4 Building Blocks & Strategies for Recruiting International Students

Written By Sally Forsyth

All over the world, there are young people who have the dream of studying abroad, especially studying in the USA, Canada or Europe. But how do we reach these students? What are the best ways to attract them to take that final step and start applying to high schools and colleges overseas? There are various effective strategies for recruiting international students which can improve your success in this field. Let’s look at some of them!

1. Market intelligence

 First of all the basics, it is very important to do market research in the different geographical areas that you are targeting.  For example, It is essential to investigate economic factors in the targeted countries. Look for regions where for example, there is a rising middle class or the demand for a high-quality education is greater than the schools and colleges that are available locally.

A study of demographics in the region is also helpful to discover the percentage of young people and students in specific towns and cities. This can help you to decide where to place the marketing focus.

2. Understand the journey of your students towards an international education.

An important strategy for recruiting international students in understanding their perspective and what they are feeling. A connection needs to be made with their dream of studying abroad. For a prospective international student, it all starts with the desire to study overseas in a high school or college. Then what they need next is more information about what options are available so they can compare what different schools and colleges have to offer.

Naturally, students want to know what the top schools in different areas are. Any information that they can have access to which tells them about the academic curriculum, extracurricular activities and the homestay program in top schools is extremely helpful. This will guide them in making that final decision to submit an admission application.

Understanding their accommodation options is important for students to feel safe and secure about making this big step to studying abroad, Whether it's a homestay family or a school where they can board on campus, students need to know what it will be like, who will be responsible for them and the amenities and conditions in their local area, Never mind the climate which may be different from their home country!

 Having all these facts will make the whole process of studying abroad feel less stressful and therefore decision –making will be easier. This is why creating relevant content for your target audience is such an important part of the process of recruiting international students.  We need to hold their hand every step of the way and give them not only relevant information. but encouragement and support on their journey to studying overseas.

Making that final decision is hard and can be overwhelming, so it is important for recruiters to give as much support as possible during this process. Even submitting the application can be stressful for some students. Educating then on how you have to apply,  what documents are needed or what exams need to be taken can help reassure students and their families. The final step where recruiters need to give support is the visa application to study in the country of their choice. Let’s face it visas and their relevant forms can be scary to most of us!

Recruiters need to find ways to simplify the process as much as possible and again reassure students and their families that it is not as difficult as it may appear!

3. Attracting and nurturing your potential students through social media and email campaigns.

 Using multiple channels to attract international students is essential for success. As mentioned previously, relevant content which appeals to prospective students can really create an impact. Creating blogs and vlogs on all the relevant topics mentioned above can help reach your target audience. Video is now considered to be one of the main channels in all areas of marketing, so recruiters need to use this to their full advantage.

 Having a unique YouTube channel which is constantly updated with new content, as well as using video on other platforms like Instagram and Facebook will really help connect to young people. This is especially true for teenagers who spend many hours online using social media every day.  Facebook Live and Facebook and Instagram Stories are becoming increasingly popular and can help to make more personal connections and build trust. For example, having students who have already studied abroad give their recommendations on live video is more likely to reach prospective students than other forms of media.

Email campaigns are another powerful tool to nurture students and their families on the journey towards studying abroad. Consistently sending out emails and newsletters with great content, will build up trust with your target market. It will help support them in their journey to making that all important final decision to commit to studying abroad.

4. It’s all about the story.

 It is really important to find ways to help prospective students visualize what studying abroad would look like and what’s in it for them. The emphasis needs to be on why this would be a life changing experience. Create content that tells prospective students the story of others who have gone through the process and why it was so amazing and exciting. Explain the benefits they will get by living in a different  English speaking culture and studying at a school or college with a high academic standard.

 Find ways to motivate them by making the content personal and inspiring. Take this one step further and create conversations with them either online or in person, to encourage them to comment and get involved. Make them feel part of a global community of international students and explain how incredible it will be to make new friends when they study abroad!

There is no doubt that there is a big market out there for recruiting international students around the globe. Moving to live in another country is a big step for anyone, but even more so for teenagers. They need lots of reassurance, lots of nurturing and someone to be with them every step of the way. You can indeed make their dreams come true!

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About the author

Sally Forsyth is a High school English teacher and an educational coach. She has worked in national and internatonal schools in different countries and different school systems, She is also the founder of CoachMyFuture, a coaching organization focusing on coaching teachers and educators in the educational sector.

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