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Recruiting Intelligence

Get Your Students Career Ready. Here's How - Part 2 of 2


Bringing the real world into the classroom is so important to the future of your students. And last week we shared one way Suffolk University is taking action (find that post here). A sort of ​Career Readiness 101. This week, Career Readiness 201 as we talk about you and offer a helpful career-prep checklist, complete with on-campus practices and recruiter tips, too.  


Opportunities to connect in person and hear our latest market intel:

  • Join us in Paris Nov 8-10 at CIEE's 76th Annual Conference.
  • Join us in Boston Nov 13-15 at PIE News Live.

Let us know if you'll be joining us (info@intead.com).


Like you, the vast majority of students we talk to are playing the long game. Well before they even have a high school diploma, they’re thinking beyond university. They’re smart consumers and they need to know what their hard-earned degree, whatever the field, will mean for them in the market. Never mind that many of them are not sold on a major yet. They’ve been hearing for years about the rising costs of higher education. They understand ROI more than previous generations ever did. And their parents are all about that approach. 

According to the National Center for Education, in 1980, the annual cost of attending university (including tuition, fees, room, and board) was just over $10,000, adjusted for inflation. Fast forward to the 2019-20 academic year, and that that bottom line had ballooned 180 percent to nearly $29,000. This is the story your prospective students have grown up hearing. For decades, everyone, university administrators and families, have been wringing their hands about the rising costs and yet, not a thing has been done about it. 

For families, the reality is they’re looking at an average debt for a four-year Bachelor’s degree of $34,700 per the Education Data Initiative. And while the standard repayment term for federal loans is 10 years, it can take up to 30 or more years for more than a few students to pay off these loans. You can see their concern. 

Some of us optimistically thought the rise of online education would bring costs down and become a reliable source of revenue for universities and a powerful educational avenue for students. The reality: yes, a growing source of revenue, but the cost to produce truly effective online education that carries students forward with all the tools and supports, is fairly pricey to produce. And the low quality stuff really does not achieve the educational outcomes, so students pay for an ineffective degree - a credential that does not meet real-world employer needs. (See our blog post here about the perceived value of online degrees) 

Of course, these are tuition numbers you’ve thought about many times. And they’re all over the news right now as student loan repayments will soon be back on after a long pandemic pause. Smart students want to know the kind of return they’re going to get on their investment, and they’re looking to you to provide an attractive answer. 

So, what is your answer?

Read on for a checklist of essential ways to help ensure your campus helps prep students for the careers they’re hoping higher ed will lead them to. And yes, we’ve included pro-tips for you recruiters. Read on...

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Your Students. Your Programs. In China — Register Today

The course of Chinese student recruitment never did run smooth.  

And in the last year, your institution’s road to recruiting, enrolling, and retaining students from one of the most complex international markets was bumpier than ever. Can we get our visa offices back, please?

Miraculously, despite the setbacks of the pandemic year, Chinese demand for a US education remains. Our upcoming market research with WholeRen Education (surveying 20,000+ Chinese parents) will shed some light on how the US brand identity is enduring and where your institution needs to focus to succeed in today’s Chinese enrollment market. 

Perhaps allow yourself a brief sigh of relief—but it’s not time to rest. (It rarely is).

There’s still work to be done to keep your institution strong in this new, more flexible, post-pandemic reality. And later this month, you’ll hear from those leading the charge (and learn from their successes) at our webinar event: Your Students. Your Programs. In China: Creating US-Style Classrooms for Your Chinese Students. 

Register Now

Your event pre-registration will also pre-register you for a copy of our upcoming Chinese Market research. 

At the event (date coming soon), we'll be interviewing several amazing resources for you about strategy, market insights, and powerful new program options to help your institution shore up both near-term and long-term enrollment in the Chinese market. We'll be talking about how 10 different universities managed their fall 2020 Chinese student enrollment and what they are doing to continue their success in 2021 and beyond.

