International UK University Graduates Receive Extension on Work Visas

Foreign university graduates are now being offered the opportunity to receive a two-year work visa under the proposals put forward by the Home Office.

In 2012, Theresa May, the Home Secretary at the time, had decreed that foreign students would return to their home countries within four months of finishing their degree.

This ruling placed great strain on international students to find work quickly and as a result, the UK lost a huge amount of talent that had been cultivated on its own turf.

In the following year, foreign students can apply to extend their visa, enabling them to not only increase their chances of finding long-term employment, but also the opportunity to explore their career options instead of being pigeon-holed into the first job they can find before their time in the UK expires.

Last year, British universities educated 460,000 international students and aim to increase this to 600,000 in the next 10 years.

The benefits that international students bring to the UK are far-reaching and they contribute vastly to the economic and cultural fabric of UK higher education.

Throughout the entire duration of their studies, international students contribute £22.6bn to the economy through their increased tuition fees and spending in British markets.

In a recent report published by The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Kaplan International Pathways (Kaplan), it shows that just one cohort of international students who stay in the UK to work will pay £3.2 billion in tax. Evidently, international students provide a considerable financial upside to remaining and working in the UK.

Aside from the fiscal benefits, international students are largely responsible for Britain’s thriving cultural scene. The fusion of international and national values is what has allowed Britain to become a booming hub of inclusivity which is recognised worldwide.

Universities invest a lot of time, money and effort into harnessing brilliant global talent, who likewise have chosen the UK as their preferred choice of high-quality study.

However, due to the immigration bill that capped foreign students’ stay in the UK to four months, much of this talent that UK institutions had invested so much into cannot be utilised in British sectors.

Previously, Theresa May had claimed the two-year allowance was “too generous” and tightened the rules amid a push to meet the government’s target of reducing net migration. However, Boris Johnson reversed this policy when he became prime minister.

Supporters of May’s bill argued that it was a necessary step to control immigration and to provide better opportunities for British-born students to secure work after graduation amongst concerns that domestic graduates were being displaced by international graduates.

However, the analysis published by HEPI and Kaplan shows that international graduates who find employment in the UK typically do so in sectors that suffer from acute skills shortages.

The extension on work visas for international UK graduates has been celebrated by a great number of people in businesses and higher education industries.

Universities UK tweeted: “Hugely positive news from @10DowningStreet tonight as a change in immigration policy is announced. Universities UK has long campaigned for the introduction of a two-year post-study work visa for international students and we strongly welcome this policy change 👍👏”

In a survey conducted by YouGov, they asked: Currently international students are able to stay and look for work in Britain for four months after they graduate. It has been proposed that this period should be increased to two years. Do you support or oppose this change?

46% to 26% of Brits supported the increase in the amount of time that international students can remain in the UK to find work after graduation.

The chief executive of London First, Jasmine Whitbread, a pro-business campaign group, said: “Universities and businesses alike will welcome this commonsense move, which will ensure that we retain global brainpower.”

When universities have taken great steps to become internationally inclusive institutions, it only makes sense for the UK to harness the talent that they have themselves cultivated and provide international graduates with the opportunity to enhance their skills in the workplace.

Comprised of a team of international graduates, Proodle take great pride in establishing an all-inclusive environment which not only understands what it is like to be international students, but have also taken their experiences to design a product that transforms the way universities interact with their next batch of bright new minds.

What Proodle Solutions offers is an innovative and secure personalised mobile platform for the potential student, which introduces institutions and programmes in a whole new way to make an everlasting impression. We help students understand what a university is about, their requirements, the application process and notify them on the latest social events.

If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159

 

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Kiran Athwal September 19, 2019 0 Comments

Who are Generation Z?

As the next academic year comes to a start for sixth form and college students, university student recruitment and marketing teams are gearing up to attract a whole new cohort of students for the next academic year.

Unfortunately, there is no simple formula for enticing the new generation of bright new minds; they’ve been brought up in a whole new world compared to the adults trying to attract their attentions now. But, it can help to drive universities’ marketing activities by understanding the mindset and interests of their target audience.

