When Movies Influence Enrollments: How Cinemas Help Students to Choose Universities


Prospective students and parents should now 'go see movies' to decide which university to choose.

It is not news that education fairs held every year could gain more international recognitions (and enrollments) from their prospects, students and parents. But the recent research on box offices explains that movies might influence the decision to choose a university.

The UniversityHerald reported that there are universities which statistically sending graduates to dream jobs. While the report may be appealing for foreign students; a survey conducted in the United States found that foreign students, specifically from South Korea and China, picked their universities based on the portrayal they saw in a movie. An academic journal article in Questia also published finding on how study abroad program has also been influenced by mass media including internet and television.

A respondent admitted that the movie influenced his decision after seeing how American students seem to be respected by the professors since they have the freedom of speech.

University of Leicester spokeperson, Ather Mirza, had to agree with the fact that cinemas can tell a story about a university; that eventually raise the public awareness of the institution. He took an example of the university partnership with Bollywood. In 2013, a Bollywood blockbuster was filmed inside University of Leicester with the lead actor portraying a graduate student.

Mirza said that the idea is a distinctive approach in a world where everybody is shouting in social media. "It's not about who shouts the loudest," he says. It is about who shouts something different. The Guardian published a story on University of Leicester being regarded as 'Britain's Bollywood capital' due to its extensive facilities for film makers from India.

Another example of the 'successful marketing' comes from the movie Lord of The Rings that was filmed in New Zealand. The effect is huge as many film majors find an interest in studying in New Zealand, specifically in Wellington where the blockbuster was produced.

According to the ABC News, the number of Indian students applying to Australian universities has grown doubled in 2014. While this could be driven by scholarships but let's not forget on the countries relation after 2009 violent attacks on Indian students in the continent. The negative impression on Australia made Prateek Chkaravorty, University of Technology Sydney alumnus, felt the need to tell his Indian fellows that Australia is unlike what they've thought of. He created a movie From Sydney with Love with some of the backdrops taken in Bondi Beach and Sydney architectures.

The United States has the most students from overseas, applying to enroll in higher education institutions. Many Hollywood movies were filmed in the US campuses including the Social Network at Johns Hopkins University, Good Will Hunting at University of Toronto, and 21 at MIT. These films have taken campus experience to the worldwide audience.

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