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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 budgets 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, as you and your team navigate the uncertain waters of 2021, there is value in strategizing around these common pitfalls as you keep your eyes on enrollment growth.

And if you’re looking for more resources and perspective for your team, we hope you’ll join us for our two virtual sessions at NAFSA 2021 in June.

  • In Achieving Global Agility: The Flexibility of Global Campus Options, we’ll be joined by Seamus Harreys from CIEE and Ita Duron from Massachusetts College of Health and Pharmacy Sciences for a discussion on the challenges and opportunities of delivering your academic programs on remote campuses (think: Shanghai). First-hand experiences shared.

  • We’ll also be presenting with David DiMaria from University of Maryland, Baltimore County on strategies to help your institution’s international recruitment efforts thrive, even during challenging times, in Going from 0-60: Internationalization. We’ll be talking all things strategic partnerships, team management strategy, techniques for building that all-important leadership buy-in, and the global marketing efforts that pay off.

Let's get into it — Part 2 of recruitment mistakes of the desperate... 

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Student Recruitment Mistakes of the Desperate: Part 1

Many enrollment leaders are reporting terrific application rates for fall 2021, which is certainly welcome news. Campus enrollment numbers look promising for a number of reasons, primary among them:

  • Campuses are planning to open this fall with in-person learning as an option — highly desirable after this past year’s Zoom school.
  • Prospective students look like they will find summer jobs (unlike last year), suggesting they can afford to return to university.

However, there is plenty we do not know as we write this post in early May 2021.

Where India looked like they had successfully kept COVID-19 at bay, more recently, the country has become inundated. As of this writing, many areas of Canada are taking significant precautions to stem the spread. Here in the US, there is a common expectation that the country is on a positive trajectory with regard to the pandemic, and yet, India and Canada thought they were in the clear not too long ago. Our point: the future is murky.

With ambiguity, comes fear and inaction for some; for others, opportunity.

Let’s assume that as summer 2021 hits, your enrollment numbers are not where they should be. Budget dollars are extremely tight. And yet, growth is demanded. What to do?

Often (more often than we all care to admit and especially in times of crisis like we’ve experienced in the past year), we are approached by academic leaders from institutions around the world who are desperate and seeking student recruiting advice.

More often than not, institutions are hung up on the common challenges of people, tools, 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).

Note, an A-level team with B- or C-level tools will still crush it. B-level team with A-level tools? Not so much.

Back in 2018, we published a two-part “Mistakes of the Desperate” series, discussing the all-too-common mistakes we witness academic leaders making as they navigate enrollment challenges. 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.

In this particularly dynamic time for student enrollment and with so much ambiguity around what will happen next, we think this series deserves a second look as your team gears up for the next recruiting cycle. 

And for additional resources for your team navigating this challenging year, we hope you will tune it for our two sessions at the upcoming annual NAFSA (virtual) conference in June:

  • Achieving Global Agility: The Flexibility of Global Campus Options on the value of global campuses and how to implement them in a nimble, flexible way (presenters: Intead with Seamus Harreys from CIEE and Ita Duron from Massachusetts College of Health and Pharmacy Sciences University); and
  • Going from 0-60: Internationalization about the challenges and successes of taking your university’s internationalization efforts to the next level (presenters: Intead with David DiMaria from University of Maryland, Baltimore County).

Read on for three common mistakes academic leaders make when desperately trying to improve student enrollment numbers and how your institution can avoid them.

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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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Thinking Forward

Are your moments of fear and anxiety your best growth opportunities in costume?

Reality check: some days the fortitude to push forward is harder than others. There is simply so much work to be done.

Still, we are moving forward. Always.

On this morning following the US 2020 election, regardless of the final outcome, the hard work of pushing for learning environments that advance individuals and society takes forward thinking and energy.

We, as a community, do this every day because we know that a diverse student population fosters cultural understanding and personal growth.

We, as the Intead team, supply the expertise and energy to make this happen with all we have in us.

And we know that institutions at the top of the food chain and the bottom do not achieve diverse learning environments easily. Today, the light is shining very clearly on the fact that without proactively addressing student recruitment, enrollment, and support processes, institutions fall into ineffective practices. Worse, practices that can subjugate and demean student segments. Practices that undermine and diminish the very mission statements institutions hold so dear.

Still, we move onward with fortitude and hope for a future in which students and institutions can realize success. 

And while the path to that future might not always be clear, opportunities abound. Read on for our perspective on recognizing those opportunities, including the latest data from Moody's Investors Service and NAFSA that point the way forward. 

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Is Your Institution Prepared for What Comes Next?

Global campus options are now more critical than ever. Do you have the flexible toolkit to secure your Spring 2021 term?

Back in May, we let our community know about a new opportunity through CIEE to establish turnkey global campuses. This is the realistic innovation we see as critical to maintaining international student enrollment opportunities.

This is doable.

With their 70 years of experience in international education and their footprint of 30+ campuses around the world, CIEE developed a program to help institutions serve their international students despite COVID-19 and the travel restrictions that have been roiling the industry.

Since May, less than 3 months ago, more than 8 forward thinking and fast-moving institutions saw the opportunity. For the Fall 2020 term, more than 1,300 international students are enrolled in those institutions and will study on CIEE campuses overseas in Shanghai, Seoul, and other reachable cities.

Innovators like Tulane University, Rutgers University, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University, Penn State, Clark University, and others are leading the way for their international students:

  • Developing the long-term bond between student and institution
  • Delivering their customized academic programming
  • Securing student graduation timelines
  • Maintaining enrollment numbers and revenue streams

Recruitment. Retention. Revenue.

