Applications for healthcare courses from international students triple but churn still an issue

New data, taken from the marketplace, shows that healthcare course applications in the UK from international students tripled from 2020 to 2021. I’m sure this will be welcome news for the healthcare industry, particularly as Nursing Times reported a shortage of 50,000 nurses before the pandemic hit. Brexit has also impacted the supply of medical staff in the UK, so receiving a boost in international applications should hopefully help in the longer term.

As a SaaS-based (software-as-a-service) international student recruitment marketplace with over 4,000 agents and 1,300 institution partners globally, we’re in a prime position to assess trends. The team analysed our marketplace data to determine which territories performed the best over the past year and which sectors were most sought after in terms of international study.

We were particularly intrigued by how the pandemic is affecting student mobility, particularly as nations have responded in different ways, introducing differing levels of restrictions.  

The UK has had comparatively open borders throughout the pandemic and therefore enjoyed a surge in course applications whereas Australia has been relatively strict about letting people into the country, even to study. This was reflected very clearly in the data; while overall international student applications in the UK remained high, they dropped quite drastically in Australia from December 2020.

I still believe however, there is plenty of improvement to be made in terms of international study, particularly when it comes to healthcare. 

The Health Foundation cited in 2019 that data they obtained with Nursing Standard revealed that of 19,566 UK nursing students who began three-year degrees due to finish in 2018, a total of 4,695 left or suspended their studies. Churn rates for all types of courses are higher amongst international than domestic students, which is in part due to bias in the counselling process. If the course is not what students expect, they either drop out or switch, which means courses are not at full capacity.

At we solve this challenge by democratising access to education, removing bias so that counsellors can recommend the best fitting course for students.  This is the true essence of, we want students and their families to feel empowered, supported and have the knowledge literally at their fingertips to make the best possible choices when it comes to their educational futures.

We have also just launched our new intelligent suite of tools, called Adventus Drive, a suite of powerful data-driven tools to help universities better understand the student recruitment funnel. It includes advanced analytic capability so that healthcare institutions can make data-driven decisions at every stage of the recruitment funnel and understand where they can make the most impact. This helps them track search results, course card views, applications submitted and conversions.

We also help institutions offering healthcare better understand who their prospective students are and better diversify the student body with detailed student profiling including breaking down leads by age, gender, source country and application status.

Over 2021, has had a 90% application success rate and a 98% visa success rate in the UK. now has more than 350+ staff across 17 countries and is expanding into another 6 countries including  UAE, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Spain. Ryan Trainor, CEO at

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