72% of university applicants in the UK would consider studying abroad

Around three-quarters of students would consider leaving the UK for a university abroad despite not knowing enough about the option of gaining a degree overseas, according to a major survey.

Research by leading student website, The Student Room, has revealed that 72 per cent of university applicants in the UK would contemplate studying abroad and yet 86 per cent feel ill-informed about the alternative route.

The survey also found that 56 per cent of students do not know how to apply to a university abroad.

A quarter said they would reconsider whether to study at a UK university as a result of tuition fees being almost tripled to up to £9,000 a year.
And a third will look to study abroad if they are among the 200,000 applicants unable to secure a place at an over-subscribed UK university each year.

The survey was commissioned by organisers of The Student World Fair, the only event of its kind dedicated to showcasing international universities to under-graduates and post-graduates in the UK. The number of Student World Fair events is being trebled this year, and also being held in Manchester for the first time as well as London, to meet the demand for information about studying overseas.

More than 1,000 students, parents and teachers attended the first Student World Fair last October. The second event in March this year saw a 21 per cent increase in attendance, whilst the range of countries with exhibiting universities rose by 25 per cent.

The next events in Manchester and London this autumn will be the largest to date with up to 80 international universities from 22 countries on show.

Jamie O’Connell, Marketing Director of The Student Room, said

“This research once again demonstrates the clear demand from students for opportunities to study overseas. What is concerning is that traditional sources of guidance such as parents and teachers are not fully aware of the globalisation of higher education and therefore do not have enough information to give valid advice.

It’s important young people make the right choices and are aware of all the options out there. Events like The Student World Fair and online information sources such as The Student Room are great for getting the facts into students’ hands when they need them.”

Jemma Davies, from The Student World Fair, said:

“There are challenges to overcome and benefits to enjoy from studying abroad but students are being hampered from weighing up those considerations by a lack of information. It is difficult to make an informed decision when universities are located overseas which is why meeting their representatives under one roof is a great step towards making the right choice.”

The survey also found that the most important factors when choosing to study abroad are the academic reputation of the university and how employers would perceive the qualification. North America topped the list of the best region abroad for a high-quality degree, for the student experience and for future employability.

The Student Room research was carried out between May and July 2012 and surveyed 1,141 young people, with the majority being aged 16 to 20 years.