The article presents the full funnel recruitment model as an alternative to simplistic recruitment models founded only on widening international prospect intake as a means of increasing the recruitment of new students. While increased prospect intake will often increase enrollment outflow, constriction at any point in the funnel holds the potential to negate efforts to increase the number of new international students. The full funnel enrollment management model highlights the importance of maintaining all portions of the intake funnel to ensure the smooth transition of international prospects from initial contact to successful matriculation. Five strategies compose the heart of full funnel enrollment management: (1) outreach, (2) application, (3) advisement, (4) registration and (5) engagement. Each component of the full funnel enrollment management model is examined in detail.
- full funnel
The world of student recruitment has forever changed. Success now demands more complex and inclusive planning. Past efforts have long been guided by the concept that expanding the number of applications into the recruitment funnel will ultimately lead to an increase in the number of new student enrollments falling out of the recruitment funnel. While expanded outreach will at times lead to expanded enrollment, the past two to three decades have rocked the world of student recruitment with ever changing and unpredictable results. Outdated and simplistic recruitment strategies have been invalidated in the modern era of globalization. The information explosion brought on by emerging technological advances has increased competition for market share and has forever changed student recruitment .
The digital age has engendered an arms race as institutions face challengers to and competition for the recruitment markets they once owned. In the struggle to hold or obtain market share, past approaches are often found wanting. Once solid methodologies are no longer effective and often require extensive broadening and restructuring. That which worked well in the past, likely demands redesign and careful incorporation of wider aspects of student life into the overall process of student recruitment. Successful efforts find it necessary to outstrip competitors and must empower a more complete picture of student engagement and matriculation. The new reality for general student recruitment is exponentially true for international student recruitment. Today’s recruiters working the international market find themselves in a new era filled with new challenges. These new challenges require new strategies, integrated methodologies, and a broader vision of that which constitutes student recruitment. Success requires that the recruiters of international students must distinguish themselves for the crowd with high quality, integrated services. This is where full funnel enrollment management comes into play.
1.1 The full funnel approach
Student recruitment has often been represented by a funnel as a means of illustrating the idea that if more is poured into the funnel more will flow out of the funnel [2, 3]. The full funnel enrollment management approach acknowledges that the recruitment process involves much more than simple in-flow and out-flow of applications magically transforming prospects into students. Full funnel enrollment management recognizes that attracting students to an institution is a very complex process involving a wide-range of precarious interactions. Simply put, restriction in any part of the funnel holds the capability of making increased outreach meaningless. Full funnel enrollment management is very cognizant of this reality and acts accordingly. Where recruitment is concerned, everything matters. The entire flow from initial contact through graduation and involvement in alumni affairs is part of recruitment. Everything must be considered. Nothing can be ignored. Nothing can be taken for granted. Full funnel enrollment management considers the total student experience as part of the recruitment process and assures that every aspect of exposure to the institution is appropriate and well thought out.
1.2 A stranger in a strange land
Consider the plight of an international student planning to study in your institution. Have you ever been a stranger in a strange land? What did you need to know? Could you speak the language? Did you need a guide? What were your concerns? Did anyone help you during this time? What were your challenges? How were they overcome?
This international applicant is now a stranger in a strange land. Put yourself in his or her place. Even those daily life routines easily solved by native students may prove ominous and difficult as he or she struggles to learn the basic survival techniques that others take for granted. For example, he or she may have many of the following questions. Where will I live? How do I get a telephone? How do I contact my family? Who do I call if I have an emergency? How do I get around? Where do I buy groceries? How do I get to the grocery store to buy groceries? What will I do on the weekends? What is there to do here? How do I access the money my parents have sent to me? These sorts of questions can yield to even more difficult questions as students face the demands for paperwork and documentation. How do I contact my Embassy? How do I get my visa? How do I get evidence of my past school work? Who is going to help me? The list of potential questions is endless. If you were this student, what would your questions be?
