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Interview with Aaron Peltoniemi

Today, we’re taking you to Japan to present this November’s “Student Recruitment Team of the Month”! We want to share the experiences iCLA delivers to their students and share with you how they managed to recruit 50% of their cohort of students internationally.

To start, could you give us an outline of your student recruitment team and tell us more about your main responsibilities?

We are a small recruitment team. We have four team members covering the international market, and two team members who are in charge of the domestic market. My role is to assist the full team. I personally do not travel as much as the other two team members since I mainly focus on marketing and communication. I do a lot of online and email communication and I am also using social media platforms such as Goodwall or Facebook to respond to students’ enquiries. As for the domestic market, sometimes I visit high schools, here in Japan, or attend fairs where I can represent our college.

You mentioned that you have two teams, one focusing on domestic markets and the other on international markets. What are your ambitions for these markets?

Since we are an international college, we try our best to pull in an equal number of domestic and international students. Currently, we have 50 percent of students who are international and 50 percent Japanese.  As for the International, we are trying to reach different countries, including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Students want to fully know their future university before enrolling. What do you think are the most effective touchpoints to engage with prospective students along their enrollment journey to better increase conversion?

Of course it’s important to be clear. To be able to communicate what you can offer students, such as main majors or scholarships, in a short and simple way. As most of us in our team have studied and worked in different countries and that our international students come from varying different countries, sometimes it’s difficult for them to imagine studying and living in Japan. So what I think is useful to talk about our own experience and really humanize the connection with students in referring back to our academic journey abroad. This also allows students to imagine their life at iCLA, particularly for those who have not yet made their decision and need more than digital content on a website to portray what their future student life can be.

With the student enrollment journey happening more and more online, universities essentially have only a few minutes to impress prospective students. How is iCLA succeeding in impressing prospective students and what role has Goodwall played to help you achieve this goal?

Long-lasting first impressions are very important. One thing that’s actually nice about Goodwall is that we can customize the messages that are sent to students. What I personally like is the chat layout so it removes any kind of formality. I think it’s very easy and natural for the students to chat and just ask questions about the university without typing out an email. Email takes time, you have to change settings, but Goodwall is very simple. You just type the message and enter. If I can respond quickly, I think it has a good impression because it shows that I care, it also helps them remember iCLA.

In the online aspect, something like Goodwall is very valuable. Facebook is useful too. When we physically meet students, we try to bring an emblem or symbol from Japan like a Samurai so students can see and feel a little bit of the traditional Japanese culture. We also like to share events and what’s going on in iCLA or to show what students are doing here. Again, it helps people imagine how it would be to study in iCLA.

Technology has become a critical element in order to reach, engage and recruit students globally. What do you think about integrating online student recruitment channels with offline channels? What impact has it had on your international student recruitment?

Integration is essential as it provides a more comprehensive understanding of the students we can find. With online activities we can see what I call the “digital self” of students and get some useful information about them before we meet them. However, when you meet students some of them might seem different compared to their “digital self,” so integrating both online and offline channels allows us to understand each student better; this is critical for us as we are doing a lot of recruiting activities.

We don’t need to recruit that many students every semester as we are a relatively small college. But we want well-rounded students both in academics and sports along with students who have understanding of other cultures. So integrating both channels helps us see students’ “digital self” and their “real-self”  together, it’s really useful for us.

This semester, there are a few students who I originally started contacting only online. Later, when their family was traveling in Japan they stopped by to visit our school, which is a really nice way to connect with students. Now they are one of our students.

What are the factors that should be kept in mind to build a modern student recruitment strategy that delivers both great customer experience and enrollment.

I think there are 3 main factors.

The first factor that I think is the most important is “Considering the Audience”. The presentation (when you are meeting a person) and communication style (when it is online).

The next factor is “Knowing your Market”. What this really means is understanding a little bit about the language, culture, history and understanding the use of social media of a specific country. For instance in China, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all blocked. Google is blocked. So if you want to use social media, you need to know the Chinese culture as China is very strict in controlling the internet, so you use their forms of social media that they create in their country.

