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Recruiting Intelligence

Meet Your Strategic Enrollment Advisors

As an education professional, you know deeply the power of a knowledgeable guide to expand your mind, challenge your beliefs, and push you to new heights.

Whether this guide takes the form of a favorite professor, dean, mentor, colleague (or a favorite blog), even the most experienced leaders among us can benefit from a little outside perspective and wisdom from time to time (read: always).

For Intead, that source of wisdom is our recently expanded Intead Research Advisory Board, a veritable who’s who of education industry leaders who guide our student recruitment and enrollment research on both domestic and international approaches.  

Don’t worry, we’re not just here today to sing their praises (although we could do that all day) or talk about how they help us look smart (although they do). ;)

The truth is, the Intead Research Advisory Board isn’t really for Intead. They’re here to serve you. With their expertise, we are able to provide you with fresh and deeply knowledgeable perspectives and new research and insights on topics that drive our industry and your institution forward. We’re ever grateful for their valuable work.

Read on to learn more about this powerful line-up, how their wealth of experience can help to power your institution, and the market intelligence we are working on and presenting soon.

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Your Students. Your Programs. In China — Event Tomorrow

Struggling to define strategies that will bring back your enrollment from China? You’re not alone.

But there’s good news: Clark University met the needs of their Chinese students this past year with an innovative and quickly installed remote campus in Shanghai. Their story is full of instructive lessons. And our webinar tomorrow will enlighten (see link below). 

And there is even more good news: Chinese parents are still eager to provide a US-style education for their child, with 97% of parent respondents in our latest market research citing the US as their first-choice destination for their child’s education.

The short of it: opportunity for your institution is still out there. Chinese parents and students are ready and waiting for your message despite current travel restrictions, if only you could reach them…

As you plan your strategy for next year, consider this: CIEE has created a powerful option that has proven successful at helping US institutions meet their Chinese students where they are. And it is not just about enrollment. It is so much more, thankfully. 

We’re talking long-term partnership building in one of your key markets and a new pipeline that will foster both student success and help you reach your enrollment goals. We’re talking International Campus Opportunities with your programs and your students — in China. Clark University was one of ten US institutions that acted fast and benefited from this innovative approach last year. Now, they will be sharing their story with you. 

Join us tomorrow, Thursday, April 15th at 11am Eastern for a webinar event with CIEE and Clark to discuss the state of the Chinese market, the international campus experience, and the steps necessary to make this opportunity work for fall 2021 at your institution

Register Now

This event is for academic institutions only (.edu email addresses and other academic institutions).

Moderated by Ben Waxman, Intead CEO, the expert panel of your colleagues with a wealth of experience in higher ed and China will include:

  • John LaBrie, Dean of the School of Professional Studies and Associate Provost for Professional Education, Clark University
  • Jill Zhang, China-based Admissions Counselor, Graduate Admissions, Clark University 
  • Seamus Harreys, Vice President Global Enrollment, CIEE
  • Brad Farnsworth, Principal, Fox Hollow Advisory, Former Vice President for Global Engagement at American Council on Education

Read on for a preview of the valuable topics to be discussed and how to continue leveraging your presence and academic programs in this challenging time. 

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q1 2021

Pro tip: If you read only one of our blog posts every few months, make it this one.

Between application reviews and a little thing called budget season, we know you may not have kept up with the weekly posts and resources that we’ve shared here on the Recruiting Intelligence blog over the past few months. And we can’t blame you!

From hosting webinar events in partnership with The Chronicle of Higher Education, CIEE, and iSchoolConnect, to publishing a market research report on the new Chinese mindset on US schools, we’ve been pretty busy ourselves.

So, we’ve created the Recruiting Intel Digest, a quarterly roundup post of the resources, downloads, and top insights we’ve published in the last three months which you can view, share, and download all in the span of your next coffee break.

All this with our signature focus on helping you produce stronger enrollment results based on trend data and marketing industry insights. You are so very welcome.

Read on for the latest Intead resources available to you — all in one place. Plus, a preview of what’s coming next…

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Chinese Students, We Are Listening

Your Asian student communities are hurting right now.

Nearly 3,800 hate incidents against AAPI individuals were reported from March 19th, 2020 through February 28th, 2021 according to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center. Nearly a third of Asian Americans report having experienced racial slurs or racist jokes since the beginning of the pandemic, this from a recent Pew Research Center survey. Then the killings in Atlanta last week.

