Last night was the first ‘Technology and International Student Recruiting‘ Meet-up here in Boston and it was a fantastic conversation. Many thanks to George and the rest of the folks from Suffolk University who hosted the event!
There were people from all different aspects of tech and higher education who added a lot to the overall conversation and dynamic of the group.
We discussed a lot of points that were interesting last night and though I would share and extend the conversation if anyone else is interested in participating…
We hit the topic of next year’s school budgets and how that would affect travel for international student recruiting. I wondered if schools were going to be shifting more resources away from travel to utilization of new social media initiatives. From some people it sounds like schools have no intention to give up travel but are still pouring energy and resources into new media as the millennial target market demands it.
One person commented that physical interaction can’t be beat especially when marketing to international students. Travel will remain a mainstay of recruiting but schools are becoming even more focused on targeted locations around the world.
Is your school becoming more focused on destinations of travel? Rather than continent, region, or country are you now more focused on cities or even particular feeder schools?
The impression that I understood is that schools are starting to shy away from the more expensive international student recruiting tours. It sounds like schools are going to be coming up with alternatives to these tours.
What is your school doing next year? Giving up on the expensive tours? Shifting more financial and human capital toward social media and the web?
Evolution of Interaction
Many schools are more accpeting of utilizing new social media intiatives. Where once Facebook looked to be a daunting proposal for an admissions office (not that it still isn’t) schools are understanding that whether they are are taking an initiative on Facebook, people will be creating pages and groups about their school. It’s all about if the school wants to participate in that conversation or be ignorant about it.
The interesting point that arose was how students will interact with institutions in a grammatical sense. Some people commented on how students converse with admissions counselors or instituion staff using the ‘LOL’ speak rather than the typical formal language that we automatically believe everyone will use when communicating with someone in a ‘professional atmosphere’.
Has anyone else experienced this or seen this LOL speak as a growing concern? I know speaking with the EducationUSA office in Lahore, Pakistan last week, the adviser in the office found that many prospective students don’t know how to interact professionally which of course could ultimately hurt the student in the admissions process.
Establishing Commuities for Students
With schools more willing to embrace new social media initiatives, one admisisons counselor commented on how they are looking for quality opportunities to set up communities for prospective students to engage the school in a conversation. For example why restrict oneself to Facebook when one can set up communities in more popular country specific social networks like Orkut.com in India and Brazil or Wer-kennt-wen.de in Germany.
One point that turned out to be a pro and con was who was going to manage these communities especially when the people working in the admissions office can’t speak the language in which the conversation was being held. Many people agreed that if current international students at their school could spearhead such initiatives it would prove to be super beneficial. For one, prospective students would much prefer to speak with other international students about what they can expect at a school rather than an admissions counselor in which they will more than likely have a harder time relating to. But of course, finding a student who is excited and motivate enough to stick with such an initiative can sometimes be a difficult task.
Are any schools utilizing current students to spearhead community building on country specific social networks? Which countries are you focusing on?
There will be another meeting next month (March) so if anyone is interested in this topic and interested in hearing what others in this community are doing please join us on the Technology and international Student Recruiting meet up group.