+1 (978) 744-8828 Email Us  

Recruiting Intelligence

What About the Numbers?

Astute readers of last week’s blog post about creating an international student recruitment strategic plan would have noticed the lack of results data. With this post, we take a look at the numbers for the three institutions discussed: SUNY, SNHU, and Full Sail University. To round out today’s analysis, we added to the mix: Green River College, Kent State University, and University of Cincinnati.

A results analysis cannot look at numbers alone. So many factors play a role in the success of any marketing effort over time. And when that marketing effort is global, well, being attentive and nimble is critical.

Having on the ground intel is so important. Having people to rely on who “get it” is so important. Having a sound marketing strategy is only as valuable as your ability to execute (see our recent post about Marketing Culture for valuable insights).


Upcoming opportunities to learn:

  • October 5, NAFSA All-Region Summit: UMBC and Intead present “0-60 Internationalization” NAFSA Registration Link
  • October 12, AIRC hosted Webinar: Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Intead present “Shifting Student Perspectives: Digital Marketing Now” AIRC Registration Link

Today, we will focus on some VERY interesting numbers – international student enrollment and the economic impact (thank you IIE and NAFSA). We will also consider:

  • The people: few teams stand the test of time (cue Carole King’s “So Far Away” #ShowingMyAge)
  • The environment: the pandemic wreaks havoc for everyone (well, almost everyone)

We really think you will want to read on.

Read More

Why Your Data Isn’t Getting You Where You Want to Go

With data becoming increasingly available and important to your team’s decision making, there’s more pressure than ever to keep up. New tools, better dashboards, queries—all in the name of working smarter and producing better, more efficient results.

But with all of this data at your disposal, it’s not always easy to identify which information to use and when…or how. At the end of the day, it’s about filtering out the noise and focusing on the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). But in any given initiative, what are the KPIs and where do you find them? Are they the right ones?

Pro tip: Your first pick at KPIs prior to a new initiative running are often not the ones you end up focusing on once your boots hit the ground. Ongoing refinement is an essential part of the process. Dashboards were meant to be adjusted.

Another key factor: How do you make those data point selections and refinements? And who is doing that all-important data analysis and interpretation?

We’ve seen more teams than we can count create operational data portals using one tool or another, all in the name of deeper insights and more informed strategic planning. However, those “deeper insights” rarely amount to anything more than an overcomplicated dashboard and maybe some slide deck fodder that the rest of the team struggles to understand. Hopefully someone on the team has the gumption to ask the presenter: Is 43% good in that scenario? Do we have any context for that? 

You may be wondering why your efforts to make more data-driven decisions don’t always produce the gains you are anticipating (or the gains required by the hefty price tag that many of these data tools and services command.)


NAFSA Update — for those of you attending, Intead sessions to help you move your global enrollment efforts forward:

  • Achieving Global Agility: The Flexibility of Global Campus Options
    A discussion on the challenges and opportunities of delivering your academic programs at turnkey remote campuses around the world. First-hand experiences will be shared. Tune in: June 4th at 9am EDT
  • Going from 0-60: Internationalization
    We’ll be talking all things internationalization with David DiMaria, Associate Vice Provost, International Education at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, focusing on how to build leadership buy-in and navigate typically slow-moving internal processes for rapid results. A Tune In Anytime event.

Back to our data discussion...For most organizations, data difficulties begin and end with the lack of a “data culture”, defined by McKinsey & Company in their 2019 Global Survey as “a set of practices that brings together data talent, tools, and decision making so that data become the default support for company operations.” 

Sounds simple enough, but in execution, defining, and more importantly, implementing that data-friendly “set of practices” becomes nearly impossible for many teams. Data interpretation skills don't always come naturally to everyone on your team. Data presentation skills are even less common. Decisions on when to use a pie chart vs. a bar chart seem basic enough, but there is a lot more to it if you want the data to inform and motivate your team and impress your leadership.

Read on for three common roadblocks that might be standing in the way of your team’s data approach and what you can do about it.

