The impact of international education goes far beyond the classroom or the school campus.
Martin Basiri, CEO and Co-Founder of ApplyBoard
Education is a right, not a privilege.
Every year many students choose to study abroad and take advantage of education opportunities across the world in order to further pursue their career, better their life’s trajectory and improve their future. There are millions of students who just don’t have access to a higher education, simply because of where they were born. As a nation and as an open and welcoming community, Canada has the unique opportunity to help attract and educate these students.
The past two years have shown every Canadian business leader how important it is for our country to stay innovative, attract talent, continue to keep inventing and stay nimble to keep up and frankly, survive in the ongoing unpredictability of the pandemic. Not many people recognize or consider it right away, but international students have a huge impact on Canada’s innovation and a profound economic impact on markets like North America.
After two years of challenges and uncertainty, 2022 is on the horizon and new data shows that there is pent-up demand for international students to study and travel abroad in the new year. This is good news not only for the education sector, but for immigration and all the benefits of international education that come along with it. We at ApplyBoard have a positive outlook for the future of international education and we’re predicting that 2022 will be the biggest year for international enrollment. We’re already seeing a huge increase in the number of international students applying to universities and colleges next year and can’t wait for the strides we’ll make as a global community.
All countries are paying close attention to international students because of how critical international enrollment is to the ongoing strength of their workforce talent. ApplyBoard recently released a new trends report that showcases the future of opportunity in international education and looks at the types of trends that are influencing a student’s decision making factors. Despite a lot of unknowns caused by the pandemic, student application volumes at ApplyBoard are booming. From March to October 2021, UK student applications on the ApplyBoard Platform rose by more than 300%, Canadian applications grew by over 200%, and US applications spiked by 750% compared to the same period in 2020.
Now is the time to increase accessibility and build new opportunities for connections between cultures and communities through international students.
I was an international student ten years ago and ever since my experience of moving to Canada, I made the decision to dedicate my life to improving global access to education through technology. Technology can level the playing field, close the gap and allow students the opportunity to access education.
We decided to create a platform that could connect students and counsellors with programs that best suited each student. With the help of ApplyBoard, international students no longer need to spend countless hours reviewing the pages of school and program details to find out if they are qualified. Through the platform, educational institutions are able to find and attract excellent students, and in the end, destination countries like Canada welcome talented immigrants into their communities.
There’s a beautiful synergy that co-exists within the international education sector. While international students build a stronger career and future for themselves as they embark on their international studies, the country simultaneously becomes more enriched and refined by all the good fortune and innovation they bring forward. In fact, 55 per cent of America’s billion-dollar startups have an immigrant founder. Microsoft, Twitter, Tesla, and Google are just a couple of examples of successful companies led by international students. International students have the drive to push forward global economies, advance emerging industries, and create technological innovations that re-shape our world.
Here in Canada, those who come to study at a domestic institution play a critical role in driving Canada’s innovation economy forward. Recent findings show that one in every four small-to-medium-sized Canadian businesses are owned or run by immigrants and almost half of these companies have implemented at least one type of innovation in the last decade. We need to continue to fuel the growth of international students to help overcome the issues that exist within the pandemic and also, the economic obstacles in Canada in the years to come. With job vacancies in Canada on the rise and nine million baby boomers in Canada expected to head into retirement over the next decade, it’s important that we continue to invest in the amazing international talent that has helped boost the Canadian economy.
ApplyBoard has grown rapidly throughout the pandemic, and this is because our platform was designed to serve students. In our early days of the company, investors were so inspired by our mission to educate the world.
Our partners and investors value the long-term success and growth of our technology not only helps make it possible for the student, but for our world and our global economy. Since we launched in 2015, we’ve helped our students and recruitment partners understand important factors that affect a student’s visa approval through our innovative technology. In fact, ApplyBoard students were almost 20% more likely to have their Canadian study permit approved in 2020 compared to all applicants.
At the end of the day, we are only one player in this global initiative to increase access to education. We are trying to bring new players and new organizations to help eliminate barriers international students face in their journey to access a quality education.
In the next couple of years, I think that we’re going to continue to see a lot of technology companies come to the table to help make education more accessible and respond to the various issues impacting our students for example, improving hybrid and remote learning methods, building more customized experiences by leveraging artificial intelligence, bridging the financial challenges students face and other gaps that impact access to education.
That’s because our platform alone can’t solve the problem of improving global access to education. There are millions of students globally who don’t have access to higher education and our global community can and will thrive as more are able to continue their education. We’re just one company helping to do our portion. In 2022, I invite all Canadian entrepreneurs who are inspired by the mission of education to roll up their sleeves, try to solve all the problems the sector is facing and think of ways they can use tech for good.