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Recruiting Intelligence

Moving the Needle on Your International Student Recruitment

So your international enrollment numbers are ok, but not what you need them to be.

Or worse, like many of our colleagues, your numbers took a real dive over the past 12 to 18 months.

What steps can you take that will move the needle north? And north of what? How much growth can you expect? Oh, and how much investment will that require?

Let’s just take a breath and point out that, you ask some really hard questions!

Let’s try to answer them…with DATA!

Read on for some concrete next steps...

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The Risk of Following vs. The Value of Leading

Reflecting on AIEA conversations and what we are seeing in the field, I find myself thinking about the risk of being a follower and the value of being a strategic leader.

  • Followers see where the crowd is headed and go there without due diligence.
  • Leaders see where the crowd is headed and then check the numbers.

This is important. Increasingly so.

The effort to recruit international students is heating up in the US. The pressure on university administrators is growing. With India and China sending the most students to the US, most newcomers to the field – the universities finally joining the fray and looking to diversify their student body – are turning to these source countries. It can be a mistake.

We are seeing the global education agent network being pressured to produce more students for more campuses. That increased pressure is going to bring us renewed stories of fraud and inappropriate recruiting behavior. We don't want to see anyone caught up in that mess.

It is important, REALLY important, to align your team with talent – the kind of partners who don't cut corners and have your best interests at heart. This field is full of questionable characters, as we all know. Many of us have the scars to prove it.

Following our travels to San Diego for our Annual Student Recruitment Bootcamp and moving on to DC for AIEA, the Intead team is grateful for all of the opportunities to connect face-to-face with you, our colleagues and friends in such a challenging time for our industry. (More on our Bootcamp in a post in March.)  Focusing on AIEA for a moment, we have to thank AIEA's Darla Deardorff for feeding so many of us with great information and wonderful food for a few days in DC. The AIEA conference was well run and well delivered. Informational and so often inspiring.

During the conference, we had the pleasure of giving presentations on enrollment trends with Kaplan International and on US–India university partnerships with Monmouth University and Sannam S4. Both sessions were filled with lively discussion and audience engagement. As always, we shared ideas and had fun learning from each other. Thank you to all who attended! It is always a pleasure.

Read on for more reflections and insights from the conferences and my thoughts on enrollment trends and predictions. 

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Canada: U.S. Student Recruitment Threat?

Canada is after your students!

Canadian universities are seeing a spike in international student enrollments, fueled by a political climate that has some students spooked about studying in the U.S.   According to Inside Higher Ed, international enrollments rose 10.7% for Canadian institutions from 2016-2017, a period during which the U.S. saw a 7% decline.

Some students enrolling in Canadian institutions hail from countries that American institutions have long relied upon. For instance, the Hindustan Times reported that the number of Indian students enrolled in Canadian institutions topped 100,000 for the first time in 2016.

But for American universities, the threat is actually two-fold. Some of Canada’s international students are America’s domestic students—so that means that your Canadian competitors may be siphoning both your domestic and international enrollments. Not looking so polite now, huh?

Read on to get the recruiting perspective you need.

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LinkedIn Tracks Your International Alumni

International alumni are critically important to good recruitment and fundraising efforts: heck, we researched and co-wrote a whole report on it!

In the fall of 2017, Intead and Academic Assembly, Inc., surveyed over 100 professionals working at U.S. institutions of higher education about their international alumni management practices. When we asked what three factors they considered their biggest hurdles to developing a stronger program, 35% included “we don’t track international alumni” on their list.

Yikes!

Needless to say, your CRM system (you have one, right?) can track your alumni, both international and domestic. But if you are among the 35% whose institution just doesn’t track, we have one suggestion for how you can still connect with your far-flung alums. It’s right at your fingertips: LinkedIn.

If you are at AIEA in DC next week, come learn from us at our two sessions:

  • Tues. 2/20 at 7:45 am -- Ben will join MJ Miller, Senior VP North American Higher Ed at Kaplan International, to serve up a dose of international student research and insights poured right into your morning coffee. Breakfast will be served! Now we've got you, right? 
  • Wed. 2/21 at 11 am -- Ben will interview Lakshmi Iyer, Executive Director & Head of Education at Sannam S4 and and Jon Stauff, Vice Provost for Global Educationat Monmouth University about creating successful partnerships with Indian Universities.

Read on to learn how Linkedin is your secret (free) weapon as you find and manage your global alumni...

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"Going for Gold" - Recruiting South Korean Students

This week, our bodies are at work, but our hearts are in Pyeongchang.

Here at Intead, the team has caught Olympic fever. Still, we’re not ready to quit our day jobs to take up curling or ice luging full-time quite yet – so let’s talk about training for student recruitment success in South Korea instead.

Coping with dropping numbers and a complicated perception of the value of a foreign degree are just a few of the challenges to recruiting South Korean students. In this blog post, we explore the current conditions and concrete actions that you can take to strengthen your strategy. 

In the midst of the Olympics, our team is headed to San Diego for some mental gymnastics with  your colleagues at our annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp. Weren't able to register but still want to get in on the action? We will be livestreaming our keynote session with Dr. Philly Mantella and Dr. Rahul Choudaha on Monday February 12, 2018 4 pm – 5 pm EST.

The moderated interview will cover indicators of international student success, innovative recruiting pipelines, building recruiting budgets, and much more. Click here to reserve your space.

Continue reading to win Gold in South Korea (and if you don't go home with a medal, at least you'll have all the awesome links to great research and guidance we've inserted into the post below) ...

