What is in-country representation, and what’s the benefit? 

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Establishing a global presence is becoming increasingly important for American universities as domestic enrolments fall. How can in-country representation help you realize your internationalization strategy?

Global competition for international students is increasing, with American universities realizing they now need to proactively recruit them in the wake of dwindling domestic enrollments.

Beyond using the correct communication channels for your audience, another way institutions can reach international students is through in-country representation. 

An in-country representative (ICR) is a university team member deployed or hired in an overseas market. 

The ICR can boost an institution’s student recruitment performance through a range of on-the-ground activities – localizing marketing collateral, being a point of contact in a similar time zone to the student, speaking a common language, for example. These in-market activities can be key differentiating factors for a student. 

For prospective North American students, when communicating with a university about an enquiry or application, how important is it that you: 

Communicate with the same person every time? Moderately important 30% 
Very important 36% 
Extremely important 17% 
Don’t have to wait long to hear back? Moderately important 19% 
Very important 41% 
Extremely important 33% 
Speak the same language as your contact? Moderately important 28% 
Very important 22% 
Extremely important 14% 

QS International Student Survey 2023 data indicates that consistent, quick communication is important to prospective students, with many also saying a common language is important when interacting with an institution. An ICR can be a cost-effective solution to many international student recruitment challenges. 

Benefits of in-country representation to an institution 

Beyond the potential for increased diversification in your student cohort, ICRs provide other benefits. 

  • A greater depth of knowledge of local customs and education examinations 
  • Low overheads. At a time when budgets are constricting, an ICR can be a low-cost piece of your international recruitment strategy. For example, they can travel to local student recruitment events at a lower cost. 
  • Flexibility. You can hire an ICR that has the skills your institution needs. An ICR’s role can be multifaceted, and no two ICR positions are the same. 

How to hire an in-country representative 

As part of QS’ student recruitment services, QS can deploy expert ICRs for the university in the regions you want to grow your brand, build agent relationships and maximise conversion. We offer a bespoke service – we can source talented staff members, work to develop their KPIs, be a bridge between the ICR and the institution and more. 

With our service, the university retains full visibility and line management of the ICR – they are an extension of your university – but we will deliver comprehensive HR support, including hiring, onboarding, training, and payroll.

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