Insights from Digital Student Recruitment — Disruptive Tech Solutions, presented by the PIE Live
The pandemic has upended university recruitment across the globe as travel came to an abrupt halt. As a result, many institutions quickly turned to burgeoning tech platforms to connect with international high school students when face-to-face recruiting events were no longer possible.
While COVID has been the primary factor driving a shift to digital, it won’t be the only one as we move forward. Other factors including budget cuts and Gen Z’s focus on climate change are prompting institutions to make long term investments in virtual recruitment.
As the world slowly returns to a post-COVID “new normal,” the trends indicate that there will be no going back to the “old ways of doing things.”
Innovative recruiting solutions like Cialfo are becoming must-haves for universities seeking more creative ways to attract international students in a highly competitive landscape. While this idea might be unnerving to some, this shift actually offers university recruiting programs countless benefits in light of shrinking budgets and travel cutbacks.
Our CEO, Rohan Pasari, recently shared his thoughts on these benefits and more with PIE (Professionals in International Education) CEO Amy Baker and a panel of other ed tech innovators during a PIE LIVE session titled: Digital Student Recruitment — Disruptive Tech Solutions. In addition to Rohan, the other 4 panelists included Jeremy Nguyen-Phuong, Co-founder of Udentity (China); Jane Armstrong, Senior Director, Education Industry Solutions International with Salesforce, Global; Craig Fernandes Chief Executive Officer / Co-Founder of Lock&Stock; and Meti Basiri, Co-Founder and CMO of ApplyBoard (Canada).
The session kicked off with each of the tech leaders sharing personal stories behind the history of their respective platforms.
The vision for Cialfo was inspired by Rohan’s own frustrating and overwhelming experience while exploring his post-high school possibilities. Without a clear vision of potential international programs to choose from, and no dedicated counselors at his high school to assist, his primary option at the time was to enlist the assistance of agents. However, the agents he turned to only added more confusion to the process by providing biased advice based on their locations or the universities they were trying to promote.
Ultimately, he found his perfect match when representatives from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University came to his high school’s University Fair. Singapore was not even on his radar, but NTU’s presentation and personal connection inspired him to apply. The result of this chance encounter was a win-win for everyone — Rohan had an incredible education experience in the vibrant city of Singapore while earning a government-funded scholarship and graduating with two gold medals!
Drawing from his own experience, Rohan knew there had to be a better way to drive direct connection and engagement between universities and students at scale by harnessing the power of technology. Thus, Cialfo came to life, eliminating the need for agents or middlemen, and opening up unexplored paths to education for millions of students.
Each of the panelists went on to tell their own unique story and then the discussion turned to current trends in college recruiting and how universities can make the most of these powerful digital tools.
One of the most interesting exchanges examined all the ways that universities can leverage digital tools, like Cialfo, to increase their engagement and reach more students.
As Rohan noted, “Engagement is not a one-time event, it’s a process,” a concept that was also addressed in Inside Higher Ed. There will be a new focus for admissions staff to perfect the process of digital engagement with students in the same way teachers are learning to connect with their students on Zoom versus the classroom.
While in-person events can be inflexible due to time and space constraints, Cialfo provides universities creative ways to connect with students, counselors, and their families, and keep the conversation going to showcase their schools and programs in the brightest light.
Optimizing engagement and the ability to connect directly with students is just one of many benefits digital recruiting tools like Cialfo offer.
Some of the other key benefits for universities that the panel touted include:
In addition to the obvious and not-so-obvious benefits of digital solutions, the panel offered many fantastic takeaways and insights into the future of recruiting — here are the ones we found most interesting:
One of the key questions the PIE LIVE panel sought to answer was “is this type of pandemic-driven digital recruiting here to stay?” According to Rohan and his co-panelists of visionary tech leaders, the trends all point to a resounding “YES.”
The overwhelming consensus is that once the pandemic is a thing of the past, there will be no going back to “business as usual.”
Digitalization of education including recruitment is no longer the future, it’s the “now.” The world has been taking advantage of digital disruption in other industries like e-commerce and ride sharing for years — the acceleration has taken off in education as well. Schools that have already embraced these technologies are discovering the creative ways they can leverage them to access previously hard-to-reach potential applicants. Now that digital recruiting is here to stay, it’s the perfect time to make the most of the tools’ innovative capabilities and embrace all they have to offer.
Here at Cialfo, we’re looking forward to helping even more universities surpass their recruiting goals by connecting them with students from around the world.
Image credits: Anna Shvets and Jody Hong
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