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Intead’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2023: Chosen by Readers



2023 ushered in some much-needed numbers. Enrollment rose among undergraduate (+2.1%) and graduate (+0.7%) students. And while freshmen enrollment trended downward (-3.6%), interest in shorter-term credentials was on the rise (+9.9%). All this per National Student Clearinghouse figures. 

Likewise, IIE Open Doors data showed a 12% increase of incoming international students in 2022-23. And the more up-to-date SEVIS data indicated 2023 fall enrollment maintained this welcomed momentum. All good news in aggregate. As we parse all these data sets, there are interesting findings and nuanced opportunities to be sure. 

Yet, all news was not good. The chaos of the world at large continued to make its way onto campuses across the nation. Safety continues to be a growing concern, and your prospective students and their families are unsure what to make of it. More admissions inquiries shift from campus life to safety and mental health support services. Also important to note: social justice activities influence an increasing number of applicants. 

In the midst of it all, we do our best to use this blog to weigh in on topics that matter to enrollment teams like yours. So, it’s always interesting for us to look back and see which posts were your faves for most valuable content from the year. There are always a few surprises. 

In 2023, there was a ton of interest in all things internationalization – especially around how student activity in India and China is changing. But that’s not all.

We were told our posts on student career prep, social media trends, and budgeting framework were also really helpful. So, with that, we share our top 10 posts from 2023, as chosen by you, our readers. Plus our staff pick for the most valuable post of 2023. If you missed any of these top pieces, you’ll want to read on…  

Intead’s Top 10 Blog Posts from 2023 

#10 Emerging Markets Research Summarized: Know Your Neighborhood. 

Our past global student mobility research remains useful as enrollment teams seek to diversify. Intead along with FPP EDUMedia conducted primary research in 2019 to assess the influencers, interests, and political factors driving African and Latin American student enrollment decisions. Our aim: help institutions like yours tap emerging, or what we now consider, evolving student markets. More than 12,300 international students from over a dozen countries responded. Here'swhat we learned + a really useful free one-page comparison. It’s no surprise readers put this in their top 10 favorite posts of 2023. 

#9 Get Your Students Career Ready. Here’s How! 

Readers enjoyed our perspective on why bringing the real world into the classroom is so important to the future of your students. In this 2-part series, we shared one way Suffolk University is taking action. A sort of ​Career Readiness 101. In part 2 we talk about you and offer a helpful career-prep checklist, complete with on-campus practices and recruiter tips. The checklist drew reader attention. 

#8 You’re in the Right Place: Predicting the Future of Student Recruitment 

The Intead team has been spotting enrollment management trends and pointing to opportunities for well over a decade. The accuracy of our predictions have been, well, really good. Over the years, the Intead team has identified and analyzed the emerging trends that have become mainstream enrollment practices today. And now, we point to what is coming next as we emerge from our current spate of industry chaos. So, grab a cuppa, and dive into this post! 

#7 Yes! You Should Be in China, But Here’s the Thing… 

Our readers are always eager to learn more about China. And, despite the country’s declining US enrollment numbers, giving up on Chinese students is not in your best interest, nor is it in theirs. Yes, there are headwinds (many, in fact). This is a blog post we think you'll want to share with other leaders on campus who are questioning China’s value. A question: have you looked at the current youth unemployment rate in China?  Check it out here. 

#6 Budgeting as an Expression of Values: 3 Essential Questions 

Worth evaluating: will last year’s student recruitment plan and budget be relevant this year? While some say that search is out (or is it?) and AI is in, the good news for for tired marketers: not everything changes. And this includes the framework for budget planning and evaluation. That’s why “3 Essential Budget Questions: A Framework for Planning” was one of our top go-to downloads. And why we often give it a reboot around budget season. Find it here. 

#5 NACAC 2023 Reflections 

Readers really appreciated Ben’s NACAC ‘23 reflections post. According to Ben, the most  inspiring conference feature was Angel Perez, NACAC CEO, interviewing Maryland Governor Wes Moore and US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in the opening Plenary for 7,000+ attendees. Representation matters.  This conversation, and the conference that followed showed that NACAC has still got it. Those who attended NACAC and others who couldn’t looked to our summary for useful nuggets to inform their work. Our key takeaways here. 

#4 Navigating the TikTok Ad Platform 

From the enthusiasm around our TikTok series, we know you’re curious about how marketers can use TikTok. And your instincts tell you to give it a try. We’re right there with you. In this two-parter, we talked all things TikTok advertising. Readers told us this series was useful in helping them better understand how TikTok ad targeting works and what pitfalls to be aware of to make the most of this social media platform. Part 1 was among our top 10 posts. You’ll also want to check out part 2, which is all about content. 

#3 Should Threads Be in Your Edu Marketing Strategy?

Students and digital media, right? TikTok rules! Oh, and Instagram. But, email is dead. Search is dead. Facebook is dead. (Pro tip: these all still have value to you). And now Threads. Your team wants to know: Is now the right time to add Threads as a tactical element to our student recruiting strategy? How hard could it be? Is there any value here? Is our audience here? Get our take here and see why this post was a top 3 of 2023. 

#2 Listen Up: New EdUp—International Podcast with NAFSA Chair Dr. LaNitra Berger. 

We may have found the next best way to get you through your commute. And yes, it’s a podcast. Called EdUp—International, we were thrilled to host the inaugural episode along with special guest Dr. LaNitra Berger, president and chair of the board of directors of NAFSA. Read our post here or go directly to the episode here. 

…Can you guess the #1 post for 2023? If you’ve been thinking about growth markets, then we bet you may imagine it has something to do with India. And you’d be right!  

#1 Yes! You Should Be in India, But Here’s the Thing… 

Forget Wordle. Here’s a real problem for you to solve: If India, which recently unseated China as the world’s most populous nation, has over 1.4 billion people and 17.5% are aged 15 – 24 (that's ~240M students), will its roughly 1,100 universities have enough seats for all its university-eligible students? The short answer: no. Here’s what that means for you. 

*BONUS! INTEAD STAFF PICK* Extra credit if you can guess the #1 staff pick from 2023. This one is all about education agents, a topic that crosses the threshold of meaty topics like representation, student experience, AI, and your bottom line. 

​​​Humanizing the education agent: Do you know who’s pitching your institution?​​ 

​​​A growing number of US higher ed institutions use university education agents. And now, many are evaluating agent aggregators. If that’s you, we highly recommend you ask tough questions about their staffing process, the vetting, the training, and the monitoring. For institutions sharing their brand reputation with agent aggregators, it is buyer beware. Read more here.​​  

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