The effect of in-country recruitment activities

There are several methods and tactics used to recruit international students.  How do we know what will be effective given limited resources and immediacy of institutional goals?  

John Soltice, Assistant Director of  International Recruitment, University of Alberta, and graduate of AACRAO's SEM-EP program, measured the effect of connections made while a campus-based recruitment staff is active while visiting another country (“in-country.”) It may seem obvious that meeting with and connecting with prospective students in person is an effective recruitment activity, but can it be quantitatively proven?  How does it help?  How much does it help?  Can we measure the return on this investment? 

Undertaken as part of his SEM-EP program, here are Soltice's findings: In one year, two recruitment staff traveled to a total of 12 different countries to conduct recruitment activities aimed at attracting international undergraduate applications for admission. These activities included visits to high schools, attendance at education fairs, interactions with school counseling staff. Names of interested prospective students were collected when possible. This is the ‘touched’ group. At the end of the recruitment/admission cycle these names were cross-referenced with all new international applicants and newly enrolled students. When the ‘touched’ group was compared to the ‘non-touched’ group from the same set of countries, the former displayed higher rates in terms of the new registration two-year growth rate, admit rate, overall yield rate (applicant to registrant) and entrance average. 

This research was conducted without a full CRM in place thus was an exercise in manual data analyses. To further cultivate outreach strategies, it is worth analyzing why in-country recruitment yields better. What in particular contributes to the positive impact?  Is it simply the act of travelling to a prospect’s country and directly or indirectly meeting in person?  Answers to these questions can lead to even better results, more efficient use of resources, and optimal new enrollments in future intakes.  Further, these results would benefit from benchmarking to comparator universities.  Although the results show a positive impact due to in-country recruitment it would be useful to see how they compare to similar universities. Finally, it is suspected that many in the non-touched group could be placed into the touched group. Presence in-country also contributes to institutional awareness, positive word of mouth, seeing friends choose the University of Alberta, and so on, resulting in applications from students in the same admission cycle or in future ones. All of these questions could be addressed to some degree through qualitative survey methods. 

Earning a certificate in enrollment management from AACRAO can provide the credentials necessary to prepare you for your next career step, or sharpen your skill set through research and hands on professional development.   Participants engage in curriculum taught by highly experienced faculty including online courses, webinars and field visits to approved institutions. Individuals completing SEM-EP receive formal recognition by AACRAO representing professional readiness to meet current and future challenges in the field of Enrollment Management. For more information regarding the program and registration, please visit our AACRAO SEM-EP site.