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Int’l schools’ UCAS applications outpacing others

Applications submitted to UCAS from international school students are growing faster than overall UCAS international undergraduate applications, a new report from BridgeU has suggested.

BridgeU's report highlights the 'resilience' of international school students. Photo: Unsplash

The report, Investing in International Schools: How UK Universities Can Meet Their Quality & Diversity Goals in 2024 highlighted that applications from BridgeU international school students have risen by a compound annual growth rate of 12% between 2017 and 2022.

In the same five year period, overall international student applications to the UK have also risen but at a growth rate of 3%, as outlined in UCAS’ end of cycle reports.

Resilience of international school students is cited as one reason for this – both financial resilience and resilience to geopolitical shocks.

“The report highlights that there are certain segments of the undergraduate market that are outperforming the rest of the sector,” Patrick Whitfield, chief commercial officer at BridgeU said.

Some of the key markets where applications from BridgeU international schools to the UK are growing at a notably faster rate include China (32%), Malaysia (11%),  Singapore (17%), Morocco (14%) and Canada (24%).

“Working with our university partners means we are able to both capitalise on these growth areas and use our data to help plan future activity that will have the greatest impact,” said Whitfield.

Notably, offer rates for international students who applied to BridgeU partner universities between 2017 and 2022 were higher than the historical offer rates for international undergraduate applicants reported by UCAS. 

“Students from international schools often have the academic rigour and global perspective of an international school curriculum which is more likely to prepare them for the requirements of a UK higher education, enabling them to have a greater chance of success in their studies,” said Whitfield.

In a number of key markets, the UK is more popular than other countries for students who are exploring a range of potential study destinations, according to BridgeU.

“The UK needs to be aware of the potential threats as other countries… ramp up their strategies”

“The UK is doing well at the moment but, as always, needs to be aware of the potential threats as other countries such as Australia and the US continue to ramp up their undergraduate internationalisation strategies,” said Whitfield.

BridgeU’s research coincides with analysis from UCAS which predicted that the volume of international applicants will increase by 46%, climbing to 208,500 by 2026.

On October 12 at 2pm BST, The PIE, along with BridgeU, will be hosting a webinar on ‘Connecting with international schools: How to succeed in this crucial undergraduate market’. You can register to watch live or on replay via this link.

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