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4 Key Trends in International Student Recruitment

July 06, 2018

International study is no longer reserved solely for the wealthy. More and more students across the globe are choosing to enjoy the wonders of a new country while also obtaining higher education in their field of choice.

According to leading research, there are over 5 million students pursuing education abroad. In fact, by 2022, there will be a projected 7 million students studying overseas.

How can agents and institutions better attract international study prospects?

Which begs the question: How can agents and institutions better attract international study prospects? It all starts with understanding the current trends in international recruitment and working them into your current plans.

So what are some of the top trends in international recruitment? And how can you implement this in your strategy? Let’s explore.

1) Get digital or get out

You have to meet prospective students where they spend the most time. This means embracing all things digital. Your first step? Ensuring you have a responsive website.

Responsive websites suit all platforms, from desktops to mobile, have speedy load times and provide comprehensive and visually appealing information. According to research by online marketing site Kissmetrics, all of these factors determine whether or not a user will stay on your site. Just take a look at some of the stats:

  1. 47 per cent of people expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  2. 40 per cent of users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  3. 25 per cent of internet users expect website loading times on their mobile devices to be almost as fast as their desktop.

Responsive design is especially important in the international recruitment sector, as it ensures that wherever students are in the world, your website will still perform at its best, regardless of the device it’s being displayed on.

For international recruiters, securing strong and effective digital platforms is more than just a trend it’s a necessity. These sites are how potential students learn about your offerings, universities and courses – so make sure they can view the information with ease.

2) Know your market

Different regions have different motivations for studying abroad. It’s important to have a grasp on these differences before making contact with your various markets. For example, a report titled “Know Your Neighborhood: International Recruiting Fueled By Regional Insights” found that the motivations of international students varied by region but generally fell into four categories:

  • To get a good education: This was a key motivator for every country surveyed but had the biggest impact for students in the Philippines (76 per cent), Peru and Colombia (70 per cent each).
  • To explore a different lifestyle: Over 50 per cent of Malaysian students cited this as their biggest motivator while other Asian countries ranked this factor toward the bottom.
  • To achieve important things: By and large Asian students found this to be the biggest driver for them to study overseas.
  • To honor family: Indonesia ranked this as their biggest motivation (49 per cent) gave by far the strongest reaction to this motivation (49 per cent), with Thailand and Malaysia following with 36 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

These kinds of insights should deeply influence your marketing decisions. By understanding this data, you know that a campaign centred around ‘exciting lifestyles’ is your best bet in Malaysia where ‘honouring family’ will attract the most prospects in Indonesia. Use these insights to your advantage.

3) Start early and stay available

Deciding which international university is right takes time. That’s why students start researching prospects earlier than you might think. A report conducted by the International Student Admissions Service found that:

  • 25 per cent of international students research overseas universities one to two years prior to application.
  • 20 per cent seek out information two to three years before admission deadlines.
  • 18 per cent conduct their research five or more years before even applying.

For international recruiters, this means two things.

Firstly, it’s critical to focus marketing efforts beyond admission deadline periods. Students are constantly searching for strong information and exciting opportunities so make sure you are giving them this kind of collateral year-round.

You need to be providing information for international students constantly.You need to be providing information for international students constantly.

Secondly, you shouldn’t limit your target audience to the 17 -18 age range. Students as young as 13 may be dreaming of their overseas experience and the sooner you reach them, the faster you can become their port of call for their university dreams.

Pro tip: Remember, your prospects come from all over the globe and, more often that not, their burning questions don’t fit neatly into time zones. Having reps available to answer questions outside of local hours will ensure you are staying on top of all student queries – ultimately building trust with your contacts!

4) Pay attention to high-growth regions

The international student landscape has shifted over the past decade or so and it’s important for international student recruiters to keep an eye on these movements. Today, one out of every six international students comes from China, according to recruitment research. In fact, over half of the internationally mobile students in the world come from Asian regions.

Thousands of prospective students are looking to learn more about international study – make sure you’re their go-to advisor!

Targeting your marketing and recruitment efforts towards these regions is a smart move. There are thousands of prospective students looking to learn more about international study – make sure you’re their go-to advisor!

How can Cohort Go help?

We live and breathe international education and our platform reflects just that. Our innovative cloud-based technology helps agents to manage the entire international recruitment lifecycle. With Cohort you can:

  • Become a one-stop-shop for students: We created the only all-encompassing software specifically designed for international recruitment. Our essential student services ensure you have all the answers, resources and support tools you need to best help your students along their overseas journey.
  • Track student applications from start to finish: Manage, track and document the student application process in one cloud-based platform with secure access anywhere, anytime. You can build trust with your student base and ensure their entire journey goes off without a hitch.
  • Streamline operations and increase revenue: Harness the power of automation to streamline your operations and increase your revenue with the ability to service more students. Accelerate your productivity by leveraging our personalised dashboards and visually analysing your data to make informed decisions for your students.

Interested in learning more about how we can help? Reach out to one of our team members today!

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