Spring term 2021 is now in play. US universities are witnessing the ever changing and ill-defined decrees from the US State Department about how international students can and cannot come to the US for their academic programs. Hard enrollment numbers for Fall 2020 are on their way.

Read on for the inside scoop from the academic leaders who took steps in May to secure Fall 2020. And how your steps today can secure Spring 2021 and beyond.

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One Million Student Prospects Vanished This Spring

Just poof, gone!

But we know where they are hiding.

An excerpt from Jeff Selingo’s highly anticipated forthcoming book, Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions:

“A student’s name is sold by College Board, on average, 18 times over her high school career, and some names have been purchased more than 70 times…The coronavirus prevented more than a million first-time SAT takers in the high-school class of 2021 from taking the test this spring or summer. The canceled ACT/SAT doesn’t only leave rising seniors lacking a score; it also results in the loss of names for colleges to fill the top of their recruitment funnel.”

 

If you have typically used those purchased names to fill the top of your recruitment funnel…it’s time to rely more heavily on digital marketing to generate those leads.

Generating your own leads instead of purchasing them produces prospective students who have clearly expressed interest in what your institution offers. Higher quality prospects produce more efficient, lower cost results. In the end, a streamlined recruitment process to fill your classes.

But contrary to what Facebook and Google might have you believe, a successful lead generation campaign is more than just a few clicks in an ad platform. You’ve got to have the expertise to set up your audience criteria and so much more.

If you are concerned about meeting your enrollment targets, may we suggest a bit of help from the Intead team and our Intead Plus resource library?

Our Intead Plus members have access to the worksheets and data that help them justify their student enrollment marketing plans and craft targeted, ROI-positive campaigns. A year-round resource, Intead Plus offers strategic support, data analysis, recruitment planning, student personas, and industry perspective.

Oh, and did we mention that we are offering steep Intead Plus membership discounts to state consortium members? Study Illinois started the trend and now it might be available to you.

If you are a member of your state consortium, be in touch: info@intead.com.

Read on to figure out where those 1M students went and how you can reach them.

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The New Student Enrollment Playbook is Here

We’d like to think that your Wednesday ritual includes reading our latest Recruiting Intelligence blog release over your morning coffee, but we know that you’ve had a lot on your plate recently, and we don’t mean breakfast.

What a difference a week makes? Last week everyone was reacting to the ICE guidance that if U.S. classes were online only, international students had to head for the exits. Now, 7 days later, that order is rescinded and international students may stay in the U.S. and study online.

While this is welcome news, if anyone thinks this is the end of the headaches, confusion and policy level chaos on this topic, they've not been paying attention for the past few years.

Throughout the rise of COVID-19 we’ve been offering quick-hit, actionable advice weekly on this blog, advising on how to weather this storm, salvage your enrollment, and pivot your digital marketing strategy in response to this unprecedented global crisis.

This Not So Fun Fact from UNESCO still boggles our minds: By the first week of April, 190 countries closed kindergartens to higher education institutions simultaneously affecting 1.6 billion learners, 90% of total enrolled learners globally.

If you’ve missed any of our valuable insights these past few months, or if you just need a refresher — we know, there’s a lot to keep track of right now—you’re in luck. Our latest eBook, The New Student Enrollment Playbook: COVID-19 Edition is now available to download for free.

Consider it your one-stop-shop for all things COVID-19, and not to worry, we disinfect the download button following each click ; -)

From advice on crisis contingency planning to a review of the best online learning resources, The New Student Enrollment Playbook will help you and your leadership navigate this new normal and emerge stronger for it. Read on to download your copy.

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The More Things Change…The More We Need to Figure Out

So, ICE tells all the online international students in the U.S. to go home and Harvard tells all students to go online for Fall 2020 (without lowering tuition). That’s quite a news day.

From day to day, the landscape continues to shift, sometimes dramatically.

If you’ve missed the past few months of Recruiting Intelligence posts because you’ve had other pressing priorities (we get it), then you may want to take a scroll through it all.

Read on for a quick summary of all the things we all need to figure out. (Spoiler alert: we've already figured out a lot of them).

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Perceived Value: Online vs. On Campus

What are your students willing to pay for an online education?

Here is what you are really after: given your brand reputation, the demographics of your student cohort and the potential to create a new service delivery model, what should you offer and how much should you charge for it?

Let’s get that answered!

Our primary message: custom research into what your student cohort is willing to pay for your brand on campus or online is invaluable. An important part of innovation is the upfront market research that points your team in the right direction.

Below we review some new pricing research that offers insights and a conceptual approach to getting this type of data for your institution.

The context: During a high school Zoom graduation ceremony we watched this past week (my niece got her paper!), the valedictorian shared the experience of his last day in high school in March this year – a day like any other, except that at the end of it, the principal quite suddenly told everyone there would be no school the next day. A mundane day that suddenly marked the end of all he had worked for. No celebration, no Senior Week pranks, no high fives, just, head home and, as it turned out, don’t return.

His comment at the close of his valedictorian graduation speech: Don’t ever doubt that the world can change in an instant.

Across the globe, students and institutions shared that experience. How will all those valedictorians and all their friends make decisions going forward. College? Job? Remote learning and a job?

Read on for pricing research perspective to get you thinking.

And watch this space over the next few weeks as we dive into the doing that is prompted by the thinking. We’ll be sharing detailed case studies of some of the successful digital marketing work we’ve been doing for a variety of institutions around the world.

Yes, even during a pandemic, especially during a pandemic, digital marketing will connect you with your target audiences. We will show you how and give you benchmarks to help you evaluate how you are doing.

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