Higher education landscape

What’s keeping university recruiting teams up at night: Part 4

Sustained post-acceptance support to students and professional guidance can help improve international yield rates.

Leslie Birch
August 8, 2022
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3 min

In the final blog of our four-part series, we share another crucial challenge that emerged from discussions with heads of enrollment and admissions professionals at 15 institutions across the U.S. during our CEO Rohan Pasari’s spring “Listen & Learn” tour. In the previous three blogs, we explored a few of the top concerns that may be contributing to sleepless nights among higher education recruiting teams: making the most of reduced resources, sourcing students in the new “never normal,” and how to best engage next-gen students. This time, we look at ways universities can increase their international yield rates. 

What led to a dip in international yield rates?

Here are just a few of the questions relating to yield that teams from both private and public institutions across the United States are asking:

  • We extended plenty of offers, but students aren’t choosing to enroll and learn with us. What should we do?
  • How can we offer more financial support to international students?

The anxiety surrounding how many students who’ve accepted offers will actually follow through with enrollment seems to be a common thread among higher education admissions teams.

A smaller pool of applicants combined with the fact that 36% percent of incoming first-year students apply to more than seven universities (according to NACAC) has put even more pressure on admissions teams to improve admission yield rates. 

As we emerge into a “never-normal” after the unprecedented disruption of the pandemic, universities will need to be more competitive than ever to convince their admitted students that they've made the right decision.

Cialfo CEO Rohan Pasari met higher education professionals in the US to explore workable solutions

Sustained support can boost yield rates

So what can universities do to help spur students with acceptances to commit and complete their enrollment? 

One way is to engage with a partner to help support the post-acceptance process. Student engagement and the promotion of your university as the right choice shouldn’t stop once a student has been extended an offer letter. In addition to communicating important deadlines and other pertinent information to accepted students, universities should also share personalized content that keeps them excited and further supports their decision to choose your school. 

Many international students who have been accepted may feel anxious about their readiness to make the transition from high school to a college or university in a foreign country. These students would benefit from additional preparatory courses and on-campus support (offered by many institutions and pathway programs) to further prepare them for success in a higher education setting. Often, students and their counselors aren’t even aware that these programs are available. 

Universities that partner with Cialfo can leverage the Direct Apply feature to notify students of their unique pathway and preparatory courses that can help build students’ confidence and encourage them to enroll. 

Professional help for a smooth transition

Hesitancy about making the transition from high school to college can often be heightened in students at schools without on-staff counselors or those where the counselor-to-student ratio doesn’t allow for more individualized support. 

Universities can help these students overcome any uncertainty they may be experiencing by partnering with Cialfo and leveraging our Student Education Advising Services (SEAs). In addition to helping students navigate their individual college search and application journeys, SEAs are on hand well past receipt of an acceptance letter to support students and their families in making a smooth transition. The services include travel assistance, help securing visas, and other customized support to ensure students and their families have all of their concerns addressed and are well-prepared for their arrival on campus and beyond. 

If a student is accepted to more than one university, their final decision is often made simply on the basis of affordability. Many students don’t know what types of financial support are available from the university - or outside sources. Cialfo helps universities and students alike by sharing scholarship and financial information on behalf of our partner institutions within a collaborative digital platform. Now students in the Cialfo network have one more source for financial aid - Cialfo is now offering U.S. $10 million worth of scholarships to be given to students who submit their college or university applications via our Direct Apply portal. 

In conclusion, there are three ways universities can meet and exceed their yield goals:

  1. Engaging students beyond the acceptance phase.
  2. Expanding awareness of financial aid and scholarship options.
  3. Offering unique academic and transitional support programs. 

We want to thank all our university hosts across the country who shared their candid thoughts and challenges surrounding international student mobility with us. For more takeaways from the Listen and Learn discussions, download the report.

Images: Team Cialfo, William Fortunato, Armin Rimoldi

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