experience for international students Finding and choosing a university can be incredibly difficult under the best of circumstances, let alone when applying from abroad.  I knew that I wanted to attend grad school in the UK, but like most Americans I couldn’t name any universities beyond Oxford, Cambridge, and LSE. Not a great starting point. During my search I came across TopUniversities.com and learned about a little school called University College London, which happened to have a program that matched exactly what I was looking for. Flying a 22-hour round trip to tour schools that I might not be accepted to anyway was out of the question, so I had to rely on online resources to make my decisions. The whole process was confusing, nerve-wracking, and at times downright painful. Two years, one dissertation, and a global pandemic later, I had my diploma from UCL and a job working as QS’s first user researcher, tasked with improving the higher education discovery process that I had gone through not so long ago.  Learning about our audience Being the first user researcher at a company presents many challenges, but it also presented me with every qualitative researcher’s dream: a blank slate and free reign.  Before we could start improving the higher education discovery process, we had to get a better idea of what that process actually looks like for prospective students around the world. To do this, I held one-on-one interviews with 42 participants over the span of four weeks.  We heard from individuals from 26 different countries, across all age groups and all levels of study. At the end I had 3,780 minutes of data to analyse and a resolve to never fit that many interviews over such a short period of time again!  Our research touched on various topics— students’ values, influences, goals, and their experience of the higher education discovery process.  Touching on all our findings would take far longer than the space I’ve been given, so I’ll discuss a few common challenges our participants faced and what QS is doing to help address them.  Dealing with foreign languages  While I had the luxury of searching for programs in a language I speak, many prospective students do not. Google Translate can help to a certain extent, but even Google has its limits.  One participant I spoke to had missed an important deadline due to the necessary information not being available in a language she spoke and subsequently she couldn t apply to that school.  Several other participants mentioned that if they weren’t able to easily find information in English, they would rule out applying to that school entirely.  Websites like TopUniversities.com can help address this by providing information about international schools in English, which can in turn make studying internationally more accessible to people around the world. By speaking with participants about what information would be most helpful to include on our university and course profile pages, we hope to make that process even easier.  Choosing a degree that suits your career plan When participants were asked what goals they were hoping to achieve from completing higher education, the most common answer was to unlock career prospects. While all participants felt that career planning and higher education are closely related, many felt that they were not receiving enough support in terms of how to go about doing that. In some countries, students are expected to decide what they want to study when they are as young as 15 or 16, which does not always end up being a good fit. For those that don’t change their major halfway through undergrad, they face a difficult choice: continue in a field that they don’t like or start from scratch.  Even for those with firm career plans, it can be difficult to determine what degree program would best prepare them to go into that field. So, if career planning and higher education are so closely related, why aren’t more higher education discovery websites assisting their users in viewing it through that lens?  One of our goals for the year will be building tools to help users find the right degree program to prepare them for a career that they will find rewarding.  “I don t think that at 17 years old or 18 years old, you can really understand exactly what you want to do in life and what type of career, you want to do.” - Silvia, Italy  Needing an alternative to using agents   Using an agent to help with the higher education discovery process offers several benefits. Having someone to advise you on what universities are a good fit can take out some of the guesswork, and agents might be able to recommend lesser-known universities that prospective students wouldn’t have been able to find themselves. It can also be faster to have someone else fill out forms for you and gives you confidence that things won t slip through the cracks. All that being said, several of our study participants experienced serious downsides. Some agents may only recommend universities that they have partnerships with and withhold information about schools that might actually be a better fit. One participant worked with an agent who lied about having submitted an application for them to a university because it was not one that the agent partnered with.  Even the best-meaning agents aren’t perfect. One participant was denied entry to a university that he had originally been accepted to due to a mistake that his agent made on paperwork.  There are some parts of the world where historically working with an agent is the only way to gain admission to a university, which leaves prospective students with no choice but to rely on potentially predatory agents. By making information about universities and degree programs more easily accessible and providing guidance on the discovery process, QS hopes to provide an alternative to the agency experience.  “Last year I got admission to the University of Newcastle in Australia. It was a fully funded program, everything was done, but they told me there are some education agents. So, you have to verify your document to that agency, then only I can accept. That agency made one mistake in my application and they mentioned that I will not come back to India after completion of my course. And after that, the university blacklisted me for my whole life.” - Kamal, India  FacebookTwitterLinkedInWhatsAppCopy Link Off Student life Off Off We ve been hard at work to better understand our audience and how we can help you discover the right university and program. Here s a closer look at some of the ways we can help. Student Stories Discover the right degree for you with our QS Matching Tool Related Categories: student info /student-info/student-stories No ELSEVIER logo Off IREG logo Off Methodology Page Off QS Stars logo Off Hide Share from Header in mobile Off Hide Flag from Header in mobile Off


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