Report shows international students still view the UK as a study destination of choice, but say they need more support and guidance

Almost nine out of ten (88%) international students see the UK as a positive, or very positive, place to study.
Posted Thu 13 January 2022 - 00:01

UCAS’ new report, ‘Where next? The experience of international students connecting to UK higher education’, shares new insight on students’ perceptions of the UK and the impact of COVID on applications.

As a destination for study, the UK fulfills key criteria for many students relating to learning, living and employability. Surveys conducted throughout the pandemic show 77% of students applied because of the UK’s strong academic reputation, while over half (53%) said the UK’s diversity, multicultural experience, and welcome they would receive were key reasons they applied.

Additional top factors motivating students to study in the UK include the prestige of UK universities (47%), the desire to live in the UK (45%), and teaching quality (43% overall – with 36% of undergraduates and 49% of postgraduates indicating this as priority).

However, half of students didn’t feel completely ready to start their course ahead of the current academic year, revealing a gap in knowledge and support during the crucial transition to studying in the UK. There is a need for more information on funding, accommodation, and employment options for international students while they are researching their next steps.   

Supporting the aims of the International Education Strategy and making the UK stand out as a desirable destination, UCAS is developing a new platform to increase diversity in applicants to postgraduate courses. Myriad by UCAS is live now.

UCAS Chief Executive Clare Marchant said: “Students from around the world continue to hold the UK’s universities and colleges in incredibly high regard. From our world class academic offering to the opportunities to live and learn as part of a diverse society, the UK is clearly a destination of choice for students looking to study internationally. However, they are saying they need better support as they research their futures.

“As part of UCAS’ trusted and independent role, we want to provide the valued information students need to make truly informed decisions as we continue to emerge from the pandemic. Myriad by UCAS builds on our success of being the largest, single route for international students coming to the UK by providing accessible information on the topics that really matter when deciding to study in another country.”


A copy of the report is available here:  Where next? The experience of international students connecting to higher education (496.19 KB)

UCAS Press Office

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Notes for editors 

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is an independent charity, and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education. 

Our services support young people making post-18 choices, as well as mature learners, by providing information, advice, and guidance to inspire and facilitate educational progression to university, college, or an apprenticeship. We manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK. 

We also provide a wide range of research, consultancy and advisory services to schools, colleges, careers services, professional bodies and employers, including apprenticeships.

We’re a successful and fast-growing organisation, which helps hundreds of thousands of people every year. We're committed to delivering a first-class service to all our customers — they're at the heart of everything we do.

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