Recruiting overseas students UK universities
Part 2 of 3 NEW blogs: International Student Recruitment series.
This is our second instalment looking at what universities, colleges and business schools can do to attract international students.
We already know that higher education is becoming increasingly global, with mounting numbers of students looking to study outside of their home country. Currently, UK lays in the second place as the most popular destination for international students after the USA. Our universities are truly global institutions, and international students in the UK generate invaluable economic, societal and cultural benefits, and jobs in communities in every region of the UK.
UK universities world-leading
The contribution of such students extends beyond monetary outcomes, adding value to both the experience of UK students and the UK’s global soft power. British students benefit from building international contacts and a deeper understanding of other cultures that equips them for an increasingly globalised labour market.
British universities are world-leading. To retain this enviable position and the economic and social benefits that come with it, it is critical that they remain able to recruit genuine international students and world-leading academics and researchers from around the world with minimal barriers.
Issues with post-study work visas
Although the number of international students in the UK continues to rise year on year, it’s not nearly as fast-growing as the number of overseas students coming to other English-speaking study destinations such as Canada or Australia, with both perhaps perceived to offer more welcoming post-study work visa options. The government’s decision to scrap post-study work visas in 2012 (which previously allowed international graduates to stay in the UK for up to two years) has cost the country around £150 million a year.
In March, the Department for Education (DfE) announced that International students will be given visa extensions of up to a year to look for work in the UK, as part of a package of government measures to boost numbers of overseas students after Brexit.
Targeting and recruiting international students
International students have a variety of reasons for studying abroad, such as looking for a different lifestyle, going after their dream-job, making their family proud by pursuing an advanced degree or getting better education.
With the amount of regional and national differences noted, it’s important to adapt marketing strategies for every country targeted. Educators can no longer rest on their laurels if they want to attract international students. They need to be different in order to more effectively attract global student audiences through a keen focus on value-added recruitment and orientation solutions.
Ultimately, educators must show international students that life within their campus, city, and country is a great fit for them. It must be more than a brand name or course on offer and look at attracting international students by sharing ethos, values and showcasing career prospects.
With strategic digital marketing, your institution can connect with prospective students and influence their decisions, improving enrolment numbers as a result. Some key digital strategies you can use to boost enrolment numbers from international students in the near future.
- Research the digital dynamics of the country you are targeting (i.e. popular platforms)
- Provide easily accessible information and translations
- Offer Virtual Tours
- Use Chatbots will enhance the student experience
- Always be active through social media – don’t forget maintaining your social channel YouTube!
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