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Recruiting Intelligence

10 Websites in China Your Admissions Department Should Know

The following post has been updated from an article published on ICEF Monitor on September 5, 2014. It was originally co-authored by Michael Waxman-Lenz, co-founder of Intead, and Jiangyinan Zhai, a graduate student of integrated marketing at New York University. It has since been heavily revised and updated for 2018 by Intead's very own Wanhua (Jenny) Yuan, Digital Analyst; Cathryn Andrews, Marketing Communications Manager; and Ben Waxman, CEO. 

Is your admissions department challenged with social media and digital media management? It’s no wonder with new sites, platforms, and new channels coming up all the time.

Approaching the Chinese student market is a challenge – there is no doubt about it. The Chinese digital world essentially exists in it's own self-contained environment, limiting or forbidding access to many western sites and operating an entirely unique set of platforms. Where to begin? 

We would like to give you a number of practical pointers to enhance your knowledge and your management of the digital footprint of your university or high school in China.

Special Notes: This month Intead releases our latest research report, in partnership with Vericant: What's on the Mind's of Chinese Parents? A Research Report for U.S. Admissions Professionals on the Factors Swaying Academic Decision-Making. This post will include excerpts from the report detailing websites that Chinese parents indicate have been influential in their academic decision-making process. To learn more about these sites and how you can use them to promote your institution in China, you can download the full report as part of an Intead Plus membership. So much value. So little cost.

Ben and Patricia look forward to catching up with many of you and your colleagues at NACAC in Salt Lake City next week. Get in touch so we can tell you more about our latest research and learning (info@intead.com). 

Some great marketing tips follow. Read on...

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Canada and Saudi Arabia: Strategies to Support These Students

Unless you’ve been avoiding the international student news for the last few weeks (we almost wouldn’t blame you), it’s likely that something about the Saudi Arabia/Canada debacle has crossed your screen. But, you may be like many people scratching your head still thinking “wait what happened?” or maybe you’ve moved to, “is there anything I can do about this?”

Intead’s team has been supporting our clients as the international student sands have shifted over the past few weeks. We are helping them make valuable connections that can support some 15,000 Saudi students who are caught in the middle of this political dust up.

And, we are thankful for some on-the-ground news from our friend in the field, Nelson Padron. Some of you may recall Nelson was one of our faculty at our first International Student Recruitment Bootcamp. His international career has him traveling extensively and with his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, he sent us some valuable perspective we wanted to share with you.

Let’s take a little time to dissect the problem and identify next steps that your institution could take to support the thousands of students displaced by this political scuffle. We all want them to maintain their studies with as little interruption as possible.

Before we dive into that, a reminder that we will be presenting at NACAC in Salt Lake City in a couple weeks. Drop us a note if you'd like to meet (info@intead.com). 

Read on for Saudi student tips... 

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Student Recruitment Mistakes of the Desperate: Part 2

This week we are continuing our two part series on the all-too-common mistakes that happen when recruitment professionals are caught between increasing strain on limited budget and rising enrollment demands. Didn't get the chance to read part one? You can do so here.

As you read this series, you might think, "yep, I've been there..." or "hey, I would never do that!" ...Either way, we would love to hear from you! Want to discuss your recruitment strategies and how to avoid these pitfalls, or learn about strategies for how your institution can continue to excel? We would love to meet with you. 

We are currently setting up meetings for NACAC Sept 27-29. Ben will be in G block on September 29th at 11:30 am, presenting along with Daniel Spadafore from Michigan State and Gretchen Dobson from Academic Assembly: International Alumni Relations: The Neglected Tool in Your Strategic Recruiting Arsenal?  Beyond that, our meeting schedule is fairly open. Ben, Patricia and Elaine will all be there learning and meeting.

