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Recruiting Intelligence

Student Recruitment Mistakes of the Desperate: Part 2

This week we are continuing our two part series on the all-too-common mistakes that happen when recruitment professionals are caught between increasing strain on limited budget and rising enrollment demands. Didn't get the chance to read part one? You can do so here.

As you read this series, you might think, "yep, I've been there..." or "hey, I would never do that!" ...Either way, we would love to hear from you! Want to discuss your recruitment strategies and how to avoid these pitfalls, or learn about strategies for how your institution can continue to excel? We would love to meet with you. 

We are currently setting up meetings for NACAC Sept 27-29. Ben will be in G block on September 29th at 11:30 am, presenting along with Daniel Spadafore from Michigan State and Gretchen Dobson from Academic Assembly: International Alumni Relations: The Neglected Tool in Your Strategic Recruiting Arsenal?  Beyond that, our meeting schedule is fairly open. Ben, Patricia and Elaine will all be there learning and meeting.

Have you captured our e-book: Global Alumni Management for U.S. Institutions: State of the Field 2017 In it we discuss our survey of over 1,000 US institutions on international alumni engagement practices and needs. At this session, you will learn how we interpret the findings and some practical ways you can leverage your international alumni network to strengthen your recruitment and development efforts

Alright, that's enough, huh? Let's get into it -- Part 2 of Desperate Recruitment Mistakes... 

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Student Recruitment Mistakes of the Desperate: Part 1

Perhaps it was the Saudi and Brazil bump that put your institution in good shape a few years back, with international students flowing in. But, you aren't impervious to changes in the market. Like many institutions, you may now find yourself looking around thinking things seem a bit less rosy.

We are continuously approached by universities and boarding high schools from around the world seeking international student recruiting advice. They are all at different stages of maturity in terms of their enrollment and admissions processes and we enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to resolve the unique problems each of these institutions face.

More often than not, institutions are hung up on the common challenges of people and budget. This is true of most service industries (and, in fact, product driven industries as well). There is no lack of ideas and opportunities. The only thing holding them back is the difficulty of aligning the team (people) and willingness to risk the funds (because there are no guarantees of success).

Often (more often than we all care to admit) we are approached by academic leaders who are desperate. It is late in the enrollment cycle and enrollment numbers are not where they should be. They were once successful and numbers were solid, and now they are not. Budget dollars are extremely tight. And yet, growth is demanded. What to do?

This is the first of a two part series in which we are discussing the all too common mistakes of the desperate. Those who have been in the industry for a number of years have seen this state of affairs at different times: the pressure to produce without the time and resources to do it right. And looking back at those times, we all know what the result was: ineffective and disappointing.

To do marketing effectively, you need experience, creativity, consistent project management (execution) and tracking (analytics). All of that takes time and money. When done well, you are in the strongest position to see results. When done hastily, without solid investment and for short, inconsistent bursts, there really is little opportunity for success.

This is why we do what we do here. We try very hard to keep institutions on the right path. Sustained growth is rare and difficult to achieve. Lean years happen. Our market research and creative agency services keep offer the industry intelligence you need to achieve growth and survive those years. These services do require a level of investment. Intead Plus is a great place to start, with full access to all of our research, planning worksheets, and state of the field webinars.

Read on for our first set of common mistakes academic leaders make when desperately trying to improve student enrollment numbers.

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You Have Your Student Segmentation, Now What?

Student segmentation and predictive modeling are becoming mainstream discussion topics for university administrators. How do you reach, recruit and serve different student segments?

We have once again been reflecting on a report distributed by the Parthenon Group a few years ago that we still find relevant today. Isn't it amazing how strong content can remain relevant over time? This particular study on audience segmentation was called: The Differentiated University. Let's take a look and see what new insights you (and all of us) can take away from this research. 

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Working with Education Agents: What Now?

This week, we are taking a look back at one of the more controversial topics (still!) in international recruitment – the use of agents. 

Originally, we thought this discussion was done when NACAC agreed that there was, in fact, an ethical way to engage agents to support your international student recruiting. Well…the debate wasn't quite over, for some.

We’ve all heard the education agent debate—how do I find and sustain ethical and productive relationships that benefit both my institution and my prospective students? How do I know whether I am working with the right agents? And ultimately—is using agents worth the risk? (Because we all know there are some bad actors out there).

This week we are taking a look at the regulations and a few of the underlying arguments and the evidence on either side.  

In September of 2016, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) amended two parts in their guidance to U.S. educators on using education agents. This code of ethics, titled Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP), was originally adopted in 2014. This document lays out the code of ethics and standards for the association and its members.

