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International Admissions 101 Communications & Outreach Plans

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International admissions offices, now more than ever, need to hone their strategic recruitment plans to meet their student (and parent) audiences where they spend their time. This pre-conference workshop session at OACAC helps outline those priorities for print, web, & social communications.

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International Admissions 101 Communications & Outreach Plans

  1. 1. InternationalAdmissions 101: Outreach & Communications A focus on web, social media, & print/email communications used to recruit international students. A discussion on best practices for counselor networking will also be included.
  2. 2. Where are we going?  International communication strategic plan overview  Print/e-mail communications flow - what still works?  International-student friendly websites: Is Yours?  Building international student relationships & community via social media  Counselor networking tips for OACAC & beyond  Q&A
  3. 3. Suggested Guiding Principles  LiveWhereYour Audiences Live (and when)  KeepThemComing Back For More  Listen, Listen, Listen
  4. 4. How influential are these experiences in the application decision? 1-5 scale: 5 = most influential FromCollegeWeekLive/Noel-Levitz2014 InternationalE-ExpectationsReport.
  5. 5. Student interest in using these resources to communicate with college representatives 1-5 scale: 5 = most influential FromCollegeWeekLive/Noel-Levitz2014 InternationalE-ExpectationsReport.
  6. 6. What do students look for on a college website? FromCollegeWeekLive/Noel-Levitz2014 InternationalE-ExpectationsReport.
  7. 7. Websites Planning and Implementation:  Exclusive vs. Inclusive  Separate International Admission page  International-specific information included into the general page  Visibility – Is your page hidden within several other admission pages?  Accessibility  Easiness of navigation  Clear way in and out – being stuck in a page can create negative feelings towards your institution  Hierarchy and bureaucracy within the university  Who is responsible for publishing the page, how quickly can that happen?  Marketing and branding guidelines  Website goals  Targeted population  Inquiries, applicants, admitted students  Region of the world, English proficiency  Will you need information in other languages?  Q&A pages  Consistency –appearance, message, institution culture
  8. 8. Print & e-mail communications Considerations for Publications/Communications:  One piece or more? Define functions for each piece.  Who to get involved with the development?  Who is your audience?  What questions need to be answered within each piece?  What other information needs to be in each piece?  Who to mail/email to and when?  Do we mail at all?  If you use any domestic pieces in your mail flow, are they international friendly?
  9. 9. Print & e-mail communications Considerations for Publications/Communications:  Use clear concise, most simplistic terms for text (P/W)  Distinguish private, public, religious, gender specific, etc.(P/W)  Provide Map with entire U.S., your location and distance to well known cities in kilometers(P/W)  List accreditations and accolades that lend credibility i.e. ABET, AACSB, etc.(P/W)  Climate in Fahrenheit and Celsius(P/W)  Faculty Stats (P)  Research (P)  Majors and degrees offered (P)  Enrollment: grad vs. undergrad, domestic and int’l, male vs. female(P)  Int’l stats: where your students come from(P/W)  Int’l organizations and support services(P/W)
  10. 10. Print & e-mail communications Designing your Communication Plan: Pre-App My initial inquiry letter has links to:  Video, on-line brochures, fact sheets in languages  Academics: majors/minors/degrees  Campus Life  Achievements  Cost and financial aid  Application I send this within a week of making contact with the student. I have edited versions for int’ls, permanent residents and U.S citizens living overseas and transfers.
  11. 11. Print & e-mail communications Designing your Communication Plan: Post-App/Pre-Admit  Do your domestic follow-up letters make sense to bring incomplete apps to completion?  How strongly do you push an app to complete that you may ultimately deny?  Templates for incomplete int’l, incomplete transfers, incomplete US citizens living overseas.  Marketing info in follow-up letters
  12. 12. Print & e-mail communications Designing your Communication Plan: Admit  Do you scan/email/mail admit packet?  Personal congrats from you?  Email to guidance counselor informing of admission?  What do you communicate once admitted? Outcomes/accomplishments/internships/study abroad/campus activities  Welcome email from current student?  How often do you send “how to pay deposit”?  Again, do domestic admit communications work for int’ls?