Have you captured our e-book: Global Alumni Management for U.S. Institutions: State of the Field 2017 In it we discuss our survey of over 1,000 US institutions on international alumni engagement practices and needs. At this session, you will learn how we interpret the findings and some practical ways you can leverage your international alumni network to strengthen your recruitment and development efforts

Alright, that's enough, huh? Let's get into it -- Part 2 of Desperate Recruitment Mistakes... 

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Student Recruitment Mistakes of the Desperate: Part 1

Perhaps it was the Saudi and Brazil bump that put your institution in good shape a few years back, with international students flowing in. But, you aren't impervious to changes in the market. Like many institutions, you may now find yourself looking around thinking things seem a bit less rosy.

We are continuously approached by universities and boarding high schools from around the world seeking international student recruiting advice. They are all at different stages of maturity in terms of their enrollment and admissions processes and we enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to resolve the unique problems each of these institutions face.

More often than not, institutions are hung up on the common challenges of people and budget. This is true of most service industries (and, in fact, product driven industries as well). There is no lack of ideas and opportunities. The only thing holding them back is the difficulty of aligning the team (people) and willingness to risk the funds (because there are no guarantees of success).

Often (more often than we all care to admit) we are approached by academic leaders who are desperate. It is late in the enrollment cycle and enrollment numbers are not where they should be. They were once successful and numbers were solid, and now they are not. Budget dollars are extremely tight. And yet, growth is demanded. What to do?

This is the first of a two part series in which we are discussing the all too common mistakes of the desperate. Those who have been in the industry for a number of years have seen this state of affairs at different times: the pressure to produce without the time and resources to do it right. And looking back at those times, we all know what the result was: ineffective and disappointing.

To do marketing effectively, you need experience, creativity, consistent project management (execution) and tracking (analytics). All of that takes time and money. When done well, you are in the strongest position to see results. When done hastily, without solid investment and for short, inconsistent bursts, there really is little opportunity for success.

This is why we do what we do here. We try very hard to keep institutions on the right path. Sustained growth is rare and difficult to achieve. Lean years happen. Our market research and creative agency services keep offer the industry intelligence you need to achieve growth and survive those years. These services do require a level of investment. Intead Plus is a great place to start, with full access to all of our research, planning worksheets, and state of the field webinars.

Read on for our first set of common mistakes academic leaders make when desperately trying to improve student enrollment numbers.

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You Have Your Student Segmentation, Now What?

Student segmentation and predictive modeling are becoming mainstream discussion topics for university administrators. How do you reach, recruit and serve different student segments?

We have once again been reflecting on a report distributed by the Parthenon Group a few years ago that we still find relevant today. Isn't it amazing how strong content can remain relevant over time? This particular study on audience segmentation was called: The Differentiated University. Let's take a look and see what new insights you (and all of us) can take away from this research. 

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What Do You Want to Learn? Vote for the Next Intead Webinar

Please, share your ideas with us! 

Every day we spend time lovingly crafting content to help you and your team build a stronger approach to international recruitment. 

This week we simply want to know: What do you need most?  What would you like us to research?

As we continue to expand the offerings available as part of Intead Plus, we want to ensure that we are creating content that fills your needs and effectively supports your recruitment team. With so many facets of the recruitment process, there are so many possibilities! That's why we ask you, our loyal readers, to let us know what you need, right now.

Please take 30 seconds to fill out a one-question survey and let us know what you think!  

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Where International and Non-Traditional Meet

Where International & Non-Traditional Meet

Dr. David L. Di Maria, Associate Vice Provost for International Education, University of Maryland Baltimore County, is a renowned expert on international education. Dr. Di Maria previously served as the President of the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) and Chair of NAFSA’s International Enrollment Management Knowledge Community. We’re delighted to have him as a guest writer here on the Intead Intelligence blog.

Before you dive into Dr. Di Maria's wisdom, we need to share the opportunity to gain wisdom from one of our other industry's leaders: Karin Fischer, veteran education industry reporter whose stories appear in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the The New York Times will team up with Intead CEO Ben Waxman to explore current political perspectives coming out of China and India. 

