By Michelle Coull

International students contribute a significant amount to the success of many universities - and subsequently to a country's economy.

So it's little wonder competition is high when it comes to recruitment.

Communicating effectively with overseas students has never been more important - particularly in the UK where in a post-Brexit world, universities will need to work harder to reassure overseas students they are still welcome.

Here's how they can use all the tools at their disposal.

Virtual Reality

While Virtual Reality really took off for gamers, there are some great examples of VR being used in Higher Education. It’s a fabulous way to bring the campus to those who can’t visit in person. One university sent out Google Cardboard to anyone who made an inquiry about studying there. VR is an asset to managing international students’ expectations over the size of accommodation and scale of the campus.

Social Media

Snapchat has grown as much in one year as Twitter has in four, so it’s crucial to have this as an integral part of any international student recruitment strategy. As well as university updates and advertising opportunities, offers can be made to students through social media. It’s important for Higher Education institutions to stand out from the crowd and be active in the student space, without becoming invasive.


The millennial generation receive so much in digital format that anything printed is unusual. Meaning it really stands out. Many universities experience positive results from the printed approach, such as postcards inviting students to an open day.

human Connection

An emotional connection in a digital world is hard to make. But little efforts make a big difference in international student recruitment. For example, when an international student meets a faculty member at a fair, why not invite them to a follow-up webinar with the same person, to get further questions answered? Engage with that student and make them feel like they’ll be really looked after.

Student-led Content

Many universities get current students to do their social media posts, to host webinars, and to make phone calls to those interested in coming to campus. Research shows that international students aren’t 100% convinced with glossy prospectuses and beautiful videos. They are aware of the marketing team behind this content. Select the right students to champion the university, and it gives the message authenticity.


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