Characteristics of Gen Z

Gen Z, people born between 1995 to 2010, are the first generation to grow up completely in a digital world, making them natives of online networking, streaming and information sourcing. Dependency on their smartphones is ingrained in their culture as it is the first port of call for finding information, making contacts and having instant access to the latest news and reports. Vision Critical’s research found that Gen Z spend on average 15.4 hours on their smartphones per week – more than any other device.

More importantly, social media has exploded on the scene over the past decade and not only do Gen Z use it for posting and liking pictures, they utilise it for news sharing as word spreads quicker on social media channels than traditional news broadcasts. Gen-Z don’t just value facts, they care about their peers’ opinions too, which is why social media is the perfect breeding ground for spreading awareness about new ideas quickly.

Moreover, the globalisation of connectivity means that Gen Z are more concerned with their place in the world and feel a greater sense of social responsibility.  McKinsey’s study investigating the behavioural and consumption patterns of this new generation in Brazil found that their behaviour was anchored in one element: their search for the truth. They see past generic slogans and superficial messaging that once enticed the me-generation millennials and align themselves more with institutions that use branding as a form of individual expression and with companies that appear more humane than mechanical.

How can Higher Education institutions establish a better relationship with Gen Z?

What’s the point in taking the long way around anymore? The hours spent on creating flyers and sending them out are completely wasted when most students will take one glance and throw them in the bin.

Connect with them in a way that they can’t possibly ignore you – right through their mobile devices. Gen Z are 22% more likely to prefer in-app notifications than millennials, principally due to the fact their mobile devices act as their primary hub for updates.

In a survey from Ellucian, it indicates that 87% of students said that the technological prowess of colleges was important to them when applying. It shows that universities are tech savvy and in tune with the communication style of the audience they want to establish a rapport with.

Show them the real you

The number one way to effectively recruit members of Gen Z is to be authentic. As mentioned earlier, Gen Z see right through superficial marketing. Being true to their values and voicing a message that encapsulates the heart of an organisation is what appeals to Gen Z as they don’t just feel like the are consumers when aligning themselves with a brand, they also feel like they are actively getting involved in their mission statement.

Higher education marketing and recruitment teams should take this information on board: their audience wants to see real students telling real stories about real university life. Universities could utilise a mobile app to provide a forum on which current and prospective students can interact so that prospects can gain rich authentic answers from sources they can trust. Aside from just interacting with current students, prospects could communicate directly with recruitment teams, establishing a much more personal relationship than one that would be created through traditional forms such as email.

Streamline services on one platform they can trust

Most importantly, students want a more personalised and streamlined service that they can engage with. Whilst 85% of students said their school offered a centralised app for campus services, 42% still reported that they had to log into three to four platforms to access campus information.

Not only is switching back and forth between different apps overwhelming, Gen Z have a shorter attention span than their predecessors meaning that they will quickly give up, rendering the apps useless. Universities need to adopt a digital solution that streamlines their online services in order to provide prospective students with a simple user experience and consolidates a status that Gen Z are happy to identify with.

Proodle appreciates that in order to stay on top of the game, we must move forward with the dynamism of technology and customise digital content that the current generation of students can easily engage with.

What Proodle Solutions offers is an innovative and secure personalised mobile platform for the potential student, which introduces institutions and programmes in a whole new way to make an everlasting impression. We help students understand what a university is about, their requirements, the application process and notify them on the latest social events on one streamlined platform.

If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159

 

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Kiran Athwal September 4, 2019 0 Comments

University Student Recruitment Teams Compete for A-level Students

A-level results day is one filled with trepidation and uncertainty for most sixth form and college students. They’ve studied hard over the past two years; they’ve spent countless hours researching courses that suit their interests and most have dedicated a lot of time visiting university open days to get a hint of what the next exciting step in their lives could look like.

But at the end of it all, their futures are determined by three or four letters on a crisp black and white sheet. For some, it’s great news. Now all they have to do is keep an eye out for ensuing emails regarding what to bring and freshers events. For others, it’s not so great. And so, begins a nerve-wracking waiting game, also known as clearing.

