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Recruiting Intelligence

Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q2 2021

Ambiguity continues as we head into summer 2021. Will international students obtain visas for this fall in time for August orientation? 

We know the US Embassy in New Delhi and the four Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata are working it double time to process the same visa volume they had in 2019 but in just 2 months. Go team!

And we know that Chinese student visas are facing a time crunch and additional challenges around the approval rules, especially students admitted to STEM graduate programs. 

While optimism is an important element of any future-focused initiative, facing reality and ensuring your plan can adapt to those realities is more than prudent. It is required. The reality here is that there are significant headwinds that appear insurmountable. Highly unlikely that the enrollment numbers will bear out this fall for many US institutions. Application volume is creating unsupported optimism in this case.

We’ve reported on these topics, collected and interpreted data from multiple sources, and released analyses during this past quarter. From presenting two sessions in partnership with our esteemed academic leaders and global partners at the 2021 NAFSA, to publishing a market research report on the new Indian mindset on US schools, this has been an important quarter for shared insights.

So, grab a cup of coffee and before you finish it, we know you’ll be sharing links from this Q2 2021 wrap up with your enrollment team and colleagues with the power to make positive change for students around the world.

Read on for our quarterly recap of Intead resources available to you — all in one place. Plus, a preview of what’s coming next…

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Is There a New Indian Mindset on U.S. Institutions?

You’ve likely been wondering, and we have too.

We completed our latest market research to answer the question: Are Indian students still interested in pursuing a U.S. education?  The results are compelling and advantageous as you move forward to meet enrollment goals. There is so much ambiguity around student mobility right now; this kind of market research has real value.

Below you'll find the download button to access our latest report on Indian student interests.

With India being such an important market to U.S. academic institutions, Intead and iSchoolConnect conducted a 13-question survey of 19,924 Indian residents that had expressed interest in international education. We had a 3.7% response rate.

This market research about recruiting students from India follows our highly downloaded market research released in March 2021 about recruiting students from China. That report has drawn a lot of attention. If you’ve not already grabbed that one, well...

In this Indian student market report you will value the insights around attitudes towards agents, among other findings. With responses broken down by high school, undergraduate, and graduate cohorts, the report is designed to help you find the information you need, choose recruitment channels, and develop relevant and strong messaging.

Want a sneak peek into our findings (and the download button)? Read on...

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Our NAFSA 2021 Slides Now Available

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Are You Ready to Think Big? NAFSA 2021

At the very least, we bet you have some great stories to share.

That’s not much of a silver lining from this past unnerving year. But it’s a start.

Let’s talk about opportunities to learn from each other and think bigger.

In the past year, our education community has collectively navigated some uncharted and very choppy waters. You may have emerged better for it, with new processes and contingency plans in place, cross-functional partnerships strengthened, remote work and learning infrastructure upgraded, and a renewed outlook on your institution’s long-term strategy.

Given this year of rapid activity and transformational growth, we’re more excited than ever to gather (virtually) with leaders and change-makers from over 100 countries at this year’s NAFSA conference from June 1-4th. 

Intead has been attending and presenting at NAFSA for more than a decade, and every year we are energized by the idea-sharing that takes place and inspired by the power of our global community.

This year’s NAFSA is all about thinking big about the future of international education — the latest innovations, strategies, and best practices shared from your peers across the field as we build for the next generation. Intead is honored to be presenting two sessions this year in partnership with our esteemed colleagues from leading academic institutions and global partners on forward-looking global strategies:

  • 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 by Ita Duron, Executive Director of Global Strategies and International Programs at Massachusetts College of Health and Pharmacy Sciences, an institution that has already put this global approach into practice (and reaped the benefits).

    Also joining the conversation will be Seamus Harreys, Vice President of Global Enrollment at CIEE sharing how CIEE’s global campus models in Shanghai, Seoul, Legon, and many other cities around the world have helped institutions navigate student mobility challenges. Lots of info about how to adopt the global campus approach at your own institution. 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.

    You’ll learn valuable team management and partnership strategies as well as how to establish global recruitment marketing programs that produce measurable enrollment results. This topic is a frequent discussion area on the NAFSA Enrollment and Leadership listserv forums. Join us for this as a Tune In Anytime event.

Read on to for a few preview tips on how these sessions can help move your global strategy forward.

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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 budgets 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, as you and your team navigate the uncertain waters of 2021, there is value in strategizing around these common pitfalls as you keep your eyes on enrollment growth.

And if you’re looking for more resources and perspective for your team, we hope you’ll join us for our two virtual sessions at NAFSA 2021 in June.

