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  • Alicia Sigmon

5 Reasons Students Choose eduFair


When it comes to finding the right higher education institution, how do Chinese students decide what sites to use? In this article, we’ve compiled the top 5 reasons that students choose and continue to use eduFair: convenience, accessibility, student-to-student resources, direct access, and affordability.



1. Accessibility


You’ve heard of the Great Wall of China, but how much do you know about the Great Firewall of China? According to our 2017 survey of 25 American universities, almost 7/10 American Universities had blocked admissions content. For Chinese students, this is a huge hindrance for finding, choosing, and applying to universities abroad. If a site has any blocked content, it might seem unreliable and students will not consider that institution. If students repeatedly can’t even access basic admissions information, they have to rely on partial information or go through an agent. eduFair makes accessing information about international institutions easy, with no content blocked on their student app or institution site. When students sign up, they immediately have access to unblocked information and resources about eduFair’s partner institutions.


Not only does eduFair help students access admissions information that might otherwise be blocked, but eduFair also helps students access the latest news and tips for moving abroad. On the app, students can read articles about important study abroad news, visa news, and precautions to take abroad. Understandably, one large stressor for students moving abroad currently is Covid-19. With restricted access to news in China, students often cannot find the most current Covid-19 policies for other countries, specific cities abroad, or specific international institutions. In the student app, students have access to original and up-to-date articles to help them stay current and relieve as much stress as possible before their big move.



2. Convenience


In China, almost anything can be done on a cellphone. From paying for groceries to ordering a delivery van to watching the news, smartphones are crucial to daily life in China. It stands to reason then, that Chinese students will also do most of their study abroad research and communicate with school representatives on a portable device. With this understanding of Chinese culture and student needs, eduFair optimized their layout and formatting for students in the app 留学咖啡馆 (liúxué kāfēiguǎn), or Study Abroad Café, to suit a smartphone or iPad. Where western countries might expect to do school research and communications on a laptop or computer, Chinese students want to be able to access school research on the go.


Not only is phone accessibility important, but students also want everything to be conveniently located in one app. With eduFair, instead of needing multiple apps to research, contact, and apply for schools, students can keep all of that information in one app. Once students decide they want to join eduFair, they may wonder how complicated it will be to sign up. Sometimes even easy-to-use apps have a difficult set-up, but that’s not the case with eduFair. Students merely need to input their information and confirm their email or phone number, and then they can access all information available on the app! The whole process should only take about 2-5 minutes.


Finally, eduFair’s app for students is all in Mandarin, which allows students to research various schools and admissions information around the world without a language barrier. Providing access to international institutions’ information in students’ native language relieves some of the burden for students who are hoping to study abroad. Being able to access institutions’ information in Chinese ensures that there is no misunderstanding and that students don’t have to worry about missing vital information. Further, providing information in Chinese can also make students feel more welcome and less intimidated by the prospect of moving abroad.



3. Student-to-student resources (testimonials, videos, and forums)


In China, word-of-mouth is extremely important for students when choosing their higher education institution. When researching schools abroad or even within your own country, it’s hard to get a real feel for a campus without visiting or getting current students’ or alumni’s opinions. What’s a typical day like on campus? What do international students wish they had known before going to their university? What’s it like living abroad with Covid-19? Students can get answers to all of these questions and more from student testimonials, videos, and forums on the eduFair app. On eduFair’s app, students can search for videos and testimonials from students as well as ask their specific questions in student forums.


You might be wondering, how important are student-to-student interactions? As discussed in our article Friend-of-a-Friend: Diversifying Voices and Channels in Digital Recruitment,” conversations with current students are often more influential than statistics in Chinese students’ decisions about their higher education. A Unibuddy and Instead study published in 2020 revealed that when deciding where to attend higher education, 57% of Asian students were most impacted by their virtual conversations with current students, and 47% were similarly impacted by their friends or family. Only one year later, Unibuddy revealed that all countries on their peer-to-peer platform had a spike in new users. With a total of 50,000 new users in February 2021, about 3.85 times more new Unibuddy users signed up in February 2021 than in February 2020, and 10 times the number of new users signed up as compared to February 2019. As seen in these studies, the impact of peer-to-peer interactions is increasing as the world continues to become more and more digital with Covid-19. eduFair’s student-to-student resources are therefore one of the most important factors for students who use eduFair.



4. Direct connections, first-hand information



With eduFair, students have complete control over what institutions they research and communicate with. Many students choose eduFair because it gives them control over what schools they pursue and lets them talk to school representatives directly without an intermediary. When looking for an educational institution abroad, platforms like eduFair are empowering for students, allowing them to take charge of their own education.


Without apps like eduFair, many Chinese students have to rely on an agent to help them find schools or universities abroad. However, this can be costly, and the student and the institution both lose control. Students don’t get to see all of the options, and schools don’t get to represent themselves. When an agent represents a school, students have to hope that they are representing the school as the school would want, and they don’t have access to other students or alumni. Furthermore, agents don’t always have the students’ best interests at heart. Instead, some might recommend institutions to a student that are in the agent’s best interest based on commissions instead of recommending institutions that are the best fit for that student. For example, agents might not show students less expensive options like community colleges, or they might share information about a university that doesn’t meet all of the student’s needs. If a student wants an agent’s help, they need to find a high-quality, trustworthy agent. eduFair can also help recommend top-quality agents for students who want this additional support.



5. Affordability (It’s free!)


Education as well as searching and applying for higher education can be very expensive for Chinese students. Unlike other online resources for Chinese students, eduFair is completely free for students and schools. Students can interact with many schools on the eduFair app without any fees, saving them money and time. Students can also avoid paying for an agent since eduFair provides the information directly for the student.



Conclusion

eduFair stands out for its convenience, accessibility to Chinese students, student-to-student resources, direct access to schools, and because it’s free. This article answers the question of why students use eduFair, but considering these 5 reasons, current student users talking with friends might answer that question with why not?



 


ABOUT EDUFAIR CHINA eduFair China is a free website and app connecting Chinese students with international institutions and first-hand resources about studying abroad. We aim to give students a more empowered approach to international education so that they can succeed during their journey abroad. Our platform features more than 1,200 organizations and reaches millions of students across China. Click here to learn more about getting your institution online and how eduFair can help you reach students in China.


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