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Recruiting Intelligence

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.

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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.

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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...

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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…

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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…

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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...

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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…

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Is Your System GDPR Ready? International Recruitment Edition

It has been all over the news (and likely all over your inbox) – the new General Data Protection Regulations are coming into effect this week on May 25th. Are your data systems ready? Are you? 

The new regulations will require affirmative consent or opt-in from all leads gathered from the European Union. You may already know that your institution has taken the appropriate measures to comply, but have you read your new privacy policy in-depth? Do you understand the real implications on the day-to-day use of your CRM and your interactions with students? 

One last shameless plug, if you're going to be at NAFSA next week, let us know! We would love to meet you. Our session with Monmouth and Temple Universities on building internal alignment for international recruiting is on Wednesday at 1 pm. We promise a good show with real learning. Connect with us at info@intead.com.

Now, a high level review of what we should all understand about the GDPR and your role in protecting prospective students' data. We look at the regulations and the consent processes in a positive way: This is a form of pre-screening your inquiry list. A far greater percentage of the leads you capture will have a high level of interest in your institution.

Read on to find out why...

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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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