The future and finances play a huge role in international students’ decisions about where to study

10-JUL-2022 | Employment prospects and reputation of higher education institutions have become the top factors influencing where international students choose to study.

The future and finances play a huge role in international students’ decisions about where to study Verbalists Education Beyond Borders Podcast

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We still live with COVID-19, but most of us have entered a “post-pandemic” mindset that is perhaps best summarized as “wanting to get on with things” – with or without an extra level of caution such as masking indoors or getting booster shots.

This mentality now influences the decision-making of the many international students who never gave up on their dreams of study abroad even when they had to defer or cancel plans in 2020 and 2021.

The latest QS Higher Education Briefing, based on a survey of students in 56 countries, has essentially found that fear of contracting COVID is no longer an issue for most international students. What students are motivated by now is concern for the future – a future that feels much less certain given the profound impact the pandemic has had on education and economies.

The future and finances play a huge role in international students’ decisions about where to study, Verbalists
“What are the three most important factors you are considering in your choice of which country to study in?” Source: QS

The QS survey found that students consider employment prospects, followed closely by a higher education institution’s reputation, to be the top factors influencing where they choose to study. Fear of contracting COVID is almost a non-factor in most international students’ decision-making about where to study abroad.

When assessing destinations and institutions on that basis, students look for evidence of:

  • Meaningful linkages with industry and/or professional groups;
  • Work experience projects and internships built into programs;
  • Career guidance, support, and networking events;
  • Graduates obtaining good jobs shortly after graduation;
  • Graduates going on to have distinguished careers.

As prospective students’ fears about becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus recede into the background, demand for study abroad will continue to rise. Destinations and institutions that can provide “proof” of positive graduate outcomes stand the best chance of meeting international enrolment targets for programs beginning in 2023 and 2024.


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