Improving international attractiveness of higher education institutions based on text mining and sentiment analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The increasing competition among higher education institutions (HEI) has led students to conduct a more in-depth analysis to choose where to study abroad. Since students are usually unable to visit each HEIs before making their decision, they are strongly influenced by what is written by former international students (IS) on the internet. HEIs also benefit from such information online. The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the drivers of HEIs success online. Design/methodology/approach: Due to the increasing amount of information published online, HEIs have to use automatic techniques to search for patterns instead of analysing such information manually. The present paper uses text mining (TM) and sentiment analysis (SA) to study online reviews of IS about their HEIs. The paper studied 1938 reviews from 65 different business schools with Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation. Findings: Results show that HEIs may become more attractive online if they financially support students cost of living, provide courses in English, and promote an international environment. Research limitations/implications: Despite the use of a major platform with a broad number of reviews from students around the world, other sources focussed on other types of HEIs may have been used to reinforce the findings in the current paper. Originality/value: The study pioneers the use of TM and SA to highlight topics and sentiments mentioned in online reviews by students attending HEIs, clarifying how such opinions are correlated with satisfaction. Using such information, HEIs’ managers may focus their efforts on promoting international attractiveness of their institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-447
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Higher education
  • International student mobility
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Text mining
  • Topic modelling


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