However, it’s not just students that face the heat on A-level results day. Universities across the UK are gearing up to face the battle of securing the best recruits as competition hits an all-time high.

Competition for student enrolment in 2019 has become tougher than before due to there being a demographic dip in 18-year-olds in the UK, meaning there will be 41,000 fewer students over the next four years.

Richard O’Kelly, the head of data and analysis at UCAS, states, “University admissions is a competitive market, especially with the continual decline over the past few years of the UK’s 18-year-old population, and this is undoubtedly true for clearing too.”

Universities are also concerned about facing a dip in international recruits as they fear that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit will deter students from applying to institutions in Britain.

The university admissions service, UCAS, reports that places remain open for over 30,000 courses across 350 institutions and more are to be released today. With so many spaces still up for grabs, it means that there is greater pressure for recruitment teams to market themselves as the best option in order to attract prospects.

Clare Marchant, the chief executive of UCAS, described admissions as a “buyer’s market” as the figure of students applying through clearing could reach 80,000 this year, almost double the number of students who used the process 10 years ago.

Tony Flaherty, acting head of admissions at Sheffield University, highlights how changing attitudes towards clearing see students having more autonomy over their decision as they are becoming more aware of the fact that it’s no longer a case of whether or not they are good enough for a university, but that instead universities are keen to fill up the spaces with quality students. Flaherty describes this generation of prospects as “savvy-offer holders” who want to “shop around” before making a final decision.

The question now is, how can universities come out on top in the competition for recruiting the best students? It’s simple really: show students you understand their individual needs. Amongst the confusion and stress of the clearing process, students want a clear voice that will attend directly to their immediate concerns: the course they want to study and the opportunities their earned grades can offer.

With this generation of students being tech-savvy cohorts, they demand answers instantly and online. With a Google and Compete study showing that one in ten prospective students now search exclusively online for courses, universities must ensure that they have a clear digital strategy in place in order convey an authentic voice and secure the quality of students that they are looking for to best represent their institution.

Proodle appreciates that in order to stay on top of the game, we must move forward with the dynamism of technology and customise digital content that the current generation of students can easily engage with.

What Proodle Solutions offers is an innovative and secure personalised mobile platform for the potential student, which introduces institutions and programmes in a whole new way to make an everlasting impression. We help students understand what a university is about, their requirements, the application process and notify them on the latest social events.

If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159

 

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Kiran Athwal August 15, 2019 0 Comments

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Change the Student Recruitment Game

Times are changing. Whereas once it was insisted that the only way to deliver personalised messaging to a target audience was to have a human sit behind a screen and respond to queries themselves, advancements in technology have meant that rote tasks no longer require the constant supervision of a human agent.

Techopedia defines Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Through combining large amounts of data using complex algorithms, AI can source patterns and automate responses that satisfy the user’s needs.

Problems Student Recruitment Teams Are Facing

Working in higher education is incredibly labour-intensive; with Gen-Z students demanding instant responses much more than their predecessors, recruitment teams always need to be on-the-ball to avoid the risk of losing leads.

The major problem that marketing and recruitment teams face is dealing with the rote activity of responding to similar queries and constantly collecting and inputting data into their database. It’s repetitive, it’s boring, and quite honestly, a waste of time and talent.

Where senior faculty could be devoting their time to nurturing students further along the enrolment process, they are often dogged down with administrative tasks that although require small effort, take up a lot of time.

Benefits of AI

As listed by Learning House in “Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education”, AI is:

  • Responsive: AI can engage in interactions from humans or other machines, interpreting meaning and formulating an appropriate response.
  • Decisive: AI can interpret supplied information and take appropriate action to achieve its mandated goals.
  • Adaptive: AI can internalize new information and adjust its behaviours accordingly to maximise its effectiveness.
  • Independent: AI can conduct most of its decision-making process without the need for human input.

 

Using AI Chatbots to Answer FAQs

Choosing the right university is a daunting task for any student as they want to ensure that they select the place that will cater to their personal wants and needs. Generic information found on university websites is not always enough to satisfy prospects’ curiosity and so they will reach out for answers themselves, most often through email.