  • In Achieving Global Agility: The Flexibility of Global Campus Options, we’ll be joined by Seamus Harreys from CIEE and Ita Duron from Massachusetts College of Health and Pharmacy Sciences for a discussion on the challenges and opportunities of delivering your academic programs on remote campuses (think: Shanghai). First-hand experiences shared.

  • We’ll also be presenting with David DiMaria from University of Maryland, Baltimore County on strategies to help your institution’s international recruitment efforts thrive, even during challenging times, in Going from 0-60: Internationalization. We’ll be talking all things strategic partnerships, team management strategy, techniques for building that all-important leadership buy-in, and the global marketing efforts that pay off.

Let's get into it — Part 2 of recruitment mistakes of the desperate... 

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Student Recruitment Mistakes of the Desperate: Part 1

Many enrollment leaders are reporting terrific application rates for fall 2021, which is certainly welcome news. Campus enrollment numbers look promising for a number of reasons, primary among them:

  • Campuses are planning to open this fall with in-person learning as an option — highly desirable after this past year’s Zoom school.
  • Prospective students look like they will find summer jobs (unlike last year), suggesting they can afford to return to university.

However, there is plenty we do not know as we write this post in early May 2021.

Where India looked like they had successfully kept COVID-19 at bay, more recently, the country has become inundated. As of this writing, many areas of Canada are taking significant precautions to stem the spread. Here in the US, there is a common expectation that the country is on a positive trajectory with regard to the pandemic, and yet, India and Canada thought they were in the clear not too long ago. Our point: the future is murky.

With ambiguity, comes fear and inaction for some; for others, opportunity.

Let’s assume that as summer 2021 hits, your enrollment numbers are not where they should be. Budget dollars are extremely tight. And yet, growth is demanded. What to do?

Often (more often than we all care to admit and especially in times of crisis like we’ve experienced in the past year), we are approached by academic leaders from institutions around the world who are desperate and seeking student recruiting advice.

More often than not, institutions are hung up on the common challenges of people, tools, 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).

Note, an A-level team with B- or C-level tools will still crush it. B-level team with A-level tools? Not so much.

Back in 2018, we published a two-part “Mistakes of the Desperate” series, discussing the all-too-common mistakes we witness academic leaders making as they navigate enrollment challenges. 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.

In this particularly dynamic time for student enrollment and with so much ambiguity around what will happen next, we think this series deserves a second look as your team gears up for the next recruiting cycle. 

And for additional resources for your team navigating this challenging year, we hope you will tune it for our two sessions at the upcoming annual NAFSA (virtual) conference in June:

  • Achieving Global Agility: The Flexibility of Global Campus Options on the value of global campuses and how to implement them in a nimble, flexible way (presenters: Intead with Seamus Harreys from CIEE and Ita Duron from Massachusetts College of Health and Pharmacy Sciences University); and
  • Going from 0-60: Internationalization about the challenges and successes of taking your university’s internationalization efforts to the next level (presenters: Intead with David DiMaria from University of Maryland, Baltimore County).

Read on for three common mistakes academic leaders make when desperately trying to improve student enrollment numbers and how your institution can avoid them.

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Buying Names Better: How to Optimize Your Student Lists

Lead generation is more critical, and more complex, than ever. If you don’t get the top of the funnel right, it’s difficult to fix it further down the enrollment stream.

Likely your institution is already licensing significant numbers of student names through lists from vendors like College Board, ACT, Education Testing Service (ETS), Hobsons, Niche, EduCo, among others. These lists have value. However, your institution may not be leveraging the full benefit. 

There is tremendous upheaval impacting the lists: dramatically shifting demographics, changing patterns of student behavior, severely reduced participation in testing programs, and changing policies related to student privacy.

Accumulating the names is the easy part. But with a bewildering array of names and filters available for searching, the challenge is to identify, target, and – ultimately – convert prospective students that are the right match for your institution.

How can you best navigate these platforms to license and leverage the leads for right-match prospective students?  

Intead can help: 

We’re talking a fresh, more focused strategy to your list approach, both internationally and domestically, that can transform your lead generation process for the next recruiting cycle.

Tailoring and refining your outreach is as important as acquiring the lists. And, in this particularly challenging and dynamic year for student decision-making, the need for an innovative approach is even more urgent.

What you can achieve:

  • Increased conversions
  • Lower CPAs
  • Greater diversity in your application pool

We spoke with someone who knows these platforms inside and out: Clay Hensley, former Senior Director of International Strategy & Outreach at the College Board (and Intead Research Advisory Board member). Having represented the College Board and its programs to international constituents for more than 20 years, Clay’s deep product and market knowledge is an invaluable resource for your institution as you take a fresh look at how you acquire and nurture leads.

Pair that expertise with Intead’s capacity to analyze your institution’s enrollment and paid social media data, website traffic, and census and other demographic data – and the results you can achieve will raise eyebrows and produce smiles.

