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Recruiting Intelligence

When Traditional Student Markets Weaken, Look to Latin America: Part 1

The decline in enrollment continues in two really important student segments for so many US universities: domestic US and Chinese students.

So, what are you doing about it? Plenty, we are sure. 

As campus pressures continue to mount, institutions are diversifying enrollment targets and considering options that were only peripherally on their radars in the past. Today's discussion: Part 1 in a 2-part series on LATAM.

A word to the wise: while China as an enrollment target has shifted for many institutions, the Chinese student audience is not one any of us should ignore. The volume of students from China to the US, UK, Australia, and Canada, among other nations, continues to be significant as compared to the flow from other countries. Strategies, messaging, and expectations should adjust.

As far as domestic recruiting in the US, we don’t see US institutions bailing on domestic student recruitment any time soon ; -) Again, strategies, messaging, and expectations.


Registration is about to close. Join us in San Diego on Dec. 13 to evaluate how your institution can adapt to the new international student recruitment landscape. The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • Come with questions, leave with a plan.
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Dr. Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • A full day of international student recruitment strategy and execution discussion. 
  • At $350 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal.

What we are seeing: more institutions are (finally!) taking global diversification seriously and are reconsidering how and where to spend student recruitment marketing dollars. Recruiting beyond China is the right move, right now. And no, this doesn’t mean going all in on India either.

It’s time to add a few new eggs to your basket (or make your current basket of eggs larger). Look for markets ripe for recruitment -- those with a growing youth population, rising incomes, and real employment opportunities for returning grads. Oh, and some institution-specific data that supports your institution’s connection to that source country.

It’s a drum we’ve beat before (see our recent two-part series on recruiting students from Africa: part 1, part 2). Today, Latin America is a region with a rising youth population, a range of strengthening economies, and only a handful of in-country competitive higher ed institutions.

In fact, this year only one Latin American university made it into the top 100 global 2023 QS World University Rankings. Two more made it into the top 200. (#67 Universidad de Buenos Aires, #104 Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, #115 Universidad de Sao Paulo). In other words, enterprising youth have very few top-tier research-intensive universities from which to choose within their region. 

Thankfully, we know, it is not all about rankings. And yes, just like you, we have all the same misgivings and cranky commentary about the ranking systems and what they perpetuate. There are many reasons, beyond rankings, that students from Latin America seek study opportunities abroad. Our market research (pre-COVID) continues to provide valuable insights into the motivations of students from emerging markets. Download that report HERE.

All this to say, Latin American students represent an opportunity worth exploring right now (have been for a while).

So, we’re giving you our latest analysis to get you going in the right direction. In this week’s post we offer a review of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Next week, Venezuela, Peru, and Argentina. We think you’ll find our insights useful as a starting point for the work you’re doing this recruitment cycle as well as the next. Read on.

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Your Quick Hit Index to Worldwide Social Media

If social media isn’t part of your student recruitment strategy, then, uhm, we need to talk.

[crickets]

Ok, good! Because of course social media is part of your strategy. Now, knowing which platform(s) makes the most sense and how much to invest for which audience segment in which part of the world, that’s just a bit trickier. We’ll give you that.

A useful tool for you would be a list of the major global social channels with key user stats and other perspectives to help you scan the options and focus quickly on what matters. Funny you should ask for that…

The Intead team (with special tip of the hat to our international student interns) offer you the next in our Intead Index series: Virtual Worldwide Channels Cheat Sheet.

You’ll definitely want to download this one right now to support your team as you develop your international social media marketing plans. In a week, we will restrict access to this download to only our Intead Plus members.

Our Worldwide Social Media index provides a high-level view of the 15 most popular social media channels that boast the clearest paths for organic and paid marketing (sorry BeReal, maybe you’ll be marketing-ready for our next index).


Just about your LAST CHANCE to Come with Questions and Leave with a Plan.

If you are attending the AIRC or ICEF Conferences - here is a huge plus opportunity.  

The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop on December 13th will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • A full day of international student recruitment strategy and execution discussion
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Dr. Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • At $350 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal.

Join Intead Plus and your team can access this newest index and all our other Intead Index student recruitment essentials any time the need arises. Helpful as training and reference materials for your enrollment and recruiting team.

Ready to download your free copy of our Virtual Worldwide Channels index? Read on…

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900+ Institutions Report on Internationalization

This month the American Council on Education (ACE) released the 5th edition of its signature “Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses” report. Some say it’s the most dynamic edition yet as it lays bare both pre-pandemic and COVID-era trends to reveal our collective internationalization priorities during a particularly precarious time.

But let’s be honest, it has been a precarious time here in the US and globally since 2016 at this point. According to one data point, COVID crashed internationalization (our words, not ACE’s).

