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Recruiting international students

Competition for students is increasing, as traditional countries targeted for students grow their domestic capability and US HEIs ramp up their recruitment drive. Understanding the underlying factors driving students’ choices will help HEIs align their recruitment activities and attract the top students.

In response to the growing higher education capacity in traditional markets, forward-looking Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) are looking further afield and expanding the countries they select for their recruitment drives. They are targeting continents like Africa and Latin America – and focusing more resources on countries like Nigeria, Mexico and other growing economies.

But what drives students' decisions? And how can HEIs align their recruitment activities?

Reputation remains a key factor for international students, but perhaps not in the way you may think. Students are more focused on quality of teaching in their chosen subject than the overall reputation of an HEI. So HEIs must look beyond overall league tables and focus on promoting a few select disciplines where they excel.

Our report highlights three ways HEIs can enhance their recruitment strategy and boost their reputation:

  • Put your best foot forward: develop partnerships with other institutions in academic disciplines you excel.
  • Offer flexible admission routes: work with schools and colleges to provide alternative ways for students to get into university, and help international students assimilate with local culture.
  • Use only the best agents: perform regular due diligence to ensure you are working with reputable agents. Focus your efforts on developing long-term relationships with a small group of trusted partners.
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