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Recruiting Intelligence

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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Do You Chat with WeChat? International Student Recruiting in China

This year marked the 5th birthday of WeChat. Trust us, they had a lot to celebrate!

In April of 2015, it was reported that WeChat’s monthly users were second only to WhatsApp and far ahead of similar apps like Viber, Line or SnapChat. We should also mention (in case you don’t already know) that WeChat is almost exclusively used in China. Social media marketing staff take note!

If you look only to the usage rates of their Chinese users, WeChat beats other messaging apps by a wide margin. In 2015, WeChat was ahead of competitors by 25%. And most of their users? The young audiences, the prospective students, we are all trying to reach! If you haven’t been on WeChat in the past, it is no longer something you can ignore.

Just in case you haven’t heard of it (because you’ve been living in Antarctica or something), and you’ll want to hear about it if you want to recruit in China, WeChat is a messaging app. Back in 2014, we featured a two-part blog series on WeChat (Part 1 and Part 2). We hope you are using those resources. In June, eMarketer released a report on WeChat’s Chinese user base and how these users engage with the app. So, today we have more. 

Bottom Line: Get on WeChat. Chinese users make up nearly 93% (~700 million) of all WeChat users and its popularity surpasses any other similar Chinese messaging app. The app is becoming more and more integrated into daily life as WeChaters link their bank accounts to use the app for online shopping. Marketing on WeChat only promises to get more effective as time goes on. Pro tip: the stats in this post may help you justify increasing your international student recruiting budget if China is a primary target recruiting source for your institution. 

Meet Us In Newport & Miami: Heading to the NAFSA Region XI conference in Newport, RI (Oct. 18-20)?  We’ll be presenting our latest recruiting insights. And in December we will be in Miami at the AIRC and ICEF conferences with digital marketing presentations and workshops. We’d love to meet you and discuss the challenges you face in your work. Please be in touch if you'll be at any of these events.

Back to WeChat; read on...

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Intead AIRC and ICEF 2015 Slides Now Available!

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