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Recruiting Intelligence

Ben Waxman & Carrie Bishop

Succeed in the New Student Landscape: A Can’t-Miss Event

At some point when we listen to stories of successful initiatives, part of that story almost always includes a line like this: "Well, we were really curious about..."

How is your curiosity quotient these days?

Success emerges from teams that want to know and understand. That desire, and how well you act on and fulfill that desire speaks to the drive to succeed.

In a few weeks, a select few of your peers will gather with leaders in our field of international recruiting for a full-day, hands-on workshop to seriously get stuff done. Dubbed “Succeeding in the New Student Landscape,” this event is designed to help you diversify and build your global student recruitment plan for 2023 and beyond. This event offers small-batch, intensely focused conversations to apply the latest data, trends, perspectives, and best practices to your institution's current state. 

We are keeping it small so that every participant gets the kind of attention that addresses the immediate and long-term thinking needed for each unique institution.

The details:

  • December 13, 2022 (falling conveniently between the AIRC and ICEF conferences)
  • On campus at San Diego State University
  • 19 industry thought leaders as your faculty and keynote speakers
  • Two tracks: Get It Done (Track I), Leadership (Track II)
  • Two on-target keynotes: Social Justice as it relates to International Student Attraction (lunch), and Chinese Student Influencers Today (dinner)
  • Cost (inclusive of all meals): $350 

Ready to learn more? Read on for our list of speakers, moderators, and full-day breakdown. We hope to see you there! There are still spaces left as of this blog posting date.

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Are Your Student Leads Intent-Ready or a Joke?

It’s late. A Friday. And the undergrads are relaxed and thinking out loud, among other things undergrads tend to do late on a Friday night.

“I don’t know. Maybe I should do an MBA program instead,” one says.

“Ya. Why not? You’re like really good at business,” a friend weighs in.

So, they search “top-ranked MBA programs in the US.”

You already know the student recruitment platforms that pop up based on that Google search. They choose the top result and start browsing around. They enter their name, give an email address. This is the lead you will get when you purchase the lead generator’s services in one package or another.

The platforms lure you in with beautiful numbers. So many student visits per month. Amazing.

How intentional are these leads? How many will convert?

Come Monday, your lead is back on their pre-med path. And all you’re left with is a useless email address.

Now, every institution has junk leads. Even with the best platforms. The fact is, there are just so many “solutions” out there, all claiming to boost your enrollment numbers. It’s hard to know which ones actually move the needle, and which are peddling false enrollment growth for you and your team.


Come with Questions. Leave with a Plan.

If you are attending the AIRC or ICEF Conferences - here is a huge plus opportunity. 

The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop on December 13, 2022 will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • A full day of international student recruitment strategy and execution discussion
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Dr. Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • Early Bird Pricing Extended One Week. With many of our colleagues telling us they are still seeking approval to attend, we are extending the early pricing until October 31. At $200 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal. (Pricing goes up to $350 on November 1, 2022).

Now, back to lead generating platforms. If you’re scratching your head over the swath of lead generators out there, rest assured you’re in good company. From what we’ve seen, there’s total confusion in the marketplace. Your best bet is to take a step back and look at the enrollment tools you know you need (responsive social media presence, mobile-ready content, reliable online chat). From there, you can better evaluate the many platforms with clear eyes. Read on

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q3 2022

The relief of entering a more “normal-ish” academic year is met with both new and familiar recruitment and admissions challenges: student housing shortages, diminishing interest in postsecondary education here in the US, eroding confidence in our academic institutions, and increasing competition for students from abroad. Oh, and the looming demographic cliff in the US.

One step forward. Two steps back. (Or was that four? Maybe let’s not count right now.) This from the marketing agency always pushing analytics ; -)

Truth is, we’re not that cynical. But if you are reading the edu literature, the headlines would push anyone in that direction.

Nevertheless, if you follow what IIE has to say, then in-person learning has rebounded, as has in-person study abroad and international applications. We are waiting on concrete industry enrollment numbers to confirm growth, but still, we know what is happening out there. There is progress on many fronts.

There are always cycles. And those who analyze and plan are far more likely to succeed. Too busy to do it well is not an option. Too cynical to fight for success really doesn’t work either. Optimism tied to well-researched targets motivates the team. Motivated, proactive partners can truly move the needle.


COME LEARN WITH US!

Among our colleagues in this field, we see a tremendous thirst for gathering and evaluating our options, with time to really talk it through. The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • Full-day, hands-on workshop on strategy and execution: Come with questions, leave with a plan.
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Social Justice Luncheon with Dr. Jewell Winn and Adrienne Fusek
    • Chinese Student Influencers Dinner with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • At $200 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal. (Pricing goes up to $350 on October 24, 2022).

As you take a moment to weigh the opportunities in higher ed today, we offer a recap of the most valuable news from Q3 2022, including insights on China and Africa as well as some practical how-to tips on marketing to the Gen Z digital natives. Read on

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Not Rocket Science

Global student recruitment, finding student segments domestically and abroad, is simply not rocket science.

