Russian Students' Use of Social Network Sites for Selecting University Abroad

Case Study at the Russian State University for Humanities




international students, Russia, social media, social networks


This qualitative case study explores how undergraduate students from the Russian State University for Humanities used social network sites (SNSs) for their decision to transfer to higher education institutions (HEIs) abroad. Participants reported using specific SNS features, such as likes and shares, for measuring HEI rating and indicated that ability to use native language was among motivating factors for membership in a specific SNS. The reported benefits of SNSs included instantaneous connections with likeminded individuals, realistic visualization of campuses, and unbiased and multidimensional views presented by SNS members. One of the emerging findings was that participants with no connections abroad relied exclusively on SNSs for their college choice. Participants with connections abroad relied on the advice of international contacts, and SNSs played a complementary role. HEI professionals may consider hiring and training international students to maintain consistent and meaningful content on different SNS platforms, particularly in their countries’ specific SNSs.

Author Biographies

Natalia Rekhter, Governors State University, USA

NATALIA REKHTER, PhD, a native of Russia, obtained her master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her doctorate in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University, Bloomington. Currently, she directs Healthcare Administration undergraduate degree program at the Governors State University, Illinois. Dr. Rekhter’s research interests are focused on the use of social media for higher education, recruitment, and retention, as well as on healthcare access, preventive service and the advancement in healthcare management education. She has been a recipient of 10 grant awards and two Fulbright Specialist awards. She has authored several research articles and presented her research work at numerous international and local conferences.

Donald Hossler, Indiana University Bloomington, USA

DONALD HOSSLER, PhD, holds the rank of Distinguished Provost Professor Emeritus in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He has also served as vice chancellor for student enrollment services and executive associate dean of the School of Education. Dr. Hossler’s areas of specialization include college choice, student persistence, student financial aid policy, and enrollment management. He has authored or co-authored 23 books and scholarly reports, more than 100 articles and book chapters, and about 200 paper presentations and invited lectures. His research program has attracted support from such organizations as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education, Spencer Foundation, and the College Board. He has consulted with more than 50 colleges, universities, and educational organizations. Dr. Hossler has lived in Russia and has conducted research in postsecondary education there and in China.


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How to Cite

Rekhter, N., & Hossler, D. (2020). Russian Students’ Use of Social Network Sites for Selecting University Abroad: Case Study at the Russian State University for Humanities. Journal of International Students, 10(3), 724–740.



Research Articles (English)