On the student’s side, reaching out can become tiresome if universities are slow to respond which may cause them to lose interest. On the institutional side, answering these questions daily is time consuming.

With chatbots, universities can employ AI to gather data about FAQs so that when prospective students ask a question, they can receive a response immediately, alleviating the burden on recruitment staff.

Using AI to Assist Organising Schedules

When you work in an international market, time doesn’t adapt to work with you; you have to adapt to work with time.

As international students fit within different time zones, it’s easy for universities to accidently miss their calls out of work hours. This poses a problem for universities as they are unable to provide a satisfactory student enrolment experience for their prospective students and students feel like they have been left in the dark.

To solve a problem similar to what universities face, Google has developed Google Duplex, an AI that makes outgoing calls in a realistic human voice to perform low-level tasks such as booking hair appointments.

There is potential for the use of a similar system which integrates AI to be used as a first-level response to prospective students. AI could rely on its log of patterned user behaviour to provide an automated response to satisfy a prospect’s query 24/7.

Additionally, AI could schedule a follow-up call between a live professional and a student if a student requires additional attention.

Again, this relieves enrolment teams of the pressure to attend to every enquiry, allowing them to focus on nurturing warm leads.

At Proodle Solutions, we understand the dilemma universities face when it comes to balancing the workload of responding to hundreds of queries from prospective students and nurturing leads further down the enrolment process.

Our dynamic mobile app allows marketing and recruitment teams to focus on more demanding tasks whilst our state-of-the-art chatbot system handles queries swiftly and with precision, meaning there is one less stress to worry about.

If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159

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Kiran Athwal August 9, 2019 0 Comments

The Pros and Cons of Working with Agents to Recruit International Students

For most universities in the UK, working with international student recruitment agencies is common practice. Securing international students has its many benefits, such as developing global brand awareness, fostering higher education institutions as hubs for social inclusivity and, quite significantly, increasing revenue from international fees. It’s been estimated the total economic benefit of international students to the UK economy is £22.6bn over the entire duration of their studies, of which £5.1bn is generated by EU students, and £17.5bn is generated by non-EU students. According to a report by the British Council, the Observatory on Borderless Education found that 40% of these students are recruited by international student recruitment agents, making them an essential addition to universities’ international teams. 

Agents offer the benefit of having local knowledge and therefore act as the bridge between cultures. Universities rely on agents’ competence in different languages to help interview prospective students and organise local events. Evidently, they offer many localised benefits to higher education institutions.

Students are equally reliant on agents, turning to them to help arrange their study abroad, either because they lack knowledge and understanding of overseas education systems or because they lack the time or confidence needed to complete the necessary formalities, especially visa application procedures.

However, research has indicated that universities are paying as much as £120 million a year to recruitment agents to attract foreign students into the UK. It’s worth raising the question, to what extent are universities maximising their profits through their investments into recruitment agencies? 

In an investigation into international recruitment agencies, The Daily Telegraph discovered that agents were able to secure places for foreign students who did not achieve the same grades that were required from home students. Quantity over quality comes into play here as universities end up enrolling students who do not always necessarily meet the high standards set by the institutions in order to meet the international student enrolment quota.

In addition, the British Council’s report outlines other uncertainties involved with working with agents to recruit foreign students. It is the job of the agent to represent the institution abroad, so universities have to be comfortable enough to trust that they do not misrepresent who they are and what they stand for; the use of third parties to promote universities means that institutions have less direct control over their marketability overseas as promotional activity is predominantly controlled by the agents.  The primary concern that is outlined by the report about the use of international student recruitment agencies is “the current lack of transparency about their use by universities could cause significant harm to the university sector.”

What universities need is a solution that enables them to have more direct control over international recruitment efforts, so that they can ensure an accurate and controlled representation of their institution and streamline applications so they can select the best students who meet their standards. 

One way in which universities could manage their international student intake more effectively is to consider other alternatives. For example, Proodle Solutions have created a university-branded custom application to help higher education recruitment specialists to track, engage and directly recruit international students, connecting them to prospects through their mobile devices. 

Through the mobile app, universities are able to provide a true representation of themselves as they can edit course details, provide virtual tours of their institutions and communicate directly with prospective students to provide accurate answers to any queries they have.

