By Michelle Coull

International student recruitment provides enormous benefits to a university, not just financially but socially.

A cultural mix means local students will be better able to engage as citizens of the world, and prepare themselves to go out into an increasingly international market.

They will also gain appreciation for views and cultures different from their own.

Attracting students from abroad will no doubt be a key part of your university’s recruitment strategy.

International students in the UK totalled almost 500,000 in 2014/15. And according to the US Department of Commerce, in 2015 international students contributed more than $30.5 billion to the US economy.

But do you know how to recruit international students? Here are some of the key ways of attracting their attention.

Set the scene

There’s no better way to appeal to the overseas student than to tap into your international alumni and get them to tell their stories. This personal touch is the best way of marketing to international students. Video testimonials and website content discussing their experiences, the benefits and the hurdles they faced is likely to be most appreciated. An honest account, not painting too rosy a picture, is the best and most informative way of attracting students from abroad to choose your university. Promote the international community on campus and let prospective students put themselves in their shoes.

Give a virtual experience

A virtual tour of the campus helps foreign students who don’t have the funds to pop over for a visit. You want to know how to attract students to your college? Show off the location, give a flavour of the atmosphere and highlight the facilities. Give them a feeling for what the university has to offer, without having to fly across the world. This is well worth investing in as part of your international student recruitment plan, as this sort of marketing tool will be usable for years to come.

Do a website audit

Take a look at the content on your site and consider how to attract foreign students. What would they be looking for? How easy would it be for them to navigate the website and find that information? One international student recruitment strategy is a microsite for various countries of focus, in their own language. Content can be tailored to their particular needs, including travel and visa information, international student clubs and activities and any other resources which help someone from abroad integrate into the campus culture.

Create community

The number one tool in attracting students from abroad is a community of current and former students promoting their experiences and encouraging them to visit their campus. This can be on social media or in person. Education recruitment is about using every tool at your disposal. So create a way for international alumni to connect with international prospects. How? On an interactive map. Show who might be near them and have representatives from your campus form relationships with counsellors at international schools. Create a network, and make sure you’re present on the social media platforms where prospective students are.


For help with student recruitment, call the experts on 0800 612 9890.