International students bring much-needed diversity to every school they attend. They contribute to excellence in education through their culture, language, and perspective. Creating a diverse environment where people from different countries have equal opportunities to flourish is the goal of most educational institutions. It’s important to reach international students and attract them to apply and study in your school. But how do you go about it?
Here are some strategies that’ll help make it happen:
Ask yourself the right questions
The fundamental part of student recruitment strategy is to think about what you communicate, to whom, and how. Messages you want to send about the school to international students should be authentic, consistent, and clear. Asking yourself the right questions is likely to provide answers that students want to hear. What can you offer to international students? How can you make their transition smooth? What can they expect from your school? What are the core values of your school that they might care about? Create your outreach from there.
Build a reputation
The reputation of some schools is a big part of the decision process for international students. Assure students they will be safe on your campus. Similar to business, branding is the sure-fire way to get more foreign students to recognize your school. Your mission is to make sure that your school is associated with positive, rather than negative qualities. Ways to improve reputation include working with the local press, establishing a strong online presence, and arranging different classes and workshops outside of the standard, to make your school unique.
Develop sponsorships (aside from visas for students) that can raise awareness and get your school’s name out into the foreign location where you wish to attract new students. A TED talk, for example, can draw a big crowd. Take advantage of your alumni who return to their homeland to bring the word back home. They can talk about what it’s like to be an international student in your school, their overall experience as a student in another country and how it benefited them personally and professionally.
Students have questions, a lot of them, and they’re not afraid to ask. Replying late (or never) to those questions and inquiries is a major mistake. A student is highly unlikely to choose a school if they can’t get much-needed information that would help them make a final decision. Think about implementing an online chat by using a chat platform like Brazen to communicate with potential recruits regularly. As a result, they’ll see you truly care about their education and professional and academic success.
Focus on career
When you’re explaining why they should enroll in the school you represent, don’t forget to talk about career prospects that are specially suited to them. Besides getting a necessary education that will open the door to success, students also want to know how studying in your school could benefit them professionally.
An international education can benefit foreign students, and your university. In 2016, there were over 4 million students studying internationally, with nearly a million of them in the U.S. alone. In 2015, international students added $32.8 billion dollars to the economy. Clearly, schools shouldn’t be limited to attracting national students only. Going global yields more benefits. International students bring more diversity, and attracting them requires a great plan that will appeal to them and honestly represent your school. With a little bit of patience, your efforts to attract these students can turn into a great success.
Lucy Benton is a writing coach who currently works at Assignment Helper.