Where Next? - Why British universities are still the best around
It's that time of the year again. The crisp evenings are drawing closer, students are coming down with mysterious colds and parents up-and-down the country are wondering if they'll ever hear from their children again (except for requests of an early allowance, of course). Yes, the 'Freshers' period is upon us, where the nearly-500,000 students of 2022 will take on the time-honoured traditions associated with being the new generation of undergraduates.
The Wren Library, Trinity College Cambridge
This year is also notable for being the most international yet; the trend of international students choosing the UK as their preferred destination of study grows year-on-year, with the number of foreign applications predicted to rise 50% over the next half-decade. This sense of growing competition for a relatively fixed number of places is reflected in a recent survey conducted by UCAS, which suggested that 10% of successful applicants began planning to study abroad before their 11th birthday. For example, Oxford and Cambridge universities ('Oxbridge') boast students from over 160 different countries and territories - the first recorded example of which, Elmo of Friesland, arrived in around 1190 to begin his degree. What then, are the enduring qualities that makes British Universities such a popular choice for students across the world?
The Vice Chancellor's procession before the
Matriculation (graduation) Ceremony, Cambridge University
Academic Rigour -
British universities are understood to represent a Gold-Standard in learning. This is due, in part, to the famously-thorough teaching structure of Oxbridge universities (consisting of the weekly 'tutorials' where the world-leading academic in your field will discuss your essay for that week, often in a group of only two or three students). However, beyond Oxbridge to the the G5 and the Russell Group, there exists a disproportionately high number of expert lecturers and quality education. International students are spoilt for choice when they understand the full range of institution choices and degree styles on offer - they just need to know where to look.
Culture and Lifestyle -
These two factors represent some of the strongest impetuses to study at a UK university. Whether its the ancient libraries and traditions, the formal dinners and balls, or the simply the bucolic beauty of the British countryside - nothing quite compares to UK student life. For many international students, it provides a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into a world of parties and privilege that intertwines with their academic routine. It could even be the sports and societies that many overseas students find themselves engaging in - possibly for the first time - which helps develop that holistic confidence which British universities strive towards.
Students on their way to a May Ball
But "what's it all worth if you can't find a job at the end of it?", I hear fee-paying parents cry. Well, studying in the UK still seems the answer; research shows that graduates from Oxbridge, G5 and Russell Group universities are amongst the most employable in the world. Many UK universities have links with top corporations, offer a 'Year in Industry' or have especially vocationally-aimed syllabuses (particularly within the fields of Business, Finance and Law). With a strategically devised application, there comes a bright future of opportunities outside of the classroom, with internships, vacational schemes and graduate jobs all ripe for the picking of well-informed students.
Post-Covid Recovery -
It certainly worth noting the speed at which British universities have returned to 'normal', in comparison to other institutions outside of the UK. Much of university lecturing and exams are again face-to-face, with socialisation also allowed without the threat of lockdowns. These factors are both significant aspects of student life, and are a hugely positive for students studying in the UK, in comparison to their overseas counterparts. Open boarders and a lack of quarantine also allow for free movement of students and their relatives - meaning that a visit by a proud parent is always on the cards.
All-in-all the UK looks set to remain one of the premier destinations for international students for years to come. If you'd like to talk through what you or your child's future could look like at a top UK university, feel free to contact us to speak to an expert.