London tops list for US students’ online searches

The UK’s capital is the most searched city by US students looking to study abroad, a new analysis shows

February 11, 2015

London tops the list for Google searches relating to higher education, followed by Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Melbourne in Australia, according to a report released by the search engine on 11 February.

Once specific university names were excluded from searches, London again retained its top spot for searches regarding potential overseas degree study among US students, it says.

“Universities in London” is the most popular term among all generic searches made by US students relating to international study.

Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and Singapore round off the top five in terms of generic city-based searches, with Oxford (10th place), Cambridge (14th) and Edinburgh (19th) also in the top 20.

“No matter how we looked at it, by university brand or just generic keywords, there is no doubt that London and the UK are the biggest magnets for US students seeking to study abroad,” said Harry Walker, head of Google Education Industry.

The study has been released to coincide with a visit by London mayor Boris Johnson to New York on 11 February, where he will unveil a new scheme to bring more US students to the capital.

As part of the Leaders of the Future Programme, business leaders will mentor US students while they study in the UK.

The prevalence of London within internet searches confirms the brand value of the capital, with several universities adding London to their title in recent years.

However, the University of Oxford was the most googled foreign higher education institution by US students last year, followed by the University of Cambridge, the new analysis shows.

There are five London institutions in the top 10, including King’s College London (3rd place), University College London (4th), the London School of Economics (5th), Imperial College London (7th) and the University of the Arts London (9th).

Outside the capital, Edinburgh was the sixth most searched university, the University of Glasgow was 11th, Durham University 14th and the University of Leeds 15th.

The University of Westminster was 17th, the University of Warwick 18th and the University of Exeter 20th.

Other London universities that are also heavily searched by US students include City University London (56th most searched), Brunel University London (75th), London Metropolitan University (87th), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (89th) and Goldsmiths, University of London (97th).

The most searched for subject by US students looking to study in London is business and finance, followed by fashion, with University of the Arts’ London College of Fashion among the most highly searched specialist institutions.

A Google analysis of the most searched for UK universities by all users published last year showed that the top ranked UK institution was The Open University (3rd place), ahead of the London School of Economics (8th), University College London (12th), the University of Oxford (13th) and the University of Cambridge (18th).

Top 30 universities most searched for by US students in 2014

1University of OxfordUK
2University of CambridgeUK
3King’s College LondonUK
4University College LondonUK
5London School of Economics and Political ScienceUK
6University of EdinburghUK
7Imperial College LondonUK
8Trinity College DublinIreland
9University of the Arts LondonUK
10Australian National UniversityAustralia
11University of GlasgowUK
12University of SydneyAustralia
13University of MelbourneAustralia
14Durham UniversityUK
15University of LeedsUK
16Monash UniversityAustralia
17University of WestminsterUK
18University of WarwickUK
19Seoul National UniversityRepulic of Korea
20University of ExeterUK
21University of AucklandNew Zealand
22University of QueenslandAustralia
23Yonsei UniversityRepulic of Korea
24Queen Mary University of LondonUK
25Tsinghua UniversityChina
26ETH ZurichSwitzerland
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)UK
28University of AberdeenUK
29University of Cape TownSouth Africa
30Newcastle UniversityUK


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Reader's comments (1)

I hope we can be told what effect changing the name of a university, or calling a college a university, has on these searches, and what the link between number of hits and cost of brand may be?