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Leveraging Your School's Website to Recruit Prospective International Students

Leveraging Your School's Website

In today's recruitment environment, prospective international students are very likely to find your school online. If your school has a website that already reaches a high number of international students, it's important to leverage the website by making it as easy-to-use and informative as possible. If your school's website doesn't have as many international student visitors as you'd like, it’s a good idea to have other ways to gain student interest, however, your school can still benefit from having a dynamic, user-friendly website. In this article, we'll explore various methods for enhancing the way you recruit prospective international students online.

Let Students Request More Information

We recommend having concise information about attending your school as an international student. Then, allow students to request more information about your school. One of the best ways to do this is to integrate a sign up form as depicted in the image. It’s important to give this page a title that lets prospective students know that they will be requesting more information about your school. Your contact form should at least require students to leave their name, email, phone number and preferred method of communication. Then, you may want to include more optional fields as Harvard College has done with its form. However, you don't want to ask for too much as this might deter prospective students from submitting the form. It's important to include consent boxes as needed when obtaining student contact information. If you will be storing student contact information, you should disclose this in the consent message.

Harvard Contact Us Page

Some students may not be comfortable entering their information so we recommend also sharing your contact information. This way, prospective students have another way to request more information.

Allow Students to Start the Application Process

As you already know, the application process for an international student requires a lot of supporting information and documents, and can be very involved. We recommend that you allow international students to start the application process online and provide detailed instructions on how to navigate through the application. It's important to include what students will need to apply to your institution such as proof of English proficiency, proof of finances, testing scores, transcripts etc. You may consider having an application checklist page to list out the required application deliverables.

Valencia Application Page

Present Detailed Information on Cost of Attendance

It is also highly beneficial to outline the cost of attendance for an international student at your institution. For example, the chart pictured below breaks down estimated annual expenses for an international student at the University of Florida. It's ideal to have a page within the international admissions section of your school's website that not only breaks down the estimated cost of attendance but also provides information on financial certification through USCIS as international students are required to show proof of finances.

UF Expenses

UC Berkeley Financial Aid Estimator Page

Many colleges and universities use charts like the one above, however, you may want to present financial information in a different way. For example, the University of California and several other universities have integrated financial aid and scholarships calculators, like the one pictured to the right, to help students get an estimate of how much they will need to pay in tuition and fees. This tool is a great way to get prospective students to engage with your website while also gaining insight into how much it will cost to attend your school.

You may even want to let students know where their tuition is going with a chart such as the one below created by Penn State University. Depicting where student tuition goes shows prospective students that they can expect transparency from your institution. Additionally, it gives some students peace of mind to know exactly how their tuition money is going to fund their education.

Penn State Tuition Breakdown

Share News to Spark Student Interest

Most universities have a news section of the website dedicated to highlighting students, important events, accomplishments, new program offerings, etc. But typically, most news articles on university websites are geared towards current domestic students. Consider publishing an article per month that pertains to international student affairs on campus. This way, prospective international students can preview what life will be like at your institution.

Offer Virtual Campus Tours

Some students may not be able to physically come to campus for a tour so offering a virtual tour is a great alternative. For example, take a look at the Stanford 360° Virtual Tour. This 13-minute long video is hosted by current Stanford University students, giving it a real-life campus tour feel. It's important to ensure that students are a good fit for the school, that they enjoy it. But it's also important that they know how to take the next step. Including links to application information and the application itself on this page will help ensure that students know what to do next.

Provide Answers to FAQs

If you have a set of questions that you get from students frequently, it’s a great idea to create an FAQ page. Include questions like "How do international students apply?", "What is the English language proficiency requirement?", "Do I need to provide SAT/ACT scores?", etc. We suggest linking to relevant pages such as the application page in your answers to frequently asked questions so that students can easily find the right page on your school's website.

Highlight Student Testimonials and Videos

Highlighting a few student testimonials within the section of your website for international students can go a long way. Prospective students can get an idea of what it's like to study at your institution through students who are currently enrolled. Take a look at the example from Northwest Missouri State University below. The student's quote is concise and shows that international students have a positive attitude about studying at the institution. It's a great idea to compile multiple student testimonials for one testimonials page.

Northwest Testimonials Breakdown

Another fantastic way to highlight your students is by posting video content, such as a "Day in the Life of an International Student" vlog. Quan, a postgraduate student at the University of Glasgow has done a perfect job of showing what a day is like at the institution.

Further Information

If you would like more information on how can help you with your international student marketing and recruitment strategy, including your social media marketing plan, contact us for more details.

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