So the third factor would be “to be concise and provide relevant information” when sending information out by email or through digital advertising. The main reason for this is that there is so much information out there that it’s hard for people to remember. As a result you need to be very clear in your speech and summarize the USP of your university in a very short way while sounding attractive for students, so that it is easier for them to remember.

What are your predictions about international student recruitment for the next three to five years?

Based on people who have been working in student recruitment over the last 10 years and talking with them, I personally think there will be greater emphasis on using social media platforms and providing digital content. Updating content regularly with relevant information will,  in my opinion, become really important for student recruitment in the next 3 years. Having video content about life at the university; students’ testimonies or even professors explaining the life at universities can be of great asset to attract students.

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Universities never stop to impress us on Goodwall. This month we take you to Switzerland where we had the pleasure to interview Alexandra Schaffner and Anne-Treacy Pelichet, Admission Officers at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne.

Could you outline to us your student recruitment team and tell us more about your main responsibilities?

The Admissions and Recruitment team at EHL is composed of twenty six colleagues based on three different continents with offices in Lausanne, Singapore and the United States. Our team members are responsible for different regions and recruit a diverse group of students. We are the first point of contact when a candidate enquires about the school through one of the many events organized on campus, abroad, or online. We then accompany those who are interested in applying throughout our admissions process and guide them through every step of the way. For us, it is important to provide a personalized experience to each and every candidate and ensure that they are the right fit for EHL and vice-versa.

How has your school evolved over the last years and what are the main changes you have experienced in student recruitment?

We launched the English section in 1988, giving students the opportunity to study in English or French, boosting our international profile with 114 nationalities represented on campus. We currently accept 350 students for each intake with around 2/3 of our students enrolled in the English section. All of our programs immerse students in both practical and theoretical learning environments where they are expected to work in groups on real-life case studies, conduct research and present their findings to large audiences. Our capacity is planned to grow to 3’000 students by 2020 with a new campus built to cater to students’ needs, both inside and outside the classrooms. We will be increasing our capacity while maintaining our selectivity. We have never been more present online than we are today thanks to Facebook, Instagram and educational communities such as Goodwall that allows us to connect to a larger group of students.

“We have never been more present online than we are today thanks to Facebook, Instagram and educational communities such as Goodwall that allows us to connect to a larger group of students.

 

At a time when leading economies are adopting protectionist measures and limiting student mobility, what has been the impact on your international student recruitment practices and how are you best responding to these new market dynamics from a student recruitment perspective?

We are lucky to be located in a country like Switzerland, which has maintained exceptional levels of safety and economic stability. When we inform our audiences about EHL, we actively endorse Switzerland as the safe, stable and hospitable country it is, comforting parents on their decision to send their children to study abroad. For those who are in financial need, we offer scholarships that are both merit and need based. This, in combination with our international accreditation, has allowed us to maintain our leading position in the industry worldwide.

 

“When we inform our audiences about EHL, we actively endorse Switzerland as the safe, stable and hospitable country it is, comforting parents on their decision to send their children to study abroad

 

In many industries, leading organizations are talking about “customer experience” to attract and retain new customers. What does this mean for EHL and how important is it as part of your student recruitment strategy?

As mentioned, our admissions process is personalized and our candidates are individually guided throughout the process. We are fortunate to have the largest network of alumni in the hospitality industry that includes over 25’000 alumni around the world.  This means that students are able to network with professionals from different industries and discover a variety of career opportunities in a wide range of industries such as banking, luxury, retail, or consulting.

What are the areas of student recruitment that you are most excited about in 2017/18 and what are you predictions for the next two years?

While our programs are constantly updated to remain ahead of the industry shifts, we are also developing new programs tailored to different needs. We have recently launched new Master programs as well as online programs. For those seeking vocational training, we have developed a six-month Master Class in Culinary Arts.  By 2020, our campus is expected to grow with new student facilities being developed, in an effort to remain the leading hospitality management institute.

This month Goodwall had the chance to interview the highly enthusiastic and passionate Hizon Mackenzie. With over 10 years of international experience in student recruitment, Hizon Mackenzie is the Director of International Student Recruitment of the Southern New Hampshire University.  From student experience, digital recruitment and new enrollment opportunities, Hizon Mackenzie shares her view on the hottest trends and topics of student recruitment.

The Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 80,000 online students, making the university one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, the university has been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and has gained national recognition for their dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We have a whole office of International Programs at Southern New Hampshire University. In the recruitment team there’s three of us and we essentially divide up the world by geographic regions. We manage the partner accounts and direct student applications from those regions. We’re managing both agency partners and university partners, as well as also individual students who apply directly. We also manage US transfer and US partners. We have quite an independent role but we also collaborate together on projects and share knowledge about best practices that can be spilled over to other markets. Each of us also takes on some administrative duties such as marketing and one of my administrative duties is managing lead vendors. All three of us spend time traveling to our key countries in the fall and spring, and we meet together on campus about 4 times per year. It works really well.

In many industries, leading organizations are talking about “customer experience” to attract and retain new customers. What does this mean for SNHU and how important it is as part of your student recruitment strategy?

I personally have been managing partner relations in international education for more than 10 years. The first institution I worked for had a very strong customer service focus so I learned this approach early on in my career (I also have a background in Business Marketing) and I feel that is one of the most successful ways to build enrollment pipelines in this industry. For me, I constantly strive everyday to be the best relationship manager for both our partners and our students.

I believe in the experience that SNHU provides to students when they arrive. We call it a “hold-the-door-open” kind of place where literally everyone on campus will hold the door open for you. That small act can be replicated a thousand times over. So whenever we are doing things throughout our day, “how can we hold the door open” for those people and how can we create that experience? In an age where there are so many institutions out there – there is a sea of schools in every country and in the US alone there are over 4,000 institutions – how can we stand apart in addition to the amazing innovative programs that we have, the location and the faculty? We provide great service for both our partners and our students and that is a key factor in being successful – treating people with respect and helping them get to the goals they want to achieve.

“In an age where there are so many institutions out there – there is a sea of schools in every country and in the US alone there are over 4,000 institutions – how can we stand apart in addition to the amazing innovative programs that we have, the location and the faculty?

There are even situations when I work with a student, and after talking to them further, I realize that SNHU isn’t the best option for them. Maybe they don’t have enough funds and we are a private school, so I will encourage them to consider starting at a Community College. To me, that is also a “customer experience”, because I want to support them to be successful in their education goals. So, it’s not always about making the enrollment. It’s about providing the best level of support and counseling that I can for each student.

Is building relationship with students a key differentiator of student recruitment in an era where universities are a Google search away?

I think it’s more important because today students are definitely going about their school search process much differently than even 5 years ago. In some markets, they still heavily rely on agents and that’s an important aspect of that sort of “Expert mentality” and also important for the parents who may not have the language skills or field knowledge to help their children make an informed school decision. However, university officials become more important because students don’t always need the agent. In my situation, building relationship directly with students is important because they are finding us directly. So I do a lot, I’m online, I’m on Wechat, Line, Skype; a lot of different platforms where the students are communicating. I have to be quick in response to those messages, engage with them and answer their questions. We have to be where the students are, they won’t come to us.

It becomes even more important because students are finding us quickly and directly. So, we have to be even better at following up on our leads and on our direct inquiries, because it really becomes a game of who is the fastest to respond and who gets the most information, so that the student can then make that decision. If one does not respond to students, they find somebody else who will.

How do you use Goodwall to build and maintain these relationships?

We’ve been very happy with the quality of the students who are using this platform.

We just finished our recruitment season and we were able to use Goodwall’s platform and also the support services to target specific countries, cities and regions to blast out to students who live in cities we were visiting, which allowed us  to meet with individual students on the ground. That was a really great experience! I’ve never had that experience with a lead vendor before. Normally, with most lead vendors, you receive a list of emails and you hope they just respond to your messages, and maybe one or two will convert. With Goodwall, we can’t believe how much work the team does behind the scenes to support our recruitment efforts. I’ve never had a vendor that does as much work to support their university partners. Our account manager, Osnat,  always responds quickly, provides us good information and continually checks in while providing solutions on way to improve. I feel like they really understand how to support the institutions, and they understand that we don’t have the time to check it every day.

