Are UK Colleges And Universities Prepared to Handle the Growing Interest from International Undergraduate Applicants?

According to a recent report by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), international undergraduate applicants in the UK are expected to increase by 46% (or to 208,500 applicants) by 2026. 

What’s causing this sudden growth? And are colleges and universities in the UK prepared to handle it? Read on as we deep dive into these questions and more. 

Quality Education, Superior Skills, and Better Job Prospects Are Key Reasons for International Applications

Tech-savvy and highly-aware students of today have begun carrying out independent research when it comes to applying to colleges and universities

They are increasingly becoming adept at sifting through digital resources to understand the admission process, researching studying experiences in the UK, and determining their tuition and living costs. 

While most international students apply for a focused group of subjects, they also aspire to follow in their parent’s footsteps to pursue studies abroad.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, there was a massive interest shown by students to study in colleges in the UK. This sustained interest of wishing to study in the UK seems likely to continue into the next decade, fuelled by the easing of pandemic travel restrictions and lenient policies that make it easy for international students to submit applications. 

Although the motivation among students differs by nation, the top drivers for growing international applications include: 

  • Achieving better quality education compared to education offered in their home country
  • Securing a job in the UK and improving quality of life given the better prospects after education
  • Gaining skills that support students later in their careers
  • Moving to the UK because of the country’s academic reputation

Colleges and Universities Will Need to Invest in Technology to Handle Applications

To inspire and support international students to come to the UK for higher studies and maintain momentum amidst a wave of challenges, universities must stay on top of their international student admissions. 

To that end, modern technology adoption can enable colleges and universities in the UK to: 

  • Reduce reliance on manual activities to minimise errors and bias and invest in automation to speed up the hiring process 
  • Embrace the capabilities of AI and machine learning to sift through thousands of applications, eliminate unqualified applications, and identify best-fit candidates 
  • Provide international students with user-friendly, intuitive, and fast application experiences enabled by quality technology platforms
  • Personalise applicants’ experiences using information that’s relevant and useful while allowing them to explore different program options, compare colleges, and ultimately select what’s right for them
  • Enable virtual recruiting, making it easy for international students to appear for interviews 
  • Bring all stakeholders, from students and counsellors to university representatives, together and streamline the hiring process
  • Embed recommendation engines into student application platforms to provide course choices based on past academic history, career aspirations, and skills 
  • Integrate different aspects of the complicated and often convoluted process of student recruitment 
  • Carry out detailed personality skills assessment, giving international students career outcome-based course selection based on their culture and perspectives and program choices
  • Leverage predictive analytics to generate real-time insights on emerging student preferences, course choices, behavioural patterns, and other trends based on global economic and political changes
  • Guide students through courses on offer, visa and tuition fees, living expenses, and the admission process in general

How X0PA Academia Can Help

As a SaaS-based AI platform, X0PA Academia helps colleges and universities select students efficiently and effectively – and at scale. 

Offering features that help overcome the burden of managing a large volume of student applicants and multiple stakeholders, X0PA Academia 

  • Makes use of analytics to get a detailed understanding of the preferences and interests of each student, generating actionable insights to allocate students to universities optimally
  • Parses student CVs to identify skills possessed by each student, helping map out the skills needed for the student based on their job preferences while determining key skill gaps
  • Leverages the capabilities of AI and Machine Learning to score and rank talent
  • Taking students’ preferences and skills into consideration, the platform helps identify the best-fit student for each internship or graduate role based on patented algorithms ensuring capability and compatibility fit
  • Helps recommend a list of students best suited for internships or graduate jobs advertised by employers registered on the platform, based solely on their capability and compatibility scores
  • Enhances the optimal selection of students for universities while also improving placement rates for institutes. Smart, in-built automation workflows remove the need for manual actions, helping identify the right students for the right colleges, thus increasing the efficiency of the hiring process
  • Improves time-to-hire by automating interviews, candidate emails, candidate references, and more, ensuring each stage of the hiring process automatically flows to the next – with little or no human intervention


The future of international student admissions in the UK is all about providing an interactive, personalised, and seamless experience for applicants to find the right university and course. 

Enabled by world-class technology, colleges and universities in the UK can bring digital innovation to the forefront of international student recruitment, assess students based on their skills, and enrol best-fit candidates in the right universities and the right courses. 

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