Our COVID-19 report found that where BridgeU 2020 matriculating students had chosen to switch destination countries on account of the pandemic, the USA experienced a 71% drop in interest.
The reasons for this decline are now well-documented and were confirmed by some of the findings in our survey. For BridgeU international students, the biggest factors that influenced their university decision making in 2020 were fears about the quality of the university experience, and concerns about their ability to secure a visa.
But our research also found that the conventional narrative of US decline also masked some interesting nuances. For example, a preliminary analysis last summer suggested that the majority of our 2021 students were still shortlisting US, UK and Canadian destinations in the platform, with US universities receiving 34% of shortlists.
So where do things stand as 2021 begins?
To gain a better understanding of how prospective international applicants’ interest in the USA has changed in the past six months, we revisited our projections from last summer, with a focus on the USA as a study destination.
Let’s talk about the less positive news first. Our analysis of BridgeU students’ shortlisting activity found that overall, interest in the United States did decrease between 2020 and 2021.
But our research has also uncovered countries and localities where international student interest in the USA is growing.