Consider this: In 2011, the percentage of respondents who said their institutional internationalization was “very high,” “high,” or “moderate” was 56%, rising to 66% in 2016, 64% during 2016-2020, and 40% in 2020-21.

Clearly travel limitations, from the basic human fear to actual travel cut offs, that COVID brought had a clear and significant impact on student mobility (obvious) and institutional responses. Yet, the international community turmoil brought on by the US and other nations’ broad and deep political upheaval since 2016 has changed the landscape in terms of regional student mobility and study option perspectives as well.

Overall, a very steep decline. But not the full story. And the latest IIE data release helps tell that story. But, one report analysis at a time. There are only so many words we can all digest in one sitting. And our 5 key findings below will set you up for some great conversations with your internal colleagues.


50% off ($400 savings) on Intead Plus Complete membership for all registrants attending our Global Marketing Workshop in San Diego. Deadline for this offer is Friday, Nov 18, 2022.

If you are attending the AIRC or ICEF Conferences - here is a huge plus opportunity. 

The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop on December 13th will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • A full day of international student recruitment strategy and execution discussion
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Dr. Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • At $350 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal - basically free when you factor in the 1-year Intead Plus membership.

Come with Questions. Leave with a Plan.


As Dr. Maria Claudia Soler, ACE’s senior research analyst, learning and engagement division (research), and lead author of the report, told University World News in a November 8, 2022, article, “While the pandemic impacted internationalization across the board and many internationalization activities were disrupted, we also observed serendipitous outcomes. For instance, institutions used technology to expand virtual international internships, international student recruitment and course-level collaborations in ways that used to be unthinkable some years ago.”

Nodding? You should be. Even without the data, we know this to be true. It was a wild ride and pretty much every surviving institution learned how to adapt, and quickly. Most are better for it. But that’s a different post.

One question we want to see added to the survey and report next time around: the role of the CFO in all of this. How connected to (and aware of) the internationalization priorities are they? Budget approval is key to internationalization efforts. Presidents, Provosts and SIO are all reliant on a CFO’s leadership and insight.

Today we share 5 key findings from the report that really popped for us. And we offer our take. Read on

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Succeed in the New Student Landscape: A Can’t-Miss Event

At some point when we listen to stories of successful initiatives, part of that story almost always includes a line like this: "Well, we were really curious about..."

How is your curiosity quotient these days?

Success emerges from teams that want to know and understand. That desire, and how well you act on and fulfill that desire speaks to the drive to succeed.

In a few weeks, a select few of your peers will gather with leaders in our field of international recruiting for a full-day, hands-on workshop to seriously get stuff done. Dubbed “Succeeding in the New Student Landscape,” this event is designed to help you diversify and build your global student recruitment plan for 2023 and beyond. This event offers small-batch, intensely focused conversations to apply the latest data, trends, perspectives, and best practices to your institution's current state. 

We are keeping it small so that every participant gets the kind of attention that addresses the immediate and long-term thinking needed for each unique institution.

The details:

  • December 13, 2022 (falling conveniently between the AIRC and ICEF conferences)
  • On campus at San Diego State University
  • 19 industry thought leaders as your faculty and keynote speakers
  • Two tracks: Get It Done (Track I), Leadership (Track II)
  • Two on-target keynotes: Social Justice as it relates to International Student Attraction (lunch), and Chinese Student Influencers Today (dinner)
  • Cost (inclusive of all meals): $350 

Ready to learn more? Read on for our list of speakers, moderators, and full-day breakdown. We hope to see you there! There are still spaces left as of this blog posting date.

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NAFSA Region XI: Slides Available + Useful Takeaways

Here’s a quick tease: has someone with a brilliant marketing mind approached you about using influencer marketing to promote your institution? Let us be perfectly clear: it’s a mistake for academic institutions to do this to their brand.

However, there are ways to steal the critical thunder from this growing advertising trend and make it work for academia. Intead conducted a pilot with Northeastern University and the results are here for you to chew on. Great food for thought.


We’re sharing the slides below, but honestly, slides only go so far. It’s the discussion. So yes, grab the download, but if you really want to learn from us and improve your student recruitment game, dive into our San Diego Workshop coming up in December.

Seats are disappearing quickly and we are limiting participation to ensure everyone has access to our amazing workshop faculty. Questions will be answered. Intense discussions will be had, with insight and data. If you’ve not taken a look at the program and the faculty, learn more here…seriously, take a minute and check this out. Opportunities to learn from these experts don’t come around often.


Today we shout out to our colleagues old and new at the recent 2022 NAFSA Region XI. This kind of regional connection and cross-colleague learning is invaluable. A common theme to our 3 presentations and our poster session this time around was how our information can help you explain the value of your work to the powers that be at your institution. What we can add to your justification for budget and other resources to achieve institutional goals.