Read on to learn how your institution can avoid common pitfalls, boost the utility of those licensed names, and make the data work for you. Spoiler: The expertise you need is just an email away.

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3 Tactics to Refresh Your Student Marketing Approach, Right Now

You don’t need to be a CMO to know that there’s more to attracting students than coming up with a pithy headline for your Instagram ads and postcard mailers.

And yet, what we often see are institutions full of creative minds doing the same marketing initiatives year after year, not really realizing how they appear to their target audiences.

At the end of the day you want your institution to stand out in a field of sameness, ubiquitous blather, and endless repeats of campus images and smiling students with backpacks and laptops. You want to highlight your institution’s differentiators and deliver the right message to a targeted audience at the right time.

But we get it — whether it’s lack of budget, time, or most likely, both, swapping out last year’s campaign photos, shuffling around your headlines, and hitting a few buttons in Facebook Ads Manager are sometimes the only levers that are in scope. And establishing a feedback loop of performance analysis for continuous campaign iteration and optimization? An even more distant goal state.

So, before you reach for that updated “smiling student with backpack” image to juice your Fall 2021 recruitment campaigns, turn your attention to today’s post: 3 recruitment marketing ideas to help you reach students where they are right now.

We’re talking specifics on topics, audience, tone, and dissemination channels for campaigns that can set your institution apart and attract and nurture those high-quality leads you’re looking for. And what would an Intead blog post be without an insight on  how to use your data better?

Throw these ideas to your creative team and see if something valuable emerges from the brainstorm session. Something that truly fits your institution. 

Read on.

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Meet Your Strategic Enrollment Advisors

As an education professional, you know deeply the power of a knowledgeable guide to expand your mind, challenge your beliefs, and push you to new heights.

Whether this guide takes the form of a favorite professor, dean, mentor, colleague (or a favorite blog), even the most experienced leaders among us can benefit from a little outside perspective and wisdom from time to time (read: always).

For Intead, that source of wisdom is our recently expanded Intead Research Advisory Board, a veritable who’s who of education industry leaders who guide our student recruitment and enrollment research on both domestic and international approaches.  

Don’t worry, we’re not just here today to sing their praises (although we could do that all day) or talk about how they help us look smart (although they do). ;)

The truth is, the Intead Research Advisory Board isn’t really for Intead. They’re here to serve you. With their expertise, we are able to provide you with fresh and deeply knowledgeable perspectives and new research and insights on topics that drive our industry and your institution forward. We’re ever grateful for their valuable work.

Read on to learn more about this powerful line-up, how their wealth of experience can help to power your institution, and the market intelligence we are working on and presenting soon.

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Your Students. Your Programs. In China — Event Tomorrow

Struggling to define strategies that will bring back your enrollment from China? You’re not alone.

But there’s good news: Clark University met the needs of their Chinese students this past year with an innovative and quickly installed remote campus in Shanghai. Their story is full of instructive lessons. And our webinar tomorrow will enlighten (see link below). 

And there is even more good news: Chinese parents are still eager to provide a US-style education for their child, with 97% of parent respondents in our latest market research citing the US as their first-choice destination for their child’s education.

The short of it: opportunity for your institution is still out there. Chinese parents and students are ready and waiting for your message despite current travel restrictions, if only you could reach them…

As you plan your strategy for next year, consider this: CIEE has created a powerful option that has proven successful at helping US institutions meet their Chinese students where they are. And it is not just about enrollment. It is so much more, thankfully. 

We’re talking long-term partnership building in one of your key markets and a new pipeline that will foster both student success and help you reach your enrollment goals. We’re talking International Campus Opportunities with your programs and your students — in China. Clark University was one of ten US institutions that acted fast and benefited from this innovative approach last year. Now, they will be sharing their story with you. 

Join us tomorrow, Thursday, April 15th at 11am Eastern for a webinar event with CIEE and Clark to discuss the state of the Chinese market, the international campus experience, and the steps necessary to make this opportunity work for fall 2021 at your institution

Register Now

This event is for academic institutions only (.edu email addresses and other academic institutions).

Moderated by Ben Waxman, Intead CEO, the expert panel of your colleagues with a wealth of experience in higher ed and China will include:

  • John LaBrie, Dean of the School of Professional Studies and Associate Provost for Professional Education, Clark University
  • Jill Zhang, China-based Admissions Counselor, Graduate Admissions, Clark University 
  • Seamus Harreys, Vice President Global Enrollment, CIEE
  • Brad Farnsworth, Principal, Fox Hollow Advisory, Former Vice President for Global Engagement at American Council on Education

Read on for a preview of the valuable topics to be discussed and how to continue leveraging your presence and academic programs in this challenging time. 

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