The quality of the leads from Goodwall and being able to connect with them in person really extends our reach much more than just having a list of emails. Because we have a strategy of lead management to convert those leads, being able to meet high quality leads in person is an important aspect of our recruitment strategy in the direct recruitment area, and even though it’s early to see results for this recruitment season, we are very confident that we will see leads that we’ve contacted with Goodwall apply and enroll in SNHU.

“The quality of the leads from Goodwall and being able to connect with them in person really extends our reach much more than just having a list of emails”

 Your university is very active in organizing recruitment trips to meet students all over the world who are interested in your university. Could you share your experience in meeting international students and how Goodwall has helped you facilitate this process to gain more exposure?

We plan our recruitment travels and visit various cities based on recruitment numbers that we were seeing in the past and predominantly, we use these trips to meet with our partners and to present at fairs. Since we have already identified our target cities, we sent them to Goodwall and we contacted students in those cities, offering prospective students option to meet with us directly. So we basically built the outreach into our existing travel and recruitment plans.

Do you see a shift in countries from which you target students?

China and India continue to be huge markets. Vietnam is continuing to grow at an impressive speed. We are currently spending some time developing out countries in Central Asia. For example,  Kazakhstan  is an oil-rich country with many students interested in studying Engineering and Business. We are also spending more time in Latin America and Africa.

At present, due to the current US political situation, I am noting some shifts in the market – students are considering other country options like Australia and Canada because they feel it’s safer and also there are more secured opportunities to work. It has been the case in the past as well, not just because of the current administration.

At the institution level, we are creating more content to continue to ensure that people feel welcome. For instance, we recently sent a letter from our president to all of our partners and this past spring we created a campaign called #SNHUUnited, filming and producing a video for a campaign that is currently running at different colleges called “You are welcome here“.

What are some areas of student recruitment that you are most excited about in 2017?

We’ve tried to identify some developing markets both developing economically but also developing in the context of not everyone is there trying to recruit. Nowadays, everybody is in China, India, Vietnam and in certain countries that have been identified as growing and key markets. So we’re trying to identify markets that are not as large but with less competition and more opportunities to meet with students to potentially see enrollments. This also helps with diversifying the student body on campus.

For our team specifically, I am really excited as we’re finalizing our first year as a team. We’re going through a lot of internal infrastructure developments and how have our CRM built out. So we have been working on the foundation to be able to build to the next level.

One of the other things that really excites me is my team that is very interested in constantly evolving. We always look for new ways to be successful, and this year, Goodwall is one of those additions to our marketing and recruitment strategies. We’re excited to further develop that and better engage with those leads. We’re going to engage more with students on the platform and really dig deeper. I am looking forward to seeing some of those leads we met with this spring converting into applications for the fall and to start the second season with Goodwall and see what we can do as we further develop that relationship and use the platform more fully.

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Every month Goodwall presents you the best student admissions teams from all over the world. This month we take you to Australia to meet The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and its student recruitment manager, Beau Magloire.

The United States Studies Centre (USSC) is an independent organization located at the University of Sydney. As an independent organization, the USSC collaborates with the University of Sydney to deliver curriculum at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In order to consolidate their unique international positioning, the USSC worked collaboratively with Goodwall to scale their student recruitment while still providing prospective students with personalized messages, building strong relationship and guiding them throughout the search and application process, all the way to enrollment.

How many people do you have in your recruitment and admissions team?

Our team is quite unique as we are a center that is independent but we also work collaboratively with the University of Sydney. In the team we have myself as the student recruitment manager, Jessica Regan who is the academic and support officer, and Emily Serifovski the program ambassador.

What are the student recruitment objectives and challenges you face to attract domestic and international students?

We recruit domestic and international students. The Unites States Studies Centre has just recently started to really engage with the international student market. It is important for us, given that we are explicitly an international center, to have a large cohort of international students around the world engaging with our programs and sharing ideas. Our main objectives are to increase the amount of meaningful engagement for all our student programs but also to modify our existing programs and create new ones. This can be anything from alumni engagement to internships, to non-curriculum based education training.

