How to attract Mexican students
Are you trying to promote your school to prospective Mexican exchange students? Are you trying to figure out the best ways to appeal to Mexican students? Here are some tips and strategies which you may find helpful to have more Mexican students studying at your school!
What's in it for me?
First of all, it is important to stress to prospective students the benefits of living in the US for a certain period of time, attending a US high school, living with a host family and experiencing US culture. The most obvious advantage is that their verbal and written English will improve which is a big plus, especially if they are thinking of attending universities in the US or other English speaking countries. Also, being proficient in English looks great on your resume especially of you are from Latin America, as it really adds value to your work curriculum.
Developing strong links with the families
In Mexican culture, the family takes priority and Mexican families are very close. Teenagers traditionally would have less independence and freedom than their US counterparts. Also, Mexican parents may be more protective. They will need to feel that they can trust the school community and the home family to take care of their teenagers, not only that they are physically safe, but that they are being kept under a watchful eye at all times. Regular communication with the home families is key here, both before they make the decision to send their son or daughter to your school, and afterward when they are actually students at your school.
Promoting your school culture
It's really important to make sure your prospective students and their families are aware of the ways in which your school can offer them a unique experience. Examples include detailing all the different extracurricular activities that are offered or any out of school excursions, trips or weekend activities that may be appealing for teenagers. There may also be some interesting academic subjects that you offer which may have a specific appeal. It is important to emphasize your school’s unique qualities.
Mexican students will be really interested in the support you offer for career counseling and university applications. Being given information about the options available for study at US universities, understanding how the university application works and what universities are looking for in high school students will be very appealing. This will be a key factor for students interested in your school, as for many of them their dream is to attend an American university.
Additionally, Mexican students and their families will want to know that the culture of the school community is warm, caring encouraging and supportive. In other words, that they will feel part of a large family who will be there for them if needed, especially if they are feeling alone and homesick.
In fact, it would be a great idea to explain that you have a special orientation program for new Mexican exchange students to give information about your school community. This will allow them to understand school expectations, as well as orienting them towards the cultural aspects of the town or city they are living in to avoid culture shock.
Also, it is important to emphasize that your school will offer ESL support for students if they need extra help with their progress in learning English. This will make students feel more confident about making the decision to study in a US. high school.
It is really important to explain all the different ways your school will help Mexican students to make friends, both in the classroom and beyond the classroom in extracurricular activities. Tell them exactly how your school will help them develop new friendships. Perhaps it may be making connections with existing students in your school ahead of time, or having a ‘buddy’ system so that when they arrive there are specific students assigned. This will not only help them get adjusted to your school culture, but it will, more importantly, introduce them to their classmates and start making connections to build lasting friendships.
Finally, really promote the idea of how much your school will value their own Mexican culture, and in what ways you will show appreciation for specific Mexican holidays and celebrations. This will go a long way in assuring them that they are going to be living and studying in a really welcoming environment.
This will help convince them that living in the US, and more specifically studying in your school, is an experience not to be missed!