Below you will find our 2022 NAFSA Region XI session slides showing off the expertise of our presentation partners, thought leaders all:

  • Kirsten Feddersen, Assistant Vice Chancellor of International Enrollment Management, Northeastern University
  • Kathleen Simenson, Director of Admissions, University of New Hampshire
  • Zongxiang Mei, International Education Coordinator, Central Connecticut State University
  • Sarah Lopolito, Assistant Dean for International Programs, Director of the International Center, Clark University
  • Iliana Joaquin, Digital Marketing Manager, Intead

Read on to build your case for how your institution can succeed in a competitive market.

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Are Your Student Leads Intent-Ready or a Joke?

It’s late. A Friday. And the undergrads are relaxed and thinking out loud, among other things undergrads tend to do late on a Friday night.

“I don’t know. Maybe I should do an MBA program instead,” one says.

“Ya. Why not? You’re like really good at business,” a friend weighs in.

So, they search “top-ranked MBA programs in the US.”

You already know the student recruitment platforms that pop up based on that Google search. They choose the top result and start browsing around. They enter their name, give an email address. This is the lead you will get when you purchase the lead generator’s services in one package or another.

The platforms lure you in with beautiful numbers. So many student visits per month. Amazing.

How intentional are these leads? How many will convert?

Come Monday, your lead is back on their pre-med path. And all you’re left with is a useless email address.

Now, every institution has junk leads. Even with the best platforms. The fact is, there are just so many “solutions” out there, all claiming to boost your enrollment numbers. It’s hard to know which ones actually move the needle, and which are peddling false enrollment growth for you and your team.


Come with Questions. Leave with a Plan.

If you are attending the AIRC or ICEF Conferences - here is a huge plus opportunity. 

The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop on December 13th will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • A full day of international student recruitment strategy and execution discussion
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Dr. Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • Early Bird Pricing Extended One Week. With many of our colleagues telling us they are still seeking approval to attend, we are extending the early pricing until October 31. At $200 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal. (Pricing goes up to $350 on November 1, 2022).

Now, back to lead generating platforms. If you’re scratching your head over the swath of lead generators out there, rest assured you’re in good company. From what we’ve seen, there’s total confusion in the marketplace. Your best bet is to take a step back and look at the enrollment tools you know you need (responsive social media presence, mobile-ready content, reliable online chat). From there, you can better evaluate the many platforms with clear eyes. Read on

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Getting Started with Email A/B Testing Part 2

Email A/B testing tests exactly what again?

Last week we shared the 3 easy steps to the A/B testing process:

  1. Define what you want to optimize
  2. Develop a hypothesis
  3. Choose your sample size

If you didn’t catch that post, check it out here. It will be particularly helpful for those on your team who get into the weeds of your email campaigns. This is part 2 in our 2 part series.


Come with Questions. Leave with a Plan.

If you are attending the AIRC or ICEF Conferences - here is a huge plus opportunity. 

The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop on December 13th will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • A full day of international student recruitment strategy and execution discussion
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Dr. Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • At $200 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal. (Pricing goes up to $350 on October 24, 2022).

And for those of you going to NAFSA Region XI, be in touch so we can chat. 3 super Intead presentations coming your way during that event.

As we mentioned in last week's post, the creative art of email marketing has everything to do with knowing your audience and tapping into your recipient’s curiosity. Your recipient has to think there is something of value to them because of the sender or the content.

This week, we move on to the next important aspect of developing and tracking effective email campaigns: What to test. 

In simple terms, the A/B testing process pits two slightly different versions (version A and version B) of an email against each other. Each is sent to a different sample group on your distribution list. The email with the best results wins and gets distributed to the remainder of your list. “Best results” has everything to do with what you want to prioritize (see last week’s post).

Almost any aspect of your email campaign can be tested: copy, design, timing. But, how do you actually decide what to test? Read on to learn which aspects of an email campaign we find most helpful to analyze to achieve the results that really matter.

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Getting Started with Email A/B Testing Part 1

Email marketing isn’t a matter of simply hitting ‘send’ and hoping for the best. The best email campaigns develop from multiple rounds of A/B testing. Not news to you, right?

While this is basic (and easy) stuff for some digital marketers, there are still many institutions struggling to actually putting it into practice. Staffing challenges anyone?

 


Come with Questions. Leave with a Plan.

How confident are you with your selection of international student recruitment markets right now? 

The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop on December 13th will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • A full day of international student recruitment strategy and execution discussion
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Dr. Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • At $200 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal. (Pricing goes up to $350 on October 24, 2022).

And for those of you going to NAFSA Region XI, be in touch so we can chat. 3 super Intead presentations coming your way during that event.

Getting back to the discussion of email marketing, the fact is, most enrollment marketing teams have limited time to review their data and modify their approach and content based on what they see. Those taking these steps are ahead of the curve.

