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Developing a Targeted Outreach and Communication Plan for Int'l Students

Developing a Targeted Outreach and Communication Plan for Int'l Students

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Looking for tools to create a digital outreach and communication plan to reach international students? Check out this session from the NACAC international student recruitment pre-conference institute in Boston 2017.

Looking for tools to create a digital outreach and communication plan to reach international students? Check out this session from the NACAC international student recruitment pre-conference institute in Boston 2017.

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Developing a Targeted Outreach and Communication Plan for Int'l Students

  1. 1. #NACAC17 Developing a Targeted Outreach and Communication Plan for International Students Preconference: Fundamentals of Recruiting and Counseling International Students
  2. 2. #NACAC17 Moderator: Ronn Beck, Salve Regina University (RI) Panelists: Marty Bennett SMIE Consulting LLC (OH) Karen Karidoyanes & Susan Ohnemus Hogan Bentley University (MA) Sophia Meas Commonwealth School (MA)
  3. 3. #NACAC17 Marty Bennett SMIE Consulting LLC (OH)
  4. 4. #NACAC17 What students hear:
  5. 5. #NACAC17 Lay of the land • Global communication trends: web, social, mobile growth • EducationUSA perspective: social media & student stories connect best, website advice • Student survey data: concerns, needs, opportunities • What still works: “live” where audiences live, appropriate content, listening, re-engagement
  6. 6. #NACAC17 Global Trends
  7. 7. #NACAC17 Social Media Usage
  8. 8. #NACAC17 EducationUSA • Global Guide 2017 • Over 5.5 million social contacts/year on network’s social media channels • Webinars, Interactive series, virtual fairs
  9. 9. #NACAC17 What are international students thinking? Source: Hot Courses 2017 International Student Survey Photo courtesy of Intead
  10. 10. #NACAC17 Channels students use to research prospective colleges Source: Hot Courses 2017 International Student Survey
  11. 11. #NACAC17 Geographic variation in what students found most useful on different student engagement channels Source: Hot Courses 2017 International Student Survey
  12. 12. #NACAC17 Students Report Usage / Usefulness of US Higher Ed Institutions Source: CollegeWeekLive/EduVentures Going International Report, 2016
  13. 13. #NACAC17 What works?
  14. 14. #NACAC17 Engage prospective students virtually multiple times and win them over • Meet new sophomores and juniors starting the search, e.g. virtual open houses, themed live chats • Interact with seniors deciding where to apply, e.g. current student AMAs, academic department highlights • Target specific segments, e.g. hold country-specific session application workshops in top markets • Introduce enrolled students to campus resources, e.g. online pre-departure workshops, parent sessions • Invite admits to meet with reps & current students, e.g. admitted student virtual events/chats PROSPECTS INQUIRIES APPS ADMITS DEPOSITS
  15. 15. #NACAC17 What should shape your outreach and e-com plans? Live Where Your Audiences Live. Listen, Listen, Listen. Keep Them Coming Back For More.
  16. 16. #NACAC17 Thank you!
  17. 17. #NACAC17 Karen Karidoyanes Susan Ohnemus Hogan Bentley University (MA)
  18. 18. #NACAC17 Consider the audience • Generation Z: – Tech innate-5 screens at once – Communicate with images – Many are more money-conscious and entrepreneurial than previous generation – Prefer in-person communication and platforms that emphasize privacy (picme, whatsup) – 80% use FB and Instagram as main platforms and most have settings on private • This is not good news for printed communications! – Who reads print materials? Parents! • Native language, parent email – Cost and time of mailing; varies by region of the world – Put materials in digital form on web site and in email
