Canada Gains Ground On US Among Prospective International Students
Canada has overtaken the UK as a preferred study destination for international university applicants in a number of regions, and is gaining ground on the US, new research shows. The report – QS Applicant Survey 2018: What Drives an International Student today?’ – released annually by global international education thinktank QS Quacquarelli Symonds, examines the destination preferences and study motivations of over 16,000 prospective international students across the world. It provides further evidence that international students are rejecting the United States and United Kingdom in favor of alternative exporting nations.
This year’s key findings include:
- Though the US and UK remain the most-preferred and second-most preferred study destinations respectively when responses from all regions are combined, regional analysis shows that the UK is becoming, relative to Canada and other Western European nations, less attractive to international students;
- Among prospective international students from the Asia-Pacific region, the UK drops from 2nd to 4th, and now lags behind Australia (2nd) and Canada (3rd);
- Nor is this an isolated trend. Among international applicants from Africa and the Middle East, the UK is replaced in second spot by Canada;
- Among Eastern European international applicants, Canada has risen from 5th to 4th, with the UK replaced in 1st place by the US for the first time since QS began the survey;
- Among Western European respondents, Canada replaces the Netherlands as the 5th-most-preferred destination, though the proximity of France and Germany still makes these countries preferable to Canada among students in this region.
QS have also surveyed students from nations affected by Trump’s travel ban, comparing the popularity of the US in 2016 to 2017 among each group. The results show that:
- Among international students in Libya, the US has dropped from 1st to 3rd as a preferred study destination;
- In Sudan, it has dropped from 2nd to 3rd;
- In Iran, it has dropped from 1st to 3rd;
- In Iraq, which is no longer included in the ban but was at the time of the survey, it has fallen from 1st to 4th;
- In Somalia, it has dropped from 1st to 3rd;
- However, Yemeni students appeared unperturbed: the US has actually risen from 3rd to 1st among respondents in this country.
QS also gathered data about the motivations and preoccupations of prospective international students at the pre-undergraduate, pre-Masters, and pre-PhD level, finding that:
- Applicants are demonstrating a concern with developing collaborative and transferable skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and communication – underlining the ways in which the increasing employer demand for twenty-first century skills are affecting student priorities;
- Applicants were asked which skills they felt to be most important for gaining employment;
- At all three levels of inquiry (pre-undergraduate, pre-Masters, and pre-PhD), respondents expressed a belief that problem-solving and leadership were the most desirable skills, with teamwork, communication, and creativity ranked 3rd, 4th, and 5th
Report author and QS Market Insights Manager, Dasha Karzunina, said: “With top student destinations remaining relatively stable over the last few years, it is interesting to see student preferences change this year, particularly in the context of the recent geopolitical events in the US and the UK. Otherwise, it’s clear that more and more students are looking to specialize through pursuing master’s programs, where an undergraduate degree alone might no longer be enough. Students are also increasingly concerned with developing employability skills, with a global focus on problem solving and leadership skills.”
The full report can be found at www.qs.com.
QS Quacquarelli Symonds are a leading international compiler of research into higher education trends and university performance, with nearly three decades’ experience in the sector. Their QS World University Rankings portfolio is the world’s most-read, with over 60 million visitors to their flagship site, www.TopUniversities.com, in 2017.