Working with international student recruitment agents might seem like a distant concept to a small institution used to recruiting by themselves. Sometimes, even bigger universities are not feeling ready to approach an agent. The number of international students they have seems stable and they don’t feel the need to recruit more.
In fact, every institution looking to internationalise its student body can benefit from a professional agent representing them abroad. Small universities can get a competitive advantage among similar institutions in the region, positioning themselves as diverse and welcoming spaces for learning. Medium-sized universities can allocate more resources for welcoming their international students and making sure their time on campus is memorable. Big and famous universities can penetrate strategic new markets and establish their brand as a global leader in international education.
So, in what fields can international student recruitment agents help your institution? Let’s look into the most obvious ones:
Researching and evaluating trends in international education
Of course, every international educational institution needs to be up-to-date with the global student recruitment landscape. And the recruitment agent’s job involves exactly this type of research. Agents are not just looking at current trends. but they often also identify emerging markets before they have become popular. Analyzing the potential of developing countries, agents look for new opportunities and make informed suggestions on which region could become the next China. This includes not only addressing demographical statistics but also taking into consideration cultural preferences, economic factors and political situation, to name but a few.
Consulting, informing and supporting your marketing strategy
Many young people who decide to use agency services are there for their expert consultation. So are educational institutions. What are the possibilities? How much will it cost? Which universities would offer the best experience for the price students pay? Which markets could provide exactly the type of students institutions are looking for? Is this country worth investing in? Will we see return on investment in the short or long run? There are so many questions to answer before you sign the contract and fill out the application form. That’s why good agents are often outstanding and informed communicators who can expertly introduce all sides to all the options they have.
Helping your institution make the right connections
The job of student recruitment agents depends on the quality of connections they make and the size of their network. If, for example, a student interested in STEM degrees is steered towards a university known for its arts program, this student will be definitely not happy with it. If an institution needs radical diversification of its international student portfolio, but receives instead students from the same 4 countries over and over again, it will probably think twice before working with agents again. Recruitment agencies’ reputation is based on references given by institutions they’ve worked with. Therefore, a track record of matching the right student with the right institution is what you need to be looking for when choosing your agent.
So, does your institution use the services of international student recruitment agents? In what ways do agents help you meet your targets beyond recruitment itself?
Let us know in the comments below!