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A student’s choice of university can impact the trajectory of their life and career. It comes as no surprise, then, that over 1.2-million South Africans have set their sights on studying abroad. While it’s not new for local students to dream of securing a degree from an international university, a notable shift has taken place in terms of how realistic this actually is.

Rebecca Pretorius, South Africa Country Manager at Crimson Education

Demand for spots at universities, locally and abroad, remains high, and competition is stiff. Despite this, we have seen a decrease in the barriers preventing South African students from applying, and being accepted, abroad. From students having a better understanding of the application process and requirements for admission to top institutions, the easing of standardised testing, and the understanding and availability of support, the chances of admission are higher than ever – provided students start early and build a strong profile.

Fuelling these trends is the desire of local students to gain global experience and access career opportunities abroad during, and after, university. Being part of a top-ranked institution also offers the chance to build strong personal alumni networks, and can result in higher earning potential once a student has graduated. The growing number of success stories, with local students getting into the likes of Harvard, Oxford, and other competitive universities, is proof to South African students that it is possible to compete on a global stage.

There are four key trends that counsellors and teachers should take note of, in order to provide the right level of support and guidance to their students:

  1. Getting started early
  2. The rise of ‘super- and ultra-curriculars’
  3. Rankings no longer number one
  4. A revolution in standardised testing

The appeal to study abroad is as strong as ever – but now, local students have more opportunity to realise this dream. At Crimson, we are excited to see our country’s representation grow at highly competitive universities abroad; we know that local students do have the capacity to compete and excel internationally.