With recruitment season underway, most admissions counselors are on the road, visiting prospective students at high schools and college fairs within their territory. But what about international admissions counselors? Finances often limit the amount of travel to recruit overseas. With international student enrollment on the rise for the eighth consecutive year, colleges want to capitalize on the increasing number of foreigners interested in attending US-based institutions. International admissions counselors must close the distance by replacing in-person interactions with tools that make students feel more connected to their institution. Here are three ways to enhance your outreach efforts to recruit international students.
1. Offer international-specific scholarships. If you’re a big name institution, you have the luxury of attracting international students simply because of your brand. And you’ve probably been able to raise tuition or charge additional fees to international students as a means to increase revenue. That’s because international students are primarily motivated to study abroad at particular institutions and, thus, willing to pay full sticker price. Other colleges, however, need to attract international students through scholarships, as their top concern for studying abroad revolves around financial costs. When implementing international recruitment strategies or initiating increases in international enrollment, plan to offer scholarships specific to international students. Scholarships offset tuition costs, incentivizing international students to apply and enroll at your institution.
2. Stress a caring environment. Following funding, international students express concerns with cultural and social issues including language barriers and lack of support systems. Pathway programs help improve English language skills and American classroom competency prior to stepping foot on campus. Continue that support once international students arrive on campus. Stress a caring environment that focuses on both academics and health. Publicize student service resources such as academic advisors, tutors and writing centers to demonstrate your institution’s devotion to academic achievement. Promote accessibility to the health center, counseling services, and recreational facilities to show support for international students’ emotional, mental and spiritual selves.
3. Design an international mobile strategy. Nearly three out of four international students view your admissions website on their mobile phone. The convenience of a mobile phone makes it easy for international students to shop for colleges overseas, gathering information posted on institutions’ websites, apps and social media. Implementing a mobile recruitment strategy is beneficial for outreach to prospective students so they can receive your communications anytime, anywhere on the device that is always in their pocket. However, use of communication technologies may vary depending on geographic location. Design a mobile strategy that corresponds with the usage patterns of students from different geographic regions.
One last thought: It may be time to recruit from new emerging markets rather than the bread-and-butter students from China and India.