6 Sep 2021 UUKi publications
6 Sep 2021 UUKi publications
8 Sep 2021 News
8 Sep 2021 News
Last updated on Thursday 30 Sep 2021 at 3:56pm
Long in September’s shadow, it may be time for the UK’s January programmes to come into the spotlight on a global stage.
Since the pandemic, UniQuest’s international student journey data has shown a meaningful rise in international student demand for January programmes at our UK partner institutions. Every UK partner university that had a January intake in 2021 realised year-on-year enrolment gains. Those institutions that offered a wide range of January programmes saw even stronger outcomes, enrolling more students in January 2021 than during the September 2020 intake.
With changing student demand and intent, UK universities have an opportunity to accelerate their internationalisation agendas by re-evaluating the scope of the January intake. This blog post introduces international student journey trends with which you may consider aligning your strategies.
At UniQuest, we deliver omni-channel student engagement journeys from enquiry to enrolment and are often managing international student pipelines toward a September intake that are 9-12 months long. Last year, we found that student pipelines for the January intake are much shorter.
Students enter the recruitment journey with strong intent to enrol. In fact, offer conversion rate for January programmes is roughly double the conversion rate for September programmes.
Postgraduate prospects from Nigeria and South Asia account for the majority of January enrolments. These are the markets to nurture not only in the short-term but for years to come. Make sure students in Nigeria, India and Pakistan know that the UK and your university in particular are open for enrolment in January.
This means ‘showing up’ where they are – in country when possible and on the digital channels they use like instant messaging (20% of inbound communications from Indian offer holders are via Live Chat), online events and email.
International student demand for January programmes has always been there, but Australia and New Zealand have historically been the top-of-mind study destinations. Closed borders in Australia and New Zealand have shifted student demand towards UK universities’ January-start programmes. In the short term, the UK sector has a great opportunity to capture the lion’s share of student demand while the major competitor destinations are more or less closed.
But, this summer, the Australian government approved pilot plans to re-open South Australia and New South Wales to international students. Universities will need a longer term strategy to make the UK the destination of choice once the major competitor study destinations completely open their borders.
How can UK universities stand out? Universities UK International’s (UUKi) Assistant Director, External Affairs, Andy Howells shares his perspective:
UUKi’s recent report, ‘Why aren’t we Second? Part 2’, outlines that whilst the UK remains, narrowly, the second most popular destination overall for international students, we have lost ground to other destinations in 16 of the world’s top 21 source countries.
We must continue to improve the way we promote the UK as a study destination through our national marketing campaigns, shouting louder about scholarships on offer and the Graduate Route which launched earlier this year. A perception that we are unaffordable is hurting us, and many markets, as evidenced by the report, are still not yet aware of our post study work offer. Although, it was encouraging to see UniQuest data which showed there were significant year-on-year increases of firm accepts amongst international students in July, following the Graduate Route launch at the start of that month.
As well as being smarter about how we win back market share, we also need to join up and coordinate national level activity across all corners of the UK – the Study UK campaign, Scotland is Now, Study in Wales, government activities and more – and be clear and consistent on what our offer is, ensuring we are led by the student voice, as UUKi’s award winning #WeAreTogether campaign was. We need to do this to better communicate the welcoming, diverse and international communities we have across our nations.
Together, we can meet, and maybe even exceed, the UK government target of attracting at least 600,000 international students to the UK by 2030.
Gain further insights on international student demand and approaches for adapting your internationalisation strategy by joining UniQuest’s webinar on Thursday, 30th September.
Moderated by UUKi’s Andy Howells, you’ll hear findings from university international recruitment leaders who have adapted recruitment for multiple intakes during the pandemic and how they leverage institutional stakeholders to successfully deliver January programmes in step with ever-changing international student demand.
Learn more about the webinar on the UniQuest website.