ISC Survey 2020: Where are students going?

Canada / Europe / USA

Getting firm data as to where UK students choose to study beyond the UK is always a challenge, so we’re grateful that for the last few years the Independent Schools’ Council has included questions in their annual survey of schools. This information shows that around 5% of UK independent school leavers choose an international university, around half of which are heading to the United States. Here’s the key information:

For the 5% of pupils who chose to study outside of the UK, the USA is by far the most popular destination attracting 47% of ISC pupils going to overseas universities…ISC pupils go on to a wide range of overseas universities and this range has been expanding year on year. In 2012, fewer than 400 overseas institutions attracted ISC pupils, now there are 474. Finally, pupils choosing to study overseas are not confined to a small number of ISC schools. Pupils from 56% of ISC schools with Year 13 leavers go on to higher education overseas.

The top-10 list makes interesting reading, with some of these universities taking very small proportions of their applicants:

  1. University of Hong Kong
  2. University of Chicago
  3. New York University
  4. University of Toronto
  5. McGill University
  6. University of Pennsylvania
  7. Brown University
  8. University of Southern California
  9. Chinese University of Hong Kong
  10. Yale University

These trends seem to only be growing, with increasing amounts of interest in international applications. Given the complexities involved, with the USA, in particular, requiring about ten times more work than a UCAS application, it seems as if more UK schools are going to have to resource this provision in the years to come.