Published: 2021-12-28 14:05 | Updated: 2021-12-28 14:05

Here is why students choose Karolinska Institutet

students at campus
Students on KI's campus Photo: Martin Stenmark

Students choose Karolinska Institutet to receive the best education. The proportion of foreign-born students is increasing, as is the proportion of younger students and male students. KI's website is the main source of recruitment. All this and more are shown in the 2021 Student Survey.

Every other year, KI carries out a survey where first-year students and students who study their first semester in the master's programs answer questions about, among other things, how come they study at KI, how they found the education so far, and about their background.

- The student survey is important for our recruitment, where we see who apply to KI, and who do not. It is also a valuable tool to get to know our students, says Johanna Gasslander, head of unit Student and Career Service at KI.

The response rate over the years has been 80–90 percent. This makes the survey very reliable, as well as the trends it shows.

- Year after year, the differences don’t vary that much. But if we look at the longer term, we see clear trends, says Patrik Olczak, project manager at the research company Exquiro, which carried out the survey.

The proportion of people born abroad is increasing

One such trend is that more and more students are born outside Sweden, in the 2021 survey the figure is 35 percent

- The proportion born abroad has doubled since the first survey in 1999 when the proportion was 17 percent. Until 2013, the share of foreign-born was around 20 percent, says Patrik Olczak.

The proportion of men has also increased, today 31 percent of the students at KI are men. The largest proportion is in psychology education (58%) and medical education (49%). The proportion of students under 20 who do not have work experience is also increasing. However, the proportion who want to work abroad after studies is declining.

Diagram that shows that the students on KI:s undergraduate programmes increadingly are born in a foreign country, are men and start studying without having worked after high-school.
Results from the Student Survey 2021. Photo: Exquiro

KI's website is an important source of information

Then why are the students applying to KI? The reasons they state are mainly “best education” (69%), “located in Stockholm” (56%), and “a good international reputation” (52%).

The survey also shows that KI's website has grown in importance for recruitment, almost half of the new students found their way in via ki.se. Study visits and trade fairs, on the other hand, have decreased in importance.

- But these figures may have been reinforced by the pandemic since fairs and study visits have been cancelled, says Patrik Olczak.

Head of unit KI Student and Career Service Johanna Gasslander is pleased with several of the results.

- It is fun that the students apply to KI because they believe that we have the best education, the goal is that they have the same opinion when they graduate. It is also fun for us who work with recruitment to get such high grades on our website and education catalogue, things we put a lot of work into, she says.

Continued work with broadened recruitment

The fact that the proportion of students with parents without an academic degree is increasing also pleases her, as all higher education institutions have broadened recruitment in their assignment. Some things she sees as challenges in future recruitment.

- One is that a larger proportion comes directly from high school. It can be a pandemic effect, that no one goes on long trips or takes simple jobs, but is something we get to compare with other universities. Another is that we recruit very local. Many may find it difficult to find housing in a large city and then choose not to apply here. However, these are areas where we want to expand to become a choice for students of all ages and from all parts of Sweden, says Johanna Gasslander.

The new students in the master's programs have answered basically the same questions. Here too, the proportion of foreign-born students has increased significantly.

- Today, 85 percent of the students are foreign citizens, ten years ago the proportion was about 55 percent, says Patrik Olczak.

Another trend is that the average age has decreased. And that the quality of the education and KI's high ranking are important for their choice.

- Just as for beginner students, the website is the most important source for students in the master's programs to find their way to KI. But in second place comes pure googling. Social media, on the other hand, is declining in importance, says Patrik Olczak.

Facts Student survey

Number of answers first-year students

889 students responded to 14 beginner programs and two advanced programs.

Number of answers students in the master's programs

281 students in the master's programs responded.

This is how the survey was done

The survey was conducted by the survey company Exquiro through a survey on paper or on the web. Exquiro has conducted the survey since 1999. It is conducted every two years since 2011. In the same year, the students in the master's programs received their own survey.’

Text: Tomas Eriksson, Monte Rico