 Speakers will include:

  • Brad Farnsworth, former Vice President for Global Engagement at the American Council on Education (and a member of the Intead Research Advisory Board)
  • Seamus Harreys, CIEE Vice President for Global Engagement 

More than 2,100 Chinese students studied in US-style classrooms in China during fall 2020 and spring 2021. The CIEE team helped each of them make it happen. Now, many institutions are working toward a longer term vision building a bridge between China and their US campuses. You can learn from their experience.

Read on for a preview of the valuable perspectives to be shared in the webinar.

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Chinese Students Want to Hear from You

You and your team have been navigating the China recruitment challenges for years with some notable successes. Taking those long-haul flights and testing out the student fair operators. Building a reliable agent network despite the risks (thanks, AIRC). Learning WeChat and leveraging an entirely new digital marketing landscape. Developing meaningful global partnerships.

And then the visas and flights stopped.

As if China were not already the most complex marketing challenge for international student recruitment, along came COVID-19.

At this writing, the first F-1 visa appointments at US consulates in China are tentatively available as of August 12, notes WholeRen Education Chief Learning Officer Andrew Chen. Right now, it is unclear why any US institution might believe their Chinese students currently in China will be coming to their US campus this fall. Logistically, it seems entirely unlikely if not impossible.

Fortunately, and somewhat surprisingly, despite all the setbacks, Chinese demand for a US education is strong.

How do we know? Two proof points:

  • Market research we performed with WholeRen Education surveying 20,000+ Chinese parents just last month.
  • 2,000+ Chinese students voting with their feet and attending classes run by Syracuse, Rutgers, Clark, Babson, Penn State, Tulane, and others in US-style classrooms in China run by CIEE.

At the link below, you can pre-register for the release of our latest research for student enrollment professionals interested in succeeding in China based on current conditions and what will follow.

Pre-register Now

Your pre-registration for the latest research will also grant you access to our upcoming webinar interviewing three experts on the Chinese student experience. You’ll hear from one university on how they managed fall 2020 Chinese student enrollment and what the institution is doing to continue their success.

Read on for insights and practical tips to reach the Chinese market in the current climate and beyond.

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Fall 2021 International Student Retention Strategies – Register Now

Today’s international enrollment challenges demand innovative solutions.

However, those innovative solutions are often easier said than done and more resource-intensive than you expect. But not always.

Enter: CIEE’s custom global programs.

We’re talking your curriculum and educational experience delivered in major international student hubs such as Shanghai and Seoul to students that can’t physically be with you on campus. And with CIEE’s robust infrastructure to support both academic and student life already in place in cities across the world, all that’s needed is you.

Intrigued? Join CIEE’s “Fall 2021 International Student Retention Strategies” webinar discussion tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 25th at 12pm Eastern to discover how institutions across the US are already using CIEE’s global programs to attract and retain international students.

Specifically, you’ll hear from Penn State and how they created a custom, cohort-based international student program with CIEE for fall 2020 and spring 2021 in Shanghai. The result: innovative and proactive efforts that retained tuition revenue and the student relationships that will result in continued retention.

Register Now

(Note: the webinar is open to anyone working for an academic institution)

Clear Benefits and Opportunities

While student retention was a driving factor for the institutions that set up these programs in 2020, they also found surprising growth in:

  • Parent engagement - word of mouth promotion from parents who were thankful the institution was responding to the pandemic with strong and thoughtful student-first efforts.
  • Increased brand awareness - as students and parents excitedly talked up their ability to study in an American-style classroom despite travel restrictions.
  • New enrollments - from new prospective students who heard about the programs and wanted to take part in this experience rather than study from home online in China.

Fast acting and well equipped to deliver student experiences, CIEE leadership worked with institutions such as Tulane, Babson, Clark, and Syracuse during 2020 and 2021, serving more than 2,100 students in custom programs in China and South Korea.

And there’s still time for your institution to join this trailblazing pack for fall 2021 if you sign up by May 1st.