Read More

The Data That Informs Us Part 3

Today we ask, “Right, what about international”?

Honestly, don’t even think about skipping this post. Long because: worth it.

With schools now publishing their actual fall 2020 international enrollment numbers, the proof is in the pudding for many.

Recent survey data offered up by Inside Higher Ed tell us fewer institutions are planning to recruit international students this cycle. While they might rightfully point to the market turmoil, travel restrictions and the like, the underlying concern for many, from our point of view, is a lack of confidence in what the institution has to offer.

So, where is the opportunity for international? The good news: student desire springs eternal. Below we consider recent SEVIS data and data on India, Nepal and China that point the way forward.

Speaking of the way forward, ever notice that those who anticipate opportunity and plan for it are in a vastly better position to capitalize? The opposite is also true. Fear of the future and planning for scarcity perpetuate the same.

To put it simply, you can’t harvest crops if you don’t plant seeds.

And yet, this perspective shared by an SIO of an important US public university in one of our recent email exchanges: Public universities always have their speed set to “caution”. When universities deal with a complex or unprecedented situation, they switch gears to “Halt”. If they are scared, they engage the public university turbo, a button that reads “Ignore”.

This scenario gives the proactive the opportunity to take tremendous leaps forward. So few take this opportunity.

The past two posts in this three-part series largely focused on the data that points to opportunities for domestic student enrollment growth and what to do next. Now, in Part 3, we speak to yet another student segment everyone is scratching their heads about.

Coming next week, more discussion about the latest research on Gen Z and their preferences to help reduce the head scratching about domestic student enrollment plans. Stay tuned for that.

Now, Part 3, what can we offer to international students to overcome the obstacles to enrollment?

The reality: managing international enrollment in the near term is going to be an uphill climb, especially if your institution was slow to develop a robust and flexible remote learning pathway for students throughout the spring and summer. Your plans now (seed planting) will set you up for future harvests as international students continue to seek education and adventure. They won’t be stopped, even if they are slowed. Know that we’re just a call away if you want help making those plans data driven and successful.

Note: if you’re still struggling with the faculty and student processes and fostering engagement, read our earlier post on global turnkey campuses for a clear path to flexible opportunities. Take steps to salvage the spring enrollment numbers within the next few weeks. We have a plan and examples from the 8 universities that innovated and are now reaping the benefits.

Read on as we dive into the latest international student data and what it means for your 2021 enrollment marketing strategy and beyond.

Read More

The Data That Informs Us Part 2

In last week’s post we shared the findings from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s latest report on summer enrollment numbers.

We also made a prediction — that the typical recession uptick in people trying to upskill will look a little different this time around. Remember that large drop off in summer community college enrollments we saw in the NSCRC data?

Yes, there will be market demand for new skills as the economic effects of the pandemic persist, but with the job market drastically altered by a new reality of virtual work and the decimation of roles (retail, restaurants, tourism) in the service industry, specific programs will have outsized interest in a way that we’ve never seen before.

In Part 2 of our data-focused series, we turn our focus to one of our favorite topics: non-traditional students. Or more specifically, the pool of 36 million individuals in the US who have some college, but no degree (SCND, as defined by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.)

We wrote the book on this back in 2018. Literally. (Don’t worry, a free copy of our non-traditional student eBook, complete with strategy recommendations and case studies from your peers is available for download below.)

This is an audience of 36 million potential students that is yours for the taking if you’re ready to get to work. And if you know how to recruit them. It gets a bit tricky as they are not all 18 years old and following a standard pathway from high school to college. Hence the term non-traditional. Our point: they are harder to target en masse.

And although their rate of enrollment during the pandemic is not yet clear, we have some predictions on how this is going to play out.

Read on to learn who these students are, what they’re looking for in the COVID-era, and what this means for your marketing.

Read More

The Data That Informs Us Part 1

This just in: undergraduate enrollment at the George Washington University fell nearly 25 percent this year based on preliminary estimates. That decline includes more than 600 upperclass undergrads and more than 900 international students. A budget impact of ~$76 million

This is only the start of the pandemic impact figures from institutions set to roll in over the next few weeks. 

