Regional representation should be a crucial component of your international student recruitment strategy. Here’s why.
When recruiting international students across the globe, there’s a lot of challenges for universities to consider.
The recruitment and admissions process requires a substantial amount of communication, which can often be complicated by time zone constraints and language barriers.
This means that university staff can’t deliver the level of service to international students that they’d like, risking losing prospective students throughout the admissions process.
This can often be compounded by tightening budgets and a lack of resources, ensuring that university staff are at a significant disadvantage when recruiting international students.
To address these issues, universities can invest in trained regional, in-country experts that can act as their representation in far-flung regions.
So, what are the benefits of using an in-country representative rather than a home-based representative from your university?
The advantages of regional representation
Compared to university staff based in your home country, in-country representatives can act on your university’s behalf to communicate with students, manage regional educational agents, and increase the frequency of event attendance.
By freeing your university staff from these regional activities, you can lower travel costs, provide students with a dedicated resource, and ensure consistent rapport and communication with students and agents.
At the moment, your university might only visit a few major cities in your key markets, and perhaps only once or twice a year.
This leaves little room in the budget for multiple trips, entering new markets, or building strong relationships, as a low frequency of visits may erode trust in markets that are relationship-oriented. For instance, the QS team has found that agents from Indonesia are particularly sensitive to the frequency of visits, preferring monthly visits to quarterly visits.
For example, if a university representative travelled from the UK to Indonesia to visit local agents the cost could be as much as USD$440-500/£350-400/€390-450 return. However, if an in-country representative in Kuala Lumpur wanted to visit agents in Indonesia the cost would only be around USD$60-125/£50-100/€55-110 return.
With in-country representation, universities can substantially boost the frequency of their visits, increasing to once a quarter or even once a month.
This level of face time can revive agent networks that have gone cold, allow universities to access smaller cities and areas previously unavailable to them, and improve event attendance and return on investment.
This is especially important when it comes to building and maintaining a strong agent network. According to insights from QS Enrolment Solutions and our 2019 International Student Survey, educational agents play a crucial role in the Asia-Pacific market.
Looking at specific countries, the percentage of students who have used or plan to use an agent remains high with 64% of Thai students, 56% of Chinese students, 54% of Singaporean students, 53% of Malaysian students, and 51% of Indonesian students.
Additionally, 67% of Vietnamese students said an agent has made them aware of a university they hadn’t previously heard of.
In Indonesia, students particularly value international agents’ advice and guidance, and agree that agents influence their choice of country and university.
As regional representatives are situated in the local markets they’re targeting, they can also dramatically improve response times for prospective international students, as they’re not delayed by time zone differences or language difficulties and can communicate on local social media and other channels.
Regional representation alleviates the burden on university staff, opens lines of communication to new markets, and significantly lowers recruitment costs.
To learn more about how to maximize your international student recruitment strategy, contact QS Enrolment Solutions today.