Frequently Asked Questions


  1. How can I access my dashboard?

Please log into Tableau Online with the user license that you purchased from us.

  1. What is Tableau?

Studyportals ACT uses the data visualization software developed by a world leader in data visualisation, Tableau Software, Inc., to design their dashboards

After designing the dashboards, ACT delivers them to you by uploading them to the Tableau Online platform, where they are hosted in the Cloud. We then give you access through this platform.

  1. Who owns the data and dashboards?

The data and dashboards are the intellectual property of Studyportals. Moreover, as part of the privacy regulations laid out in the GDPR and CCPA, we cannot give direct access to our database to outside parties.

As such, you are not allowed to access the background data or edit the dashboards directly. For more information, please consult our Terms & Conditions.

  1. How many people can log in at the same time?

If you would like multiple users to use the dashboards, we are contractually obliged to Tableau Software, Inc. to purchase one license per user.

  1. Can I change the user license to another person?

Yes, it is possible to change the email account associated with the user license. Please contact us if you want to change your user license.

  1. I lost my password – how can I recover it?

Tableau Online has its own password recovery service, as well as the opportunity to change your password.

  1. Can I give people from other organisations access to my dashboard?

Access to the dashboards is contractually limited strictly to your institution. Sharing access is in direct violation of our Terms & Conditions.

  1. What can I share with people from other organisations?

While you are not allowed to give full access to your dashboard to people outside your organization, you are allowed to share screenshots or the results of your analyses. However, you are not allowed to share any data downloaded without prior approval from Studyportals.

  1. What is Studyportals’ market coverage?

Studyportals has a market coverage of approximately 80-90% of the English-taught higher education programmes worldwide. It is likely that the market coverage is a bit lower in the US but this is very hard to estimate due to the plethora of small local colleges.

We estimate that approximately 10-20% of the international students who enrol in universities abroad have used our portals at some point in their search journey.

  1. What are relative demand, relative supply and market opportunity?

Relative demand is defined as the percentage of page views received by one element in the figure. For example, UK Master’s received 4.7 million page views of the 26 million page views total on Mastersportal in 2019. This means that UK Master’s received 18% of the worldwide relative demand.

Relative supply is defined as the percentage of programmes in one element of the figure. For example, in 2019, UK institutions provided a total of 19,400 Master’s out of the 82,200 worldwide. This means that the UK had a relative supply of 24% of the total Master’s offering in the world.

Market opportunity is an index number to indicate how much higher or lower the relative demand is than the relative supply. It is simply the relative demand (percentage of page views) divided by the relative supply (percentage of programmes). If this number is approximately 1.0, demand and supply are equal, and supply is meeting demand. If the number is above 1.0, there is more demand than supply, meaning that the market is favourable for (more) programmes, relative to other options in the analysis. If the number is below 1.0, there is more supply than demand and the market is oversupplied, meaning that the market is not favourable for (new) programmes. For example, the relative demand for UK Master’s in 2019 was 18% and the relative supply was 24%. As such, the market opportunity was 18/24 = 0.75, meaning that the UK has a less favourable position in the worldwide higher education market than for example non-Anglophone countries (see Question 12).

  1. Why does the analysis use page views as an indication of demand?

Studyportals ACT made the conscious choice to use page views, and not individual users, IP addresses or referrals as a data model. There are a number of reasons for this choice.

Page views are the furthest step into the user funnel that Studyportals can track on their website while having the most limited effect of promotional activities (as opposed to e.g. clickthrough to university websites).

Individual users are only identifiable through an IP address, but multiple people can be using the same IP address. For example, a public library might have dozens or hundreds of users using the same IP address.

The dashboards were designed to analyse market demand and when analysing demand, it would need to weigh the interest by the number of users. For example, suppose user A views ten business courses and user B views one business course and nine medicine courses, they are clearly not equally interested in business courses, so you should weigh them by their interest.

  1. Why is the market opportunity for the UK and US so low?

Studyportals only lists English-taught higher education programmes. In countries like the Netherlands and Germany, only the programmes that are specifically aimed towards international students are taught in the English language, and therefore stand out in the international programme offering. In Anglophone countries like the UK and US, every programme is taught in English, therefore, the supply is so much bigger and outweighs the demand from international students.

  1. What does “method” mean?

The field Method refers to the method of teaching/attendance, specifically whether the programme is taught solely on-campus, online or via a blend of methods.

  1. What does “country of origin” mean?

It is important to note that “country of origin” does not mean nationality or even necessarily residence. We can only determine the location based on the users’ IP addresses, which means that we can only track where they are at the moment of using our website. For example, a Chinese exchange student in the US would be counted as a US visitor. Similarly, a German user browsing our website while travelling through the UK, would be counted as a UK visitor. Along the same logic, someone in China using a VPN set to the USA will be counted as coming from the USA.

  1. Why do the supply numbers and market opportunity change when I filter for origin countries or a very specific date?

When you filter for an origin country or a date, the number of courses in other graphs might change. This is an unfortunate consequence of the current data structure. Currently, the number of programmes is measured as every programme that received at least one page view within the filter selection.

For example, suppose you have filtered for Norwegian courses in January 2020 and there are 5 programmes in Finance. If you add the filter for Icelandic students, it is very possible that not a single Icelandic student viewed a Norwegian Finance course in that month, and therefore the supply of programmes will be zero.

To compensate for this, please do not analyse the supply of programmes when filtering for an origin country or a very specific date. Studyportals ACT would advise to first take a screenshot or data download before filtering for the origin or date, and then compare that to the demand after filtering.

Studyportals ACT is currently working hard on designing a new data architecture that will eliminate this problem soon.

