7 Key Factors Influencing Students' Decision On Studying Abroad

In April 2021, iSchoolConnect administered a survey to 25,000+ individuals in order to understand their mindset regarding higher education, here is what they found.

In 2021-2022, the way students perceive higher education is changing. After the change in the global economy and landscape due to COVID19, the factors students consider before studying abroad have drastically changed. 

In a time when studying abroad for Indian students is hampered by many factors, the responses from the survey provide insight into students’ decision to study abroad and the factors that they consider before doing so. 

COVID-19 vaccine availability

More than 41 per cent of surveyees indicated that they would be more amenable to studying abroad if they received COVID-vaccines as added precautions. This clearly ascribes some significant importance to students’ concern regarding COVID-19. For those who are currently studying overseas, there are several provisions made by universities themselves. However, with COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the health and livelihoods of people across the globe, most students who plan on going overseas need the added assurance of a vaccine against COVID before they can succeed.

Quality education

The quality of education has always been a deciding factor for students when it comes to choosing the right institution in any country. A considerable number of Indian study abroad aspirants consider the quality of education to be one of the top deciding factors while choosing a university. The general perception among employers, officials, and the masses is also that education from a foreign institution holds greater importance and prestige. The survey data only confirmed this fact when students stated ‘Value of a US degree’ as one of the top 3 factors in them choosing an institution.


Despite the COVID-19 cases rising worldwide, concerns such as stealing, shooting, and civil crime are pressing concerns for study abroad aspirants. 11.7 per cent of the respondents in the survey admitted that they would feel safer about studying in the country if it had better student safety. While 10.2 per cent of them felt alarmed by the number of COVID-19 cases. Perceptions about a specific country’s overall safety also seemed to be a deciding factor for students. 

Graduate experience and success

When asked what would make them choose a particular university, students referred to the experiences and successes of their elder graduate counterparts in those institutions. More than 33 per cent students in the survey stated that conversations or testimonials from Indian alumni or current Indian students would really cement their higher ed decisions and help them gain a new perspective on things. Along with these factors, one of the other major points most students considered was the success of previous university graduates in finding good careers.

Education Cost

The cost of education is often a concerning factor for students studying abroad. More than 20 per cent of Indian students in the survey conducted stated that they spend up to ₹1 lakh per annum on their education. Another 45 per cent of survey-takers expressed their concerns on the ROI when it comes to their education spending. The costs involved in education is predictable, a deciding factor for many students. This is not to say that it stops many students from pursuing their academics abroad. With the assistance of financial aid, grants, and scholarships, the endeavour has been made easier with time.

Ease of  admission

Admission to Indian universities can be challenging due to high cut-off and competition. This concept has increased exponentially with the uncertainty due to COVID-19. Consequently, students with good grades and a sufficient budget steer towards choosing education abroad.

Not surprisingly, many students revealed that they would opt for higher studies in well-ranked institutions based out of the UK, Australia and Canada owing to their ease of accessibility.

Right guidance

Perhaps one of the most underrated and least discussed, student guidance is the underlying role-player in Indian students’ higher education plans. It plays a vital requirement every step of the way and yet is not as looked after as it should be. 53.2 per cent believe that their consultants were rather helpful.

Knowledge about the factors being considered by their peers will allow students to make well-informed and updated decisions regarding their higher education plans abroad. Oftentimes, not knowing which factors should be considered can lead students astray. Understanding the Indian student mindset enables both students and institutions alike to learn what to expect in the upcoming months.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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