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Speaking Their Language: Engaging International Applicants to Increase Yield

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As the number of international student applications drops across the U.S., graduate programs must develop new ways of engaging admitted international students to encourage them to attend their programs. This presentation explores areas outside of traditional marketing and recruitment by discussing how to see the process from the international student’s point of view and how to metaphorically speak their language in our communications with them. Taking an anthropological approach, this presentation explores ways graduate program coordinators can learn to understand what international students are looking for in a graduate program and develop ways to show international students how our programs meet those needs.

Presenter: Dr. Brandie Yale

Publicada em: Educação
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Speaking Their Language: Engaging International Applicants to Increase Yield

  1. 1. Speaking Their Language: Engaging International Applicants to Increase Yield Brandie Yale, PhD Director of Graduate Admissions Cullen College of Engineering University of Houston
  2. 2. Cullen College of Engineering • Over 1200 graduate students • Over 950 international students • 2nd most diverse university in US • Located in large city with a lot of engineering jobs
  3. 3. International Applications Decline Okahana, H., and Zhou, E. (2018). International graduate applications and enrollment: Fall 2017. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools.
  4. 4. International Applications Decline • Election of Donald Trump – Perceived effect of policies related to immigration and the travel ban – Perceived attitude toward foreigners in the US • Increased Competition • Safety Concerns • Financial Concerns (Fischer 2018)
  5. 5. Anthropological Background • Understanding behavior in cultural context • Speaking their language —understand their point of view • Cultural factors affecting student choice
  6. 6. Marketing to Intl Students • Traditional Marketing – Web Ads – Posters, flyers, magazines – Recruitment fairs • Relational Marketing – Focus on what they want/need to know – Develop relationships – How do we do this with international students?
  7. 7. Culture Influences Student Choice Country/Region Highest Ranked Variable Source Korea University ranking Kim 2011 Hungary; Afro-Caribbean Career Prospects/Income Girasek et al. 2011; Ivy 2007 Malaysia; South Africa Quality of Education/Teaching Baharun et al. 2011 Slovakia; India; Asia Extracurricular, Social Networking Cheben and Cheben 2002; Ivy 2007 Portugal Distance from home Simoes and Soares 2010 China; Pakistan Opinion of family Sojkin et al. 2012; Ivy 2007 Angulo-Ruiz, F., Pergelova, A., and Cheben, J. (2018). The Relevance of Marketing Activities for Higher Education Institutions. In (Wu, T., and Naidoo, V., eds.) International Marketing of Higher Education (Pp. 13- 45). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  8. 8. Culture Influences Student Choice • Determine who your top 3 groups are – India – China – Iran • Research student choice for these groups • Individualize marketing strategies for each group
  9. 9. Examples from UH Engineering • Relational Marketing: – Faculty: contacts, visits, conferences – Staff: webinars, targeted website design – Students: ambassadors, Facebook • Student choice factors: – Financial Aid – Job Opportunities – Social Networking
  10. 10. Relational Marketing: Webinars – Monthly, live, online presentations about UH and the engineering college – Extensive Q&A session – Engage students, create relationships – Continue on-going dialogue with students
  11. 11. Relational Marketing: Webinars
  12. 12. Targeted Website Design • “Targeted messages to targeted markets” (Mogaji 2016) • Choose top 3 groups and individualize marketing • Provide information and resources specific to each group
  13. 13. Targeted Website Design
  14. 14. Targeted Website Design
  15. 15. Targeted Website Design • Information: student & alumni testimonials, sports & social activities, cultural organizations • Images: pictures of the campus & city, students and student activities, staff and faculty • Integration: social media, videos, online chat option
  16. 16. Marketing Job Opportunities • Houston is one of the largest job markets for engineers. • Internship programs – Proactive assistance with finding jobs – Record of past successes
  17. 17. Marketing Job Opportunities • New workshops focused on international students – Legal issues with finding work in the US – How to advocate for yourself in interviews
  18. 18. Marketing Financial Aid • Make funding opportunities easy to find and understand • Decision Letter description – Be open and transparent – Make the offer seem as good as possible
  19. 19. Marketing Financial Aid Old Offer Letter Congratulations! You have been selected to receive a $1000 scholarship. This scholarship also makes you eligible for in-state tuition rates. New Offer Letter Congratulations! You have been selected to receive our highest funding offer for Master’s students. The Award covers approximately one half of your tuition costs.
  20. 20. Marketing Financial Aid
  21. 21. Social Networking • Student Organizations • Intramural Sports, Outdoor Adventures
  22. 22. Social Networking • International Friendship Program • Houston Culture
  23. 23. Discussion • How do you currently use relational marketing to target international students? • How can you individualize your marketing? • What aspects of your university or city can you market toward each group?
  24. 24. Contact Information Brandie Yale, PhD Yale.Brandie@gmail.com