What are your biggest challenges when you are trying to promote your programs to students?

I think particularly in the international sector, it is a matter of scale. When we are dealing with the domestic market we normally need to worry about just our competitors within cities, states and possibly the country. As the USCC is part of the GO8, which is like the Russel Group, when we promote domestically we are looking closely at universities that are part of the GO8. But when it comes to international markets we not only need to be looking at what GO8 universities are doing but also the rest of the world. There are also other programs not only in our country but around the world. I think the real challenge in international sector is to be on top of what everyone is doing and looking at the overall and holistic market and trends of students in immediate cities area.

“I think the real challenge in the international sector is to be on top of what everyone is doing and looking at the overall and holistic market and trends of students in immediate city areas.”

How do you go about finding and attracting students domestically and internationally?

Domestically, it’s about engaging directly with schools. One part is offering a value proposition that is giving students and teachers something worthwhile, it is not just about coming and talking honestly about our programs. We recently started some new initiatives like the summer research court where we bring students and pay them to contribute to our academic research. These kind of initiatives are value-add propositions that allow us to speak to schools. In addition, we have programs that they might also want to study with the University of Sydney, but also engaging with industries as well.

And last but not least, online international student recruitment; Goodwall has been a huge boost not only in terms of reaching new international students but also organisationally. It has been an excellent tool for us to coordinate our marketing messages, to be quite discerning in terms of how we look at our international markets and support horizontal integration for our international outreach.

“It has been an excellent tool for us to coordinate our marketing messages, to be quite discerning in terms of how we look at our international markets and support horizontal integration for our international outreach.”

 

You have been using the platform for a few months. Can you share your experience, the results and the way you perceive international student recruitment?

Students are incredibly engaged in their choices, and this is more a reflection of generational change. Students are a lot more discerning now about their education choices. Obviously there is the digital age, students are able to engage a lot more meaningfully. But also it’s a matter of each nationalization, particularly in Asia at least, it’s a given that students are going to study overseas, such as in South Korea, with 80% of students probably going mobile at some point in their tertiary education.

Because of this, digital platforms are a necessity and that’s where Goodwall comes in. It allows them to be curious, dig deep about the sort of inquiries students have about tertiary education. I don’t think it is sustainable to just blast out messages and assume that students will be satisfied with that. I think Goodwall offers the opportunity to put the autonomy in students’ hands. I can tell when students are interested in USSC by the frequency, the depth and mode of communication they engage with us inThis a lot better compared to previous methods of enquiry where we would usually expect a single enquiry from a student and we would cross our fingers whether or not this is going to convert to an application in 6 months time without any further idea what the conversion rate is going to be. Goodwall takes out a significant proportion of this “guess what”.

How has Goodwall helped you target specific markets and also markets that it was hard for you to cover before?

In Australia, international student recruitment comes primarily from China and other regions such as Singapore or Hong Kong. I think Goodwall has been an excellent tool in diversifying the range of students by receiving numerous inquiries from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe and South America as well. In my previous role, recruitment was very much focused on China and the greater Asian region which would require a large amount of investment. Goodwall has kind of naturalised the recruitment process for these other regions and that’s very refreshing as it is the perfect complement to the other recruitment process that I used for the Asian region. I think that overall the two work very well to have a truly global presence.

Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) and Goodwall have entered an exciting partnership to host the YYGS Alumni Network, which includes alumni ambassadors, on Goodwall. YYGS is a summer academic enrichment and leadership program that brings together outstanding high school students from around the world for intensive two-week sessions on the Yale campus.

Goodwall shares the YYGS mission, which is to empower the next generation of global leaders. Goodwall is an app and social network for teens to create their first professional online profile and showcase their proudest academic and extracurricular achievements. With a very active and engaged user base reaching 1 million users in over 150 countries, Goodwall enables students to discover unique learning experiences and connect with fellow students who share similar passions.