As global leaders responsible for the safety, growth, and development of diverse student populations, what institutions say and do at this moment matters. And hashtags and statements of solidarity are not enough (they never are).

We, as a higher education community, do what we do because we believe in the power of cross-cultural communication and diverse student populations to move the world forward.

As the Intead team, that often means making space for those student populations (and their parents) to speak and be heard. We know how crucial understanding and listening to those thoughts, fears, and needs are to fostering a student-first ethos on your campus. It is this work that allows you to more effectively support all of your student populations, especially those most vulnerable to systems of racism and xenophobia, as well as the disturbing hate and violence that occurs as a result.

In early 2021, with this terrifying climate of rising anti-Asian sentiment in the US and views of the US among global allies reaching its lowest point in nearly two decades of Pew Research polling, we set out to understand how Chinese parents specifically are feeling now about sending their students to American institutions.

In partnership with WholeRen Education, an AIRC-certified agency and a trusted advisor for tens of thousands of Chinese students and families since 2010, we surveyed over 20,000 Chinese parents, the vast majority of whom currently have undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in US institutions, as well as parents of current high school students considering higher education. With a better than 5% response rate, we had more than 1,000 responses to analyze. We then followed up with a focus group to dive a bit deeper into our questions. We conducted all of this work in Chinese.

Some of the findings will likely surprise you. As academic leaders we see the news, we talk to our students, and we hold an entirely justifiable anxiety for our current Chinese students as well as the recruitment path to bring new Chinese students to our campuses.

The information we’ve gathered is incredibly important to your work. But more importantly, it points the way forward for your institution in how to help parents and students feel confident and safe in their decision to study in the US.

Read on to download your free copy of our new market research report, Is There a New Chinese Mindset on US Schools?

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Intead's Top 10 Blog Posts of 2020

Traditionally, we kick off this annual post with a “Phew, what a busy year!”-type comment, but in the year that was 2020, that feels like a bit of an understatement.

In a year full of unprecedented uncertainty, ever-churning news cycles, and constantly shifting plans, we kept up each week, delivering Recruiting Intelligence insights and providing strategic and tactical guidance throughout the storm.

Today, we’re sharing the insights that resonated the most —
the top 10 viewed blog posts of 2020.

With many of these top posts containing our advice from various stages of the early pandemic, you may be wondering — what value do they provide now? We’re a whole year (and a whole pandemic) wiser, right?

Great question and we’d venture that these posts are all the more valuable now, as you and your team reflect on 2020 and build for the future. Seeing our past recommendations validated may provide you with an even stronger foundation as you push your colleagues to adopt forward thinking plans in 2021!

Consider the strategic guidance contained in these 10 posts your checklist. Do you have everything in place for 2021 and for the enrollment curveballs yet to come?

Share this with colleagues who can use these insights in the new year. They’ll be plenty more posts coming your way in 2021. Do you know anyone who would appreciate receiving our weekly blog insights? The share button is at the end of this post.

Read on for our Reader's Choice Top Posts of 2020 (links included) and two bonus perennial favorites that consistently draw readers via their Google searches.

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Adjusting Your Chinese Recruiting: 10 Insights to Guide Your Plan

This is going to be a long post with some really valuable insights. We hope you’ll grab some coffee and take time to skim through. This is important to you and your bottom line. You’ll want to share this with specific colleagues with a few highlights based on where the priorities are at your institution…

A word to the wise: people often remember most how you behave in a crisis.

The world of international student recruitment faces consistent challenges. At times they are huge, recall 9/11, and other times they are as small as the annoying intermittent WiFi access at your student recruitment fair in Istanbul.

The past decade has seen a range of significant challenges to your recruitment marketing plans and those challenges have been due to largely unanticipated causes.

  • 2008 brought us the global financial crisis. How bad was it? For a brief period, banks were too afraid to lend to each other!
  • 2015 brought us a new level of anti-immigrant rhetoric out of the US as the 2016 election cycle ramped up.
  • Not long after that, the new White House administration delivered the travel ban (aka the Muslim ban) among other changes to visa approvals.
  • Now the immediate and unexpected challenge of the Coronavirus coupled with an extension of the travel ban to a spate of new countries including Nigeria.

To quote a good friend and colleague, Angel Ahmed, CEO of GNET, “When things get challenging, we don’t get frustrated, we get focused.”

So, what’s an enrollment professional to do when unexpected and significant challenges are disrupting your marketing plans and your results? You’ve probably already given these challenges a lot of your time and thinking, but we know a second (or third) set of eyes is always helpful. Read on for ten concrete recommendations to focus you, Intead style.