When student mobility isn’t a given and competition for international students is fiercer than ever before, you must take your student-first philosophies to the next level if you want to stand out and continue to deliver on your institution’s educational mission (and preserve your revenue streams).

This is how you do that.

Read on to learn more about this flexible, innovative solution to shore up your international enrollment this fall and beyond. This is far more than just a quick band-aid solution.

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Is Your Institution Prepared for What Comes Next?

Global campus options are now more critical than ever. Do you have the flexible toolkit to secure your Spring 2021 term?

Back in May, we let our community know about a new opportunity through CIEE to establish turnkey global campuses. This is the realistic innovation we see as critical to maintaining international student enrollment opportunities.

This is doable.

With their 70 years of experience in international education and their footprint of 30+ campuses around the world, CIEE developed a program to help institutions serve their international students despite COVID-19 and the travel restrictions that have been roiling the industry.

Since May, less than 3 months ago, more than 8 forward thinking and fast-moving institutions saw the opportunity. For the Fall 2020 term, more than 1,300 international students are enrolled in those institutions and will study on CIEE campuses overseas in Shanghai, Seoul, and other reachable cities.

Innovators like Tulane University, Rutgers University, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University, Penn State, Clark University, and others are leading the way for their international students:

  • Developing the long-term bond between student and institution
  • Delivering their customized academic programming
  • Securing student graduation timelines
  • Maintaining enrollment numbers and revenue streams

Recruitment. Retention. Revenue.

Spring term 2021 is now in play. US universities are witnessing the ever changing and ill-defined decrees from the US State Department about how international students can and cannot come to the US for their academic programs. Hard enrollment numbers for Fall 2020 are on their way.

Read on for the inside scoop from the academic leaders who took steps in May to secure Fall 2020. And how your steps today can secure Spring 2021 and beyond.

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The New Student Enrollment Playbook is Here

We’d like to think that your Wednesday ritual includes reading our latest Recruiting Intelligence blog release over your morning coffee, but we know that you’ve had a lot on your plate recently, and we don’t mean breakfast.

What a difference a week makes? Last week everyone was reacting to the ICE guidance that if U.S. classes were online only, international students had to head for the exits. Now, 7 days later, that order is rescinded and international students may stay in the U.S. and study online.

While this is welcome news, if anyone thinks this is the end of the headaches, confusion and policy level chaos on this topic, they've not been paying attention for the past few years.

Throughout the rise of COVID-19 we’ve been offering quick-hit, actionable advice weekly on this blog, advising on how to weather this storm, salvage your enrollment, and pivot your digital marketing strategy in response to this unprecedented global crisis.

This Not So Fun Fact from UNESCO still boggles our minds: By the first week of April, 190 countries closed kindergartens to higher education institutions simultaneously affecting 1.6 billion learners, 90% of total enrolled learners globally.

If you’ve missed any of our valuable insights these past few months, or if you just need a refresher — we know, there’s a lot to keep track of right now—you’re in luck. Our latest eBook, The New Student Enrollment Playbook: COVID-19 Edition is now available to download for free.

Consider it your one-stop-shop for all things COVID-19, and not to worry, we disinfect the download button following each click ; -)

From advice on crisis contingency planning to a review of the best online learning resources, The New Student Enrollment Playbook will help you and your leadership navigate this new normal and emerge stronger for it. Read on to download your copy.

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The More Things Change…The More We Need to Figure Out

So, ICE tells all the online international students in the U.S. to go home and Harvard tells all students to go online for Fall 2020 (without lowering tuition). That’s quite a news day.

From day to day, the landscape continues to shift, sometimes dramatically.

If you’ve missed the past few months of Recruiting Intelligence posts because you’ve had other pressing priorities (we get it), then you may want to take a scroll through it all.

Read on for a quick summary of all the things we all need to figure out. (Spoiler alert: we've already figured out a lot of them).

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Perceived Value: Online vs. On Campus

What are your students willing to pay for an online education?