We know the processes and don't need another generic report about what students are thinking and how important parents are to the process. If new student mobility trend data of significance emerges (thank you IIE and National Clearinghouse), you can count on us to evaluate it and report on it. But, most of the reports we are seeing right now from marketing agencies (like us) are rehashing everything we already know.

And annoyingly, they are somehow pointing to their nothing new findings as revelatory. Wut?

So, let’s get to work plotting out the work and bringing the successful results we all want.

The Formula: custom research on your differentiators, your strongest recruitment options (countries/regions), and messaging that engages your target audience on the channels they use.

That’s really about it. That’s what we need. Oh, and to do it successfully, that actually requires investment, technology, and expertise.

So...yes, trend analysis because decision making actually did change since 2019 - safety, cost, the value of education overall, visa issues - all much more significant. These factors existed before the pandemic, before the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, and the ever-horrific state of gun violence in the US. Not new info. All of these factors have been on students’ and parents’ minds for a while. Yours too, right?

And yet, international students continue to find value in a US education and the experience of living and studying in the US. And as they make their decisions, all the things we see in the latest reports and infographics about student mobility trends say essentially the same things we’ve seen for more than a decade.

Reputation matters. Rank matters (more in some regions than others). Career connections matter, parent opinions matter, etc., etc., etc. Tedious findings touted as new, ground-breaking, must-have trend analysis.

Read on for a few student influencers that are actually rising to the top of students' decision-making criteria, and more importantly, what all of this means for your institution's recruitment planning. 

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International Student Rebound: IIE’s Latest Survey

The near-term forecast: sunnier skies for international student recruitment.

That’s according to the “Spring 2022 Snapshot on International Educational Exchange” by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The long-running Snapshot series is part of IIE’s efforts to map the effects of notable current events on international educational exchange to and from the US. This latest release, which analyzes a full 559 institutions that completed the survey, includes the effect of COVID-19 as well as the war in Ukraine.

Look, every time the US suffers a drop due to anti-immigrant rhetoric out of Washington, policies that hinder work opportunities for international graduates, or less controllable obstacles like pandemics and international conflicts, each time these serious situations emerge, there are prognosticators predicting the end of US recruiting strength.

Every year, for more than a decade, at least one-third of US institutions saw a decline in their international student population. During the pandemic, that pain was spread much, much further, and deeper.

The past decade has been full of ups and downs and the US continues to find a welcome international audience despite it all. Opportunities for growth are out there for those institutions willing to put in the effort and make the investment.

Four key findings surfaced from the latest IIE report:

  • #1 Most international students studied in person on US campuses in spring 2022.
  • #2 US colleges and universities are supporting international students during the Ukraine crisis.
  • #3 International student applications continued to increase.
  • #4 In-person study abroad rebounds.

Offering up a few road signs to point you in the right direction

A report is just a report until you put it to use. Read on to better understand how you can use the survey to bolster your recruitment strategy this fall as well as learn what others are already doing.

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q2 2022

…and that’s a wrap for Q2 ‘22. While personally there were a few bumps along the way (thanks Covid for yanking #NAFSA2022 out from under me!), overall, the industry’s mood is decidedly improved over this time last year. Cautiously so, anyway.

Recent news we are following says that language programs are starting to recover from huge pandemic losses. Middle Eastern adults/executives are showing up first. As we know, language programs often act as canaries in the coal mine falling or rising in advance of fuller degree/certificate programs.

We bet you likely didn’t catch all of our posts this spring, admissions season being what it is – busy. Not to worry, we’ve compiled a few we think you won’t want to miss. Read on for our quarterly recap of the most valuable news from Q2 2022 and the Intead resources available to you.

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Some College, No Credential, Open Opportunity

Consider the fact that postsecondary institutions have lost nearly 1.3 million students over the course of the past two years. And last year over 940,000 “Some College, No Credential” students re-enrolled. Do the math.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center issued its latest “Some College, No Credential Student Outcomes” report, and the numbers are as you may expect. Large.

Based on July 2020 headcount, the NSC shows there are now 39 million people who can claim some-college, no-credential (SCNC) status—up 8.6% from 2019. In real-time, though, we are confident those numbers are even higher.

Look, we don’t need to tell you that we just wrapped up the fifth consecutive semester of declining student yield. After all, you’re knee-deep in recruitment expectations right now. And those of us working with the undergrad population, well, we’re down about 1.4 million students since 2020.

We are all feeling that and struggling with how all those predictive models seem to be anything but predictive right now. Weren’t they supposed to help us all hone in on growth? A few assumptions there need to be recalibrated.

But, there’s a story in this latest data that may be more optimistic than the doomsday headlines would suggest. Per various pundits’ predictions, a recovery rise in enrollment is on the horizon along with the demographic shift that points to an overall decline in the number of high school graduates. The SCNC crowd represents a significant opportunity that is so often overlooked as traditional recruitment efforts focus on the fresh out of high school crowd.

For the SCNC segment (a rather large segment that requires further segmentation -- they are not one block with common traits), it’s a matter of finding them and presenting your institution’s distinct opportunities to them. They clearly have different motivators and a different decision-making timelines than high school graduates.