Upcoming Intead Webinar: What's Politics Got To Do With It? Depends on Whom You Ask.

This post below is adapted from Dr. Di Maria’s recent piece for The EvoLLLution: How to Make International Learning Opportunities More Accessible to Non-Traditional Learners.


It’s simple: non-traditional students are changing the landscape of higher ed in the U.S.

The typical “traditional” college student is 18-to-24-years-old, living on campus, and financially supported by parents. That archetype is fading into history. More and more, students are…

  • Embarking on degrees while juggling careers, kids, or parents who they support
  • Living off-campus
  • Completing their education online
  • Taking courses part-time

These students are rapidly becoming the new traditional. And yet, they are too often left out of the global learning community.

How do we fix it?

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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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Consider Retention from the Point of Offer

Let's start with a Happy Diwali to all our friends who celebrate! We share wishes for prosperity, wisdom and peace to all. And with those well wishes, we want to consider ideas about student retention this week.

When do you start thinking about student retention? Have you looked at your retention data lately? Our thought: we all need to think about retention from the get go, from the point of the admissions offer.

This week's post offers perspective on the advantages of this approach and some tips you'll want to consider as part of your communications plan. If your retention stats are not where they should be, and those stats will vary by type of institution and program, this post is for you. Frankly, even if your retention stats are where you want them to be, this post is probably still a good one for you.

Want to learn more from us? Intead will be at NAFSA Region X in Princeton, NJ, October 23-25. Two presentations with our latest recruitment insights:

  • International Recruiting…From Your Backyard with Bill Mena, Director of Boarding and International Admissions at Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland, and
  • Know Your Chinese Audience: Using Personas to Guide Your Marketing with Ita Hemouet, Director of Admissions, International Research & Strategy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University in Boston.

...or set up a time to meet us for coffee! We can always use an excuse for that extra cup of joe! 

Not heading to Princeton this month? How about Florida in December? Our team will be at AIRC (Dec. 6-9) and ICEF (Dec. 11-13). And of course there is AIEA in DC (Feb 18-21). So many opportunities to meet and discuss our latest research (4 new e-books heading your way in the coming months - Shhhh! We are keeping that quiet right now).

But if you REALLY want to learn from the best of the best, check out our faculty at the 2nd Annual International Student Recruitment Bootcamp in San Diego (Feb 11-13). This small, hands on workshop format is for a select set of institutions making a real commitment to improving their international student recruitment program.

Meanwhile, in this week's blog we are considering retention. Retention starts with the offer of acceptance to your institution. That might seem like a bold statement – a shift in perspective, but we like to think that it should be intuitive. When you offer a student a place at your institution, you are committing to the entire process of maintaining that relationship until the point of graduation and beyond.

While it might seem hard to believe that extra effort focused on retention this early in their university process will impact your prospective students’ decisions down the road – we assure you that it can. Build your relationships early and often. Let’s take it from the beginning. Read on...

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Trending: Female International Student Mobility

Right now it is common knowledge that more women are enrolling in higher education than ever before. But, did you know that global female enrollment in higher education has grown twice as fast as the rate of male enrollment in the last four decades? Women now outnumber men in higher education institutions in 114 countries.

The reasons for the large rate of growth for female enrollment are clear: increased access to university education for women, better financial situations and the global push to encourage female education. Here's the question: have you considered how to your institution's marketing approach addresses this trend?  Are you speaking their language?

BOTTOM LINE: Women are outnumbering men in education institutions around the world, but there is still a gap between male and female international students studying in the U.S. There are still countries that tend to send more men abroad, particularly in the STEM fields. Encouraging more women to enroll in studies traditionally occupied by men and looking for insights from countries that are already sending more women abroad may give us some clues into how to encourage continued growth in the number of women studying in the U.S. and abroad. Read on to explore the growth trends and consider how to adjust your marketing approach to capitalize on the trend. 

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