Who attends student recruitment events?

Students at a QS Fair

University study fairs are a crucial part of the student journey. They offer an opportunity for prospective students to shop around and get a sense of a university without having to travel to the campus, which for many students will be in a different country. 38% of students polled in the QS International Student Survey 2023 said university fairs are one of the most useful sources of information when researching a university – more than agents, printed prospectuses, and family and friends. 

But what are the demographics of attendees at QS’ global student recruitment events, and what do we know about their study habits and preferences? We’ve taken a look at the QS Discover and Connect events we held in Fall 2023 to find out.

QS Connect events enable institutions to meet with pre-screened, high-intent master’s and MBA candidates across 25 minute meetings. 

QS Discover events attract vast numbers of master’s and MBA prospects, and are ideal for generating applications, building your pipeline and increasing your brand visibility. 

The North America Fall 2023 tour 

We took our university fairs to 13 cities across the United States in Fall 2023. With over 8,000 registrants, here is who attended: 

  • Attendees had an average age of 27. 
  • Their top three study destinations were the USA, the UK, and Canada. 
  • 47% looking to study a Master’s, with 36% wanting to study an MBA. 

At our fair in Washington, D.C., we welcomed engaged attendees, as they made 685 connections, meaning each attendee averaged nearly four new connections. 

These students were aiming for programmes in business management degrees, international relations, or public policy, and their top study destinations were the USA, the UK and Europe. 

In Canada, we held four events and had over 3,500 registrants. 

  • Attendees had an average age of 25. 
  • Their top three study destinations were Canada, the USA and the UK. 
  • 61% of attendees were looking to study a Master’s, with 26% wanting to study an MBA. 

At our fair in Canada’s most populous city, we welcomed over 400 attendees, and they went on to make 1,551 connections with universities. The most common subject areas they were looking to study were business management, computer science, and psychology. 

According to Ben Webb, Regional Commercial Director for North America at QS: “Student recruitment events deliver value to universities and students alike. Students get face-to-face interactions with top-quality universities so they can make informed decisions, and universities can meet a pool of talented, engaged students. Institutions that attend a QS event also receive GDPR-compliant attendee data they can use to reach registrants with marketing messages.” 

What do Canadian students think? 

Using data from the QS International Student Survey, we can see the preferences and opinions of Canadian students. 89.7% would like to communicate via email, with 44.7% preferring a phone call, and 36.8% selecting WhatsApp. They also said that accommodation information would be the most influential piece of marketing information to help choose a university, closely followed by practical tips to help their application. 

After receiving an offer, over 65% of Canadian students expect to be contacted by the university daily or weekly.

Latin America 

We also held fairs across Latin America in autumn 2023.

A graphic image showing the demographic breakdown of attendees at our Latin American events. Highlights include: 58% of attendees were female, the average age was 28, and 61% were looking to study a Master's degree.

The top non-business subjects for Latin American students are: 

  1. Computer science and information systems 
  1. International relations 
  1. Art and design 
  1. Communications and media 
  1. Economics 

Taking a more in-depth look at the fair held in Lima, Peru’s capital, we saw 1,021 attendees with students’ top study destinations tied between Canada and Spain. The most commonly chosen subject areas were business management, marketing and computer science. 

Data about students from Peru can also be drawn from the QS International Student Survey. In stark contrast to Canadian students, students listed the below as their most influential forms of marketing communications: 

  1. Meetings with admissions staff at fairs or information sessions – 53.6% 
  1. Information about teaching staffs’ experience and qualifications – 52.9% 
  1. The ability to connect with existing international students to ask questions – 50.4% 


QS student recruitment events take place across Europe, with QS travelling to the UK, Greece, Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey. With an average age of 24, students at our European events here are a little younger than our fairs elsewhere in the world — the audience tend to be more interested in master’s degrees too. 

At our London Fair, we saw 644 attendees in 2023. In contrast to our other global fairs, 59% of attendees weren’t from the UK, so if you’re seeking to diversify your student cohort, the London event is a great way to connect with students of lots of nationalities – we welcome students from all over the world. 

South East Asia and China 

It’s crucial for universities to understand students from South East Asia and China — this region is, after all, among the largest for students choosing to study abroad. When polling students who attended our student recruitment events in the region, excluding business subjects, the top areas students are considering studying are computer science and information systems; communications and media; and economics. 

Additionally, 68% of fair attendees are looking to study a master’s degree, and the top destinations were the UK, USA and Canada. 

Over 460 attendees attended our Beijing fair. While their prospective subject areas mostly aligned with the wider region, the most common study destinations differed, with the US leading the way, followed by Europe and then the UK. 

Kickstart your 2024 student recruitment   

There’s still time to book tables at our Spring 2024 student recruitment events. Connect with your future students at QS Discover, Connect and Connect+ events across the world in Africa, India, Latin America, the USA, Canada, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Explore the schedule or contact us for more information about booking a table.

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