US Tops Global Satisfaction Survey, Outranking Australia, Canada, and UK

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US Tops Global Satisfaction Survey, Outranking Australia, Canada, and UK

A survey of 126,000 students across leading study destinations reveals that a return to on-campus learning has significantly enhanced the experiences of both local and international students. This research, conducted by Studyportals, UniBuddy, and the British Council IELTS, indicates a notable improvement in students’ academic encounters.

Participants in the survey represented over 200 countries, offering feedback on higher education institutions spanning 126 countries, including the prominent “Big Four”: Australia, Canada, UK, and US.

The report from the survey emphasizes the importance of documenting and publicly sharing student satisfaction scores, aiding prospective students in making informed decisions about their desired location and university for studies.

What was measured

Students reviewed institutions according to:

  • Admission process
  • Student-teacher interaction
  • Student diversity
  • Quality of student life
  • Online classroom experience
  • Career development


Among the categories assessed, the online classroom experience had the lowest ranking but showcased the most significant improvement since the 2021 survey (up by 7.2%). Another area that notably enhanced was the quality of student life, showing an improvement of 6.4%. These advancements in these two categories imply a notably enhanced learning experience for students compared to the period during the pandemic.

Disappointing Outcomes for Three of the Major Four


Among Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US, only the latter achieved an overall satisfaction score surpassing the global average. The US excelled notably in admissions processing, student-teacher interaction, and career development.

Edwin van Rest, Studyportals’ co-founder and CEO, remarked, “The current political landscape in the US differs from that of 2021. The State Department has made considerable efforts to prioritize international students, fostering a more hospitable environment.”

Canada fell below the average in all categories, despite an overall improvement since 2021. Australia also lagged behind the average, except in the realm of career development. The UK displayed a more balanced performance, declining in admission processes, student-teacher interaction, and student diversity, yet showcasing strength in online classroom experience, quality of student life, and career development. Nonetheless, Ireland, a noteworthy competitor outside the major quartet, outperformed the UK across all dimensions except for online classroom experience.

European universities, particularly those in Hungary, demonstrated commendable performance, with the University of Navarra in Spain emerging as the top-ranked institution overall.

Europe excelled across all categories except for online classroom experience and student-teacher interaction, where the US attained the top scores in terms of specific excellence.

Regional Comparisons Highlighted in the Report

  • Western Europe: Germany surpassed competitors like France and the Netherlands across most dimensions.
  • Northern Europe (e.g., Denmark, Finland, Sweden): No country exhibited a significant lead over others. Institutions in this region excelled in specific areas.
  • South Europe: Portugal and Spain showcased close competition across various dimensions.
  • North and South Asia: China generally outperformed India except in the domain of career development.
  • Southeast Asia: Thailand emerged as the top-ranking country in satisfaction across most dimensions, outperforming nations like Malaysia and the Philippines.
  • Middle East/North Africa: Turkey and Egypt showed close competition in various aspects.
  • Africa: South Africa led in most areas except for student-teacher interaction, where it trailed behind Nigeria.

Despite Canada’s subpar performance, the overall satisfaction with studying in North America has significantly enhanced since 2021, surpassing improvements seen in other regions.

Emphasis on Enrollment Procedures

The rating for students’ interactions with admissions procedures and personnel increased by 4.5% to reach 4.4 on a 5-point scale. The admissions category holds significant importance, as students’ encounters with ineffective communication or processing during applications often lead to a decreased interest in an institution.

Key findings from the report regarding admissions encompass various aspects:

  • “Numerous students shared their encounters with admissions staff, either lauding their helpfulness and approachability or noting a lack of communication.”
  • “Many students highlighted issues related to delayed decision-making, necessitating constant updates. They also mentioned the intricacy and length of application processes, particularly affecting international students. Students cited outdated university websites and evaluated the usefulness and user-friendliness of online platforms.”
  • “Several students expressed inadequate information concerning visa and immigration procedures, general admission requirements, and securing student accommodations.”
  • “Reviews mentioned the high costs associated with application and assessment test fees. Many students discussed the challenges in obtaining scholarships or financial aid, expressing anxiety regarding financial stability.”

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