Of course, many universities have established great working relationships with various recruitment agencies and so may be reluctant to look at other options. However, we aim for universities to maintain strong professional relationships with their tried and tested partners whilst providing agents with the perfect tool to represent institutions in the most truthful way possible. 

So, whilst using recruitment agencies to enrol foreign students has been a popular method with universities for a while now, maybe it’s time that universities look forward and focus on solutions that will benefit them financially and skilfully.  If universities want the best outcomes, perhaps they should consider alternatives to increase the profitability of collaborating with international recruitment agents to maximise revenue and the quality of students.

If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159

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Kiran Athwal August 1, 2019 0 Comments

Benefits that International Students Bring to the UK

What makes up the fabric of UK universities is their commitment to being internationally inclusive environments that harness and foster the skills of word-class students. According to official international enrolment statistics from HESA, a total of 458,490 foreign students were attending university in UK in 2017/18, indicating that the UK is a very popular destination for Higher Education study.

International students bring a lot to the table when it comes to contributing to the growth and improvement of UK institutions, and it is important to acknowledge the number of ways in which they do this.

Economic Benefits

It’s been estimated that the total economic benefit of international students to the UK economy is £22.6bn over the entire duration of their studies, indicating that the benefits are “10 times greater than the cost.”

Nick Hillman, the director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, states that “fewer international students would mean a lot fewer jobs in all areas of the UK, because international students spend money in their universities, in their local economies.”

Whilst London has the greatest share of overseas students, a study conducted by the thinktank shows that smaller cities, with more than one university, can have greater impact from international students’ spending.

Essentially, overseas students fuel local companies so without them, the heart of many small towns would struggle to exist.

Cultural Benefits

Aside from the fiscal profits that universities benefit from, the acceptance of international students to UK universities is conducive to increasing domestic students’ awareness of different cultures beyond their own.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education identifies “global citizenship” as a key feature of 21st century higher education; this is described as ‘encouraging a capacity to thrive in a globalised society and economy, and an awareness of cultures beyond and different to one’s own’.

In research conducted on behalf of Think Global and the British Council, they found that 79% of business leaders stated that knowledge of the wider world contributes towards recruitment and 85% value employees who are able to work with colleagues from a variety of countries and cultures.

Evidently, the international diversification of students enriches the learning experience of domestic students as they can learn and develop from their international peers, procuring them for a global market through greater cultural awareness, making them more employable.

Innovation and Research

In recruiting international students, universities cultivate the UK to be a thriving scene for global talent. In order to be the best of the best, UK businesses must hire employees based on their merit and skills.

In a case study looking into the social and economic impact of international students for Cancer Research UK, the Migration Advisory Committee examines the case of Tony Wu, an American PhD student at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. With his expertise, Wu is able to work in an area where there is a UK skills shortage. The analysis concludes that “ensuring that international students like Tony Wu can stay in the UK is essential for a flourishing research community.”

Clearly, global talent is integral to making the UK the leading hub of innovation and research, therefore, it is important to foster a cohesive environment that allows exceptional talent to develop.

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Kiran Athwal July 25, 2019 0 Comments

How Effective App Administration Can Boost Universities’ Engagement with Students

There’s no doubt that marketing and communication teams in universities know their target market well, but with 24/7 access to online connections providing new challenges and opportunities, do they know their target market as well as they could? According to ThoughtSpot, while schools may embrace a more digital future, adoption of analytics technologies remains low. Compared to the industry average of 22%, adoption of business intelligence solutions remains stuck at 3-5% across higher education institutions. Having access to the right customer insights is key to building strong relationships with target markets; without this, it is difficult to maximise potential student engagement. 

To guarantee that relationships with consumers is strong, universities need to ensure that students have a smooth user experience when comes to navigating their apps to keep them interested. Subsequently, the importance of app administrators should not be underestimated; they are integral in installing, updating, tuning and diagnosing apps, maintaining the high standard of professionalism that universities wish to present. 