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Learning the Safety Dance: Reassuring Prospective Students

 

Let's reflect on the recent past and discover how the trends inform our thinking and doing.

Right now, we are reflecting on the fact that between 2016 and 2017, the prospective international students we surveyed in partnership with FPP EDU Media reported increased interest in safety. In our 2016 survey, 23% of students indicated that their sense of personal safety in the destination country was a strong factor in their decision making. In 2017, 88% of students said that a strong campus safety program was helpful or very helpful to their decision making.

Although the questions were slightly different between the two surveys, we were struck by the notable jump. The significant difference in the figures suggests a dramatic rise in the importance of this message to international students considering studying on any given campus.

The FPP EDU Media - Intead Know Your Neighborhood Reports were recently covered by The PIE News in a January 2018 story. Personal safety is on students' minds.

The message is clear: in an increasingly unpredictable world, prospective students are thinking more and more about their personal safety. As a result, we are seeing more and more institutions eager to counteract prospective students’ concerns that the U.S. is a place where outsiders are unwelcome and unsafe.

In our work, we develop customized content and design to help each institution promote its strongest features and opportunities to their student audiences. We work hard to educate the field on the trends and what the data tells us to do next as marketers.

We are looking forward to sharing our research and action plans in sunny San Diego where we will host our second annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp with CGACC from Feb 11-13. The following week we will be in Washington, DC, presenting more data at the annual AIEA conference.

We hope to see many of you at one or the other and we hope you might consider joining us at our presentation with Lakshmi Iyer from Sannam S4 and Jon Stauff of Monmouth University on  Maximizing Your Indian University Partnerships during AIEA! Please be in touch if you'd like to schedule a coffee and evaluate opportunities to enhance your recruitment program. 

So, the million-dollar question is: how do you communicate that your campus is a safe place to call home...without unintentionally scaring prospective students away?

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Tangles in the World Wide Web: Internet Interference & You

Sometimes, the internet can feel like the wild west. Yet readers of this blog and international recruitment pros know: things are not as free-wheeling as they may appear. Around the world, government restrictions on internet access abound. 

You may already be familiar with specific platforms that are not accessible abroad – Google SEO efforts won’t help you reach students in China, prospective Indian students probably aren’t seeing your Tweets, and Iranian students can’t freely access Facebook, for example.

But are you keeping your eye on government internet interference in your target markets more generally? And do you have a plan for how to respond if channels that were once your online go-to’s cease to be available to the students who you most want to reach?

Read on to see how you can be aware and protect yourself against potential changes...

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#TBT AIRC 2017: Slides Now Available

It’s awfully cold up here in Massachusetts these days—but that’s just one of the reasons we’re daydreaming about the AIRC Conference in Florida this past December. As most of you know, the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) conference is one of the highlights of the year for our professional community.

We have been attending AIRC for 8 years now, and every year we meet insightful industry experts with valuable perspectives to share. This is the learning and networking conference we enjoy most. We send a significant Intead staff contingent every time to get the most of what AIRC has to offer our community. International student expertise from all over the world gathers and shares their firsthand perspective and in-country student experiences. 

This year, we were honored to share our own marketing intelligence with our colleagues from universities and other experts in the field on a wide range of recruitment topics. We saw many of you, our valued blog readers, on the conference floor, jotting notes in AIRC seminars or lounging poolside with a drink (don't worry we won't share any photos)—but if you missed it (or hey, just miss us!) our slides are here for your perusing pleasure. 

Seats are still availble for the Intead/CGACC International Student Recruitment Bootcamp. Sign up while you still can. February 11-13 in San Diego. We can't wait for the warmth! 

Read on for a review of our presentations and a link to the slides for each one...

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Intead's 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017!

What did we do that really caught your attention most in 2017?

We thought you might want to know which blog topics drew the most clicks from you and your colleagues. That way, you can catch up on any important posts you may have missed.

And, if you want to dive into any of these topics in a really substantive way, this is the last week to take advantage of our early bird discount for the International Student Recruitment Bootcamp in San Diego, February 11–13. 

Want a sneak peek at our most popular publishing? Well, let's see... In 2017, we...

  • Released groundbreaking research showing the potential impact of a Trump presidency on international student recruitment – and looked at ways to navigate the dramatic changes in today’s political and economic climate;
  • Discussed why and how you should segment your target student population;
  • Addressed ethical concerns in the use of education agents;
  • Showed you how to make the most of your limited resources;
  • We even gave you tips on optimizing your landing page to maximize conversion rates!

*deep breath*

What can we say? We love this stuff. 

Read on for links to our 10 most popular posts…and see what topic intruiged your peers enough to earn the title of post #1.

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Change Agents Need Reliable Information

2017 was too much to define in a single headline. A departure from the norm, as many have said.

The ramifications of the changes that occurred during the course of 2017 will be felt for years to come. They will play out in ways none of us can predict, for better or worse. While these kinds of statements or platitudes are always true, this is a period of more dramatic change than the US, and the world, have experienced for some time.

At a policy level, Mr. Trump came into office promising radical change. He has delivered on that promise. When change agents enter any situation, and they have some level of support, conflict ensues.

This is a time to gather the wisdom of others and make plans. Certainly not a time to sit tight and wait out the storm. You know those early birds gathering those worms...those are the birds that planned to get out there early and act.

Read on to gain a bit more perspective and be one of those early birds...

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Know Your Neighborhood - Fall 2017
Global Alumni Management for U.S. Institutions