Now consider the plight of a parent who is allowing his or her beloved child to become a stranger in a strange land. Does the institution provide for the care and safety of my child? What does my child do if they get sick? What is your learning environment like? Will my son or daughter have adequate oversight while part of your institution? How will you help my son or daughter survive the transition into your institution? Do these people even care about my child? Again, the list of potential questions is endless. If you were a parent facing the same circumstances, what would you want to know?
Add to these issues the realization that the identified questions only involve the things that the student and parent know. What about all of the cultural issues and social mores that they do not know? What about the things that they do not even know that they do not know? How will they be helped? Who will help them? What is your plan to guide the student’s matriculation into your institution? What is your plan to guide the parent’s understanding and utilization of your services? What will you do to keep the student from getting home-sick and wanting to go back home to their family? Though these questions are complex and may never be fully answered, of a certainly, they will not be answered without full consideration of the issues involved. Put yourself in the place of the student and parent. Consider their needs and go to work meeting those needs. Now watch your enrollment numbers climb.
1.3 The human element
Begin your journey into full funnel enrollment management by considering the importance of the human element. Is a stranger in a strange land likely to appreciate a friend who shows up to help them? Will that friend be able to gain the strangers confidence and guide the stranger towards successful matriculation? The answers to these questions are most definitely affirmative. A friendly and knowledgeable person in the right place at the right time with the right answers is always a welcome sight. Now consider the expectations of potential students and their parents.
Students love hearing from other students. Parents like meeting administrators and the people in charge of the organization. Students trust other students but may be dubious of the older generation. Parents like other students and other young people; however, they trust those of their own generation. Students want excitement and enthusiasm. Parents want responsibility and accountability.
Students want to hear from athletes, student government personnel, other students, and those their own age. Parents want to hear from Presidents, Provosts, Deans, Directors, and those with authority. Students are seeking colleagues. Parents are seeking accountability. Students are interested in the fun things that are available. Parents seek assurance as to the veracity of the pending financial investment with your institution. Pleasant discourse with a parent is never wasted. Hearing the following from an authority figures might make a difference, “Let me welcome you to XYZ University. We are always delighted to have parents on our campus. Parents pay tuition. Tuition pays our salaries. Remember that all of us work for you, and we are here to help if you need us.” While the parent may smile in response to this statement, the message has been conveyed. We care about what you think. We are here to meet your needs. Feel free to ask us for help.
Full funnel enrollment management provides assurance to both parties. Current students and staff members are involved in the recruitment process. Authorities are involved in the recruitment process. Recruitment is everyone’s business. Current students and staff members can enthusiastically discuss the awesomeness of campus life. Authorities can thank parents for sharing their son or daughter with the institution and provide a face, name, and contact through which the parent’s anxiety can be alleviated. Members of the SGA can talk about activities and student trips. Authorities can provide parents with a coffee cup to let them know that the institution is one of quality and is a great investment in the future of their child.
Whether a current student, staff member or administrator, young or old, always remember to smile. Make a concerted effort to project a pleasant demeanor to everyone at all times. A friendly and helpful persona is essential to assuring those who are strangers in a strange land. The human smile is the greatest form of assurance that could possibly be provide to both students and parents. Likewise, be aware that the first impression is important. No one gets get a second chance to make a first impression. Make the most of the opportunity. Recruitment numbers come to those who smile. If you cannot smile or you find the condition worrisome, you are in the wrong profession. Additionally, those that cannot smile have no need to continue through this narrative. For them, the battle is already lost.
Outreach is not something you do. Outreach is who you are. Outreach is a mindset. Outreach is a culture. Outreach is traditional. Outreach is digital. Outreach is innovative and responsive. Outreach is everywhere. Some outreach is organized. Some outreach is spontaneous. Outreach is everyone’s responsibility. Let us begin by examining planned outreach. We will then spend some time discussing spontaneous outreach.
2.1 Planned outreach
Planned outreach involves organized efforts to recruit international students into your institution. The responsibility for planned outreach is generally assigned to an administrative unit charged with orchestrating efforts and maximizing collaboration between concerned components of the institution in order to increase enrollment numbers. The responsible administrative unit is typically housed in admissions, international partnerships, or an instructional component. The authority hierarchy of the administrative unit may reside at the higher level of a Provost down to the lower level of a recruiter or outreach officer.