But there's no time to wait around for the bad news. It's time to work with the data we have now

Fortunately, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has preserved a crucial record of the last few months that provide a wealth of indicators of what is to come: summer 2020 enrollment numbers.

Today’s post is the first in a three-part, data-focused series in which we’ll be diving into the latest enrollment trends and early indicators of COVID-19’s impact — plus what these findings mean for your marketing, of course.

The web has been rife with clickbait headlines and data from student sentiment surveys since the early spring, each claiming to predict COVID-era student decision-making in the fall and beyond. Despite our love for data around here, you might have noticed that we haven’t given these surveys much attention on this blog. 

Think: when was the last time you accurately predicted your own thoughts and behavior six months in advance? What about the last time you predicted anything in the evolving economic, health, and employment conditions of the COVID-19 reality?

Chances are, many students don’t even know what they want for tonight’s dinner, much less what decisions they’ll be making in the months ahead. And any of those surveys regarding their stated future COVID-era educational plans from six months ago? Well, we hope you took them with a grain of salt.

So much of the planning we see being done by individuals and institutions is based on hoping that things will improve in 2 weeks, 2 months, 6 months. Hope is SO important to developing vision and inspiring the team, but when it gets down to academic and business planning to execute on the strategic vision, stability is what feeds accurate predictions. We are sorely lacking in stability these days, making predictions far less reliable.

We look for data that can support the work – data that is not based on point in time records of hopeful sentiments.

In the National Student Clearinghouse’s newly released report, which includes data from 7 million students enrolled in May-July summer sessions across 2,300 colleges, we have our first look at concrete, behavioral insights on the enrollment effects of COVID-19 across various degree levels, institution types, and demographic groups. This is the type of data that gets our marketing gears turning.

 Read on for these early enrollment signals and a few hints at what’s to come.

Read More

Yes, Another Privacy Policy Update

Are Privacy Policies everyone’s favorite topic?

Not really. (Maybe a few legalese junkies out there get excited.)

Are there a lot of acronyms involved?

Yes. (Makes everything so much easier to understand, right?)

Is privacy compliance vitally important to your institution?

Absolutely. (The confluence of ethics, legal protections, and digital efficiency).

Back in 2018 with the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), our inboxes were full of privacy policy updates. While it was a nuisance to sort through the deluge of policy update emails from Facebook, Apple, and companies to whom we didn’t even remember signing away our personal information (ah, the 21st Century), these policy changes were even more of a headache for those who actually managed this personal data — college admissions departments, for example. Our introduction to GDPR has got you covered if you need a refresher on the basics of these regulations. 

Now there’s a new kid on the block: The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which rolled out on January 1st, 2020. Fear not, the enforcement grace period through July 1st, 2020 means there’s still time to review your compliance with the new policies before they fully go into effect.

How does CCPA differ from GDPR, and what does it mean for your admissions department? Read on...

Read More

How Our International Audiences View Us Now

If you’ve been following our blog and our market research, you were reading today’s headlines three years ago.

Intead has been conducting primary research on student and parent interests and influencers for a very long time. And we’ve been publishing our results for you. And we’ve been incorporating our findings into our clients’ marketing activities.

More than three years ago, we reported on international student concerns about the news coming out of the US. At that time, presidential candidate Donald Trump shared his views on Mexicans and a host of other things using headline grabbing terminology that continues to this day.

Research we've conducted, both primary and secondary, found that the parents of international students are staying on top of news coming out of the US. And we noted both students and parents increasingly raising safety as a top-level concern as opposed to a passing thought. We also identified visa processing issues as a concern to international admissions operations. And we identified the growth in international students attending US-based private high schools and the value of, and best practices, for recruiting those students.

All that, and more, was part of our conference presentations, publishing and client support in 2016.

Many sources of academic news tell you about the trends. Our goal, and we hope you know we deliver on this, is to answer the question, “So what?”

