Student recruitment

Data-driven student recruitment strategies: 5 steps to success in 2022 & beyond

All universities, whether they intend to take the hybrid approach to student engagement or go back to on-site college fairs, can benefit from an effective data analytics tool to supplement their recruitment team's efforts

Leslie Birch
February 8, 2022
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3 min

As we enter a third year of the global pandemic, university admissions teams have proven to be incredibly flexible and creative in trying to connect with international students from all corners of the globe (without the face-to-face meetings that typically filled their calendars in “pre-COVID” times). 

Many university admissions professionals were able to quickly pivot to working around pandemic-related challenges using innovative platforms like Cialfo to research new international high schools, connect with students and counselors, and ultimately, showcase their unique offerings and university life through engaging online events. While many international admissions teams agree that online events will be a permanent part of their programs long after the pandemic has subsided, a large majority are ready for international travel and in-person meetings with schools and students once entry restrictions start to ease.

Whether your university’s 2022 recruiting plans include online engagement events, on-site college fairs, or a combination of both, there’s one crucial tool that can help you maximize your budget and achieve your enrollment goals: data analytics. Leveraging real-time data insights on the preferences of qualified international schools and students will assist you in crafting a successful data-driven student recruitment strategy for 2022 and beyond. Cialfo’s Higher Ed Insights data analytics tool helps you create a focused data-backed plan to achieve your school’s unique enrollment targets.

Using data to drive results

Here are 5 ways you can utilize data for a successful international student recruitment strategy in 2022:

1. Streamline your travel (and make the most of your budget) while enhancing your efficiency 

Given the reduction in travel budgets everywhere, now more than ever admissions teams need to make the most of their travel spend. Imagine being able to assess the interest levels of a target location and also uncover new schools to approach there, before planning your overseas trip or setting a date for an online university event. Data-driven filters in Higher Ed Insights help you to better optimize your student recruitment budget and travel planning by indicating the countries most interested in your institution or country. You can thus prioritize the regions that are more likely to yield higher, and focus on students that are actively interested in applying to your institution.  

2. Discover new schools and potential applicants across the globe (without even leaving your desk)

More than 250,000 students and their counselors at 1,700 high schools across 100 countries use Cialfo to simplify the complex college application process. With in-depth reports on preferences worldwide by region, school, etc. tools like Higher Ed Insights can open a pathway to building relationships with new schools in different regions. With this powerful tool as your aide, you can quickly and easily identify schools to connect with that may not have otherwise been on your radar. Once you’ve uncovered exciting new schools for outreach, Cialfo also helps you connect with their counselors and students through virtual visits at no cost to your university.


3. Stay ahead of the trends (and your peers)

As any admissions officer knows, the job involves staying in touch with trends and changes in the education landscape. How does your institution compare to peer institutions in the competitive global higher education landscape? What are the Top 200 universities international students are applying to? What are the top international destinations by country? It takes a lot to stay on top of everything.

Now, you can use Cialfo’s real-time data reports highlighting current trends to gain a better understanding of where your institution stands, interpret the current global market outlook, and benchmark your findings to keep up with your peers. How will you use the time saved?


4. Make sure you’re reaching the right students

A key goal of any international student recruitment plan is finding the right fit - for the student and the school. A data-driven student recruitment strategy helps you find students that would be a better match for your programs. Aggregate (non-personalized) data reports offer a valuable view into students’ academic profiles, fields of study, GPAs, types of colleges they are applying to, and more, without infringing on privacy. Using these insights, you can focus your efforts on building stronger relationships with potential applicants who match what you’re looking for - and vice versa. 


5. Measure your results and adjust accordingly

Once the recruiting period is behind you and you’re starting to plan for next year, don’t forget to use the Conversion Funnel features in Higher Ed Insights to see how you did. By summarising the data of applications that were received, accepted, and resulted in enrollment, and adding information about the students that shortlisted, longlisted, or applied to your program, this tool gives you a clear picture of how effective your student recruitment strategy was, and the areas where you might wish to make tweaks next recruiting season. 

These are just a few tips on how you can use Cialfo Explore and Higher Ed Insights to develop improved, data-driven student recruitment strategies. By incorporating this knowledge into your daily and long-term planning, you’ll be able to make more effective decisions on how to best maximize your university marketing budget and resources while uncovering new opportunities, reaching more diverse markets, and attracting more qualified students. Want to learn more about how Higher Ed Insights can help you? Click Here.

Happy recruiting!



Image credits: Karolina Grabowska and Julia M Cameron

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