  1. Why do I get a different number of programmes than in the sample size in the disciplines figure when if I recalculate to 100%?

For example, suppose in the dashboard you can see 200 thousand programmes in the “Selection sample size” box and you hover over the Business & Management bar in the “Disciplines” bar chart and you see that there are 45 thousand programmes in that discipline with a relative supply of 15%. If you would recalculate those 45 thousand/15% back to 100%, you would get a result of 300 thousand programmes, far more than displayed in “Selection sample size”.

This is because on the Studyportals platform, every programme can be linked to up to three sub-disciplines. As a result, it does not display the percentage of programmes that are in Business & Management but rather the percentage of programmes that includes Business & Management.

This is only the case in the “Disciplines” graph, it should not influence your findings and we are working on a back-end fix in a future iteration.

  1. Why can I only see parent disciplines and not sub-disciplines or cities even though it should be included?

Tableau has an expand/collapse functionality for hierarchies such as discipline to sub-discipline, city to country or country to continent levels.

If your dashboard should include sub-disciplines or cities of origin and destination, but you cannot see them this might be due to expand/collapse functionality. We often use this functionality to save space in the dashboard, but it can be quite easy to miss.

name, a continent or a country name in your Cities Dashboard, you will see a little box with a plus (+) sign. If you click on that, it will expand the hierarchy to a lower level. If you want to collapse it again, hover over a given discipline or continent/country name and at the top of the figure you will see a little box with a minus (-) sign, which will collapse to a higher level in the hierarchy.

  1. Why is China such a small country of student origin?

You might notice that Chinese visitors are only a very small part of the Studyportals’ traffic, despite the fact that China is the largest source of international students worldwide. Unfortunately, this is a result of China’s restrictive internet policies that also restrict access to Google. Since over 90% of Studyportals’ traffic comes through organic Google searches, Chinese visitors are underrepresented.

Based on the browser language, we suspect that a small percentage of US and UK users are in fact Chinese nationals using VPNs, but these might also be immigrants or students studying abroad.

  1. What is a reliable sample size to run an analysis?

Of course, the larger the sample size, the more statistically significant the analysis, but statistically speaking, a sample size of 385 is reflective of a population of any size with 95% confidence level and a 5% margin of error. However, Studyportals ACT recommends larger sample sizes where possible, preferably over 1,000.

  1. How to best export for reports and presentations?

In any given dashboard there is a button in the top-right corner called “Download”. If you click on that you will see a menu with different options available to you, based on your contract with us.

  • Export Image is always possible, which downloads a screenshot.
  • Export Data or Export Crosstab are options to export directly to an Excel document.
  • In some cases, you can also export to PowerPoint, which is effectively the same as Export Image, or to PDF, which has more options for specific downloads.
  • Export to Workbook is never permitted, as part of our Terms & Conditions.
  1. When does my data update?

If you have purchased a live feed for your dashboards, the data should update monthly on the second day of every month. The update process starts on the second day of every month at 10:15 AM GMT+1 and may take a few hours.

We regularly monitor dashboard updates, but if you notice the data has not updated by the third day of the month, please contact us.

  1. How can I set up notifications?

Notifications are not possible with the most basic Tableau Online license. Studyportals ACT can purchase more advanced Explorer licenses from Tableau Software, Inc. at additional cost. Please contact us if you are interested.

  1. Can I request new modules, customized filters, new visualisations and/or add more Studyportals’ data?

Yes, you can request changes to your dashboards. Our primary goal is to ensure that clients are using the dashboards and therefore will always be open to making customisations that will improve the usability of our dashboards.

For larger, more complicated changes and new modules that require more manual labour or include more data, there will be additional costs involved to cover the cost of labour and/or extra data.

Relatively standardised modules you might want to add are trend graphs, programme-market explorer, programme name optimiser, competitor analysis, BestFit student segmentation and more.

To discuss any changes you want, please contact us.

  1. Can I add data from other sources?

We provide the option to connect external data to Tableau, such as Excel and CSV files, Google Drive, other databases, some CRM systems and more. For example, you could be interested in adding your own enrolment statistics, visa acceptance rates per country, demographic information and more.

However, whether it is or is not possible to do depends on various factors such as how clean the data is, how it is structured, or the intellectual property rights involved.

To discuss such customizations and the time and costs involved, please contact us and we can find the right solution and estimate a time investment required from our side.

  1. What should I do if I spot anomalies in my analyses?

If you see anything in the data that you have questions or comments about, please contact us.

It is possible that you might have spotted an interesting trend or spike, which we would be interested in publishing about in a joint press release. It is also possible that you in fact spotted an automated bot that was systematically going through our website or another anomaly influencing the data in an untoward way, in which case we will remove it as soon as possible. Studyportals ACT catches the vast majority of bots but it is possible that on rare occasions some might slip through.

  1. Is the dashboard data compliant with GDPR and CCPA rules?

Yes, the data in the dashboards is fully compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

The vast majority of the data in the dashboards is aggregated (i.e. anonymous) and in other cases carefully anonymized or pseudonymized to such an extent that any data leak of the dashboard data would not allow outsiders to identify our website visitors or our registered users.

  1. What is the difference between Studyportals and Studyportals Analytics & Consulting Team (ACT)?

Studyportals ACT is a full subsidiary of Studyportals. Studyportals maintains the websites so that students can find your courses and it takes care of your online marketing activities increasing your global outreach.

ACT performs market analyses, gathering intelligence on the higher education market. Combined with decades of experience in international higher education, ACT offers consulting and data analytics services to universities, pathway providers, national agencies, etc.

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