Launching March 2017, the YYGS-Goodwall partnership has three main objectives:

1.    To bring together students who participated in YYGS programs and build a strong online community of YYGS alumni

2.    To consolidate the YYGS Alumni Ambassador program by recognizing ambassador work and providing them with a platform to interact and exchange experiences

3.    To promote YYGS programs to high achieving students from around the world on Goodwall

After completing their YYGS program, alumni will showcase their experience on Goodwall and interact with previous YYGS participants through a dedicated group channel.

Alumni who complete provided tasks that promote YYGS to their friends, classmates, and others in their local community will also have the opportunity to become YYGS Alumni Ambassadors and join a tight knit community to share best practices and keep up to date with YYGS news.

By promoting YYGS alumni experiences, other high achieving students on Goodwall will also have the opportunity to discover and apply to YYGS, thus aiding in building the next generation of alumni and future ambassadors.

This partnership will build a strong online community where students can share experiences, meet like-minded high achieving students, and discover new enriching opportunities to grow and develop as future global leaders.


Join the community and sign up for Goodwall today!

If interested in becoming an alumni ambassador, please refer to our alumni ambassador form.

Reading the latest news in higher education, one could easily perceive that enrolling international students is a task easier said than done. With the recent fall of 5% in the number of student applications in the UK and  40% of US universities reporting a decline in international student applications, student recruitment in higher education is highly different and more complex compared to the past ten years. Adding to this the rise in tuition fees and a new generation of hyper-connected students, universities and HE marketing practitioners have therefore no choice but to adapt quickly to these new market dynamics and rethink their recruitment strategy. To do so, the proliferation of digital technology has paved the way to unparalleled opportunities, allowing universities to reinvent and distinguish themselves to engage with prospective students through many touch points. The ability for universities to provide a truly innovative, engaging and therefore memorable experience to prospective students is what will differentiate winning universities and make them stand out in a highly competitive and vitriolic market.

Making students feel special

Prospective students today have more information than ever before and are empowered to make optimal choices regarding the universities they want to engage with. This is a major game changer for universities and HE marketing leaders who are now forced to deliver prospective students with personalized messages through their preferred channels of communication and at the right time. Indeed, students are looking for relevance and simplicity. They want to choose a university that understands them as individuals rather than members of a category. As such, universities must adapt to the students’ journey to create relevant conversations and move them forward in their unique decision-making process. The example below illustrates how this can be implemented in the context of student recruitment and shows the power of timing and personalized messaging.

 

In this example, the university astutely referred to the passion of the student but more importantly offers a course that is very relevant. Combined together this created a highly personalized conversation, resulting in a new lead for the university and, above all, an experience where the university stood out. In using the right platform to reach best fit students and scale up the volume of personalized messages, universities can amplify the number of leads generated without comprising the quality of these leads.

Creating a seamless experience for all prospective students

With a new generation of students embracing mobile and social technologies, it’s now a critical moment for universities to lead that change and become empowered with omnichannel forces.

By taking prospective students from start to finish across all channels in one smooth line, students will remember universities they engage with for all the right reasons. Mapping and understanding the customer journey of your prospective students and setting goals accordingly is the right step to take. For each persona, universities must map the most common customer journey; detailing channels and types of interactions through those channels. Creating a seamless experience for prospective students is a strategic decision and to deliver a “wow” effect UK universities need to ask themselves:

What does the customer journey for our prospective students look like?

Which stage of the journey are prospective students dropping out at?

What’s missing in our strategy to make them choose our university?

Most importantly, what can our university deliver to create a stronger customer experience than our competitors and ultimately enrol more prospective students?

There’s little value in a prospective student having a highly personalized experience with your university over one channel, when if they connect over another channel your university treats them as a complete stranger

Connecting students with their peers to build trust

Confronted with a new generation of students making decisions based on reviews and opinions from their peers, universities need to connect prospective students with stories and discussions from current and past students. Universities can then prove their worth and student success through examples of job placements in top organizations, unique international opportunities, academic research excellence, exceptional student career support, etc.

The use of group chats represents an efficient way to create discussions with their peers and build trust. In using online student recruitment platform universities can implement this student engagement tactic and need to look at data accumulated from all different touch points to discern where students might be blocked in their journey. Themes can then be developed based on the data gathered, such as visa application, accommodation or course applications. For instance, for universities looking to attract more international students from Nigeria, there is a good chance that creating a group chat “Visa application for Nigerian students” hosted by a student that already experienced this process will be extremely relevant for Nigerian students looking to apply, especially if the application process is complex.

