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

 

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Kiran Athwal August 20, 2020 0 Comments

How App Analytics Can Help Universities Make Better Business Decisions

There’s no doubt about it that mobile apps have transformed the digital landscape, offering consumers ease of access to all the information they need on their portable devices. However, as we delve further into technological advancements, it’s not enough for universities to simply present what they offer. Universities need to understand their students, engage with them, inspire them, collaborate with them. The best way to achieve these goals is to make use of app analytics in order to deliver targeted marketing that is personal to each individual user.

What is mobile analytics?

Mobile analytics track the behaviour of users, identifies their unique preferences and records what features of the app that they do and do not engage with. Having data behind a marketing plan is almost always essential in order to systematically plan the trajectory of your marketing strategy and indicate areas where users need to be targeted.

What mistakes are universities making to track leads?

Currently, most universities are using out-dated methods to monitor leads. When prospects request a brochure or start an application, universities may ask for details such as course preference and contact details so that they can create a channel for communication. However, after this first stage, leads often get lost; universities do not know if the applicant has decided to choose another university, why an applicant has started and not completed an application and so on. These current tools do not provide the maximum return on investment in marketing.

However, the intervention of a mobile app would allow for acute assessment of prospects’ behaviour at every stage of their application journey through app analytics. This data would take marketing personalisation to the next level as it can indicate the likelihood of conversion for each prospect, allowing universities to focus on the leads that adhere to the level of quality they are looking for.

How can universities implement app analytics to improve their marketing strategy?

Student profiling to drive customer-focused marketing:

On their personal profiles, students input information about themselves which will serve as a useful personalisation tool for marketers. Information such as course preferences, geographical location and previous qualifications allows marketers to streamline information that they send to prospects so that it is relevant and of interest to them. For example, universities can push notifications straight to their mobile devices to update prospects on critical dates, nearby events and deadlines – a personal and localised timeline built around what they specifically want. Apptentive highlight that customer-targeted push messages delivered to specific people can make app open rates double in a short amount of time and can convert up to three times better than generic push messages.

Pre-assessment can increase the likelihood of selecting the best quality students:

Universities are always aspiring to convince quality students to enrol within their programme as it has a vast effect on the reputation of the university, ranking, and additional funding, boosting their revenues. Analytics can be used to assess which candidates match eligibility and can categorise them into different levels of quality (e.g. outstanding or borderline).

Knowing which leads match their needs the most will help universities to recruit the top of the top by adding another filter to their recruitment process, elevating the value of the institution’s offerings.

Tracking app engagement is conducive towards ROI:

App analytics offer insight into the patterns of behaviour of users, such as how long visitors typically stay, what features visitors interact with and what factors lead to higher usage and long-term retention. Nucleus Research found that analytics and business intelligence solutions deliver, on average, $13.01 for every dollar spent. Nina Sandy, a Nucleus Research analyst, has stated that “companies don’t have the luxury anymore to wait weeks for reports on the profitability of business decisions in increasingly fast paced markets.”

It’s clear that universities can’t rely on generic marketing models in hope of acquiring the best candidates. Monitoring which students are spending the most time browsing through an institution’s offerings reveals who has a high conversion rate, and therefore, who is worth investing time and money into. Having a clear view KPIs, metrics and key data points can aid universities in narrowing their focus to maximise their profitability.

At Proodle Solutions, we understand the value that app analytics have in providing better insights into user activity, which is why we have developed an application designed to help university marketing teams refine marketing strategies to enhance business outcomes.

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 March 6, 2019 0 Comments