At Hobsons we recognise that the higher education sector is changing and the international student market is more competitive than ever. This competition is being increasingly driven by how students perceive a country’s attitude towards international students. That is partly why institutions in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and parts of Scandinavia are upgrading their strategies to align themselves more closely with policies intended to facilitate the enrolment of growing numbers of international students.

Each year, we speak to almost 44,000 prospective international students, of which around 20,000 are considering studying at UK universities in our International Student Survey. We are delighted to announce that in 2017 we will be expanding our survey to include European university partners as part of our growth strategy, and will be collecting responses from January. So far we’ve had universities from Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Czech Republic, Denmark and Latvia request to take part. By partnering with European universities the report will provide further valuable insights into motivations, decision-making criteria, TNE (transnational education), and communication preferences of prospective international students. If you would like to request a free place for your institution simply complete the short form at

The findings from the 2016 International Student Survey taught us that the UK government’s policy on immigration and more broadly Brexit is having a significant impact on how welcoming the UK is perceived by many international students. For example, the survey results found that 43 per cent of prospective EU and international students felt the vote to leave the EU had affected their likelihood to study in the UK. This tell us that universities not just in the UK need to become more understanding and responsive to what students want from their investment in higher education.

Our report finds that the old ‘analogue’ approach to international recruitment is no longer fit for purpose. Traditional models of international student recruitment don’t scale well into new markets and expect prospective students to conform to a narrowly-defined enquiry process. The report advocates a new approach, which involves analysing the responses of prospective students to understand their goals, motivations and decision-making, along with using student intelligence and integrated technologies to attract the right students. To download a copy of the full report visit

Universities interested in taking part in the ISS should complete the online form at

Paul Raybould,

Director of Marketing and Market Intelligence, Hobsons EMEA


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