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Recruiting Intelligence

Student Recruitment Insights from AIRC 2020 Conf - Slides Available

We’ve been presenting at the AIRC conference for eleven years now, and while the gathering looks very different this year, the value of connection and the wealth of ideas shared was a comforting constant from years past in Miami. Although we did miss the poolside networking on a warm December evening.

This year, members of the Intead team were honored to present two sessions together with our amazing colleagues from universities and other experts in the field focused on the AIRC 2020 Vision of “Charting the Waters.”

At Intead, charting the waters of this year has meant gathering and analyzing data, developing targeted, clear (and comforting) communications during this difficult time, and strategizing around new markets and tools to help institutions move their enrollment goals forward.

This absolutely gut-wrenching year, we started addressing the radical changes to student enrollment and student success on February 19 with a blog about adjusting the approach to recruiting international students from China. Days later, we convened enrollment management and study abroad experts for two powerful webinars addressing global ramifications (here and here). This year, our team has published, non-stop, with enrollment management guidance in toolkits, case studies, and eBooks (in addition to this weekly blog).

Read on for a collection of our highest value tips and to download our AIRC presentation slides. You'll find that oh-so-happy link at the bottom of today's post. (Making you work for it ; -)

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When the Cutting is Done, the Smart Investing

As we engage with our colleagues at the AIRC virtual conference this week and next, the discussions have us thinking, planning, and doing.

The financial challenges are quite real and the losses in the world of academia will continue to pile up in the near term. Survival and growth are possible, and your team knows that. Your leadership is engaged in some exceedingly difficult decision making right now.

Here are the financial realities: While deep and troubling, many institutions have been here before and frankly, this kind of pain is not all that new. Pandemic or no, institutions were heading for a financial crisis. Current circumstances have sped up the process. Those that have survived these challenges in the past stop cutting at some point and invest in growth.

We all want those investments in growth to be the right ones, but how do we know? Let’s look to our industry experts from our fellow AIRC members working in the trenches, to Moody’s Global Services, and the Chronicle of Higher Ed and make some sense of this. Concrete advice follows. Read on. 

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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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What Your Students Need Now Part 1

Today’s post has been eighteen years (and six months) in the making. 

Today we're talking domestic. Because: enrollment.

We had this this post ready to go at the start of the year – a look at Naviance’s inaugural Student Survey with data from over 1.1 million students from the Class of 2019 on when and how they search for colleges, as well as their greatest decision-making factors. Naviance, the college readiness tool from Hobsons, Inc. has been collecting data from its users since 2002, but this was the first survey report of its kind ever released to the public.  

And then COVID-19 happened.  

The when and how of students’ college search process has changed. Those decision-making factors? Well, they look a bit different now. Those insights and data from over 1.1 million students all made irrelevant overnight.

Or not.

Maybe Hobsons knew something the rest of the world didn’t when they decided to launch this inaugural survey research in 2019 BC (Before COVID). The survey, while no longer a guide for recruitment strategy in itself, has become an invaluable benchmark for new research on how students’ college search processes have been disrupted by COVID and what that means for your future marketing.

Hint: You’re not thinking of buying lists, are you?

Helpful: A planning resource we've just recently released -- The New Student Enrollment Playbook - COVID-19 Edition.

Our goal: rescuing students who are lost at sea as they weigh all their options.

Read on for the insights from Naviance and what they mean for your admissions and enrollment strategy. Spoiler alert: your path to success will mean using digital tools to provide students what they need, now.

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The GROWING Pool of Enrollable Students - Part 1

Despite the dire headlines throughout the academic industry addressing the "looming crisis" and the excellent research on the topic from so many great sources (thank you Chronicle of Higher Ed), the availability of college-ready students is growing at a rapid pace.

How could we say such a thing!!??!?

Everyone knows the pool of high school students is going to fall off a cliff after 2024-2025, right? The demographic trends lines have shown this for years!!! The big academic marketing and analytics firms (you know who we are talking about) are pushing their predictive analytics services as your holy grail and so many institutions are buying into it.

Not so fast! Please, not so fast.

Welcome to our three-part series on Non-Traditional Student Recruitment. You will want to share this one with some key colleagues at your institution. There’s a theme to this series: Be Nimble!

Research and analytics must lead to action and results. And 36 million potential students could be evaluating your institution right now. Do you have the right advisers and team to help you be nimble and capitalize on the opportunity?

A recent comment from a highly experienced senior procurement officer regarding her institution’s contract with Intead, “There is no other company that could do this project for us.”

Listen to the Voice of the Customer

A time of change does require expenditure. Knowing where and how to spend is the key. The big question: Will the board-level advice you are paying for pay off for you?

Answer the bigger question that is actually going to improve your enrollment numbers. It is a question that your audience (students) are asking and you need to be able to answer:

“I want to move from here to there. Have others like me been able to do that?”

Read on for the clear direction for enrollment growth. It is not simple, but it is the future…

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Going It Alone? You’ll Want A Library

Budget year is wrapping up and once again, you’ve been informed that you won’t get the level of funding you said you needed to truly move the needle. We get it. We’ve been there. Resources are always scarce. And yes, it can be extremely frustrating.