These efforts are often operationalized via a formal planning structure to address issues of vision, resources, programs, capacity, brand recognition, competition, and country specific considerations . Planned outreach may include activities that are external and internal to the institution. External activities often include exhibitions, international travel, international student exchanges, recruitment representatives, lead generators, and portal sites, to name a few. Internal recruitment activities may involve strategies associated with social media advertising, student clubs, website design, cultural awareness functions, personnel assignments, volunteer utilization, assigned points of contact, and timely response mechanisms. The list is endless.
While the author firmly endorses comprehensive planning, caution is expressed concerning the danger of planning for 364 days and working 1 day rather than planning for 2 day and working for 364 days. Planning processes are always more solidly embedded in the higher education comfort zone than are strategic interactions with those different from ourselves. For this reason, many enjoy spending all their time in developing plans rather than actually engaging potential applicants down in the trenches. Even with the best strategic action plan brilliantly crafted to promote international enrollment and the most diligent work schedule, one simple question usually determines success, “What sets you apart from the crowd?” More simply worded, “How do you outshine your competitors?” Keep in mind that your competitors are doing all the things that you are doing. They are enacting strategic plans. They are focusing on both external and internal recruitment activities. They are also hard at work. What sets you apart from the crowd? How do you outshine your competitors? What makes you better than them?
The pat answer to these questions is customer service, but the customer service is much more complicated than this simplistic answer implies. You must always keep in mind that your perception of your customer service may not match your customer’s perception of your customer service. Additionally, you must also remain aware of the 100 to 1 rule for customer service. On average a dissatisfied individual will inform 10 people of their dissatisfaction while 10 satisfied individuals are likely to collectively tell only one person. One hundred satisfied people are required to balance the negative publicity generated by one dissatisfied person. Take a moment and let this sink in. A one-to-one correlation does not exist in regard to offsetting the effects of one dissatisfied individual with one satisfied individual. One hundred satisfied people are required to balance the negative publicity generated by one dissatisfied person. You must solve the problem before it becomes a problem. You must do all in your power to keep anyone from leaving your institution with a negative opinion of your services.
2.2 Spontaneous outreach
Friends tell friends. Our global world is intricately connected. A helping hand to a person here may reverberate around the world. This means that all university activities are part of the outreach for international recruitment. All efforts to help one person have the potential to bring another person to enroll in your institution. Ask yourself the following. Are your events designed for international viewing? Do you provide remote access to your events? Does your website accommodate international student and parents? Do you have virtual tours of your campus? Do you provide access to a friendly face for those who just want to ask a question about anything of interest to them? Do you provide access to your student government association? Do you celebrate the success of your international students? Do you maximize your social media sites by providing access to international students and their parents?
Spontaneous outreach is founded on the concept of the extended student. This idea recognizes that a student is more than a student. A student is likely many students. For example, a university may recruit an excellent academic student by providing a merit-based scholarship. This student brings friends, acquaintances, and colleagues to the institution. A student is obviously more than a student. A student should be seen as a gateway to reach many other students.
2.3 Hosting the applicant’s visit to your campus
One smile properly utilized to the right extended student can be of more effect than a year of planning. One act of kindness can even outweigh a smile. What is your plan to serve your international students and their parents? What provisions do you offer? Some suggestions follow.
Applicants and parents may choose to visit your campus. If so, they will not arrive at your campus from their country. They will likely arrive at the airport then require transportation to your campus. Make certain they get to your campus. Provide easy transportation from the airport. Greet the parents with a smile and a small gift. Be especially certain that the applicant’s mother is welcomed. Keep in mind that the mother holds great influence in regard to the family’s impression of your institution. The parents and applicant may also require lodging. If you do not have campus lodging available, work with local hotels to offer a standard package at a reasonable cost. Help them with their arrangements. Provide a tour of your local area. Consider providing a broader tour of the region as appropriate. Show them where to buy a pizza and how to go to the mall.
