According to research, around 41% of universities across the world are projecting a rise in their international undergraduate enrolment numbers for the 2021-22 academic year. Of the 41%, a whopping 46% were from the UK, 16% from the US, 13.5% from The Netherlands and a mere 8% from Spain.
However, 37% of the 165 institutional respondents in 23 countries said they didn’t expect any rise and 22% expected lower levels of international enrolments.
The research was conducted by ISC Research for the Pathway from International School to Higher Education report which showed that 50% of the respondents opted for more detailed interviews and references in a year when final exit exams at schools have been cancelled.
The research also pointed out that 48% of those surveyed were accepting applications from international students for the 2021-22 academic year without traditional grades or scores. Around 73% said they held detailed interviews and 41% based their admissions on more references when academic transcripts were not available.
Find and compare undergraduate programs around the world using our comprehensive search!
The report explained that this expectation was due to deferrals in 2020 along with student acceptance of online learning, shifts in country preference and improvement of international outreach due to online recruitment activities.
The report further calls for exploration of effective models for change to cater to the challenges faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The respondents said they implemented various marketing and recruitment strategies to deal with the disruptions, border closures, changes to country-wise entry requirements and reduced international recruitment budgets. They also invested more in direct social media engagement with prospective students and conducted virtual group events and one-to-one sessions.
During the pandemic, institutions asked only for second school leaving qualification, academic grades, evidence of English language proficiency, knowledge of the subject applied for, applicant motivation, personal statement, interview and strength of written communication.
Around 68% of these universities said no changes were made to their admissions criteria or their weighting. However, some applied more flexibility during the pandemic, the report noted.
The report also calls for transformation of the pathway of students leaving school in order to question whether the current model remains valid or fit for purpose. If not, new ways to assess students, track their skills and qualifications and select students based on equality and accessibility should be considered.