There is good news for universities in terms of demand for places from China. In the longer term, the lifting of the one child only rule in 2015 combines with the country’s currently growing wealthy middle class, more parents wanting their children to be educated overseas, and lower-income groups now enabling their children to attend universities in the West.
Chinese students are breaking record levels of applications to UK universities. British Education institutions have seen this increase in result of more effort to attract and market to international students amid Brexit worries of secured funding.
Which UK university has the most Chinese students:
In the academic year 2016-17, Universities UK International revealed nearly one in five Chinese students are studying at a UK. From a student survey, they also revealed the following top 10 UK universities chosen by current Chinese students based on how Chinese students choose a university.
1. The University of Manchester
2. The University of Liverpool
3. University College London
4. The University of Birmingham
5. Cardiff University
6. Coventry University
7. The University of Sheffield
8. The University of Edinburgh
9. The University of Southampton
However, the ‘market’ is becoming more complex, constantly evolving in profile, and therefore also in terms of its needs and wants. Future student candidates have to be viewed as constantly moving targets.
In the last few years the profiles of Chinese students aiming to study outside China have largely fallen into broad groups:
- Second Generation Wealth Inheritors – Chinese students who are to be sent abroad to prepare for taking on family businesses.
- Explorers – young professionals that seek international education in order to advance their careers.
- Experienced Players – Chinese students that have been taught in international schools in China as part of preparation for a global career.
It is important to recognise the significance of the categories described, but equally they should be considered as the starting point for targeting, and in fact, may not apply to some universities. The courses offered to Chinese students and other factors that form proposition may mean prospect targets fall outside the three groups, and that more detailed investigation is required.
However, the categories described are a good place to start understanding the Chinese student market, and knowing about them is important. Second Generation Wealth Inheritors are Chinese students who come from families in which parents have had to work hard for success, but did not get a chance to gain experience of studying or working overseas. They desire that their children obtain an international business degree and ideally work experience that will prepare them for making a success of the family business when they take over.
To appeal to Second Generation Wealth Inheritors on why go to univeresity, it is necessary to demonstrate how they will benefit from university in preparing for the opportunities and challenges that lay beyond time in education. It is the long term that candidates are looking to, and recognising this enables universities to respond accordingly.
Explorers are Chinese students aged between 25 and 30, already have a degree earned in China, work in tier-one cities, and often for international companies. The motivation for re-entering education is to gain competitive advantage in the intensely competitive management jobs market. Obtaining a degree in a business-related subject will often give them the edge they need.
The trend towards career-break study currently stands at 13% of the overall Chinese student market and grew 4% last year (source New Oriental Vision Overseas – Report on Chinese Students Overseas Study, 2017).
What Explorers look for when making the decision about where to study is course content and almost nothing else. If it will not help them get ahead they are not interested. For this reason, these Chinese students usually know exactly what course content they require.
Experienced Players have been marked out for overseas university education from a young age by parents that have a global outlook, and a wish that their children pursue international careers.
Children will usually have attended one of the nearly 750 international schools in China that teach syllabi from the West, of which 47% operate under the A level system. When selecting universities and courses, Experienced Player Chinese students have a detailed understanding of what they are looking for, and are clear about expectation. From this perspective, they have as much in common with many of their UK counterparts as they do their peers in China.
As well as course is a key selection criteria, other factors stem from the international and cosmopolitan outlook of family. This includes cultural opportunities, nearby holiday options for visitors from China, property purchase, and even business investment. For universities to appeal to Experienced Players it is necessary to paint a much broader picture than just academic benefit.
It is inevitable that the three segments of Chinese students described will change and fragment as part of China’s fast-evolving social and economic culture. It means universities need to be prepared to constantly adapt what they offer, but those that do respond quickly benefit by standing out from the crowd. What is more, with peer recommendation being such a very powerful feature in all types of decision making in China, the rewards for matching the needs of the audience make the effort worthwhile.
Why do international students choose to study in the UK
Unite Students went to which UK university has the most Chinese students to ask how they find studying in the UK and what advice they’d give to Chinese students on why go to university internationally.
Chinese Study abroad
At the start of 2019, Ucas Admissions Agency revealed they received an increase in Chinese students applying to UK universities, receiving almost 20,000 undergraduate applications compared to 15,000 in 2018. Whilst China is already the biggest source of students for British universities since Brexit has stirred worries for higher education to secure funding, there has been a significant increase in marketing strategies to attract overseas students and easily picks out which UK university has the most Chinese students.
1. Enriching experiences
A large proportion of Chineses students make the decision to study overseas to better develop their cultural understanding and to gain an international outlook. This comes from opportunities of different education systems, new languages and cuisines and meeting new people.
2. Meeting a diversity of people
Studying, living and travelling internationally unlocks the opportunity to make friends with new people, and network with other international students. This is one of the many big attractions to studying abroad.
3. Acquiring new language skills
The English language is one of the biggest spoken languages in the world, being able to study in an English-speaking country allows students first hand experience and improvement for their spoken or written skills.
4. Future employability prospects
Chinese students rely on study abroad opportunities to broaden their employment prospects, and this is believed to be one of the top reasons they will make the decision to come overseas. Among the Chinese population, parents have a strong belief in the international educations leading to enhanced job opportunities and future career development. There is also a common trend shown in international students choosing to stay in their country of study for some time before returning home post-graduation.
5. Better educational environment
Finally, Chinese students believe that studying internationally offers them a better working environment, due to flexible learning plans and being given more independence with learning structures. Soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork and decision-making are also enriched by new learning cultures.
Universities in China for international students
1. Shanghai Jiao Tong
The best research university in Asia and the world, 1 in 10 undergraduates are international despite it being a prestigious university. It is known for its science courses because of the faculty abilities and research resources.
One of the best Chinese universities. Ranked second in the entire world for its MBA programme. Students looking to specialise in Business, especially Manadarin are quick to put their application into this uni.
3. Guangxi Normal
The best Teaching university in China, best known for its even cut of American students who want to learn mandarin and international students who want to champion their English Teaching skills for international use. Also best known for its academic experiences.
4. University of Hong Kong
One of China’s oldest university’s, student enrollment is made up of one-quarter international students. Study here for a western-world and well-respected study abroad path. It combines British academic structure with modern Hong Kong strategies.
Home to more than 2,000 international students, along with well-established partnerships to prestigious American universities this option is for student abroad students who want to excellence themselves in sociology and government politics.
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