Arrange for your guests to meet some of your student leaders. Be certain to include an administrator. Let them know that you will help the applicant obtain all the services required of normal life in your country such as obtaining a phone, getting to their Embassy, returning to the airport, etc. The applicant and parent will understand that many services have an associated cost though you should ensure that the costs are held to a minimum. It is not appropriate to gouge international students. Provide a listing of these courtesy services and associated costs for their utilization.
Share the schedule of available student activities. Ensure that your schedule includes weekend activities so that the student can escape the residence halls for some relaxation. Provide the library hours so that the parents are ensured that study time exists. Remember that while the applicant is interested in activities the parents are interested in the tuition investment. Provide information to meet the expectations of both groups. The applicant and the parents should be orientated as to the dynamics of life in your country. Let both know the ins and outs of what is considered to be acceptable in your culture. Consider providing the international orientation via digital medium as you do not want to focus on the negatives. Keep your personal meetings focused on the positives. Life in your country is good! Your institution is the place to be! Now, smile and treat them in a courteous manner.
Consider implementing an international student adoption program to care for students during the holidays who are not planning on returning home. Holidays are tough times for those separated from their families. You want to help these students overcome their homesickness. Tell the applicant and the parents about this program. Get the parents and the applicant signed up with your social media sites. Make certain that they know whom to contact should they have a concern. Remember that international student recruitment is not something you do. International student recruitment is who you are. Treat the applicant and the parents as you would want to be treated should you be in their place. Be creative and be their friend. My personal favorite is to give the applicant’s mother a coffee cup, the applicant a university t-shirt, and the applicant’s father the bill for our tuition. I am just kidding about the first two.
2.4 Remember your influence leaders
Many institutions utilize representatives to recruit international students though many, many other influence leaders unofficially perform the same task. These are all known as influence leaders. Influence leaders may include governmental agencies, counselors, principals, alumni, parents of other students, and a host of other entities. Indeed, influence leaders are key to success in all recruitment efforts not just international efforts. Influence leaders are entitled to the highest level of customer service. They must be incorporated as part of the team. As part of the team, they are held to the same standards of conduct as other team members. They are, likewise, due prompt consideration of their concerns and quick action on their requests. Every effort must be put forth to keep them in the loop. Strategies must be in place to recognize and share success. What have you done lately to demonstrate your appreciation of your influence leaders?
3. From initial inquiry through application
Tracking and follow-up are key to successfully transitioning international inquiries into international enrollments. Since a man was landed on the moon back in 1969, my assumption is that most institutions have the capability to digitally track inquiries from the initial point of contact through to enrollment. Prompt, systematic response to inquiries is critical. If an institution can spend millions on marketing, certainly phones can be answered, response emails can be sent, SMS can be employed, and staff can appropriately reply to applicant requests. If not, please stop here. The battle is lost. Further resistance is futile. Find another occupation.
3.1 Power in a name
Follow up must be personal, courteous and systematic. Applicants like to hear their name. The ancients believed that there was power in a name. The sooner you realize that there is power in a name, the sooner you will reap the rewards brought on by personal contact. “Dear Applicant” is not as powerful as “Dear Lee.” “I see that you are an international applicant” does not rival “I see that you are applying from South Africa.” Though these responses can be automated, a personal touch is to be preferred. How much of your day does it take to send an individual contact? Why not try a combination of automated and individual?
A personal reply should be sent to an initial inquiry within 24 hours of contact. Inquiries should be followed up once a week until the applicant requests otherwise. At all times, employ all means to talk to all applicants. These prospects have reached out to you. Go out of your way to respond to them. Use email, SMS, phone calls, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and every other available means. Track your prospects and respond with a well-designed systematic approach.
3.2 The levels of contact
Different levels should be involved in inquiry contact. At times, the Dean should be employed. At other times, the contact should be from staff. Current student participation is appropriate at times. The contact may relate to registration. The contact may share information about a gathering to eat pizza and watch the FIFA cup. Never forget that the parents should also be included in systematic contact. A friend of mine once said of contact, “Men do not buy a shirt every day, but when they do buy a shirt we want them to think of us.” International applicants do not enroll in an institution every day, but when they do enroll we want them to enroll with us. The quality of our contacts can make this a reality. Remember that three international contacts gaining three students constitute a far better scenario than 1000 international contacts gaining no international students. Make your efforts personal, courteous and systematic. Your efforts will pay off with increased numbers.
