Each year thousands of colleges and universities compete for the attention of international students. Why? Simply because all these students play a crucial role in raising the school’s academic profile. However, engaging and recruiting international students is not just a complex process but also a very different one from the tactics you use to recruit domestically.
Recruiting international students is a much lengthier process than reaching out to local students. It also involves many more players, such as local independent agents, consultancies, etc. These intermediaries play significant role between your institution and the students you are looking to enrol. It is also far more fragmented: you have to have certain people within your institution focusing not only on recruitment, but on international services as well. International student recruitment involves additional steps and considerations that are not associated with domestic admissions process. These include navigating visas, ensuring a level of foreign language proficiency, as well as handling language and cultural barriers. Last, but not least, you need great brand awareness to drive and attract the right type of attention. Not that these challenges are not common with domestic recruitment. But they are really magnified when it comes to international recruitment.
These days schools are looking more and more abroad to meet their recruitment goals. There is tremendous growth in this direction – around 25% increase since last year. As an educator who is seeking to attract international students you are probably wondering how to overcome these challenges. So, take a look at our five tips for recruiting your international students successfully!
Increase your international reach
International students rely heavily on technology. They value live chats and video webcasts more than contact by phone or email. You will have to consider how to use low-cost scaleable technology to expand your reach to international students. Conversations with current students, admissions counsellors and international student service professionals are extremely influential and help students when they take decisions for college enrolment. Think about expanding your reach and keep players in your admissions and enrolment marketing departments to really strengthen your brand within the mind of prospective students.
Find and target the right international students
International students do rely on online channels. Most of the international students are not likely to visit your campus. Think of ways to introduce your campus to students that are not able to physically visit it. Think about the following question: “How do I help international students get a sense of what my campus is like and how do I let them and how do I show them in an online way the activities that they maybe interested in?”
Improve your international students yield
Rethink student yield as being a long process. Many students claim that it is important for them to have conversations with universities throughout all stages of the enrolment funnel and that they expect to be in constant communication with the school/university that they are applying to. So, do your best to ensure guidance on each step of the international student recruitment process.
Boost your international recruitment efficiency
Only 45% of international students are able to visit campuses in person before they choose which school to attend. It is very hard to reach your target students in person even if you invest a lot in the process. Think how you can engage your admission office to use technology as a tool to drive efficiency. One way is to expand your reach, but you can also think on how to engage in a 1:1 chat with your prospective students.
Increase international student retention
How to combat low retention rates in international students? Outside the classroom students usually struggle about their language skills and their limited knowledge about the local culture. The solution here is to recognise that while the international students admissions is a longer process, you can still think about how to better prepare a student, so you are more likely to retain that student after they have come to campus. One of the ways to do that is to think about how do you plan to help your prospective admitted students understand and be better prepared when they get to your campus.