A favorite question of our friend and colleague, Harry Lane, professor of international business and strategy at the D’Amore-McKim school of business at Northeastern University. He will always push his students to consider this point: data and information are only as valuable as your ability to determine what actions you should take.

We get trend data and reams of other information all the time. So what?

This is where Intead shines. We’re all about the strategic decisions and tactical execution that emerge from the data we gather.

In fact, we have three new global marketing reports based on new research that we will release this fall and present at all your favorite conferences. (AIRC and ICEF Miami, anyone?). Oh, and not for nothin’, but a subscription to Intead Plus might be worth a look.

Getting the answer to “So What?” three years ahead of your peers, that’s gotta be valuable.

Read on for a few observations and action-oriented tips based on what we are seeing now…

Read More

The Buzz Around SIS and CRM: Is Slate All That?

Prime recruiting season is upon us. So much to do.

Important questions:

  • Do you maximize your relationships and connections with potential students—getting to know them and customizing their interactions with your university?
  • Once they show up on campus, how do you manage your communication with them and manage their data?
  • How about once they graduate?

These questions have led to $3.26 billion in new EdTech investments and apparently cult followings. What is the shared answer?

Well, the answer has a lot to do with technology and a whole lot to do with people. Intead Plus members have access to our Essential Guide to Academic CRM’s – a terrific and streamlined CRM implementation guide with a heavy focus on the people part.

And once you’ve got the people part down, is the rest of the answer really Slate?

We have a fair amount to say on this topic, as you might imagine. We’ve streamlined it to a 3-5 min read. Join us…

Read More

Begin With Assessment

You are tasked with so many competing priorities. When do you take the time to step back and confirm your plans are aligned with your goals? When do you take the time to develop new plans to achieve new goals?

Sure, you carve out something you are calling a "retreat" to address these ideas with your colleagues, but if you are like most, you go into those retreats feeling a bit less prepared than you'd like to be. And do you have the data to back up the decisions you need to make?

Important note: You're going to want to share this one with your team. Great tips follow.

Begin with Assessment

We understand. And Intead is often called in to wrangle a bunch of data to the ground and identify the insights that are right there waiting for you, if you had time to analyze and reflect.

Each institution we work with is data challenged. You are not alone. However, there is a lot that your institution collects, though it is probably kept in different silos.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have that all pulled together, reviewed by knowledgeable experts and have the hard-hitting report that filters out the noise, focuses on the opportunities, and helps you make smart decisions…backed by data?

Read on...

Read More

Understanding Your Global Landscape With SEVIS Data ...and Our NAFSA Slides!

Isn’t it nice when someone just makes things easy?

At home, we love it when our partners empty the dishwasher, the kids trot off to bed without a fuss, the cable guy shows up when he’s supposed to, or the DVR remembers to record our favorite show even when we mere humans have forgotten. Everybody loves it when someone takes care of the work, leaving you to sit back and relax!

At Intead, we get that same sense of “wow, thanks!” when someone serves us up quality data that is organized clearly. It’s nerdy, we know—but if you’re reading this blog, we bet you share the same appreciation for easy-to-interpret info.

So we want to share one of our favorite datasets with you: Mapping SEVIS by the Numbers, provided by the Department of Homeland Security. And yes, we are actually saying “thank you” to SEVIS. We’re as surprised by this as you are ;-)

Read on to learn about how available SEVIS data can provide some great insights into your global recruiting efforts. This stuff can tell you a whole lot about which countries might work best for your recruiting for specific programs. It can also give you insight into your efforts to attract transfer students – international students already studying here in the US.

Below, you also will find a link to our NAFSA presentation slides about aligning your internal stakeholders and gaining the support you need to recruit. The stories shared by Jon Stauff (Monmouth University) and Martyn Miller (Temple University) gave some real world, in the trenches perspective. The slides really don’t capture all that was shared.

Please be in touch if you’d like to learn more (info@intead.com). Better yet, sign up for our new Intead Plus membership and get a continuous stream of helpful data, tools, and a Google Analytics review that can put you in a great position to strengthen your recruiting game.

Read on…

Read More