  13. 13. Print & e-mail communications Designing your Communication Plan: Confirmed  Again, do domestic confirmed communications work for int’ls?  “I’m so excited you’ll be part of the X Univ. community!!”  Do you send tracking info when an I-20 is sent?  Is I-20 sent after admission or deposit?  “X student is coming!!!” email to counselor
  14. 14. Branding and Identity Challenge or Opportunity?  Branding – visual or tangible image  Guidelines set by Marketing or similar office on campus  Ex. University Communication Standards andWeb Editorial Style Guide from Furman - http://www2.furman.edu/sites/marketing/Pages/Home.aspx  Identity – perception of your institution by individuals in a specific place  No name is better than a bad name  Careful approach in building your institution reputation  Rush approach based on immediate results can have long-lasting effects  “Guilty by Association” phenomenon
  15. 15. New Markets Outreach to New Markets  Market Sizing Exercise  Institutional historical data analysis  IIEOpen Doors data  http://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors/Data  EducationUSA  UNESCO Institute for Statisctics  http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/international-student-flow- viz.aspx  Appraoch  Armchair vs. suitcase recruitment  Individual vs. group travel  Institution image and perception by association  Considerations  Take existing data into consideration according to your own institution.  Short vs. long-term goals  Are you prepared and able to commit the necessary resources  Keep in mind how many new markets can be developed at any given time.
  16. 16. Social Media
  17. 17. EducationUSA GlobalSocial MediaSurvey Results spring2013 n.2400+students 190countries
  18. 18. EducationUSA GlobalSocial MediaSurvey Results spring2013 n.2400+students 190countries
  19. 19. EducationUSA Global Social Media Survey Results spring 2013 n. 2400+ students 190 countries
  20. 20. EducationUSA GlobalSocial MediaSurvey Results spring2013 n.2400+students 190countries
  21. 21. Global EducationUSA Social Media Survey: What the data shows  Social media is key to student communications  Most have 2-3 accounts – 91% have Facebook  Students look primarily online for US college info  Over 70% use social media to find info about institutions  Greater majority interact directly with institutional social media  They want:  To see aid available  To ask questions/get answers  While PCs & laptops are still dominant way students access social media, mobile phones (increasingly smart phones) are used by nearly 50%
  22. 22. Social Media: Take-Aways  Know Where Your Students “Live” Online  Focus Your Attention Accordingly  Provide Opportunities to Interact  Engage in Conversations  Start Thinking Mobile  Time / Target Messages
  23. 23. Social Media articles worth a read  Higher Education & the Social Media Bubble part 1  Higher Education & the Social Media Bubble part 2  IsYour Recruitment ConnectingAwareness & Commitment  Bring on the GoldenAge of Mobile (infographic)  Social, Digital & Mobile in China 2014  Digital Behavior of GlobalTeens  Admitted Student Communities  Social Media in 2014  What Lessons Can Colleges Learn from Big Brands on Social Media
  24. 24. Top 10 Counselor NetworkingTips fromJudi, Fred, & Marty 1. Think about attending…OACAC, NACAC, EducationUSA, CIS Forum,CIS Tri-Association Conference, CIS conference in association withASSA 2. Carry list of admitted and deposited lists to these events. For at least the last year, if not two or three years. Photos of their students?? 3. Consider counselor fly-ins; free hotel if they visit 4. Create quarterly counselor newsletter 5. Participate in the social aspects of OACAC whenever you can 6. Don’t try to “sell” your institution to counselors ; instead, focus on building a trusting relationship with them. You will have a chance to showcase your institution during the college fair and in the future 7. Have a “plan of attack” based on region and type of school, but don’t be afraid of deviating from it. Counselors know other counselors and they also move around quite a bit. 8. Connect on social media with FB groups & counselors/advisers on LinkedIn/FB: OACAC,College Admissions Counselors, GlobeTrotters United, College Admissions Recruiter Network 9. Have enough business cards, always! 10. Be ruthless in dodgeball tournaments with fellow higher ed colleagues, but go easy on the counselors 
  25. 25. Questions for the Panel  Judi Marino, InternationalAdmissions Specialist, Flagler University, jmarino@flagler.edu  Fred Silva,Assistant Director of Admissions, Furman University, fred.silva@furman.edu  Marty Bennett, Manager of International Partnerships, CollegeWeekLive, mbennett@platformq.com
  26. 26. Thank you! Complete Power Point & CollegeWeekLive/Noel-Levitz 2014 International E-Expectations Report Will be emailed to those who leave a business card !