With mobile applications, the possibilities are endless for administration teams to work with data to maximise the level of engagement that universities have with prospective students. Here are just several ways in which app configuration can help universities reach their enrolment goals.

Content Management

With mobile apps, administrators can easily manage what type of content academic professionals would like to share with prospective students, keeping them updated at all times. For example, course content, course requirements and eligibility scores can be presented in a dynamic format which universities believe would best appeal to their target market. App administrators can create, edit and publish both sophisticated and straightforward assets all from a single SAAS environment.

Branding

Without a consistent brand, an institution’s name will fade away into the ocean of universities also fighting for the same attention of prospective students. Effective administration of app services allows universities to manage branded assets such as logos, splash pages and colour schemes so that students are always reminded of the institution’s identity and what they stand for. 

Profiling

With personalised apps, students can customise their profiles so that they can publicise their interests, grades, hobbies etc. University app administrators can group users, add tags to specific users, identify key attributes and churns to decide who best fits their eligibility criteria and focus on students they believe are likely to convert.

Push Notification Services

Sometimes a little nudge is all that is needed to lead your target audience to the right direction. Marketing and communications teams can deliver rich interactive content to create valuable opportunities to remind prospective students to consider exploring what that institution has to offer through links to other app features, web pages, images and videos.

Data Analysis to Track Leads

Unified app and web analytics can provide a comprehensive picture of usage and impact on prospective students, helping to track the return on a university’s investment in chasing leads. Analytics pulls together the data from disparate locations and helps the user to make sense of it to establish plans of action. With the right tools, app administrators can view lead reports to track with their CRM and identify key attributes and churns in user behaviour to help meet enrolment goals. 

Evidently, universities can capitalise on the data they already have to enhance their relationships with prospective students, but this can only be achieved with the right tools. 

At Proodle, we understand the challenges faced by Higher Education marketing and communications teams to attract students, which is why we have developed a state-of-the-art mobile application that allows universities to manage their analytics efficiently from our Admin Suite. Take your marketing personalisation to the next level as we give you the likelihood of conversion for each prospect, allowing you to focus on the leads that matter the most to your institution.

If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159

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Kiran Athwal June 26, 2019 0 Comments

How Technology Aids Event Planning and Experience

As we move further into the technological age, there is an increased expectation from consumers to receive digitised experiences, especially in the events industry. Long gone are the days where event planning was a drawn-out process, creating and distributing brochures, waiting to receive physical responses from the target market. Now, everything is instant; the integration of technology has made event planning interactive and efficient, predominantly through the use of mobile apps.

With the new wave of prospective university students being digital natives, it is essential that universities adopt new event planning strategies which are congruent with their customers’ wants and needs. A research paper from University indicates that 95% of international students own a mobile smartphone and have used it to visit university websites to download university apps, view university social media, take a virtual campus tour, and submit a university application. Evidently, technology is changing the way global audiences interact with universities. Here are just a few of the many ways that technology can enrich events and improve event experience.

Virtual Attendance for Global Audiences:

One of the biggest challenges universities face is providing their international students with the same immersive event experience as their home students. Thanks to mobile innovation, tools have been put in place so that international students can be involved with universities’ events in real-time.

Live streaming is a great tool for expanding audience outreach as anybody in any corner of the world can view an event as it takes place. Sites such as Google Hangouts and YouTube are popular communication platforms which can be utilised by universities to stream talks or hold interviews, meaning students never have to miss out. What’s better is, for those who cannot be present at the exact time of an event or would like to re-watch it in the future, they can be saved online, giving the target audience constant access to reliable content.

Personalised Event Experience

Offering prospects a digital alternative can help empower a stronger, more personal connection with the university before the event even begins. The problem with printed guides is everybody gets the same generic information, which can be tedious to sort through. With an event app, users can filter through plans and organise their own event so that the information is relevant to them.

In addition, with an event app, guests can have an up-to-date feed on the itinerary; the burden of dealing with last minute changes is made much easier for universities as they can quickly spread the word online simply by sending a push notification to users’ mobile devices, helping minimise disappointment on the day. Having a mobile app means that universities can use it to stay connected to their students, and they’ll use it to stay connected to their event, promoting a personal connection.

