Hedda Martina Šola, Tayyaba Zia


Over the past decade, online social networks (OSN) have become ingrained in our daily lives. They have changed the way young people live and become one of the most important means of communication and entertainment. The use of social media by teens and young adults is on the rise. Higher education institutions recognise the value of social media as a tool of communication to provide information to target students and use its platforms to advertise their programmes to prospective students. Students also use Social Media and Facebook to access and analyse information to make informed study decisions. The current study examines how social media in general, and Facebook in particular, influences students' choice of study programme and Higher Education Institute (HEI). Quantitative research methods were employed as being most appropriate for this particular study. A total of 170 students from Oxford Business College (OBC), U.K., participated voluntarily in the survey; sixty-three (63) male and one hundred and seven (107) female students. All students completed a survey questionnaire based on four sections (A, B, C and D) comprising fifteen questions primarily based on the Likert scale. Simple descriptive statistics and SPSS were used to identify and analyse the factors students considered most important (influential) in their (the students’) choice of programme of study and HEI. The most popular social media site was Facebook, followed by Instagram. In regards to influence, Facebook seems to be more influential than other social media sites. It is also obvious that Facebook has been used as a marketing tool by the majority of HEIs. We do not make any claims regarding the generalisability of our study’s findings because of the small sample size and convenience sampling used in the study. However, the results generally support what is already known about the most popular social media site - Facebook - as having a positive influence on students’ choice of programme and Higher Education Institute.

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