Then, in April of 2017, the U.S.-based Middle States Commission on Higher Education proposed new policy languages that would prohibit use of incentive-based compensation for international student recruitment. That objection eventually died on the vine.

Add to that the changes taking place in China and Vietnam around how these countries have recently relaxed regulations for recruiting agencies so that almost anyone can raise their hand and announce they are now a student recruiting shop.

Yet, the American Council on Education (ACE) recently released a report on internationalization efforts by U.S. institutions and they shared this: In 2011, 17% of respondents were engaged with education agents compared with 45% in 2016. Hello!

Our own recent research with FPP EDU Media that we presented at NAFSA in 2017 identified that 50% of international students find education agents helpful as they evaluate their options. And our sample size? More than 1M students surveyed resulted in 57,000+ student responses from 65 countries! (Find the link to our slides below). Those results are some of the most substantial and reliable in our industry.

Bottom Line: While the use of education agents by U.S. institutions is on the rise (considerably!), concerns about unethical practices are being addressed. Have you figured out where the best and most reliable agents are around the world? Is your institution too fearful of the downside? If so, you are probably not relying on THE recruiting channel that pretty much all institutions with any significant increase in international student population are using. And they use agents successfully. If your goal is to increase international student enrollment, ignore this recruiting channel at your own peril.

Read on to get some of the details of recent regulatory challenges and our insights into using agents to support your international student recruiting. This channel cannot be ignored. The risks are really only in whether you put the right processes in place to select and manage your recruiting team.

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What Do You Want to Learn? Vote for the Next Intead Webinar

Please, share your ideas with us! 

Every day we spend time lovingly crafting content to help you and your team build a stronger approach to international recruitment. 

This week we simply want to know: What do you need most?  What would you like us to research?

As we continue to expand the offerings available as part of Intead Plus, we want to ensure that we are creating content that fills your needs and effectively supports your recruitment team. With so many facets of the recruitment process, there are so many possibilities! That's why we ask you, our loyal readers, to let us know what you need, right now.

Please take 30 seconds to fill out a one-question survey and let us know what you think!  

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Innovations in Recruitment Technology

Have you heard all the buzz about all the latest tech solutions in international recruitment? Honestly, we'd be shocked if you hadn't – the buzz seems to be everywhere. 

This week we're taking a look at emerging trends in recruitment technologies (starting with a quick look at critical changes to the WeChat platform). PIE News recently released the nominees for the PIEoneer of the Year award for Digital Innovation in technology and we wanted to call attention to a couple of our favorite nominees – as well as a couple of other recent innovations. 

As you look critically at each of the tools we are considering this week, you'll want to ask, "How well would my internal team adopt this technology? How would my target audience respond?" All tech solutions must work in concert with your institution's unique marketing strategy and key messages and then there's the human factor.

If your messaging and your processes are not well developed – that's where you start. We can help (info@intead.com).

It's important to note: we're not in the business of promoting or selling any of these tools. We are simply keeping our ear to the ground and listening for emerging trends in the market. And right now, a number of interesting technology solutions seem to be springing up! 

Let's see what they have to offer...

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Study Abroad Students = International Ambassadors

How well are you using your study abroad students as ambassadors for your institution? Are they prepped to represent? Or, do they simply have too many other things to think about and you don't want to burden them? You may be missing an opportunity to give them a gift.

For many institutions, getting US students to take the study abroad opportunity is a real challenge. Not enough of them do it and we wring our hands wondering, "Why are you missing out on this amazing opportunity?" What's needed is a bit more customer-centric thinking to understand the needs, motivations and hurdles to studying abroad. That's a future blog post unto itself.

Today, we focus on setting up your current study abroad students for success and helping your institution brand get a boost as part of the deal.

More than 325,000 US students studied abroad in 2015/2016 academic year with NYU leading the pack according to IIE data (link below). These students fan out across the globe for adventure, cross-cultural experiences and academic connections. For many students, this becomes the real highlight of their college experience. Their time away from their home institution is a chance to learn at a foreign institution, dive into a new culture, gain language skills, and form lasting memories. Huh, sounds a lot like your international students!

Let's explore how you can help your study abroad students help you as they become ambassadors for your institution.

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Innovative Case Studies in Higher Ed: Learn From Your Peers

Can you hear the clamor? That's enrollment professionals across the US trying to figure out how to fix their graduate enrollment numbers. Oh, and their undergrad numbers too. You've probably already been thinking about where the emerging markets are for higher education as the enrollment trends shift.