4. Harness the power of academic advising
Applicants do not contact an institution because they want to major in admissions. They contact an institution because they are interested in a program of study. International recruitment that ignores contact with program faculty will be limited. Program faculty are your key allies in the recruitment process. They can also constitute a negative factor just as the wrong members in your staff can discourage prospects. Choose your allies wisely. Develop a list of those who will work with you. These are generally the faculty in programs demonstrating healthy enrollments. These programs are healthy for this very reason. The programs are healthy because the program faculty are open to recruiting new applicants and are willing to meet their needs.
4.1 Academic advising as a recruitment tool
While academic advising has long been shown to play a major role in student retention , academic advisement also plays an import role in student recruitment. Such is particularly true in regard to international recruitment. Academic advising is about building human relationships. Human relationships are at the very heart of international recruitment efforts. Your tracking system should be able to gather lists of applicants by program. Introduce the applicant to the program faculty contact. Let the faculty contact know in advance that the applicant has only submitted interest in the program. Let the applicant know that the faculty contact is there to answer their questions if needed. Introduce the applicant’s parents to the program faculty contact. Let the faculty contact know in advance that the parents may have questions about the program. Engender dialog. Monitor those faculty program contacts who do not engender dialog and avoid them. In these cases, recruitment staff may seek answers for the applicant and parent. Though every faculty member will not want to participate, those who do will be rewarded with increased enrollment.
4.2 Set up periodic meeting with academic advisors
Make every effort to positively reinforce those faculty advisors that actively seek to serve prospective students. Periodic meetings should be held with academic advisors and department heads to keep them informed and hear their concerns. If a concern is voiced, take the concern seriously. Act on it then let the academic advisors know what was done. You may want to give them a personal call to thank them when they have gone out of their way to help a prospect. You may want to provide them a coffee cup or a t-shirt. Sometimes, just a word of appreciation will suffice. Make certain that you take the time to express your gratitude. Faculty are people too. They are very busy teaching and are actively engaged in many activities. While advisement is also part of their job, all people enjoy hearing that they are performing above expectations. You must do your part to support and nurture your good academic advisors. Make a concerted effort to reach out to new members of the faculty. They will appreciate the contact. Engaging and developing academic advisors as recruitment partners will help your international enrollment numbers grow.
5. The dangerous currents of registration
For almost all students, navigating registration is the most ominous, frustrating and terror-laden event they will face in their academic careers. Where do they go? Who do they see? How do they get their classes? How will they pay? In 1974, the author stood in line for 2 days to register for classes. The advent of the digital age has changed this scenario and registration is no longer the same. Now many students wait online from 3 days to 4 weeks to complete their registrations. Since mankind was able to land on the moon in 1969, one would suppose that registration has been improved. This supposition may not be correct.
Consider the plight of an international student who is now a stranger in a strange land. While struggling to discover the difficulties of obtaining a phone and learning how to buy groceries, this student must now face the frightful experience of registration. What is to be done? How do we make this experience bearable? How do we get them advised? What about their visa? How do we get them through the gauntlet alive? These are our challenges if we are to grow our international enrollment. We now have the opportunity to become a peer mentor and demonstrate that we are their friends. We are their advocate. At least those of us with increasing international enrollments are their advocates. The remainder is seeking another profession.
5.1 Hello, I am your peer mentor
In difficult times, everyone needs a friend. What better friend than a peer to mentor you through the difficult experience of registration? Notice the word, peer. While there exists a time and place for potentates and demigods of authority, peers are colleagues. Peers make the journey with you. Peers are there to help you as needed. A peer can assist in navigating the student through the dangerous and threatening landscape of registration. The peer may be a fellow student. A peer may be a staff member from international student affairs. A peer may be a member of the Registrar’s team. A peer may be a student ambassador. A peer may be the academic advisor. The peer may be the administrator over all of student services. Or, the peer may be all of the above collaborating to make the registration experience less terrible and more rewarding.