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Chinese EdTech Growth Is an Opportunity for You

Beijing is famous for many things: roast duck, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, and most recently, EdTech.

Beijing has the highest concentration of EdTech startups in the world, with a whopping 3,000 companies. Not only is there a staggering number of these businesses, but many have a remarkable earning capability, contributing to a multi-billion-dollar national industry.

Chinese EdTech is something to think about as we head toward the international event that is Nafsa in DC this year. If you are going, please let us know (info@intead.com). We have some brand new industry research about student-to-student counseling to share and it is pretty significant. Be in touch and you'll be the first to know! 

And come to our Nafsa session on digital marketing best practices (we're talking about micro-conversions with one of our favorite stars Hillary Dostal from Northeastern University - see below). With Ben and Hillary presenting, there's always a great mix of practical information and entertainment value. This will not be a snoozer ppt-show. 

So why is Chinese EdTech important to you? Seems distant and inaccessible, right?

The swift rise of Chinese EdTech could serve as a blueprint for growing global digital learning, but there are some unique secrets to China’s success. And there are some university promotion and recruiting opportunities that only the savvy will leverage. Interested? Read on...

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10 Websites in China Your Admissions Department Should Know

The following post has been updated from an article published on ICEF Monitor on September 5, 2014. It was originally co-authored by Michael Waxman-Lenz, co-founder of Intead, and Jiangyinan Zhai, a graduate student of integrated marketing at New York University. It has since been heavily revised and updated for 2018 by Intead's very own Wanhua (Jenny) Yuan, Digital Analyst; Cathryn Andrews, Marketing Communications Manager; and Ben Waxman, CEO. 

Is your admissions department challenged with social media and digital media management? It’s no wonder with new sites, platforms, and new channels coming up all the time.

Approaching the Chinese student market is a challenge – there is no doubt about it. The Chinese digital world essentially exists in it's own self-contained environment, limiting or forbidding access to many western sites and operating an entirely unique set of platforms. Where to begin? 

We would like to give you a number of practical pointers to enhance your knowledge and your management of the digital footprint of your university or high school in China.

Special Notes: This month Intead releases our latest research report, in partnership with Vericant: What's on the Mind's of Chinese Parents? A Research Report for U.S. Admissions Professionals on the Factors Swaying Academic Decision-Making. This post will include excerpts from the report detailing websites that Chinese parents indicate have been influential in their academic decision-making process. To learn more about these sites and how you can use them to promote your institution in China, you can download the full report as part of an Intead Plus membership. So much value. So little cost.

Ben and Patricia look forward to catching up with many of you and your colleagues at NACAC in Salt Lake City next week. Get in touch so we can tell you more about our latest research and learning (info@intead.com). 

Some great marketing tips follow. Read on...

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China's Success in International Student Recruitment

By the end of 2017 China had become the most popular destination for international students in Asia. What factors are contributing to this rise? What does it mean for your institution? Let's look at the data...

In 2017, 57K international students told us whether recent events were prompting them to change their desired study abroad location. Interested? We published our findings in our latest Know Your Neighborhood report produced with FPPEDUMedia. Props to FPP's database of more than 1.8M international students choosing a study destination!

Students interested in changing their minds told us that the top reason was not enough scholarships (31%). And, 88% of respondents said they would be less likely to study in the US if the government restricted work opportunities for foreigners. Frankly, all of the data points to career opportunities as a primary motivator. Always surprises us that this is not a core message in so many universities' marketing. But we digress.

Understanding the importance of these two factors, scholarships and work oppotunities, let's look at how China's "One Road One Belt" policy (see image above) is a significant factor in creating a supportive economic loop among many Eurasian countries (see explanation below).

Before we dive into all of that, we hope you will be joining us at NAFSA where we can show you how to garner internal support for your global recruitment initiatives! We will be presenting "Who's Got Your Back? Building Internal Support for International Recruitment" with with  Dr. Martyn Miller, Assistant Vice President for International Programs at Temple University and Dr. Jon Stauff, Vice Provost for Global Education at Monmouth University on Wed, May 30 at 1 pm.  

We hope to see your smiling faces in the audience! And please, ask us any questions! We love an engaged audience. The challenge of building on-campus support for your plans and budget is common across all of the universities we talk to. Let us know if you'll be there (info@intead.com).

Read on to explore China's successful approach to international student recruitment...

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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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