International recruitment has become one of the priorities of universities and business schools from around the world as institutions are looking for campus diversity to build an excellent reputation abroad.
Professionals in student recruitment come across new challenges when working with international students. One of the responsibilities that come with this type of job is helping to create links with overseas institutions, which implies traveling all around the world. Even though this might seem exciting, it involves a lot of time and effort, but gives student recruiters the opportunity to meet prospective students and create new contacts.
In addition, due to the increasing competition for students from countries such as China, Singapore, Malaysia, India and even some Middle Eastern countries, as well as the different non traditional alternatives to study, such as e-Learning and distance learning makes it more challenging for the professionals in this field to recruit international students.
Marketing the university brand and differentiation is now one of the most important aspects to work on. We now find that more universities are working on the accuracy of the information they provide in their prospects and also in creating partnerships with other institutions and using academic exchange programs for promotion.
Now more that ever, student recruiters have found themselves using the Internet and social media sites and consider it an important tool. Universities are now more active in social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, as well as others, in order to connect with potential students and parents.
Using social media sites help institutions not only create a good “online reputation” but also understand their potential students and engage with them.
Another aspect to consider and challenge to overcome, is the fact that if you are working hard to recruit international students, once they arrive, they have to feel confortable to be able to adapt to their new home. Some student recruiters are now working hand in hand with Student Unions to help in the integration of international students. Some of the actions they propose are:
- Offering students to live with families for a few days to have a first hand experience of how people live in this city
- Giving seminars about culture shock and local culture
- Have a budding scheme with local students or even older international students to help the new students adapt
What are you doing to recruit international students and what challenges have you come across?