Networking and Brand Awareness:

The power of the internet can help generate buzz around your event, giving universities more exposure internationally. What international students want is a clear visualisation of the atmosphere that the university endorses. Social networking is key to engaging prospective students as it provides them with a window to what other students in their position are saying.

For example, The Viral Impact of Events study found that 77% of respondents said Facebook was the most effective social media tool leading up to events, and 55% named it as most effective afterwards. Organisers can plan events on Facebook so that they can share dates, times, an overview, regular updates and can actively communicate with people through wall posts that anybody can see. Also, followers can see who is interested in or is going to an event, meaning they can engage with other students, making the event experience more exciting.

Twitter is also a fantastic tool in providing real-time updates during an event. By promoting the use of hashtags, universities can categorise all of their attendees online so they can find each other more easily. It also encourages online discussion; if the event is good, attendees will share this via social networks. The more people who see this type of positive reinforcement, the greater chance there is that interest in the university and their events will grow.

Better Insight into Event Satisfaction:

One of the top priorities of event planners is improving the attendees’ experience. Getting personal feedback from attendees allows planners to see what works and what doesn’t work so that they can avoid making the same mistakes next time. Integrating surveys into an app is an efficient way of collecting feedback quickly and is convenient too as attendees can complete it within the app immediately after a session when the information is still fresh in their minds.

Mobile technology is the way forward. Mobile apps offer a functionality that previous methods, such as paper guides or brochures, cannot provide. As Proodle Solutions recognises this, we have developed an intuitive app which encourages networking, highlights event aims and efficiently organises a personal itinerary for the duration of events. We aim to help increase the value of institutions and consolidate a strong, personal relationship with prospective students.

If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159

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Kiran Athwal June 19, 2019 0 Comments

QS research reveals online sources are the first port of call for prospective students

As we move further into the technological age, universities must adapt to the rising tide of online channels to enhance their connectivity with prospective students.

In a new report from QS Enrolment Solutions, their survey – which liaised with over 75,000 prospective students from 191 different countries – found that online sources tend to be the first and only port of call for many prospective students when searching for information.

In addition, social media is being used increasingly throughout the enquiry and application process and prospects are visiting a wider number of platforms than ever before.

The most valuable sources of information for students

The survey asked participants which five sources of information they found most useful when researching a university. This is what they found:

Source: QS Enrolment Solutions

Evidently, it is imperative that universities optimise their websites to ensure that they are easy to use and information is readily available.

What is particularly interesting is that only 14% of respondents listed agents as one of their primary information tools when researching universities. Traditionally, agents have maintained strong relationships with institutions in helping them drive their international recruitment efforts. For students, they have offered a gateway to accessing university information tailored to them and have offered support with visa and scholarship applications.

However, with the top five sources of information all being available online, it is clear to see why students are beginning to retreat from traditional methods.

Prospects want to be in control of their enrolment decisions, taking it upon themselves to research what is right for them.

The role of social media

The QS report also highlights an increasing reliance on social media as an avenue for information gathering by prospective students.

Source: QS Enrolment Solutions

The growing pervasiveness of social media directly indicates an increased demand in instant and tailored communication. What was once an informal platform for social activity has become a stage for professional liaison between institutions and students, and so, universities must be prepared to retrack from traditional communication methods if they are to secure the interests of prospects.

If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159

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Kiran Athwal June 5, 2019 0 Comments

How Can Universities Communicate More Effectively with Prospective Students?

Styles of communication can make or break a brand. For Higher Education institutions, it is imperative that they understand how to talk to their target market and not make the mistake of sticking to traditional methods that worked for generations before. If there’s any trend that defines millennials, it’s their affinity with digital communications. Having spent their entire lives in the digital age, they are accustomed to having all the answers they need within seconds. Therefore, in order to establish a trusting relationship with this generation, universities must remember that time is of the essence; responses to their queries must be quick if they are to retain their interest.

Hobson’s International Student Survey 2017 asked students how quickly they would expect to receive an acknowledgement and a full response to their enquiries; they found that 65% expected a response within 24 hours, 22% within 3 days and 9.4% said within 1 week. Evidently, we live in an era of speed and if institutions do not keep up with the demands of their target market, it will lead to distrust and frustration.