To clear registration, the student must complete their immigration visa. They must be housed. They must be advised. They must be registered into an appropriate schedule of classes. They must pay. To pay, they are to likely transfer of money from another country. What if their credit card encounters difficulty? They may need to interact with their parents. They may need to go to a bank or open an account. Have you mapped out the registration process in order to guide them? Do you know where the bottle necks occur? Do you have a plan for making it through these bottle necks? Have you prepared a team of peer mentors to assist these students in navigating the waters of registration? Do they feel comfortable letting you know that they are encountering problems? Can you smile and be their friend? Or, do you plan to fiddle while Rome burns and seek another occupation? Sometimes other occupations are hard to find.
5.2 Empower registration as a recruitment tool
Registrar’s often focus on dates, rules, and the limitation of any exceptions. International recruiters recognize that making registration easy for international students increases the university enrollment. When enrollment increases, the university makes more money. Revenue projections are met. People are happy. Accordingly, plans must be made to handle the influx of international students. Keeping them out of lines and the away from the other evils of registration will pay off. Registration must be transformed into a friend. Efforts must be made to register these students as quickly as possible. In the ideal situation, they will be registered before they arrive on campus. In the second-best scenario, they will be registered under the VIP system by their beloved peer mentor. In the worst scenario, they are left to wander the campus to find their own way through the endless lines and across the minefield of despair.
Consider the scenario where the international applicant interfaces with his or her peer mentor. The peer mentor helps the applicant establish contact with his or her academic advisor. The academic advisor visits with the student applicant, shares insight regarding the program of study, and suggests the appropriate schedule for the current semester as outlined in the degree plan. The two then share pleasantries and return to their tasks. At this point, the peer mentor helps the student register, either online or in-person, whichever is necessary. The peer mentor becomes the staff member who guides the student through the process. Classes are entered. A schedule is obtained. The peer mentor ensures that the student has paid his or her tuition and is available if difficulties are encountered. The new international student is shown the location of the classrooms by the peer mentor. The student is prepared for the first day of class. Books are purchased. The library is visited. What if all of this occurred outside the regular registration arena? What if it occurred at the peer mentor’s duty station? What if international registration was designed to facilitate the student rather than the needs of the Registrar? Would not that be nice? Why is it not being done? The student will have a good experience. The student will obtain a good schedule. The institution will increase its numbers. More money will be generated. Everyone will be happy. Right?
6. Engage students in the university
Remember that friends tell friends. A student is more than a student. A student extends into myriads of other possible prospects. The recruitment process reaches well beyond the traditional application and admission process. Successful student engagement is also a key component of student recruitment. Why would a student want to join your university unless they have something to do while they are there? On the flip side, with all the wonderful activities that are happening in your institution who would not want to be part of the excitement? Successful international student engagement includes the full utilization of student government, student clubs, student activities, learning resources, residence life, community engagement, career services, and leadership services. To obtain your desired results and achieve positive matriculation of students into campus life consider the following.
6.1 Plan the new student’s arrival on campus
Even though you may know your way on and off campus, new international students often do not. Put yourself in their place. How do they arrive on campus? Once on campus, where do they go? Who will greet them? Make plans to facilitate their easy transition into campus life. Begin by providing appropriate pre-arrival instructions so that they can find their way onto your campus. Of course, this means that clear instructions must be readily available. Will they be coming from the airport on their own? If so, how will they get to your campus. Will you be providing transport from the airport? If so, how will the student hook up with your representative at the airport? The student cannot be engaged with campus life until the student gets to your campus. Your responsibility is to get the student to campus. Once you get the student on campus, the next objective will be to get the student involved in campus life.
