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Recruiting Intelligence

Armchair International Student Recruitment - part 2

You are reading an excerpt from our e-book "88 Ways to Recruit International Students"

II. Armchair recruiting

Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish from your office in Dubuque, Syracuse or South Bend.  Even if you are chained to your desk, figuratively we hope, you can pursue numerous recruitment strategies with potentially great payoff.  If your institution is just beginning to explore international recruitment, many of these methods can help you wet your feet in the international sector.  Or if your institution has already made inroads in some markets, these methods can help to cultivate additional regions. Let’s begin. 


4. Targeted marketing materials for each international market

The needs and preferences of students in different regions of the world will vary.  By taking the time to address specific concerns, you will be showing sensitivity to the varied backgrounds of your applicants.  Researching cultural differences across your markets will enable you to respond to relevant concerns.  We also recommend getting input from international students currently at your university as to specific concerns they had prior to arriving. Using native languages in your marketing materials will also increase understanding and comprehension and develop a stronger connection. 


Note that even international students with solid English skills are working harder to figure out the US academic system, application and visa rules.  Trying to understand it all in your second language adds to the challenge. Making your marketing messages easy to grasp and your application process easy to navigate will win you fans and applicants.  Let the language testing confirm language proficiency – don’t make your marketing literature a barrier to convincing prospective students to apply and enroll.  Is there any  business that would purposely put barriers between their customers and their sales messaging? 

You can also target your markets by purchasing online advertising on US-based websites with visitors from your target markets.  US News and World Report’s website is one example.  For the day after launch of their ratings, US News and World Report receives about one million unique visitors.  During the week after publishing their annual rankings, approximate 300,000 unique visitors came from outside the US.  About 35,000 of those came from India and 25,000 from China.  For the month of September 2012, 800,000 unique visitor were international and of those, 13 percent came from India and 7 percent from China.

Are you a customer of Hotcourses or of US News and World Report?  Please give us your feedback on these services here.

5. Mailings to students who have initiated contact

When a student contacts you directly by completing the form on your website for additional information, you should begin to execute your marketing plan.  Mailing letters, catalogs and other brochures abroad can be a costly venture, so printed mailings should be part of the overall marketing strategy alongside less expensive strategies such as email and other forms of personalized digital outreach via social media.


6. Mailings to students from purchased lists of prospects

Acquiring prospective students via purchased email leads is an established practice in the United States and has certainly taken hold internationally.  There are numerous providers of student contacts.  In the end, it’s a question of economics.  Do you get a return on your investment (ROI)?  To get that return, appropriate follow up, engagement and contact strategies are a necessity for international students since they are unlikely to visit campus prior to a decision to apply.

List purchase for international recruitment
List buys in the US are more sophisticated.  More knowledge of your success rate is available across various US geographies and high schools, as well as appropriate GPA, SAT and ACT score levels.  Assessing international student lists is more challenging, though the process for collecting such information has recently become more systematic.  

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