What’s Important to International Students When Choosing a UK University?

When choosing the right UK university for them, international students look for a range of crucial factors.

It was a big week in the higher education sector last week with the Augar review and the International Student Survey released back to back.

The Augar review proposed a raft of recommendations, including an additional £1 billion in government funding for further education and lowering annual university tuition fees from £9,250 to £7,500 for domestic students (though students would have 40 years to pay back the debt, rather than the current 30 years).

The QS 2019 International Student Survey revealed how EU and international students are feeling about Brexit uncertainty, graduate employability, and how they approach making these big study decisions.

One of these huge decisions is deciding which university to study at, following just behind choosing a course and a country in the student decision-making funnel.
Those respondents who were interested in studying at a UK university were asked what they look for in a university and which five factors were most important to them.

  • Interestingly, these five factors topped the list:
  • High quality teaching: 59%
  • Scholarships: 58%
  • It’s welcoming to international students: 54%
  • It offers the specific course they’re interested in: 50%
  • It has a good reputation for their chosen subject area: 44%

High quality teaching consistently emerges as an important priority through the student’s decision-making funnel, so it’s clear that universities need to focus on their teaching staff’s expertise and experience when communicating with students.

The second most important factor also raises some action items, as many international students rely on scholarships to study overseas.

How is your university communicating the range of scholarship options to prospective international students? It’s vital that they clearly understand their scholarship and funding options before making these big study decisions.

Given the Augar review’s recommendations, hopefully this financial strain will soon be alleviated by the proposed tuition fee cuts.

In the meantime, universities can take concrete steps to assist prospective international students by examining how they communicate with students and improving their processes. If this seems daunting, don’t worry, our QS Enrolment Solutions team can help.

If you’d like to discover more insights from the 2019 International Student Survey, request your copy today.


About the Author:

As the B2B Content Marketing Manager, Sarah Linney is responsible for communicating the insights, research, and market analysis that have positioned QS as a thought leader in the higher education sector. After completing a Communications-Journalism degree at Charles Sturt University in Australia, Sarah worked in radio news and B2B print publishing before joining the content marketing sector. While working at a content marketing agency, Sarah was transferred to their New York office. She then led content marketing efforts at two tech startups in New York as a Content Manager before deciding to make the move to the UK and QS. 

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