The challenges of recruiting international students (and how to overcome them)

  • 5 min read
The challenges of recruiting international students (and how to overcome them)

Bringing talented international students to your university comes with many benefits. A culturally diverse campus creates the perfect environment for your students to live and learn in, but recruiting students from overseas isn’t easy.

Here are some of the biggest challenges you might face when it comes to recruiting international students, and how you can overcome them.

Fierce competition

You can guarantee that you’re not the only university trying to increase its international student numbers. Even with the number of students looking to study overseas set to rise over the coming years, competition is fierce.

The rise of online recruitment has also broken down a lot of barriers, making it easier for smaller higher education institutions to enter the market. This is great news for students, giving them more choice, but it means there’s even more competition when it comes to attracting them.

How to beat the competition

The key to overcoming the fierce competition of international student recruitment is to make sure your institution stands out from the crowd. With so many options to choose from, it’s vital that you give prospective students a reason to pick you over anyone else. Here are a few things to highlight:

  • What makes your university or colleague unique
  • The academic or athletic areas you excel in
  • The support services you have for international students
  • Your application process
  • The scholarships you offer for international students

These are some of the main things international students want to know, so if you can give them this information easily they’re more likely to choose you.

Tight resources

International student recruitment campaigns can be really expensive. It can be tempting to spend as much as you can reaching out to students online, attending fairs and conferences, or creating glossy brochures.

However, if you’re working with tight resources, you’ll be limited in what you can do. it can also be disheartening to see larger universities spending huge sums on their recruitment campaigns, and you wouldn’t be blamed for wondering how you can compete.

How to overcome tight resources

While it’s not possible to magically double or triple your marketing budget, there are ways you can reach out to international students without breaking the bank. Try things like:

  • Making the most of your website
  • Recruiting online
  • Focussing on your university’s strengths
  • Streamlining your application process

Here is how you can hit your recruitment targets without spending a fortune.

Global, political, and economic changes

If the last few years have taught us anything, it's that international events can have a huge impact on our lives. In particular, global challenges like Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic have caused real problems for universities, including their ability to recruit international students.

These issues have forced universities to rethink how they approach their recruitment and even deliver their programs. But, even relatively small changes to immigration rules, economic downturns, and political upheaval have an impact on students studying abroad.

How to minimize the impact of global changes

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent these issues from happening, but you can make sure your university is prepared.

Think about what you can do to help students who are facing these issues. Here are a few things you can try that could minimize the impact of global changes:

  • Enhance and promote your student support services
  • Offer flexible learning options where possible
  • Promote any financial support you offer
  • Consider adjusting your entry requirements for certain students if appropriate

Financial concerns of students

Going to university, especially abroad can be a costly undertaking and costs are only increasing.

The cost of studying overseas is one of the biggest hurdles students need to overcome to make their dreams a reality, and could also be the reason they're not choosing your university.

Financial aid and scholarships are among the most popular terms international students search for online, indicating just how important the question of affordability is.

How to overcome financial concerns

The best way to help students overcome their financial concerns is to be clear and upfront about the costs of studying at your university.

Make all of your costs easy to find and understand on your website, and offer help and advice if you can. Clearly show:

  • Tuition fees
  • Accommodation costs
  • Cost of living in your area
  • Scholarships available

There is no advantage to hiding the real costs to students. Showing them what they’ll need to pay as accurately as possible could allay their fears, or it will save them from applying to a university they can’t afford to attend.

Meet the challenges by working with Studee

A great way to overcome some of these issues is to work with Studee. We help by doing a lot of the hard work for you by finding international students that are perfect for your university.

We make sure they meet your entry requirements and can afford your tuition fees, and we help them with their application so you only get qualified applications.

And the best bit? You don’t spend a penny until a student enrolls - it’s a real win-win.

Find out how we can help