Similarly, if universities want to improve enrollment for particular courses, an astute way to generate valuable conversations with students would be to offer 30 minute chat sessions with recent graduates to receive advice on course preparation, assignments and ask questions regarding the quality of the course. In doing so, universities set the stage for a more human and engaging student recruitment process, whereby they can make an emotional yet fact-based decision. It is also an opportunity for universities to have a unique insight into the students’ decision-making process and use data generated from different channels to optimize the student recruitment journey and create content that moves them forward in their decision-making process.

Building a supportive online student community to foster retention

Many students leave their hometown to study and find they must make new friends as well as adapt to new values, norms and to the local culture. Due to all these changes, students may face emotional difficulties and this highlights the importance of developing a community that can support them to make the most of their university experience. Universities can help students develop a sense of belonging from the beginning of their academic experience by building supportive online communities.

To reinforce retention among students, universities should build their online communities on two key pillars. Firstly, base the community around a course to enable students to work together and answer each other’s questions, express their ideas and show their personality. In doing so, students have the opportunity to discover each other’s experiences and develop new long-term friendships. Secondly, dedicated representatives from the university should build and manage the community. Representatives have a crucial role in ensuring that the community drives a continuous flow of conversations and that students find the support they need. Although a community can be a very exciting and simple way to join conversations, it is also very easy for students to leave after finding the answers they are looking for. This helps identify students that have not engaged with the community and who may be experiencing difficulty during classes, importantly to engage in order to avoid drop out.

Using a creative recruitment strategy demands universities to engage with students at each stage of their decision journey. Integrating the recruitment processes, personalizing the outreach and developing strong online communities are key pillars whereby universities can innovatively start humanizing their recruitment strategy and build meaningful relationships with students in order to drive recruitment and improve retention in a highly crowded market.

In August 2016, the University of Kent chose Goodwall as their student recruitment social platform based on Goodwall’s unique community of high profile international students and superior capacity to gain visibility of students who show interest in enrolling with the university. Armed with the right tool, the recruitment and marketing team worked collaboratively with Goodwall to create a student profile to target. Using targeting criteria such as student location, graduation year, academic score and course choice, the team had the ability to ..

READ FULL CASE STUDY HERE

 

 

“The contest created by Goodwall and The Womanity Foundation is a recognition of the excellence achieved by young women around the Middle East and Northern Africa,” says Goodwall co-founder Taha Bawa. “We believe that talent can be found everywhere around the world, and we want to make sure these talented young women receive the education they need and deserve.”

The Womanity Foundation and Goodwall are proud to present you their new scholarship project directed at female students from the Middle East and North Africa.

The Womanity Foundation and Goodwall have launched a competition directed at female students who have had a positive and lasting impact in their community or have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. The objective of the program is to celebrate the excellence and talent of female students living in the Middle East and North Africa and to support girls and women’s access to quality education and vocational training.

In 2017, Goodwall Womanity Scholarship will cover a one-year full-tuition at the Swiss International Scientific School of Dubai for a female young leader in the MENA region and IPADS to the 10 finalists.

second Scholarship will offer a prize of USD 5,000 to cover the tuition of a university of choice of the winner.

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Over five million tertiary students are currently studying outside of their home countries enrolled in higher education programs. Improved US relations within Asia-Pacific, through Obama’s “rebalancing strategy” mean international counterparts are increasingly open to educational exchanges. Indiana University, one of the top ten producers of the Fulbright US Student Exchange Program, recently formalized a ten year partnership with China’s top ranking university Tsinghua University.

In 2016, the number of international students in the US topped 1 million for the first time ever. But, the balance of host countries is shifting amid a wave of regionalization threatening decades-old collaborations. Trump and Brexit may jeopardize international alliances, potentially limiting future growth in the US and the UK.