  19. 19. #NACAC17 • Speaking of email… – Students prefer text communication to email • Does not use up data • Some countries will not allow access to some websites • Is more mobile-friendly • Presents complications; technology for texts is different than emails • Be cognizant of best practices when using text and other personal information • FERPA regulations are beginning to address social media • Is your website user friendly to international students?
  20. 20. #NACAC17 Technology • Is constantly changing • Prospective student are dictating communication methods – How to stay in front of change? • Read. Information is out there; pay attention to emails, webinars and newsletters • Talk. Ask prospective students, guidance counselors and your colleagues • Initiate. It is up to you to push your institution to provide the technology needed for international students. • Is your website user friendly to international students? – Consider a micro-site specifically for international students – Use locally recognized sites like .es, .ch, etc
  21. 21. #NACAC17 International Travel • Preparation – Do your research & collect data! • Based on findings assess trends and set goals – Formulate key strategies/enabling objectives – Develop action plans – Map out strategies – Become an educator
  22. 22. #NACAC17 Strategic Goals are formed by Data • Internal Data Sources – Institutional research – Historical analysis • External Data Sources – Census Bureau www.census.gov/population/international/data/idb – CIA Factbook: www.CIA.gov – EducationUSA: www.educationusa.info – IIE OpenDoors Report – Publications: International Student Recruitment 2nd edition; Who Goes Where and Why? – UNESCO: Education Strategy 2014-2021
  23. 23. #NACAC17 Additional Research • What do you have control over? • What are the external factors? • What else are key factors?
  24. 24. #NACAC17 Direct Recruitment • Group travel • Individual travel • Conferences • Agent fairs
  25. 25. #NACAC17 Arm Chair Recruiting • Social Media • Chat & Email blasts • Digital Video Conference • Direct mail of materials • Letter writing campaign • Phone-A-Thon • Guidance Counselor Database • Purchase of Names • Independent Counselors
  26. 26. #NACAC17 Backyard Recruitment • Visit English Language schools • Visit Cultural Centers • Visit top feeder schools – Boarding Schools • Utilize students and staff • Go to cultural clubs on campus • Embassy visits • Independent educational consultant fairs
  27. 27. #NACAC17 Hybrid Strategy of Recruitment • Host populations on your campus • Keep your presence alive abroad
  28. 28. #NACAC17 Networks • Education's/IIE/Fulbright • Educational Agents & Consultants • Alumni networks • Private funding organizations (SABIC, ADIA, ARAMCO) • Conferences • Government Agencies (SENACYT) • Embassies
  29. 29. #NACAC17 Sophia Meas Commonwealth School (MA)
  30. 30. #NACAC17 The Student Perspective • CATS Academy Boston, one of 4 schools in the Cambridge Education Group • Grades 9-12, 94% international • U.S. boarding and day school (80% boarding) with a 10:1 student-faculty ratio • Approximately 400 students from more than 30 countries • 100% get accepted to 4-year colleges and universities
  31. 31. #NACAC17 The Student Perspective • Anna Merliakova, CATS Academy Senior, Russia • Livia Qeli, CATS Academy Junior, Albania • Uljad Berdica, CATS Academy Senior, Albania • Amber Gunther, Director of Admissions, CATS Academy • Sophia Meas, Director of College Counseling, Commonwealth School
  32. 32. #NACAC17 Discussion and Questions Developing a Targeted Outreach and Communication Plan for International Students Thank you

Editor's Notes

  • Many headlines far worse that this have been pushed out over the last few months. Yet, even a 2017 Royall survey with over 200,000 student respondents from around the world suggested that despite all this negativity, more than 2/3rd of respondent answered yes to whether the US welcomes global diversity at its colleges and universities. The percentages where highest in Latin America (75%) and Sub-Saharan Africa (77%) lowest in Middle East/North Africa – 69%. Students are smarter than we might give them credit for. Of course, this does not discount the policies and rhetoric of the current administration that place real barriers to some students’ interest in considering the US. Though 61% said their interest was not change in studying here due to the political situation, fully 1/3rd said interest had decreased. https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2017/08/07/study-finds-new-evidence-international-student-fears-about-us-trump

    A forthcoming HotCourses International Student Survey Report mirrors this downward turn with a drop of 14% from 78% to 65% who were either very or somewhat interested in studying in the US pre- vs post-election.
  • Meeker Internet Trends Report
    Mobile is the way: There are 700 million mobile internet users in China. ~80 percent of all web traffic in India is from mobile.  The global average is 50 percent, the US is under 40 percent.

    EducationUSA – 2017 Global Guide & Website content
    Videos that engage best featuring international student stories and lasting less than one minute in length.
    Global network’s social media presence: FB, YT, Twitter still most active, but growth in Instagram, Snapchat, also country specific platforms – Vkontakte, WeChat/Weibo, Kakao Talk/Naver; Iran, Syria, Belarus – all virtual advising.
    Webinars, Interactive series, virtual fairs, web
  • Meeker Internet Trends Report
    Mobile is the way: There are 700 million mobile internet users in China. ~80 percent of all web traffic in India is from mobile.  The global average is 50 percent, the US is under 40 percent.
  • EducationUSA – 2017 Global Guide & Website content
    Videos that engage best featuring international student stories and lasting less than one minute in length.
    Global network’s social media presence: FB, YT, Twitter still most active, but growth in Instagram, Snapchat, also country specific platforms – Vkontakte, WeChat/Weibo, Kakao Talk/Naver; Iran, Syria, Belarus – all virtual advising.
    Webinars, Interactive series, virtual fairs, web
  • 49 percent of international students will only send institutions questions if they cannot find the answer on their own
    International students find content from current students to be the most valuable when researching international universities
    International students prefer engagement channels where they are able to gather the information on their own versus connect directly with the institution
    Vietnamese students’ interest level in studying in the US was least affected by the 2016 election
    Visa requirements are the top concern for international students studying in the United States
  • Overall student reviews (current student) and institutional websites ranked #1 and #2 overall with 61% and 58% valued as the most important resource for intl students.
  • Outside of an institution’s website and online searches, comms with admissions staff rates most useful. Most useful info needed in comm with admissions staff = 52% visa, 48% fin aid, 38% payment options.

    More than 75% used institutional social media sites, but effective best practices on social remain elusive. For those who used social – 55% said it had a positive influence on likelihood of attending. Most used social – FB 64%, YouTube, 27%, Twitter 21%.
  • Check online content – intl student friendly, mobile responsive – focus groups, think about custom navigation for international students, geo-locating services, localized language content/translations of important info (for parents). Address affordability in terms that makes sense for overseas students.

    Be proactive – 1) Get onboard with positive campaigns trends/adapt for your audiences - #YouAreWelcomeHere now has over 250 US institutions participating. https://www.youarewelcomehereusa.org/ (interestingly – over 85% of the HotCourses student survey takers were unaware of the YAWH campaign, but 44% wanted to know more)
    2) Institutions can provide housing for internationals affected by the visa travel ban and even extend to all intl students concerned about going home. 3) promote institution support services and campus safety

    3) Let students lead – video stories, live chats, promote positive intl student experiences and alumni success stories.

    4) Keep conversations going – re-engagement is the key – via email, social, chat, video, website – bring them back, let them know you’re still interested, only as good as our last conversation

    5) Measure impact – landing pages for events, shortened URL tracking, analytics through social, web, & email campaigns
  • Outdo rival institutions for the best students
    Schools that stay engaged with the right messages throughout the admissions lifecycle will win the best students.
    CWL’s capabilities like chat, specialized and custom events greatly increase the quality of personalization and engagement with the right types of students – and gives you an upper-hand vs. your rivals in enrolling the best students
  • 1. Build your brand in target markets abroad if you want to compete for international students
    International students study in the United States because they want to attend a specific institution.
    They also place high value on college rankings in making their enrollment decisions, especially graduate students.
    You need to establish your institution’s presence in key overseas markets and tout academic offerings, facilities, research rankings, faculty achievements, and any international student outcomes to make a convincing case for enrollment.

    2. Make sure your website and e-communications can adapt to small screens
    Almost 30 percent of respondents reported that they use mobile devices as their primary web browsers, and 60 percent said that they have viewed college websites on a mobile device.
    These numbers have been and will certainly continue to grow, so it’s important to make sure that your valuable web content and email messages are readable and fully functioning on smartphone displays.

    3. Employ a wide variety of communication methods
    International students are eager to use a number of ways to communicate with campuses.
    Use email as your foundation for communication, but give students access to live conversations via instant messaging, video presentations, webcam calls, and even text and phone calls.
    Ask students for their preferences so that you use methods they are comfortable with and that they consent to using (in case there are issues such as communication costs or time differences).

    4. Build strong relationships early with key international prospects
    International students tend to be drawn to specific campuses, but they are also often interested
    in more than one or two—sometimes even more than a half dozen. There is a strong chance that a
    prospective international student is interested in other campuses in addition to yours. Cultivate your
    inquiries quickly and use frequent, multichannel communications to convey information about your
    academic programs, funding options, campus facilities, and student life.

    5. Involve parents in the communication flow
    Nearly 60 percent of undergraduates said their parents would have some say in their enrollment
    decision, and even 49 percent of graduate students reported that their decision would be a joint
    one with their parents. Collect contact information for parents if possible and set up specific
    communication flows for them.

    6. Make funding information easily available
    Respondents made it abundantly clear that funding and paying for an education abroad was their
    top concern. Make it easy for international students to fi nd this information on your website and
    address it early in your communications with the. A net price calculator on your website that’s
    tailored for international students could be very helpful, and get them connected with international
    services personnel who can answer their funding questions.

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