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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#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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Stop Dreading Data: A Brief How-To

Lately, the numbers thrown around the international student recruiting world can feel disconcerting – even frightening. We look to the Open Doors Data from IIE released this week and we see that the average number of international students studying in the U.S. this fall has declined by 7% among 500 universities, with as many as 45% of institutions reporting a drop in new international student enrollment. That figure is usually about 33% of institutions reporting a drop based on IIE year to year comparisons over the past decade.

We are all seeing more and more alarming numbers and hearing anecdotal evidence emerging as the year progresses. This, while Canada's international student numbers have grown by more than 18%. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged here in the US, and we're sure many of our readers are feeling on-edge this week as they formulate plans and reports to their senior administrators.

Let's all take a deep breath and step back. Remember: no matter the national figures, your unique institutional numbers represent strength, resilience and potential. Your intake numbers and data on the overall performance of your marketing efforts is the foundation upon which you will build all future efforts.

Without data, you have nothing. You are operating on guesswork and flying blind.

Based on past surveys, we know that most institutions' international recruitment leaders/staff do not actually check their Google Analytics stats at all, much less at regular intervals to compare performance. We're sure that's not you, but just in case... now is the time to start!

Remind yourself and your colleagues: don't hide from the numbers because they are unfavorable, complicated or intimidating. Look for ways to make the numbers accessible, useful and easy to communicate. (That's where we come in!) 

This month, we invite you to join us for a webinar on the value of your data, Stop Dreading Data: Wielding the Power of Data to Strengthen Your International Student Recruitment Strategy on November 29, 2017 at 2:00 PM EST. This webinar will offer perspective and tools you need to harness the power of your data. We will provide simple guidelines and best practices you can begin implementing at your institution – right now.

Learn how to use data you already have to:

  • Inform your recruitment strategy
  • Evaluate relative ROI
  • Focus your budget on high value activities (which programs, which countries, which marketing channels)
  • Tailor your messaging

Read on to register to attend our complimentary webinar and explore the value of your institutional data and simple, effective ways that you can examine your numbers to increase long term performance...

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