Through Student Eyes

Top 500 Universities in the US and Canada: Benchmark Research by the British Council in collaboration with StudyPortals

In cooperation with the British Council, StudyPortals mystery shopped the world´s top universities - through students´ eyes. Following-up on our study from 2014, when we focused on the World’s Top 500 Universities, this year’s analysis highlights the Top 500 Universities in the US and Canada. Alongside the macro report of the main findings, we also developed individual reports for each university we researched, which contrasts their scores with those of the Top 500 Universities in the US and Canada, as well as the World’s Top 500 Universities.

With more than 4.5 million students being globally mobile, the number of students being interested in studying abroad is at a record high. For these students, making an informed decision regarding what and where they would like to study is a complex, lengthy process, and inconsistencies and differences in how universities choose to communicate information about their programs is a significant barrier. For students, the challenge of filtering information from multiple institutions across many countries is difficult and very time-consuming, especially considering the global and inter-cultural context of the student audience.

It was this challenge which prompted us to analyse the world’s top 500 universities in 2014 through student eyes. Since the initial research was well-received, we decided to expand our research to include the world’s top 1,000 universities in 2015. This report specifically focuses on the top 500 universities in the US and Canada and investigates how they compare to the other top universities in the world. 

Within the research, a team of international students explored the websites of the world’s top universities. They assessed the official homepages as well as selected programme pages and evaluated the difficulty in finding a predefined set of information. They also contacted the institutions asking a specific set of questions and assessed the replies received. All together more than 40 individual data points of each university’s performance were analysed and rated. This allowed the researchers to measure and compare the world top 500 universities’ performance in terms of online information provision and findability, as well as enquiry response and follow-up rate.

The “Through student eyes – Top 500 Universities in the US and Canada” report presents a snapshot of the extensive data collected as part of this research project.

Should you wish to receive your own copy, the benchmark of your institution, or have any suggestions for the report, please contact us: