Why Universities Will Fail to Recruit International Students

It comes to no surprise that Covid-19 has had a detrimental impact on a great number of industries, with Higher Education being one of the largest sectors to be hit financially. A poll conducted by UCU in May found that 1 in 5 students were considering deferring their entry until the following year, which YouthSite stated would incur in a loss of £760m for UK universities. However, what is more frightening is the amount of money UK universities face to lose with 121,000 fewer international first-year students attending UK universities this year, resulting in a £2.5bn funding black hole.

In response to the fears of  declining numbers of international students, The British Council has announced a £1 million boost for the Study UK advertising campaign to promote study in the UK in 16 key markets. The campaign aims to convert late-stage applicants to the UK for enrolment in the UK.

However, despite government-backed schemes, these statistics show that international students are more apprehensive than ever to enrol into a university abroad amidst the global health panic and uncertainties regarding travel restrictions.

The Problem on the Student’s Side:

If the UK government are placing such heavy emphasis on the recruitment of international students and are actively showcasing a desire to integrate them into the fabric of their Higher Education system, why are prospects still rejecting or deferring their offers?

The answer lies in the fact that universities are failing to effectively communicate relevant information to students abroad and as a result, they are reluctant to proceed with their applications further in the current climate.

In a study conducted by QS, they found that prospective international students had a range of concerns that they needed addressing from universities if they were to consider studying abroad. These concerns included changes to application deadlines (53%), changes to the application process (51%), and changes to the dates of any entrance exams (44%).

 

 

Regarding how international prospects wanted to see this information communicated to them, the range of channels included online newsletters (51%), dedicated sections on university websites (45%), and online forums and discussion groups (32%).

 

What is evident from these findings is that there is a greater emphasis on the importance of establishing a strong online presence and making all relevant information easily accessible. Currently, there is no single platform that streamlines all relevant university application information and nurtures prospective students right from the stage of enquiry to enrolment. Consequentially, prospects are finding it increasingly more difficult to justify their study abroad when they cannot find consistent guidance at each stage of their enrolment journey.

The Problem on the University’s side:

Universities want to grow their international numbers now as they know in the next five years, it is going to be a bigger challenge for them. They want a digital change in the recruitment activities they currently do but they want to do it with low risk and high return in investment due to budget cuts.

In a poll conducted by QS assessing the biggest student recruitment pains during this time, respondents claimed these were their shortfalls:

  • Conversion from enquiry to enrolled (41%)
  • Knowing which digital marketing platform to focus on (23%)
  • Identifying target markets (15%)
  • Lead generation (7%)
  • Other (14%)

The biggest pain in tracking and converting prospective international students is that universities have not got a conversion platform that nurtures them throughout the entire enrolment process.

The process from enquiry to enrolment takes around 10 months and in that time, leads are often lost or are stuck at a certain stage because there is not enough guidance regarding what steps to take next.

Additionally, university information is far too dispersed and not only is this a problem for the current cohort of Gen-Z students who demand information quickly and easily, but it means that university student recruitment staff are constantly having to check and update information across various channels including their university website, UCAS, emails, external forums etc.

With current student recruitment methods, which include endless emails and automated responses, universities will fail to convert prospective international students who are already tired of being bombarded with information irrelevant to them and are seeking a personalised experience which will make them feel especially wanted at institutions abroad.

To prevent a catastrophic decline in international student numbers, institutions should consider centralising their communications on a personalised platform which is easy for students to navigate and for universities to track the behaviour of their leads. With marketing budgets shrinking, recruitment teams must think of a way to focus expenditure on as few avenues as possible, whilst maintaining the high-quality standard they have worked so hard to achieve already.

How Proodle Can Save Declining International Student Numbers:

Numbers of international students enrolling into universities in the UK are falling.

It’s time to shake up student recruitment plans and breathe fresh air into the way universities market themselves, standing out as world-class institutions ready to reassert their presence as global powerhouses.

At Proodle Solutions, we have designed the latest innovative product in education technology to completely transform the international student enrolment experience for both higher education marketing and recruitment teams, as well as the next batch of intelligent prospective students.

Proodle’s state-of-the-art technological solution streamlines student application and enrolment processes and empowers student recruiters to carry out operational activities entirely facilitated by a mobile app. From online forums to virtual reality interaction, Proodle removes uncertainties about missing out on the authenticity of face-to-face interactions and brings it to life on a virtual platform. Proodle simplifies the process of creating opportunities for recruitment advisors to engage with prospective students, so they can manage peer interactions and configure page content that will be updated on users’ devices.

During uncertain times such as this, it is key that universities take the opportunity to embrace the digital resources available to ensure they maintain an effective flow of operations and stay connected to their students. Ed-tech is the way forward. Capitalising on digital strategies now will only reap greater rewards in the long run.

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

 

Read More
Kiran Athwal August 20, 2020 0 Comments

The Importance of Diversification in Universities in the UK

The global coronavirus crisis has spotlighted just how dependent UK Higher Education Institutions are on international students. Aside from the financial risks posed by the lower influx of international students in the following year, which the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) project will cause a loss of more than £100 million in income, the diversification of the student body will be hugely affected.

According to 2018/2019 data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), Chinese students currently comprise 35% of all non-EU international students at 120,385 students. However, recent statistics show that numbers of Chinese students applying to study abroad were already declining before Covid-19.

The growing percentage of students considering studying domestically could be due to the economic strain of an aging population, greater affordability in Chinese higher education, or impressive rankings growth (China now boasts 19 of the world’s top 200 research universities, increasing from 12 in 2016, in the QS World University Rankings 2020).

Benefits of international students to UK Universities:

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 addition, international students have long been the heart of innovation and research at UK institutions. Overseas researchers and PhD students play a vital role in continually refreshing the UK’s research base, and in developing our position as a world-leading research nation.

Focusing on greater diversity:

With more and more prospective international students looking to cancel or defer their study abroad, universities must revitalise their strategy for more inclusivity if they are to maintain their global standing. Currently, the biggest international markets for incoming students to the UK are China, India and USA.

However, with the threat to the number of international intakes next year, universities should look to diversify their international student recruitment rather than relying on certain outsized regions.  Underestimating the impact of socioeconomic trends and population forecasts, as many higher education experts have agreed, can affect an institution’s revenue outcome.

Additionally, universities that fail to diversify the country of origin of their next cohort of international students miss an opportunity to diversify their campus, enriching the student experience for all.

In understanding the motivations of the next cohort of international students, QS consultant, Kesh Patel, states that, “establishing why they want to study abroad, what they’re looking for in an institution, course, and career, and post-graduation plans are important factors when deciding if you can offer them an attractive proposition.”

What do international students expect from UK institutions?

A mistake that can be easy to make is assuming that all international students are one homogenous group when in fact, their interests, motivations, and goals vary between different areas.

QS’s recent study outlines what prospective students from different regions of the world expect from Higher Education institutions when it comes to choosing their study abroad destinations.

North American students interested in studying in the UK state that these are the most important factors in choosing a host country: culture and lifestyle (56%), quality teaching (49%), and affordable tuition (46%).

In Southeast Asia, students state that these are their most important factors: it’s welcoming to international students (63%), universities have quality teaching (48%), and affordable cost of living (48%).

The study also investigated student trends in West Africa; while students from Africa make up a smaller proportion of the international student pool, Nigerian students made it to the top 10 source countries for the UK with 10,645 students for the 2018/2019 school year, according to HESA.

African students interested in studying in the UK state that these are the most important factors in choosing a host country: it’s welcoming to international students (68%), high quality teaching (53%), and affordable cost of living (48%).

Evidently, all three regions discussed show a trend in students considering high quality teaching and affordability as priority factors when choosing a host country for their study abroad. Using these statistics, universities can tailor their recruitment and marketing activities to showcase the best that the UK has to offer to attract a more diverse cohort of students.

A globalised student body offers UK universities the opportunity to maximise their appeal in the Higher Education market as they bring a plethora of benefits with them, such as increased research power, in-demand skills, and an enrichening cultural experience for all. Diversification is what makes UK universities a melting pot for global success and with the challenges posed by Coronavirus for the following year, it is imperative that UK institutions maintain strong relationships with their international partners and students.

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

Read More
Kiran Athwal July 30, 2020 0 Comments

Game-changing student conversion app to support new world international student recruitment

Universities will struggle to meet international student enrolment quotas

Covid-19 has had an enormous effect on the state of international student recruitment as universities face a major threat to the number of applications they receive for the upcoming academic year. It is estimated that there will be a significant drop in international students by 80% and a £612 million loss from a drop in domestic student enrolment. On the other side, there is a threat to job security to over 400,000 people working in higher education.

We understand the immense pressure that recruitment professionals are currently facing. There is little clarity in what shape universities will return to and when. Can universities sustain the high standard of student recruitment activities to appeal to prospects? Will universities be able to hit international student intake quotas in such a tumultuous climate? 

What we can be certain of, however, is that the way universities interact and engage with prospective students will not be the same as it once was. With the universal shift to online networking, there is no question that in-person student recruitment is not a possibility right now. 

Therefore, it is imperative that universities evaluate new conversion methods for international student recruitment if they are to survive the financial risks that threaten the continuation of top-quality teaching and learning.

Let us show you what we can do

Proodle appreciates that in uncertain times, it might be difficult for institutions to pivot budgets and shift resources, which is why we invite university student recruitment professionals to evaluate a demo of our game-changing student conversion app.

Universities that register a demo before the end of July will have a chance to secure a free trial. This is a great opportunity to get ahead of the game and revolutionise student conversion in unprecedented times.

Now isn’t the time to play safe; it’s the time to play smart.

The one stop shop for new world student engagement and conversion

Proodle, an award-winning Ed-tech company, has developed a state-of-the-art technological solution which streamlines university student engagement processes into a digital form. Proodle empowers student recruiters to carry out operational activities in a virtual way through a university-branded mobile app.

From online forums to virtual reality interaction, Proodle removes uncertainties about missing out on the authenticity of face-to-face interactions and brings it to life on a virtual platform. Proodle simplifies the student conversion process by creating opportunities for recruitment advisors to find and engage with prospective students, so they can personalise page content on users’ devices, manage peer interactions and move students through to acceptance and enrolment.

The University-Branded Mobile App

With a few simple clicks, prospects can personalise their profiles, update qualifications and access university information in a short-cut way.  

Features include:

  • Profile personaliser
  • Course and eligibility checker 
  • AI-powered chatbot 
  • Peer engagement with advisors and student ambassadors
  • Push notifications

Insights and Analytics

Measure user engagement levels and keep track of user activity through Proodle’s straightforward dashboard.

Features include:

  • Pages Content Manager 
  • Real-time Publisher
  • User Enrolment Funnel Administration
  • App Manager Access Rights and Roles

During these unprecedented times, it is key that universities take the opportunity to embrace the digital resources available to ensure they maintain an effective flow of operations and stay connected to their students. At Proodle, we appreciate the challenges universities face and stand by both institutions and students from the very first step until the very last.

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.

Read More
Kiran Athwal June 25, 2020 0 Comments

How Ed-tech Can Help Universities Recruit Students Virtually During the Coronavirus Crisis

Over the past few years, technological advancements have forced industries to keep up with the changes in order to survive in a rapidly evolving world and match the demands of their audiences. For higher education marketing and recruitment teams, it has constantly been their priority to communicate in a language that translates best with their digitally native prospective students, which is why adopting more digital strategies has always been the way forward.

However, with the outbreak of Covid-19, universities implementing a digital approach is no longer a matter of preference, it is a matter of survival. The coronavirus outbreak has posed an extraordinary set of challenges on international student mobilities and global university partnerships have been significantly impacted.

Most education institutions in the UK expect to be worse off in the long and short term and the sector will be impacted significantly in the next 12 months with the following economic recession creating a “very long recovery period”. Given this uncertainty, five million prospective students across the globe have been looking to universities as a source of information, reassurance, and direction to communicate and plan their study abroad journey.

How is the higher education sector at risk?

As the Coronavirus crisis continues, more and more universities are forced to shut their campuses and shift onto virtual platforms in order to deliver their services.

Universities fear they will lose at least 80% of their foreign student numbers this year. According to a publication by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), every university expects to be impacted and for some the potential loss to income is projected to be greater than £100m as foreign students cancel their studies. And that is before you factor in that losing new students has a multi-year impact.

There are warnings that the impact of coronavirus will be “like a tsunami hitting the sector”.

In their investigation into the impact that Coronavirus will have on Global Higher Education, QS asked university representatives to share the biggest challenges facing their institution right now.

One representative responded, “Keeping our current students, faculty, and staff safe and healthy while also trying to keep normal operations running. We are also very concerned about enrollment for summer and fall.”

In addition, another stated that “There are also communication and distance study options issues that are creating ongoing problems as we iron out the details of who needs what information or which resources.”

As expected, global engagements and student mobility have been significantly impacted and although 21% of those surveyed said they were still hosting recruitment events on campus and 23% still plan to send representatives to international courses, these activities are looking increasingly unlikely as air travel is restricted and more nations close their borders.

Boost student recruitment efforts by embracing virtual platforms

Given the complications that have arisen from the current situation, what universities need to prioritise now more than ever is a bigger shift towards virtual communications. Social distancing measures mean that domestic students now face similar issues to those of international students who for years have had to approach university services through online systems, democratising accessibility to higher education.

In QS’ survey regarding which student recruitment activities had become more or less important as a result of the coronavirus to university professionals and student recruiters, 59% of respondents said in-person events and fairs was less important, 75% said digital events were more important and 73% stated digital marketing was the best approach forward.

Student recruitment in UK higher education institutions is extremely competitive, demand-based, and costly. Today’s digital age of students – Generations Zs and millennials – are demanding information to be smart, digitally accessible and personalised to their needs.

Utilising ed-tech tools can help universities stay connected to their students and continue to effectively recruit the brightest talent virtually. Artificial intelligence and cloud technologies are already making it possible for companies to continue their tasks remotely. Universities can achieve the same, if not greater, results by deploying smart SaaS infrastructures to open access worldwide so that operations are not severely hindered by the impact of Covid-19.

How can Proodle help?

At Proodle Solutions, we have designed the latest innovative product in education technology to completely transform the international student enrolment experience for both higher education marketing and recruitment teams, as well as the next batch of intelligent prospective students.

Proodle’s state-of-the-art technological solution streamlines student application and enrolment processes and empowers student recruiters to carry out operational activities entirely facilitated by a mobile app. From online forums to virtual reality interaction, Proodle removes uncertainties about missing out on the authenticity of face-to-face interactions and brings it to life on a virtual platform. Proodle simplifies the process of creating opportunities for recruitment advisors to engage with prospective students, so they can manage peer interactions and configure page content that will be updated on users’ devices.

During uncertain times such as this, it is key that universities take the opportunity to embrace the digital resources available to ensure they maintain an effective flow of operations and stay connected to their students. Ed-tech is the way forward. Capitalising on digital strategies now will only reap greater rewards in the long run.

Read More
Kiran Athwal June 11, 2020 0 Comments

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

 

Read More
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

 

Read More
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

 

Read More
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

Read More
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

Read More
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.

Read More
Kiran Athwal July 25, 2019 0 Comments