Taking a closer look at the National Student Clearinghouse SCNC report – the third in a series – you’ll find that it quantifies the population growth of this large student subset and identifies levels of opportunity for re-engaging these one-time students. Sound interesting? It should if you’re looking to boost enrollment.

Unlike previous reports, this one tracks:

  • Re-enrollment (students who hold a valid enrollment record)
  • First credential (those earning their first-ever credential during the first academic year of stopping out)
  • Perseverance (indicated by continuous enrollment after re-enrolling in 2019/20).

So, lots of good stuff.

For our key takeaways on SCNC prospects including best-bet recruitment opportunities, read on. And for actionable inspiration on how to woo this important crowd, check out our ebook: Quality. Cost. Convenience.”

What others are saying: This must-read primer will help anyone looking to better position their institution within today’s complex and competitive recruitment landscape. This is your guide to adapting to the new competitive environment.

~ Dr. David DiMaria, Senior International Officer & Associate Vice Provost, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
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Improving Student Yield: A Big 10 Campaign Case Study

Day One of #NAFSA2022 and it just feels so good to be back together. Optimism is in the air. The social media chatter among our colleagues here is exuberant.

Even if you’re not in Denver this week, we bet your office is feeling the energy of an industry that is projected to grow by as many as 1 million students globally next year. Sure, that growth is more of a rebound, but it’s welcome news nonetheless.

As the tsunami of NAFSA conversations washes over us, the buzz is all about diversifying source countries and everyone is wondering about the best way to go about it.

You, too? Right, because China.

We’re always happy to help lend insight into these international student recruitment conversations based on our global market research and recent client experiences. Often that’s best done through real-world case studies that speak directly to the need to diversify enrollment and improve yield. Today we release our most recent case study diving into a really successful international digital campaign we recently ran for a US Midwest Big 10 research institution.

Let’s meet in person!

If you’re at NAFSA this week, be in touch. We will absolutely do our best to fit in another meeting while in Denver. You’ll see Ben, Patricia, and Iliana racing from our presentations to a bunch of IEM sessions and all those networking events and 1:1 meetings.

Our 2022 can’t miss sessions:

In the meantime, read on to download our latest Big 10 case study all about improving undergraduate yield.

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New Book Review: The Real World of College

Like you, we spend a lot of time getting into the mindset of students. We need to understand their behavior, their decision making process, by region, by study interest, by age and other demographics.

So, when we read that education luminaries Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner released a book based on more than 2,000 interviews with higher ed students, alumni, faculty, administrators, parents, trustees, and more, we couldn’t help ourselves. We had to get it.

The book, The Real World of College, What Higher Education Is and What It Can Be, is an analysis of interviews conducted at ten US institutions representative of a range of schools, from the highly selective to the lesser so. For us, the results reveal new insights and confirm long-held beliefs. It’s worth the read for anyone who cares about the student experience, student outcomes, and the long-term viability of our industry.

Reading it through the lens of student recruitment, of course, we’ve gathered key takeaways that can inform the work you’re doing now (recruitment marketing) as well as the longer-term stuff (onboarding, student services, career services, and alumni relations).

Always insight and action-oriented: Below we offer our top 5 takeaways from this great read and importantly, your clear action item for each insight.

Let’s meet in person!

If you’re at NAFSA next week, be in touch. We will absolutely do our best to fit in another meeting while in Denver. You’ll see Ben, Patricia, and Iliana racing from our presentations to a bunch of IEM sessions and all those networking events.

Our 2022 can’t miss sessions:

Read on for our top 5 book review takeaways for your admissions team…

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State of Higher Education 2022: Top 5 Takeaways

Your campus may feel a little cozier this fall as housing units start to fill up again. Welcome news, right?

The enrollment dip we’ve been living through could rebound to pre-pandemic levels, meaning we may see nearly 1 million more enrolled students aged 18-24 in 2022 than in 2021. This is according to analytics giant Gallup.

Likely your team is seeing a positive shift in inquiry and applications. (No? Then be in touch).

The big question still is whether all that activity results in actual enrollments. There is reason to be skeptical at many institutions.

In Gallup’s recently issued The State of Higher Education 2022 Report, done in partnership with Lumina Foundation, we see some interesting results. The central goal of their work: to help inform institutions how to better support current and prospective students. The survey included adults aged 18+ who have completed high school and are living in the US.

Many survey participants are currently pursuing a degree, others unenrolled from their certificate or degree program since Covid. Many others are prospective students who never enrolled in a certificate or degree program after high school.

We are thrilled to have these insights in advance of #NAFSA22 to inform our discussions with all of you. If you’ve not yet scheduled a meeting with us at the conference, please be in touch quickly. Our schedule is nearly filled up. You’ll be receiving a summary of our 4 NAFSA don’t-wanna-miss-em presentations by email.

From Gallup, we took special note of the finding that despite the many (many) disruptions caused by the pandemic, US adults (aged 18-29) remain interested in pursuing higher education. There have been many stories of the growing anit-higher ed sentiment. So how do we lock in on those with high intent?

If you haven’t read the report, it’s one you won’t want to miss. Read on for a link to the report and the top 5 takeaways we think will be the most valuable to your team…

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