Secret Shopper

Fall 2021

Biannually, we conduct our “Secret Shopper Program”, where we request information from schools and measure the timeliness and effectiveness of the responses.

We create a Canadian and an international student persona. In October 2021 our personas were “Julia” a grade 12 student living in Ontario and interested in business, and “Aliya” a grade 12 student living in India and interested in coming to Canada to study a STEM program. The requests were sent between October 14 and 26, 2021.

Our ‘students’ requested information from over 80 schools on SchoolFinder.com and StudyinCanada.com.

The named results only include the top performers. If you’re not on the list and have an active profile on the SchoolFinder Group platform, let us know and we’ll share your results. If you’re not on the platform and are interested in joining, you’ll find further information below.

Based on our research indicating that students will respond favourably to timely and effective responses, we hope that these results will inspire you to be the best student recruiter you can be!

Secret Shopper Results

We requested information from a total of 86 schools

» SchoolFinder.com (Canadian Students) — 68 schools

» StudyinCanada.com (International Students) — 18 schools

Overall, 73% of schools responded

» SchoolFinder.com (Canadian Students) — 81%

» StudyinCanada.com (International Students) — 44%

This is up from 67% in Winter 2021.

Note: Where “SF” is referenced it indicates a SchoolFinder profile and where “SIC” is referenced it indicates a StudyinCanada profile.

Days to Respond

23 schools did not respond at all

 

Although 29 schools responded within the first two days, 23 schools didn’t reply at all. The average response time was 12 days.

Number of Days Number of Schools
0 14
1 11
2 4
3 2
4 1
5 3
6 2
7 4
8 4
10 1
11 2
12 2
24 1
27 1
28 2
30 2
38 1
40 2
54 1
67 1
75 1
79 1
No Response 23

Top Schools by Number of Emails Sent

The top performers sent 4-9 emails

 

The average number of emails sent was 2 emails.

School Name Emails Sent
Yorkville University 9
Ontario Tech University 8
University of Waterloo (SF) 6
Algoma University 5
Cambrian College 5
Huron University College 5
Western University (SIC) 4
Western University (SF) 4
Wilfrid Laurier University (SF) 4

Top Schools by First Email Score

Those whose first email was the best overall

 

These schools had an initial email that ranked strongly in content, layout, relevance, and timeliness.

School Name Score
Algonquin College (SF) 13
University of Waterloo (SF) 13
Centennial College (SF) 12
George Brown College 12
Ryerson University 12
University of Regina 12
Wilfrid Laurier University (SIC) 12
Yorkville University 11
Capilano University 11
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 11
Nipissing University 11
OCAD University (SF) 11
St. Mary’s University 11
Tyndale University 11
University of Guelph-Humber (SF) 11
University of York 11
Vancouver Island University (SF) 11

Top Schools by Content Score

Those who had the most accurate, useful email content

 

These schools consistently sent emails with engaging content that was specific to the student’s profile. They tied for the top score.

Top Performers: Content
Algonquin College (SF)
Brock University
Huron University College
IE University
Laurentian University
Nipissing University
St. Mary’s University
Trent University
Tyndale University
University of East Anglia
University of Regina
University of Sussex
University of Waterloo (SF)
University of York

Top Schools by Layout Score

Those who had the best visual appeal

 

These schools sent emails that were mobile-friendly, easy to read, and well laid out. They tied for the top score.

Top Performers: Layout
Algoma University
Algonquin College (SF)
Capilano University
Centennial College (SF)
George Brown College
Nipissing University
Trent University
University of East Anglia
University of Guelph-Humber (SF)
University of Waterloo (SF)
University of Waterloo (SIC)
University of Windsor (SF)
Vancouver Island University (SF)
Vancouver Island University (SIC)
Wilfrid Laurier University (SF)

Top Schools by CTA Score

Those who had the most engaging call-to-action button

These schools sent emails with strong subject lines, preheaders, and an engaging CTA. They tied for the top score.

Top Performers: CTA Button
Algonquin College (SF)
Capilano University
Centennial College (SF)
George Brown College
OCAD University (SF)
Redeemer University
University of South Wales
University of Waterloo (SF)
University of Windsor (SF)

Top Schools by Relevance Score

Those who had the most relevant emails

 

These schools used personalization and sent the most relevant content. They tied for the top score.

Top Performers: Relevance
Algonquin College (SF)
Conestoga College
International Business University
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology)
Ryerson University
St. Mary’s University
University of Regina
University of York
Wilfrid Laurier University (SIC)
Yorkville University

The Top Overall

These schools scored the best overall

 

Here are the top 14 schools. Kudos to Yorkville University who came out on top and to Vancouver Island University and Wilfrid Laurier University who scored well both domestically and internationaly.

Schools Total Score
Yorkville University 27
University of Waterloo (SF) 23
Ontario Tech University 21
Algoma University 18
Huron University College 18
Cambrian College 16
Centennial College (SF) 16
George Brown College 16
Western University (SIC) 16
Tyndale University 15
Vancouver Island University (SF) 15
Vancouver Island University (SIC) 14
Wilfrid Laurier University (SF) 14
Wilfrid Laurier University (SIC) 14

Some Outstanding Examples

These were some outstanding email examples

 

Algoma University, Ontario Tech University, and the University of Waterloo all scored high when it came to content, layout, CTA, and relevance.

Further

To learn more about the Secret Shopper program or if you’d like to find out how your institution stacked up, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@SchoolFinderGroup.com!

If you’re interested in joining the platform, feel free to contact Max at Max.Hyland@SchoolFinderGroup.com.

Here is some good further reading:

» How Prompt Lead Responses Increases Application Numbers

» Winning Lead Communication Tactics for Higher Ed

» How to Import Leads Into Your CRM Automatically

The SchoolFinder Group Team
info@schoolfindergroup.com