Quality of teaching is the single most important factor considered by international students when deciding where to study according to research published today by Study Group.
Also ranking near the top of the list were personal safety, the reputation of the college and country of study according to the majority of the 671 students surveyed.
The 'Choice of Destination' survey was commissioned by leading international education provider Study Group and conducted by the International Graduate Insight Group (i-graduate). The respondents were from a variety of countries (including China, Russia and Greece) and studying at one of the UK's four Bellerbys international colleges, taking a range of courses from A-Levels and Foundation to HND and Masters qualifying programmes.
Bottom of the list of 19 factors were the availability of scholarships, future work opportunities and whether their friends studied in the same country.
James Pitman, Managing Director of Study Group UK, commented: 'The research highlights what students from around the world are looking for in a study destination, and it is not surprising that so many of them choose to study in Britain. Our education system is widely regarded as offering the gold standard, providing an excellent foundation on which to launch a successful career.'
The research also revealed that international students rely on word of mouth recommendations when considering which institution to attend. Parental advice topped the list of influencing factors, followed by agent recommendation and information gained from institution websites. By comparison, league tables were deemed unimportant and ranked near the bottom.
James Pitman continued: 'While the opinions of education experts and family would logically be important to prospective students, what is surprising is the lack of interest in official rankings. Fewer than 5% of respondents found league table ratings important enough to sway their decisions.'
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