How will COVID-19 influence international students' applications in 2021?

We look forward to the next recruitment cycle and ask how COVID-19 is impacting the decisions of 2021 students. 

It's safe to say that 2020 has been a year like no other. 

 And as universities look forward to the next admissions cycle, we decided to reach out to our community of international school counselors to ask them how they felt COVID-19 would affect the university application preferences of the next cohort of students. 

The good news is that, so far, a majority of our counselors tell us that COVID-19 doesn't seem to have affected their students' university plans at all - suggesting that the next graduating cohort are optimistic about fulfilling their global ambitions. 

But our counselors also told us how universities could best help students with their decision making process. Notably, an overwhelming 71% of our counselors felt that universities being more transparent about their admissions process was going to be a 'very important' factor in their students' ultimate decision making.

Our 2021 students are well on their way to discovering, researching and shortlisting universities and courses for the 2020-2021 application cycle. 

We analysed BridgeU platform data from the period Feb-June 2020 for students graduating in 2021. We compared this shortlist dataset to the equivalent dataset from the 2020 graduating cohort from the previous year. (Feb-June 2019, graduation year 2020).

We find a notable swing away from traditional destination countries, with new destinations increasing in popularity. Notably the USA, Canada and Hong Kong have experienced fewer shortlists year on year. 

Meanwhile other destinations have increased in popularity, with China (124%), Italy (83%), India (53%), Germany (53%) and South Korea (52%) seeing the most notable swings in their favour.

However, in terms of raw or absolute numbers, the USA, UK and Canada still dominate. For 2021 grads, over 85% of cumulative shortlisted universities, colleges and courses on the BridgeU platform in the admissions cycle to date are from institutions located in the UK, USA and Canada

To read our full analysis of the emerging trends in the next application cycle, download your free report 'How Will COVID-19 Impact International Students' Enrolments in 2020 & 2021?'. 



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