You and your team have been navigating the China recruitment challenges for years with some notable successes. Taking those long-haul flights and testing out the student fair operators. Building a reliable agent network despite the risks (thanks, AIRC). Learning WeChat and leveraging an entirely new digital marketing landscape. Developing meaningful global partnerships.
And then the visas and flights stopped.
As if China were not already the most complex marketing challenge for international student recruitment, along came COVID-19.
At this writing, the first F-1 visa appointments at US consulates in China are tentatively available as of August 12, notes WholeRen Education Chief Learning Officer Andrew Chen. Right now, it is unclear why any US institution might believe their Chinese students currently in China will be coming to their US campus this fall. Logistically, it seems entirely unlikely if not impossible.
Fortunately, and somewhat surprisingly, despite all the setbacks, Chinese demand for a US education is strong.
How do we know? Two proof points:
- Market research we performed with WholeRen Education surveying 20,000+ Chinese parents just last month.
- 2,000+ Chinese students voting with their feet and attending classes run by Syracuse, Rutgers, Clark, Babson, Penn State, Tulane, and others in US-style classrooms in China run by CIEE.
At the link below, you can pre-register for the release of our latest research for student enrollment professionals interested in succeeding in China based on current conditions and what will follow.
Your pre-registration for the latest research will also grant you access to our upcoming webinar interviewing three experts on the Chinese student experience. You’ll hear from one university on how they managed fall 2020 Chinese student enrollment and what the institution is doing to continue their success.
Read on for insights and practical tips to reach the Chinese market in the current climate and beyond.
How Chinese families view their international academic options is under a microscope here in the US. With recent news about the pandemic, terrifying rising violence against Asians in the US, and recent US political unrest, it is no surprise that many US academic leaders may be thinking the Chinese perception of a US education is losing value.
Our research tells us that those worries are misplaced.
Talking in Real Terms
It is not that Chinese perceptions about America and Americans haven’t changed with recent events. They have. But where the US brand of education stands in relation to other study destinations, well, that has staying power.
We have seen a few other recent reports suggesting that UK, Canada, and Australia are seeing rising rates of applications from China. Some of these reports are fairly thin when you scratch the surface and don’t take larger factors into account. The physical reality of travel restrictions is absolutely keeping Chinese students from reaching the US in the near term. Interpreting that reality as a change in brand perception, well, that’s a stretch.
With over 1,000 Chinese parents responding to our 16-question, local language survey last month (a better than 5% response rate from 20,000+ recipients), we have some great insights to share.
As always, Intead research is designed to help institutions craft effective marketing strategies and messaging with both a vision for long-term growth and a focus on immediate returns on investment. We know how hard it is to get budgets justified! Our work supports you.
Near-Term Solutions with Long-term Vision
In China (and other regions), longer term success involves building global partnerships that create enrollment pipelines. In the past, agent networks often filled some of this need. And a powerful agent network takes years to build. With COVID-19, those networks fell apart for many institutions as the flow of students to in-country agents dissolved, and many agents shut their doors.
CIEE has delivered a powerful option that has proven successful at helping US institutions meet their Chinese students where they are. We’ve written about this before and continue to share the success story because we think it is so important for building near-term enrollment.
Here’s the thing: Through CIEE, you can develop partnerships that create a bridge for students to travel from China to your US campus.
This is the partnership-building work that fosters student success on your campus. It is not just about enrollment. It is so much more, thankfully.
We’ll be hosting a webinar later this month and hearing insights about the Chinese market from Brad Farnsworth, former Vice President for Global Engagement at the American Council on Education, and now a member of the Intead Research Advisory Board, along with CIEE Vice President for Global Engagement, Seamus Harreys. The button below will allow you to indicate your interest in receiving our upcoming research and attend the webinar. You’ll be glad you clicked.