According to new data from the QS International Student Survey (ISS), Universities that can assure prospective students about their key concerns – particularly regarding economics and employment – would be better positioned to convert interest into applications and enrolments in 2022.
As per the responses, dedicating resources to aid students’ mental health is also a subject that demands significant thought. A sizable number – three out of ten overseas students – would be hesitant to seek psychological assistance from their university.
The International Student Study (ISS) has been ongoing for nine years and is the world’s largest survey of pre-enrolled international students. The introduction of the report says “By partnering with 115 institutions worldwide, the 2021 iteration was our largest ever, featuring the responses of 1,05,083 prospective students from 191 countries and territories around the world.”
In order to evaluate and analyze the prospective students’ perspectives and thoughts on the virus outbreak and the manner in which it will affect the admissions for the current year, QS coupled the current year’s ISS data with that of their current Coronavirus Student Survey.
Approximately two-thirds of incoming students surveyed were contemplating postgraduate degrees, a third were considering undergraduate programs, and about 2% were exploring and considering vocational or foundation programs.
During the pandemic, every international student – and potential international student – has confronted the uncertainties and anxiety that come with studying abroad. Students have had to deal with a variety of challenges, including travel limits, Covid-related safety regulations and anxieties, and economic burdens.
According to the report’s results, minimizing confusion and informing students that there are solid resources in place for their top goals will be critical to enticing them to apply and enrol. It is also critical to keep commitments made during the pre-enrollment period (eg. having an excellent career centre that current students are happy with).
The following three findings project from the QS survey report:
- The cost of living was the most pressing concern for 68 per cent of prospective students when it came to studying abroad.
- 43 per cent say that being able to ask questions to the existing overseas students at the university would alleviate their concerns.
- A health/medical centre is extremely important to 40%, while careers advising centre is vital to 38%.
Financial issues are also prevalent, with many students concerned about financial aid/scholarships and if they will be able to find work while studying. The significant number of those who say the cost of living is a problem for them shows that institutions in smaller cities and more economical places may have a competitive edge.
The power of student ambassadors plays a crucial role in a university. The ability to communicate with current students emerged as the leading approach (43 per cent) to alleviate prospective students’ concerns. This year has demonstrated the need to utilise the power of student ambassadors.
Universities would do well to identify current students from a particular country who could communicate to potentials from their home country, ideally in their own language, as evidenced by the high number of participants who said they would be reassured by “others going to study at the same institution that I am applying to” (35 per cent).
Moreover, it is interesting to note that a recent Educations.com study indicated that 63 per cent of potential students wanted to speak with existing overseas students before applying, compared to only 17 per cent who wanted to speak with alumni.
According to the research of QS and Educations.com, students are looking for the perspectives, thoughts, and experiences of individuals who are studying abroad during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Despite the fact that numerous surveys have shown that students are suffering from more mental health concerns than before the epidemic, the QS survey results emphasize the difficulties in delivering mental health resources to students in distress.
Furthermore, more than a quarter of those polled said they would be hesitant or very uncomfortable obtaining mental health help from their university. In contrast, as we have seen, a considerable majority of prospective students are concerned about practical matters such as money, housing, and medical care.
Providing supports and services to alleviate those real considerations – for example, a career centre, academic counsellors, health clinics, and job placement assistance – is most likely an indirect but important way of fostering mental health on campus, because such services relieve stress on students and make room for positive study and social experiences.
Initiatives like yoga and pet therapy to reduce stress levels at Syracuse University, while at Duke’s International House, students have access to a variety of wellness activities, including mindfulness classes can be beneficial for students.