The creative art of email marketing has everything to do with knowing your audience and tapping into your recipient’s curiosity. Your recipient has to think there is something of value to them because of the sender or the content.

This week, we take a closer look at email A/B testing, also known as split testing – the process of sending two slightly varied versions (version A and version B) of an email to two different sample groups of your email list. The email version that receives the most opens and importantly, valuable clicks (conversions), is deemed “winner” and gets sent out to the remainder of your list.

This approach is the best (and simplest) way to optimize your email marketing campaigns and quickly pinpoint what’s working and what’s not. Often it is the subject line that has the most power. But also you can test whether your prospective students click more on buttons or link text? What color button works best? Do parents respond to subject lines with emojis, or should you leave that to your student segments?

And given that you have so many important student segments to consider (domestic regional, domestic distant, international by country, non-traditional, first-year, undergraduate, graduate, transfer, program of interest, financial capacity, ethnicity), the testing you can be engaged in can become a bit complicated. So, it’s important to have this done with a bit of rigor and careful tracking.

Yes, of course, we are here to help when you are ready to truly adjust your content to maximize engagement and conversion. The results will justify the effort.

Read on for some of our best practice tips just to validate that your team is on the right track. And, be sure to share this post with the copywriters on your staff. It's a great primer for the newer marketers on your team. 

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q3 2022

The relief of entering a more “normal-ish” academic year is met with both new and familiar recruitment and admissions challenges: student housing shortages, diminishing interest in postsecondary education here in the US, eroding confidence in our academic institutions, and increasing competition for students from abroad. Oh, and the looming demographic cliff in the US.

One step forward. Two steps back. (Or was that four? Maybe let’s not count right now.) This from the marketing agency always pushing analytics ; -)

Truth is, we’re not that cynical. But if you are reading the edu literature, the headlines would push anyone in that direction.

Nevertheless, if you follow what IIE has to say, then in-person learning has rebounded, as has in-person study abroad and international applications. We are waiting on concrete industry enrollment numbers to confirm growth, but still, we know what is happening out there. There is progress on many fronts.

There are always cycles. And those who analyze and plan are far more likely to succeed. Too busy to do it well is not an option. Too cynical to fight for success really doesn’t work either. Optimism tied to well-researched targets motivates the team. Motivated, proactive partners can truly move the needle.


COME LEARN WITH US!

Among our colleagues in this field, we see a tremendous thirst for gathering and evaluating our options, with time to really talk it through. The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • Full-day, hands-on workshop on strategy and execution: Come with questions, leave with a plan.
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Social Justice Luncheon with Dr. Jewell Winn and Adrienne Fusek
    • Chinese Student Influencers Dinner with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • At $200 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal. (Pricing goes up to $350 on October 24, 2022).

As you take a moment to weigh the opportunities in higher ed today, we offer a recap of the most valuable news from Q3 2022, including insights on China and Africa as well as some practical how-to tips on marketing to the Gen Z digital natives. Read on

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Prospective Students Seek a Career Network (Part 2)

If career outcomes truly drive prospective student decision-making (they do), then a critical question arises for most institutions: Are you effectively utilizing your alumni to recruit new and retain current students? (We know what your answer will be).

Last week’s blog post laid out the benefits of building a strong global network of alumni and three cost-effective ways to get it off the ground:

  • Modernize data management
  • Start small and build out
  • Key into senior class leadership

Now, let’s talk about getting that network to engage, recruit, and help retain students.


But first, come learn with us. Your key international student markets are not what they used to be. Among our colleagues in this field, we see a tremendous thirst for gathering and evaluating recruitment options. Now is the time to pause and think this through. Join us at the Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop, it’s a hands-on opportunity to learn from awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty. You won’t want to miss it.

  • A full-day hands on workshop on strategy & execution. Come with questions, leave with a plan.
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • At $200 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this full-day learning opportunity is a steal. (Pricing goes up to $350 on October 24, 2022).

Ok, back to the power of your alumni!

The Michigan State University Alumni Association has had a strong program with clear goals for its Alumni Student Recruitment program:

  • Increase the number of highly competitive and qualified students considering Michigan State at the undergraduate level and increase the percentage of admitted students who enroll
  • Provide a local information source for inquiring students, applicants, admitted and enrolled students, and their families
  • Provide regional assistance to the Michigan State admissions staff

Back in 2018, we were fortunate enough to co-present with Daniel Spadafore when he built and led this program at Michigan State in his role with the International Advancement Office. Also part of the presentation, Dr. Gretchen Dobson who has provided strong, consistent advocacy for the importance of alumni engagement that universities typically overlook.

Michigan State's goals can be adapted to other institutions based on their leadership, resources, and of course, the alumni network they have tracked to date. The process of implementing such a program is not as complicated as you may think.

Read on to learn more about how to develop an action plan for your alumni network that can yield positive returns on your investment.

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