The tools we use to segment and engage global student markets are equally applicable to domestic markets here in the US as well. We have a number of international higher ed clients seeking to build awareness in and enrollment from the US market.

The US domestic market is a complicated one, to be sure. As the current international enrollment numbers decline, we are helping both foreign and domestic institutions identify and capture new markets. It's a time of great dynamism. 

Want To Know What Your Peer Institutions Are Doing?

This is why we are talking more and more about "non-traditional" students. Did you know that non-traditional student enrollment is projected to grow 21.7% from 2016-2022? 

A desire to attract these domestic segments (the range of non-traditional students) is transforming the way that many institutions think about their programs, campus life and overarching communications strategy. 

You may have read our guest blog post from a few weeks ago by Dr. David Di Maria, covering the many similarities between the underlying motivations of international and non-traditional students. If not, we highly suggest you check it out here

This week, we want to share with you some personal stories from the people behind institutional brands doing very big things in the field of non-traditional student recruitment. We're willing to bet there are a few people in your own institution (just a few clicks away) who could use these insights.

As always, we encourage you to share this content. And we encourage you to reach out to us and let us know what challenges you are facing. Maybe you can prompt our next research project.

Are you ready? All of these excerpts are taken directly from full-length interviews you can read in our latest e-book, Quality. Cost. Convenience. How Academic Leaders are Competing for Today's Non-Traditional Students. If you enjoy what you read here (or know someone else who might) we invite you to download the full e-book

Let's see what some of your most innovative peers have to say... 

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Hearing it Straight from the Students

You can’t do international student recruitment well unless you get (as in understand) international students. Given the diversity of this population (we’re talking millions of unique individuals from all around the world, after all!) — really getting international is easier said than done.

The longer you do this kind of work, the better you understand international students’ motivations, goals, and experiences on U.S. campuses. That understanding can shape your international personas, which should in turn shape all of your communications. 

Knowing your market is a career-long pursuit—you never finish learning as markets continually change. We are in a changing market environment right now. Student mobility is shifting. Canada is hot. The US is strong as a destination but seeing declining numbers. More countries are investing in recruiting activities (Germany, India, China, Japan, Russia, to name just a few). Ensuring your international student recruitment strategy incorporates the voice of the international student is more important now than ever.

This is what it is about right now: Disseminating believable messages of student academic and, more importantly, career success is vital to your recruitment efforts.

There’s no better source of authentic information than the students living and learning on your own institution’s campus. And what better source than students studying business communications and journalism?

This week we share the thoughts of three talented international student columnists to follow for extra insights. On this American Independence Day, we figured you might enjoy something you can read while lounging poolside, lakeside, with an ocean view, or in the shade while waiting for the grill to heat up.

Consider this: who will you share this marketing insight with on your campus to get your institution's brand a bit more global attention?

Kudos to these three journalists. And happy reading!

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#Trending: Managing the Process and Flow of Pathway Programs

 

This one is just begging for industry commentary. Kudos, REALLY BIG KUDOS, to Elizabeth Redden and Inside Higher Ed for her reporting on pathway programs. So many recruitment realities revealed, and struggles documented. Elizabeth’s research and prolific writing have advanced the industry conversation more than anything I’ve seen in a long time.

This post should be handy when your president or provost asks for your take on "what is happening with international" these days?

What just stole the industry conversation away from pathway programs is, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Trump Travel Ban (aka the "Muslim Ban" that is *not* a Muslim Ban, cough, cough). With all the walls being built around this country by Washington to keep foreigners out, it just may be that pathway programs are more important than ever as a pipeline for recruiting international students. But as Elizabeth's reporting makes clear, institutions can't travel this path without clear leadership and a well defined strategy. Many are going this route in a way that will confound and harm them later

Our just-completed webinar with Karin Fischer addressed the Travel Ban decision and some of its ramifications. The recording will be available next week for viewing for all Intead Plus members (see below).

The institutions willing to share their struggles and successes with Elizabeth for the Inside Higher Ed story gave readers real insight into so many of the challenges in international student recruiting. Much of it has to do with factors external to the university and largely out of their control. Other factors are very much in their control and have everything to do with internal politics and alignment (or lack thereof).

When tied to Elizabeth’s article about recently released NAFSA research on the lack of planning that most universities have done around international student recruiting, one’s mind begins to spin. Lack of strategy and planning coupled with long-term contracts is a really bad mix. 

Read on for Intead's perspective on how pathway programs do and don't work. Buckle up...This will be worth the ride.

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