6.2 Facilitate an easy transition into university life
You must be proactive in your efforts to matriculate newly arriving international students into campus life. These students require assistance with housing and residence life facilities. This is another occasion to become their beloved mentor and friend. While all institutions have a new student orientation, the needs of new international students differ from the needs of the general student population. New international students require additional information in relation to immigration, cultural norms, health insurance, and a number of other topics . The institution should offer a comprehensive new international student orientation to prepare these students for campus life. They will also need to know about the area and region. Tours should be arranged within the first few weeks to let them know about where they are living and the characteristics of the region. Care should be taken to see that the tours are enjoyable. Nothing is worse than a boring tour. To avoid the latter, involve current international students in the planning as they will plan things that they enjoy. This will ensure that the new international students encounter a meaningful experience and arrive at a similar outcome. Keep in mind that your job is not to tell them what they must not do, your job is to share the good things that they can do while part of your institution’s academic family. You are now challenged to be creative in handling the negatives from a positive perspective.
6.3 Engage a support network
The two factors of student-to-student interaction and student-to-faculty interaction are well documented as essential to student retention . Likewise, these two fundamental factors are also key to international student recruitment. The recruitment model must interface with current students and program faculty. While interaction with faculty members will occur within the instructional model, interaction with other students must be nurtured and developed. There is nothing wrong with hosting academic events for faculty and students as an extension of the academic environment. In fact, such is encouraged. The involvement of current students in recruitment activities is certainly important; however, involvement does not begin or end here. Effort must be made to integrate the new international student into campus life and expand interaction with other students. In fact, this integration must be carefully orchestrated and must guide interaction with the RIGHT students. This can be accomplished via exposure to student government, student clubs, new student activities, and a host of additional planned activities. Matriculation programs can be utilized to provide student ambassadors to guide these efforts. These programs may be funded or non-funded.
6.4 Involve international students in university events
New international students require programs to get them out of the residence halls and to engage them in campus life activities. Nothing is more disheartening than sitting in a dorm room with nothing to do. Inactivity often leads to homesickness. Homesick students are more prone to abandon their education and return home to their families. Positive action leads to increased involvement. Increase involvement lead to greater confidence . Greater confidence increases self-worth and enhances the likelihood that the student will make new friends. Participation in campus life activities will also increases the likelihood that the student will make new friends. In short, if students have nothing to do, they will grow discouraged and leave your institution. They will share their experience with others. This will hinder the success of future recruitment activities. If they have something to do, they are more likely to enjoy your institution and to share their experiences with others.
6.5 Activities by students for students
Activities should be planned by students for students. Activities should be planned for every weekend though not every student may choose to participate. Activities should enhance the learning experience and provide opportunities to interface with other students. Activities should provide opportunities to interface with faculty and staff. Activities should introduce the student to the treasures of their new life. Activities should deliver on their decision to meet new ideas and encounter new experiences. Their ideas on making your program better should be solicited and followed. Those who listen will increase their enrollment numbers.
6.6 Practice active advocacy
When international students encounter problems, advocacy is required. If the problem is not as they think, treat them with dignity and provide an explanation. If the problem is legitimate, do your best to involve them in a solution. Remember that the issue is important to them. They need an advocate. While solving problems is worrisome, your job exists to overcome problems. Become an advocate and help to make their experience a positive one. You will find your role rewarding.
Keep in mind that students are required to succeed in their academic pursuits. Make certain that they are introduced to the full range of academic support services provided by your institution. Introduce them to people. Take them to offices. Let them talk to students who have met success while availing these services. These new students must know that pursuit of assistance does not constitute an expression of inadequacy. The library is there for them. Peer tutors will help them. Counseling is available as needed. Disability services are available if required. All are available to help. All they have to do is ask.
Pursuit of these services is a function of student maturity. Celebrate their success with them. Let them know that it is not only acceptable to seek help, it is important for them to take charge of their learning experience. This constitutes academic maturity. You should provide opportunity for mature international students to share their stories with the next generation. You are not the only one that can work as an advocate. Keep in mind that success builds success.
The implementation of full funnel enrollment management requires the full commitment of every university component to focus on outreach, application, advisement, registration, and engagement. This is especially true for those components related to student services and student success. Full commitment to the provision of coordinated services from initial inquiry to graduation will set your institution above the crowd. With the engagement of your full range of services into the recruitment process, you will outpace your competition and see your international enrollment numbers soar.