How Can International Recruiters “China” Better? Here's a Checklist for You
China is already the largest source of undergraduate international students in the world, and even as enrollments have declined from other parts of the world, China continues to have a steady need for international education opportunities. However, this has led to increasing competition among international universities looking for best-fit students. Amidst a more competitive environment, the right approach and tools are essential for a successful recruitment strategy.
A recent report from IIE revealed the driving forces behind enrollment in 2016, particularly a booming middle class and an overly-competitive domestic education opportunity. Likewise, the key strategies for institutions are active recruitment strategies and visibility.
After years of working closely with Chinese high schools, parents, teachers and students, we have developed a list of effective approaches for student recruitment in China:
Prep Your Recruitment with Localized Materials
Create a Chinese Website for Chinese Prospective Students - not just translation and replication, this is telling your story in a way that resonates with a particular audience.
Design a Chinese Flyer and Brochure - both digital and printed, highlighting the most attractive features for Chinese students.
Simplify Your Inquiry Form - make it as effortless for the students as possible, a digital form with the least blanks to fill is recommended.
Make Yourself Visible in the Digital Era
- Optimize your Baidu Search Results - Baidu is China’s Google and also the first impression to your target audience.
- Create and Edit your Baike Page - Baidu Baike is China’s Wikipedia, making this page the first result on Baidu.
- Master WeChat - get your personal account for traveling and register an Official Account for your school. Wechat is the most powerful social media in China.
- Make Sure You Are Not Blocked by the Great Firewall - check to see if your website, application portal, and videos are accessible in China without a VPN. FYI, anything by Google will not work here.
This makes you appear more trustworthy among your Chinese audience, especially Chinese parents. If they can’t search you, you don’t exist.
Develop Real Connections with Schools, Students, and Agents
- Contact School Counselors - start with international schools- send them your materials and schedule a meeting.
- Attend Local Fairs - don’t just stay in Beijing and Shanghai, smaller cities with eager students should be on your radar.
- Visit Agents - if you wish to work with Chinese study abroad agents, visiting them can help weed out the sketchy ones.
- Follow Up and Yield - often overlooked but actually very important, after receiving applications, lock them down by throwing a reception or sending out a welcome package.
Making the effort of coming here and visiting schools, meeting students, and having real
conversations with them will make a huge difference in your recruitment.
If you are already doing all of the above, keep up the good work! If you have not yet checked some of the boxes and you are actively seeking more Chinese students, we are happy to help you make a specific strategy based on your school’s profile.