Studying abroad is no longer exclusively for the elite. In the past few years, there has been a noticeable increase in international education, from 5 million students studying abroad in 2018, to a number expected to reach 7 million by 2022.
As people become more interested in pursuing their education abroad, recruiters and agents have to re-think and adapt their recruitment approach. Understanding the ever-changing trends and applying them to your recruitment strategies will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Let’s explore the top trends you need to focus on for international recruitment in 2019:
1) Embrace all things digital
Start by asking yourself:
Where do your prospects spend the most time?
The answer is, most probably, online.
The first step to making sure you are on the same page as your target audience is having a responsive website —for both desktop and mobile— that loads fast (you can check your website responsiveness and speed here).
It must also be visually appealing and have an SEO strategy (beginning with something as simple as using the popular terms on your landing page and making use of internal links).
Some current statistics to better understand the importance of a responsive website:
- Almost 50% of users expect your website to load in under two seconds
- If it takes longer than 3 seconds, 40% of users will leave the website
2) Create target personas and understand your market
Creating a target persona for every group of students that share similar interests, beliefs, cultures and demographics will help you understand better how each reacts to your content and recruitment strategy.
Tools such as Hubspot’s ‘Make My Persona Tool’ can help you understand what you need in order to create an effective persona. Make them as personal as possible, adding names, pictures and even real quotes from one of your prospects.
Once you have the specific target persona created, you must understand their motivations. Different regions and cultures have different motivations to study abroad.
Here are the most common ones:
- A good education: most students' motivation centers on receiving a better education than the one they can get in their home country. These students will look to enroll in top universities and are interested in content, including updated world ranks.
- Explore a different lifestyle and culture: the second most common motivation is the student's desire to embrace a different culture and country. These students will be attracted to cities with appealing lifestyles, different languages, and diversity.
- Having a sense of accomplishment: for many, studying abroad is seen as a challenge that they want to succeed at. The growth that comes with not only the education, but with the independence that studying abroad brings, is very exciting for these prospects.
- Family honour: lastly, it is common to see this motivation in regions across Asia, especially Indonesia and Thailand. Honouring their families and being able to come back with the tools to succeed in their communities and abroad will be essential.
(You can learn more market statistics through “Know Your Neighborhood: International Recruiting Fueled By Regional Insights”).
3) Open your recruitment early on
For some students, choosing a perfect university abroad takes time. Because of this, make sure to start your recruitment campaigns early on.
A report by International Student Admissions Service found that:
- 25% of international students research universities 1 to 2 years before applying
- 20% seek information 2 to 3 years before the application deadline
- 18% begin research 5 or more years in advance
This brings us to the next tip: don’t limit your target audience to 17 and 18-year-olds. Some 13-year-olds might be already dreaming of their experience abroad.
4) Keep up with growing regions
The international student landscape is constantly growing and shifting, so make sure you are keeping up with the new markets. In 2018, 1 out of 6 international students were from China, and over half of the international students were from Asia. Understanding these growing regions will make you successful in your efforts.
How can Educatly help you?
At Educatly, we have created a one-stop-shop for education seekers, where they are able to connect and interact with universities, agents, alumni, and apply easily to their dream opportunity through the platform.
We have created a platform for recruiters and universities to:
- Engage with prospective students through your feed, and connect current students and alumni as ambassadors of your University
- Contact users whose description and searches match with your target and University
- Track your recruitment strategies and student applications from start to finish
Reach out to one of our team members today to learn more about how we can work together.