How to Increase International Student Enrollment: A Quick Guide
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5 min read
June 20, 2024

How to Increase International Student Enrollment: A Quick Guide

College students sit at a cafe table.
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From learning about diverse cultures from their peers to exploring new ways of critical thinking, international students are essential to your student body. But, attracting and retaining international students can be challenging, especially considering the language and distance barriers and the fierce competition between universities.

If you’re looking for tips on how to increase international student enrollment, look no further. In this guide, we’ll discuss some challenges universities face when marketing their programs to international students and explore ways your campus can increase international student enrollment. 

The Challenges of Attracting International Students

During the 2022-23 academic year, 5.6% of the nearly 19 million US college students were international students—an increase of almost 1% from the previous year. Considering the global pandemic affected the 21-22 academic year, the 1% increase means more international students are interested in studying in the United States.

While these students resume their studies, it can be challenging to attract international students—especially when members of your admission team cannot be in person to answer questions and discuss your campus’ programs and opportunities directly.

Aside from the challenge of not being physically present, you also need to navigate other challenges, such as:

  • Language and culture barriers
  • Visa and immigration issues
  • Financial constraints
  • Competing with other campuses

While these challenges can be difficult to overcome, it is doable– it just takes a consistent effort from your team to successfully make your campus available to international students.

5 Ways to Increase International Student Enrollment

Thinking like a student is helpful if you want to increase international student enrollment. For example, if you were an international student, what are things you would do to research universities? Would you:

  • Visit the campus website?
  • Sign up for university communications?
  • Contact an admission counselor?

With these questions in mind, let’s look at five ways your campus can increase international student enrollment.

1. Develop a Strong Online Presence

Since your admissions team likely can’t be in person to discuss academic life with international students, your campus needs a strong online presence. Your website will be one of the first places international students look for a peak at life on your campus. Because of this, having a fully comprehensive and informative website is a must. 

Take some time to review your web pages to ensure they thoroughly answer student questions. Plus, consider incorporating an AI chatbot like Cadence onto your website. Chatbots are an excellent resource for students when they have questions. A member of your admissions team can monitor the chats and step in when students’ questions are too complex for Cadence AI to answer.

2. Targeted Marketing and Communication 

Your approach to marketing and outreach for international students might differ slightly from your approach to local students. This means you’ll likely need to change your messaging to reach your intended audience better. For example, local students won’t need reminders about visa application deadlines, but your international students will. 

Segmenting your contact list can help you with better, more personalized marketing and communication. Using Cadence Text, you can segment your contacts and group them based on interests. So, if you’re sending a message to prospective international students, you can rest assured that your texts are messages they’ll need– like reminders to submit required applications and travel documents.

We’ll let you in on a little secret: we’re working on an integration that will allow universities like yours to connect WhatsApp with Cadence, making it even easier to reach and communicate with your prospective and current international students. 

3. Simplify the Application Process

Applying for college admission can be overwhelming for prospective students. It can be even more complicated for international students unfamiliar with the native language or application processes. 

To help increase international student enrollment, consider simplifying the application process. But don’t stop there! Consider also improving the support available for international students applying to your campus.

While 24/7 support from your admission team isn’t always feasible, you can incorporate an intuitive chatbot like Cadence to communicate with students outside of your team’s standard working hours. 

4. Enhance Support Services

It’s true: the language and culture barrier can present a problem for international students. And, if your admission team isn’t careful, it’s easy to misinterpret messages from international students asking for additional support. Don’t lose these students to a simple misunderstanding. 

Cadence isn’t just an AI-enabled text and chat platform. With our new AI Assistant equipped with multi-lingual support features, you can understand the exact sentiments of your students at scale and proactively provide support. Your team can rest assured knowing you’re providing comprehensive support to the students who need it the most. 

5. Building a Sense of Community

One of the most essential things your campus can do to increase international student enrollment is to build a sense of community and belonging. For some international students, enrolling on your campus may be the first time they’ve been out of the country and away from their support system.

Creating a solid support system for your international students can help increase their sense of belonging. And your strong support network can become a marketing feature for your campus. Consider promoting: 

  • Tailored orientation programs 
  • Cultural events to celebrate the various cultures on your campus
  • Student-led initiatives and clubs for international students

Remember, you can use Cadence Text to remind your students (both local and international) about these events.

Increase International Student Enrollment With Cadence

Attracting international students can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. One of the biggest challenges campuses face when attempting to increase international student enrollment is communication. Communication ensures prospective students stay interested in your campus throughout the enrollment process. You’ll need to adjust your marketing, communication, and outreach strategies to help you boost international student enrollment on campus. If you’re ready to learn how Cadence can support your global marketing efforts, book a demo with our team today.