However, quick and efficient correspondence is easier said than done. With universities already having enough on their plates, it can be difficult trying to respond to every enquiry, despite all the best efforts. But as we move further into this digital era, more tools are being made available which can help universities handle their communication efforts better.

Chatbots are the answer to real-time support

Chatbots are gaining more popularity than ever by bringing new ways of how businesses run marketing. They have become the latest addition to every marketer’s bag of strategies as being an early adopter can give you a significant advantage, from customer support to lead generation. Through Artificial Intelligence, chatbots scan through huge amounts of information to spot patterns and repeat actions so that they can predict and adapt to a variety of questions.

It is believed that 85% of customer interaction will be managed without a human by 2020. The value in chatbots comes from their ability to automate conversations throughout your organisation; the money that would be spent on hiring an employee to answer questions and the time that would be spent attending to queries can instead be allocated to other efforts.

A prominent benefit of chatbots is their ability to work in real-time. Universities already have a lot of data stored in their systems in regards to current and prospective students’ behaviour and queries, so why waste precious time manually responding to the same questions over and over again when a system can be put in place to provide automated responses? With chatbots, students have access to information on-the-go; for universities, they reduce the number of steps that need to be taken to answer a question before an enquirer is referred to a specialist.

A benefit that chatbots can offer to Higher Education institutions is they can provide ‘after-hours’ support, meaning prospective students can stay connected to universities 24/7. As discussed earlier, millennials have the ‘I need the answer now’ mentality and so chatbots are a great way to decrease the average response time, thus bringing universities closer to their target market’s expectations.

In addition, not only do chatbots track and monitor student enquiries, they highlight where there are gaps in available information. This data will enable universities to re-assess their content to ensure informed correspondence with prospective students.

Cultivate trust with your prospects through forums  

A forum is a public medium that is open for anyone to participate. This is a great method to help divert traffic away from universities’ inboxes and allows for even wider communication within the academic and student community. A study conducted by QS Enrolment Solutions into prospective international students’ communication preferences found that 45% of them would feel less worried about studying abroad if they were able to ask questions to existing international students at the institution and 64% said that the ability to connect with existing international students to ask questions was the most influential factor in helping them choose a university. Having current students answer questions gives a true representation of what life is like at that institution, making prospects feel more comfortable knowing that their peers are giving their honest opinions.

Staff interaction on forums is also integral in establishing trust with prospects; their collaboration gives credibility to the claims made by existing students, thus providing psychological satisfaction to anxious prospects and their parents.

In addition, forums can always be made smarter. Universities are inundated with similar questions by prospects on a regular basis, making responding to queries a tedious and repetitive task. Since conversations are public on forums, universities can review the most common questions being asked by prospects and publish answers that will satisfy a large number of people, thus lessening the burden of dealing with hundreds of the same question directly.

Let’s look at Quora, for example. Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, edited, and organised by its community of users – so simply put, it is a forum. Quora has a massive user-base and is a lot of people’s go-to source for information. But, what is it about Quora that makes it so successful? Mainly, Quora offers dimensions of a social experience; it has a comment feature, users have the ability to message others and are able to blog. Having autonomy in the communication process appeals to its users and they can trust that they will get personalised replies that answer their specific queries. In a similar vein, university forums perform this function in that they rely on the active engagement of the online community.

The more conversations that take place, the more trust universities can breed with prospective students. Being part of a thriving online community means that prospects are more likely to engage with the offerings of the institution and starts to formulate a friendly and dependable relationship.

At Proodle Solutions, we understand the need for universities to establish successful communication networks with prospective students to harness a solid relationship of trust and understanding. As the new generation of digitally innate students begin to enter university, institutions must be prepared to keep up. Speed is a must, and so is accurate information; it is not a matter of students having one or the other, it’s a matter of they must have both. Fortunately, technological advancements mean that universities are able to meet the demands of their target market and ensure excellent levels of communication.

If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159

 

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Kiran Athwal May 29, 2019 0 Comments