Here is what you are really after: given your brand reputation, the demographics of your student cohort and the potential to create a new service delivery model, what should you offer and how much should you charge for it?

Let’s get that answered!

Our primary message: custom research into what your student cohort is willing to pay for your brand on campus or online is invaluable. An important part of innovation is the upfront market research that points your team in the right direction.

Below we review some new pricing research that offers insights and a conceptual approach to getting this type of data for your institution.

The context: During a high school Zoom graduation ceremony we watched this past week (my niece got her paper!), the valedictorian shared the experience of his last day in high school in March this year – a day like any other, except that at the end of it, the principal quite suddenly told everyone there would be no school the next day. A mundane day that suddenly marked the end of all he had worked for. No celebration, no Senior Week pranks, no high fives, just, head home and, as it turned out, don’t return.

His comment at the close of his valedictorian graduation speech: Don’t ever doubt that the world can change in an instant.

Across the globe, students and institutions shared that experience. How will all those valedictorians and all their friends make decisions going forward. College? Job? Remote learning and a job?

Read on for pricing research perspective to get you thinking.

And watch this space over the next few weeks as we dive into the doing that is prompted by the thinking. We’ll be sharing detailed case studies of some of the successful digital marketing work we’ve been doing for a variety of institutions around the world.

Yes, even during a pandemic, especially during a pandemic, digital marketing will connect you with your target audiences. We will show you how and give you benchmarks to help you evaluate how you are doing.

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30 Global Turnkey Campuses

In our conversations with students, we hear a clamoring for certainty.

We’re betting you hear it too. Stick with us here, we’ve got two solid options to present to you. Doing this right will get your current and prospective students singing your praises all over the internet.

The set up: we can see already that the larger mechanisms for fall enrollment – from visa processing to so many other factors – are delayed at best. Intead is talking to a number of institutions that understand our new realities and are taking their student first philosophies to a new level.

In hearing from university presidents about all of the very real administrative machinations that make our new abnormal SO incredibly challenging for institutions, some are saying, “That’s not your problem, its ours.

That right there is innovation speaking. That is institutional leaders understanding why they have their jobs in the first place.

The opposite is also happening. Telling your students (domestic or international) to “wait and see” is not putting your students first and it is not a competitive advantage.

Institutions explaining why they cannot meet students’ (and families’) demands for certainty because of cumbersome internal bureaucracies and systems, well, those institutions will reap what they sow. In this crisis, the nimble (or rich) survive.

Giving students concrete options to move forward right now is where you want to be. Acting now to offer a clear plan for students to maintain their track toward graduation and do more than remote learning programs will cement more of your student relationships for the next four years.

Read on for two specific paths that will serve your international and domestic students in ways that will preserve their graduation timetable and your tuition revenue stream.

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New Revenue Sources: Your Success Depends on It

How does a university facing reduced enrollment find new sources of revenue? Let's get specific. 

There are a number of answers to this question. And they hinge a bit on how much time your institution has. Is this need for diversified sources urgent, as in, “Let’s get a new program out there this summer to increase fall enrollment”? Or do you have funds (endowment or reserves) to draw upon for the next year to weather the storm, allowing new revenue sources to be developed more slowly?

Either way, the response will require speed -- not a strong suit for academic institutions in general. And it requires a level of nimble creativity and well-coordinated collaboration. These are hard combinations to pull together. But mostly, it is the compressed length of time to bring a new idea to market that will likely be your biggest challenge.

With this post we are offering a range of ideas for new academic programs that you can offer to students across the country and around the world. For the most part, these are all programs that you can create from what you have on hand already. There’s a bit of repackaging and rebranding required. And an innovative delivery system. But it can all be done in the time you have available.

What’s the catch? Why haven’t you done this before? Well…

To succeed at this, you must have support from the those at the top and the ability to innovate. Easier said than done. But now your success depends on just that — getting it done. 

Want to find a way to fill the looming holes in your revenue streams? Our recommendations and tips follow.

This is not for the feint of heart. Buckle up and read on.

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