Economic agreements and international collaborations have laid the foundations for future student mobility. Though it has made a late entry to the game, Asia is growing in popularity as an emerging destination for international students. So, what’s the impact of these international trends, and how is Asia forming new alliances to attract international audiences?

Regionalisation shifts international student flow

International collaboration, fuelled by economic trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and politico-economic alliances like the European Union, provides new channels for student mobility. It creates a bedrock for open borders, facilitating student exchange programs and educational collaboration.

NAFTA created economic integration between the US, Mexico and Canada. It was instrumental in promoting the Program for North American Mobility for Higher Education, providing funding for projects that encourage cooperation and exchange between the three countries. Programs like ‘100,000-strong in the Americas’ aim to increase the number of US students in other countries on the continent, and Mexico’s ‘Proyecta 100,000’ additionally aims to send the same number of Mexican students to the US by 2018.

However, a Trump presidency spells an uncertain future for trade relations and established international alliances. His campaign pledge to reduce or even end the H-1B visa for foreign workers could prevent international graduates from finding work.

A post-Brexit UK offers a similarly bleak outlook. Leaving the European Union (EU), UK students and universities likely no longer benefitting from the European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (Erasmus) or recent legislation streamlining EU regulations.

While the US and the UK, set about forging new agreements and exchange programs to create more welcoming environments — at the hands of a new trend of regionalisation — host countries within Asia are providing new opportunities for curious minds.

Asia Emerges as the Next Destination for International Students

Providing 53% of international students, Asia controls the biggest share of demand. This growing wealth of Asian students are increasingly looking closer to home, exploring tertiary study opportunities within the region. This is encouraged by regional collaborations, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) University Network. Furthermore, the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) created a free trade area four times more populated than the EU, also driving new initiatives in higher education.

ASEAN is working with EU support to provide scholarships helping students in Asia to visit other countries in the continent. The extended ASEAN Plus Three (APT) moreover celebrates collaborations in Asia, most recently with the five-year ASEAN Work Plan to unite efforts across 18 countries.

While institutions in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and India, rise in world ranking, increased movement is also being seen in new emerging education hubs. Japan is seeing an uptick in visitors from increasingly wealthy neighbouring states. And continued efforts in Malaysia, including an offshore campus from the UK’s University of Nottingham, have recently been acknowledged by UNESCO’s inclusion of Malaysia within its top ten preferred international education hubs, bagging the number nine spot.

Home to the global community’s lion’s share of mobile students, China sends over 400,000 students out into the international community every year. As the US becomes less attractive, experts predict a flux of Chinese students to new destinations such as Canada and Australia, accelerating the pre-Trump trend. While this is a ripe time for ASEAN alliances to pursue Chinese students, it also means China has a pretty impressive bargaining tool — almost half a million highly educated students with which to build new exchanges.

China Will Decide Asia’s Successes

China’s education ministry claims to support students traveling overseas in pursuit of further education, and it is also endeavoring to attract a new international audience. Since 2005, China has doubled the number of international students, powering the fastest year-on-year educational sector growth of any country.

China is currently building universities at a rate of one per week. In 2016, Universitas 21 exposed China as the nation with the biggest improvements since 2013. Moreover, collaborations like ‘One Belt, One Road’ aim to bolster the international crowd

through improved foreign relations. In 2013, New York University opened its campus in Shanghai through a joint-venture promoting the first ever Chinese-American classes.

Further initiatives in China also address limited job opportunities and visa barriers. Last year, the education ministry held the first ever international job fair at Peking University, attracting 1,700 students from nearly 100 countries. And in Beijing Masters students are exempt from the necessary two years of work experience in the country in order to obtain work visas.

If Asia is to succeed as an international hub, it will need the continued efforts from China to combine intensified regional alliances with work to strengthen foreign relations from further afield. It also means overcoming the risk of nationalistic tendencies, for instance favouring political programs over international study.

This means focusing on international relations to power educational initiatives, as well as creating improved work opportunities for further down the line. Regardless, Chinese students will continue to opt for new pastures, and this will power international relations and strengthened bonds for the future. As Brexit and Trump dampen international exchange efforts, in today’s interconnected global society, Asia’s growth is a silver lining.