Building an international student pipeline

May 21, 2018
  • Admissions and Recruitment
  • International Admissions
  • International Admissions and Credential Evaluation
  • International Education
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Trainings
  • Student Recruitment
  • Webinars
  • agencies
Tunnel composed of circles of various colors.

Are you interested in bringing a wider, more diverse international student population to your campus? Consider working with a international student recruitment agent, recommends Staci Bernhard, Senior Manager for Admissions, Recruitment, and Financial Aid at Florida International University Chapman Graduate School of Business. About ten percent of the Graduate School of Business’ student population is comprised of international students recruited through the department’s international agent partnerships, creating a richer academic experience for all students on campus.

Why agents?
“Agents are one of the easiest ways to reach students in their element,” Bernhard said, because they bring the following qualities to your recruitment efforts:

Local. “Agents understand the student’s culture, knows the language, and can connect with students and families in their native tongue,” Bernhard said.

Economical. “Agents can be the eyes, ears, and feet on the ground when you financially can’t send a recruiter to every country,” she said. Also, agents are typically paid based on enrollment, so you don’t have to pay for students who do not enroll at your institution. 

Efficient. Agents work to find students the best institutional fit. They provide advising, and help students prepare the entire applicant package. Many also offer guidance on visa interview preparation and pre-departure planning.  

“When the materials are ready to go, you have faster turn around, and you can do additional follow up with the agency rather than the student,” Bernhard said. 

It’s important to build a network with known and vetted agency partners. FIU Business works with quality-assurance organizations such as AIRC and ICEF to connect with certified agents. 

“We also do internal background checks through our legal department, reference checks, and so on,” she added. 

Learn more
staciBernhard will talk about about FIU Business’ ten-year effort to build and maintain an international student recruitment pipeline in a June 5 AACRAO webinar. She’ll discuss the above topics, as well as:

  • Lessons learned for managing an international student population.
  • Data on how students perceive agents.
  • Best practices for agent recruitment.
  • Institutional process for application material collection
  • How to maintain rapport and increase enrollment even during difficult times. 


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