HSE University Attracts More International Students
The results of the 2021/22 international admissions campaign were presented at the recent meeting of the HSE University Academic Council. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, 2,055 students from 156 countries enrolled this year at HSE University.
International admissions are strategically important for the university. As Vice Rector Ivan Prostakov notes, the HSE Development Programme for the period up until 2030 stipulates that international students should account for 20% of the total student body. The Priority 2030 programme, which HSE University has recently joined, also specifies requirements regarding the share of international students in Master’s and doctoral studies.
Even with the development of online learning, there will always be students who prefer the opportunity to go to another country and dive into a different environment, Ivan Prostakov emphasizes. Today, the situation is still complicated by pandemic restrictions: there are many students around the world who would like to study abroad but are unable to do so.
According to Vice Rector Prostakov, global educational markets are much more sensitive to the pandemic than the Russian domestic market, and during this year’s admissions campaign, so-called ‘Covid-19 inertia’ was felt to a greater extent than in the past. First of all, there was ‘pandemic info-chaos’ with conflicting signals about the overall epidemiological situation, the opening and closing of borders, and vaccine validation. Secondly, applicants are experiencing ‘digital fatigue’—academic institutions around the world are now attracting more online learners, and, as such, ‘online event inflation’ makes it difficult to work with a global audience.
Given all of these developments, HSE University has opted to boost high quality demand with the application of end-to-end analytics, which, in turn, can provide information about each applicant, so that our staff can assist applicants in making the right choice. This process has several stages: providing information, career guidance, handling applications, constant support via channels familiar to our applicants (e.g., social media, WhatsApp, etc.), study offers and, finally, enrollment.
This year, 72,817 international students received information about study opportunities at HSE University, while 34,533 people took part in career guidance events (e.g., online consultations, webinars, online classes, etc.). In addition, 8354 people applied knowing with full certainty about their preferred programme. Furthermore, 5285 applications were submitted for Bachelor’s programmes and 3069—for Master's studies.
All in all, 2,055 applicants enrolled at HSE University this year, which is comparable with last year’s numbers, while also constituting a notable achievement, given the current pandemic, commented Prostakov. In addition, HSE University was able to recruit both scholarship and tuition-paying students.
International undergraduate applicants were primarily interested in degrees in Economics, Business Administration, Design, Applied Mathematics and Information Science, Software Engineering, Law, and Business Informatics, which are offered by almost all four of HSE University’s regional campuses. As Ivan Prostakov emphasized, this means that the University is perceived by international applicants as a unified institution with campuses in different cities, as well as a comprehensive university offering a wide range of fields of study.
The most popular Master's programmes were Master of International Business, online Master of Data Science offered in partnership with Coursera, Master in International Management, and System and Software Engineering.
This year, citizens from 156 countries became HSE students. The countries with the highest rates of enrollment include Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Vietnam, and China. The top countries whose learners started Master’s studies are Kazakhstan, China, Uzbekistan, Moldova, India, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Nigeria, Belarus, and the USA. With respect to both undergraduate and graduate programmes, the total number of students from China has decreased compared to last year (during the pandemic, the outgoing mobility of Chinese students has dropped for practically all countries).
According to Prostakov, the Master’s admissions campaign remained a cause for concern throughout the whole year: due to the shorter duration of such programmes, applicants are especially sensitive to the risk of having to study remotely for a significant amount of time. However, Master’s enrollments climbed this year, largely thanks to the fact that it became clear during the summer that the likelihood of a return to in-class instruction was still very high.
Ivan Prostakov, HSE University Vice Rector
HSE University’s client-oriented system for attracting and retaining international applicants, introduced in 2017–2020, has enabled us to ensure stable and geographically diverse demand for the University’s programmes. What helped us successfully recruit both scholarship and tuition paying students has been our individual approach to working with applicants, while also processing applications in a very timely manner.
HSE University Rector Nikita Anisimov thanked the University’s international admissions team for this year’s outcomes. The successful work of everyone involved was also commended by the head of the Academic Council Commission on International Activities, HSE Tenured Professor Alexander Chepurenko.
During the discussion, the members of the Academic Council focused on the international admission targets for2022 and future development of this aspect of university operations. One of the trends stressed by HSE Vice Rector Sergey Roshchin is competition for online markets. In his view, universities are competing for international applicants on a new playing field, which means that institutional resources, business processes, and competences must be restructured to a large degree.
Attracting foreign students and internationalization remain priorities for HSE University. Success in this sphere depends not only on being able to adapt to a rapidly changing environment, but also on our ability to develop new tools and solutions.