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‘Support gap’ in transitioning to UK studies – UCAS

UK-bound international students need more support and guidance, according to a report from UCAS.

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

The report indicates 63% of applicants believe the UK is a better option compared with other countries they considered for their studies

The UK remains a top destination for international students and fulfils “key criteria” for many students relating to learning, living and employability, the Where next? The experience of international students connecting to UK higher education report contends.

Citing a July 2021 survey carried out with YouthSight, nine out of 10 (88%) international students see the UK as a positive, or very positive, place to study, the report noted.

However, other takeaways from the paper highlight that half of students didn’t feel completely ready to start their course ahead of the current academic year. UCAS said research reveals a gap in knowledge and support during the crucial transition to studying in the UK.

Applicants require more information on funding, accommodation, and employment options, the report suggested.

“Students from around the world continue to hold the UK’s universities and colleges in incredibly high regard,” said UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant. “However, they are saying they need better support as they research their futures.”

Writing in The PIE, Des Cutchey, managing director of UCAS International welcomed the findings indicating 88% of international applicants continue to see the UK as a positive or very positive place to study and 63% believing the UK is a better option compared with other countries they considered for their studies.

The Graduate route is also driving interest in the UK, Cutchey said.

“However, when asked about how ready they felt to study abroad ahead of the autumn, half of applicants felt either only somewhat ready or not ready at all.

“Our survey respondents were also worried about the financial impacts of studying and living in the UK”

“Challenges related to the pandemic, such as general uncertainty and changes to course delivery were, unsurprisingly, top of mind for these applicants. Having delivered a session on how to apply as part of British Council’s Study UK activity at Dubai Expo just before Christmas, I can say this feeling was echoed strongly amongst prospective students,” Cutchey continued.

“Our survey respondents were also worried about the financial impacts of studying and living in the UK, hesitant to leave friends and family, and continuing to await confirmations of their study offers before making a final decision on their destination of study.”

UCAS added that its new international postgraduate platform Myriad is seeking to diversity applicants to UK postgraduate courses.

“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,” Marchant added.

Approximately 95% of undergraduate entrants from the EU, and 60% of entrants from outside the EU, apply through UCAS.


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