But you are a professional and you know how this goes. You do your moment of Zen and break out your trusty strategic planning process that you keep tucked away in that part of your brain. What are your true priorities? Where can you use your limited resources to push hard and fast? The goal! Keep the real business goal in mind.

And don’t forget to bring the positive energy to your team along with the plan. We all need that spirited lift that brings the team together and makes everyone feel the common purpose.

And there’s one more thing you’re going to want to have with you: a deep and powerful resource library that guides your strategy and execution when the inevitable obstacles arise along the way.

We got you covered. Read on...

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New Open Doors Data: What Does It Really Tell Us?

NPR Marketplace fans may have heard a familiar voice on last Tuesday’s episode. Ben was happy to join the show’s ever-engaging economic reporters as they quickly reviewed the latest numbers from IIE’s Open Doors data and considered the issues at play.

Those of us working in international student enrollment in the U.S. have monitored enrollment data even more carefully than usual over the past few years. In a time of political upheaval in the U.S. and globally, the impact on enrollment has been a nail-biter. How have anti-immigrant rhetoric, changes in visa policies, and rising violence affected enrollment? How will these trends affect us in the future? And how can universities counteract the negative messages and perceptions with positive ones?

This is complicated work, and one that regular readers of our blog engage with vigor. And not for nuthin, but our market research with FPPEDUMedia predicted this turn of events eight months prior to the 2016 election. Our blog subscribers saw the storm clouds coming and had our tips and reports in hand. 

But even those who follow these issues closely would be forgiven for scratching their heads about the latest headlines about the new 2017/2018 Open Doors numbers.

“Number of International Students in United States Reaches New High of 1.09 Million” says IIE’s own announcement. “New International Enrollments Decline Again” says Inside Higher Ed.

Huh?

If you plan to be in Florida for AIRC or ICEF next month, reach out so that we can connect in person. Ben and Patricia will be there presenting workshops, sessions and generally sharing our research and strategic marketing approach with anyone willing to listen ;-)

Now, Let’s break down the latest data... 

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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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"Going for Gold" - Recruiting South Korean Students

This week, our bodies are at work, but our hearts are in Pyeongchang.

Here at Intead, the team has caught Olympic fever. Still, we’re not ready to quit our day jobs to take up curling or ice luging full-time quite yet – so let’s talk about training for student recruitment success in South Korea instead.

Coping with dropping numbers and a complicated perception of the value of a foreign degree are just a few of the challenges to recruiting South Korean students. In this blog post, we explore the current conditions and concrete actions that you can take to strengthen your strategy. 

In the midst of the Olympics, our team is headed to San Diego for some mental gymnastics with  your colleagues at our annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp. Weren't able to register but still want to get in on the action? We will be livestreaming our keynote session with Dr. Philly Mantella and Dr. Rahul Choudaha on Monday February 12, 2018 4 pm – 5 pm EST.

The moderated interview will cover indicators of international student success, innovative recruiting pipelines, building recruiting budgets, and much more. Click here to reserve your space.

Continue reading to win Gold in South Korea (and if you don't go home with a medal, at least you'll have all the awesome links to great research and guidance we've inserted into the post below) ...

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Learning the Safety Dance: Reassuring Prospective Students

 

Let's reflect on the recent past and discover how the trends inform our thinking and doing.

Right now, we are reflecting on the fact that between 2016 and 2017, the prospective international students we surveyed in partnership with FPP EDU Media reported increased interest in safety. In our 2016 survey, 23% of students indicated that their sense of personal safety in the destination country was a strong factor in their decision making. In 2017, 88% of students said that a strong campus safety program was helpful or very helpful to their decision making.

Although the questions were slightly different between the two surveys, we were struck by the notable jump. The significant difference in the figures suggests a dramatic rise in the importance of this message to international students considering studying on any given campus.

The FPP EDU Media - Intead Know Your Neighborhood Reports were recently covered by The PIE News in a January 2018 story. Personal safety is on students' minds.

The message is clear: in an increasingly unpredictable world, prospective students are thinking more and more about their personal safety. As a result, we are seeing more and more institutions eager to counteract prospective students’ concerns that the U.S. is a place where outsiders are unwelcome and unsafe.

In our work, we develop customized content and design to help each institution promote its strongest features and opportunities to their student audiences. We work hard to educate the field on the trends and what the data tells us to do next as marketers.

We are looking forward to sharing our research and action plans in sunny San Diego where we will host our second annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp with CGACC from Feb 11-13. The following week we will be in Washington, DC, presenting more data at the annual AIEA conference.

We hope to see many of you at one or the other and we hope you might consider joining us at our presentation with Lakshmi Iyer from Sannam S4 and Jon Stauff of Monmouth University on  Maximizing Your Indian University Partnerships during AIEA! Please be in touch if you'd like to schedule a coffee and evaluate opportunities to enhance your recruitment program. 

So, the million-dollar question is: how do you communicate that your campus is a safe place to call home...without unintentionally scaring prospective students away?

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