There are plenty of factors that can influence students’ decisions about where to study. For example, the most important of these might be programme cost and location. However, prospective students are also increasingly turning to student reviews of universities. A 2019 report found that student reviews are now one of the key factors in students’ decision-making process. This comes at the cost of rankings, which are becoming less influential.
But student reviews of universities don’t just provide value to prospective students. Universities can use student reviews to improve their institutions. This could be the quality of teaching, programme offerings, or student wellbeing.
If you’re not already taking advantage of student reviews of universities, this article will convince you of their value.
What are student reviews?
Alumni and current students can leave student reviews on websites like EDUopinions. Reviewers are usually prompted to rate aspects of their university education: on EDUopinions, this includes facilities, professors, student life, location, and career prospects. Often, students will also give a personal description of their experience at their university. This may reveal details that students can’t glean from other sources of information like rankings or university brochures.
There are many reasons why students might now be flocking to verified student reviews websites, money being one of them. As students become more aware of the cost of university, they are taking care to prioritise those institutions where they feel like they will get their money’s worth.
How Do universities use student reviews to improve?
More than ever before, prospective students are turning to student reviews to help them make their decisions. For this reason, it’s important that universities also see the value in them. Negative student reviews can help universities identify possible problem areas, while positive reviews can also help produce more accurate marketing materials.
Here are all the ways that universities can use student reviews to improve the student experience.
Take advantage of Negative reviews
It makes sense to see negative reviews as detrimental to your school’s marketing efforts, but that’s not always the case. Negative reviews are a chance for you to respond to students and show that you value their feedback.
On the EDUopinions site, universities can personally respond to reviews, negative or positive. For example, Nova School of Business & Economics responds to the negative reviews on its university page. As well as thanking reviewers for writing about their experience, Nova encourages the student to speak to their Academic Director or Student Representative.
By responding to negative reviews, universities show students that they care about their experiences. Additionally, to other prospective students arriving on Nova’s page, seeing a university response may counteract the negative effects of the review in question.
Understand your students’ concerns
Student reviews are also an effective way for universities to understand the areas they might not be excelling in. Whether this is student life, accommodation, or teaching, reading negative reviews gives universities a valuable opportunity to find their students’ pain points. While every student experience is different, if multiple negative reviews have the same complaint, universities know exactly where they need to improve.
Positive reviews are also valuable for this. Even in positive reviews, students may offer suggestions for ways their university can be better. Consequently, universities should examine both their negative and positive reviews to find out first-hand from students where they can improve.
Focus on the positives
Universities should be examining their negative reviews for pain points. But you can also find value in reviewing positive reviews for precise areas that students are happy with.
Positive student reviews may reveal areas that a university was unaware that they are excelling in. For example, students might praise their university’s library or location, while particular programmes may attract more positive reviews than others. Universities can use these areas in their marketing materials to attract more students, while they can also reveal programmes that could be expanded.
It’s obvious that student reviews are now a mainstay of the decision-making process for prospective students. It’s important that universities are aware of this trend and make the most of both positive and negative reviews on sites like EDUopinions.
From quickly responding to negative reviews to examining problem areas, student reviews of universities offer a great deal of value to institutions. Incorporate them into your evaluation and feedback process, and you’ll quickly identify ways you can improve the student experience.