Recruit and retain qualified international students

September 19, 2017
  • AACRAO Connect
  • International Admissions and Credential Evaluation
Hand holding a globe with various symbols surrounding it.


EducationUSA, a U.S. Department of State network of over 400 international student advising centers in more than 170 countries, can be an amazing partner and resource for U.S. colleges and universities seeking to internationalize and diversify their campuses.

“Our goal is to support international students to find an institution that is a good fit for them and help them navigate the application process, as well as support accredited U.S. colleges and universities with their international recruitment and retention plans,” said Jennifer Brown, EducationUSA program officer.

EducationUSA is a branch of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), whose mission is to advance mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and people of other countries.  EducationUSA achieves this goal while promoting the U.S. as the number one destination for international students.

“We don’t have specific institutional clients,” Brown said. “We represent all 4,700-plus accredited U.S. colleges and universities, and we are the official source on U.S. higher education.”

EducationUSA also funds the research and publication of the annual Open Doors Report.

Institutions wishing to utilize the EducationUSA network should register on the website. With login credentials, many resources are available, including the annual EducationUSA Global Guide, country fact sheets, as well as access to and information about the opportunities discussed below.  

Opportunities for institutions to collaborate with EducationUSA

Consult with Regional Educational Advising Coordinators (REACs). The 14 REACs train, mentor, and support advisors in their regions. They are international education and student mobility experts who can inform you about specific opportunities and recruitment strategies that will be most effective in their regions.

Find an advising center anywhere in the world. Advisers can offer advice and recommendations for targeted recruitment efforts. Advising centers organize local and regional fairs, school visits, group and cohort advising sessions, and webinars for virtual engagement.

“If a representative from your institution is visiting a country where we have an advising center -- and we have centers in almost every country -- please reach out in advance,” Brown said. “We can help support your visit and provide effective strategies to recruit qualified students. For example, a medium-sized town might offer more bang for your buck than a capital city -- and our advisers have that localized knowledge.”

Attend the annual EducationUSA Forum. Advisers from all over the world, REACs, and representatives from ECA, meet with almost 600 representatives from U.S. colleges and universities in Washington, DC, every summer to network, share student mobility trends, and deliver educational and regional sessions.

Attend an EducationUSA regional forum or fair. EducationUSA holds regional forums each year, bringing together advisers, REACs, and U.S. higher education institutions to share best practices. For example, the Europe and Eurasia Regional Forum is this week in Madrid, and the South and Central Asia Regional Forum is next February in Nepal. There are also local fairs held regularly all over the world (Example: Korea.) View the complete event calendar here.

Host advisers on your campus. EducationUSA facilitates several training institutes per year in the United States for EducationUSA advisers. Each two-week EducationUSA Training Institute comprises a Washington, D.C.-based workshop, with sessions at the U.S. Department of State and IIE, as well as a campus-based training. The campus-based training week offers a unique opportunity for U.S. institutions to bring a group of EducationUSA advisers directly to their campuses. For example, review the RFP for the Essentials of Advising (Level 1) (deadline Sept. 19th). Institutions propose a curriculum that would match the adviser training requirements in the RFP. There are also shorter hosting opportunities before and after major conferences, such as AACRAO’s Annual Meeting. For any questions about opportunities for U.S. colleges and universities to host EducationUSA advisers, contact Dorothy Mora.

“During these trainings, advisers meet with admissions staff, financial aid, academic departments, groups of international students, and participate in cultural activities -- preferably at multiple institutions within close proximity of each other -- to get an on-campus experience which will directly inform their advising work,” Brown said. “It’s a great way to expose a group of EducationUSA advisers from all over the world to your institution, state, and community.”

Participate in the EducationUSA Interactive webinar series.  Six to eight times each year, EducationUSA broadcasts live webinars, moderated by the branch chief, addressing various topics related to the “Five Steps to U.S. Study.” Advising centers host viewing parties, and the webinars are archived on the website for future viewing. The next interactive is September 28th, and there will be two more held this fall.

“We’re always looking for college and university representatives interested in supporting these webinars,” Brown said. “If you want to recruit internationally, it’s a great way to get your institution’s name and information to advising centers around the world.”


Many institutions have begun making videos and using the #YouAreWelcomeHere hashtag to indicate that their campuses are welcoming to international students.

“Our advisers have gotten positive feedback from prospective students and their families when sharing information about this social media campaign during their outreach activities. EducationUSA has also made a new video to demonstrate that U.S. colleges and universities are welcoming and to encourage international students to study in the United States,” Brown said. The video can be viewed here, and Brown encourages institutions to use it if it’s helpful.


Connect with EducationUSA


AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter is open to members and non-members alike.