Nowadays, more and more people are starting to rely on internet reviews for everything, both when looking for a place to visit or stay during holidays and for more professional aspects, such as searching for the best university to specialise in a certain domain or deciding what your next career move is going to be. Opinions of just about anything (products, restaurants, institutions, touristic attractions…) are available almost everywhere: both in Google Reviews and other specific web pages such as TripAdvisor, TheFork and Docsity, just to mention a few examples.
But aside from fun and leisure, most people at some time or another read opinions from the perspective of someone who is looking for a good place to study or work. Before engaging in something that may determine your future, it is important to consider various options in order to make the best choice for us. Reviews that have been left by other people may come in handy to help students make up their minds; especially when they cannot visit a place beforehand to see what impression it gives them. This is where EDUopinions helps. EDUopinions is an online platform which collects and verifies real student reviews about universities from all over the world.
Therefore, student reviews have become a very important tool for students – international or not. And in order to satisfy the increasing demand for different opinions and reviews, more and more web pages containing these pieces of information have started to emerge. In fact, more and more universities and schools have started encouraging their students to share with the world what they think. Nevertheless, there are still some institutions who feel reluctant about giving students this possibility for fear of criticism.
This fear of criticism is more common than we may actually think: not only do institutions refuse to listen to what students have to say about them, but many commercial companies and associations who do offer customers the possibility to express their opinion about a product and/or service also tend to “gloss over” negative comments and sometimes only post positive reviews. While this policy may seem like the best idea to “maintain” the company’s image, what it really does is make the readers suspicious about how wonderful everything looks and incite them to look for other sources of information.
Furthermore, being open to both positive and negative reviews provides companies and institutions with the chance to acknowledge their strengths and improve their weaker points in order to become better. Another advantage of being sincere with reviews is that it provides the readers with an image of trustworthiness. The quantity of reviews and their quality matters as well: true student reviews may involve a neutral point of view, stating the things they enjoyed and others that they didn’t like so much in a non-overly-formal way. That’s why we should be wary of extremely eloquent and polished reviews: they are not usually authentic.
It is currently known that university rankings are sometimes glossed over; and that in order to find more information about a certain institution you will need to reach out and dig for more information from other places yourself. Criteria such as employability, teaching quality, specialisations, and personal networks are what motivate most students to get as informed as possible. Nevertheless, when official university web pages become too obscure and confusing to use, reaching out for other web pages that include other student reviews (such as Course Finders or Go Overseas) and even contacting people who have had experiences in the university you are interested in is a helpful thing to do. Having several sources to consult before drawing a final conclusion makes applicants feel safer and more confident in their quest for finding the ideal place to study.
In conclusion, people are relying more and more on reviews posted online and/or advice given from others regarding many aspects of daily life, both menial stuff (such as whether Café A is better than Café B) and more serious reasons, such as studying the different subjects a degree with the same name may have in diverse universities, or which could be the ideal university destination depending on the area you want to specialise in. Since it is best to consider carefully which are the best options before taking the plunge, we encourage our students to keep seeking the most information they can grasp, to never hesitate to ask for former students’ opinions… and to keep checking out student sites such as Course Finders, Go Overseas and EDUopinions itself!