At a time when prospective international students continue to face hurdles to starting their studies abroad, clear, consistent communication around the evolving COVID-19 situation is more critical than ever. Driving the many innovations institutions and organisations have implemented to overcome physical distance and supplement in-person events is an understanding that connecting with students means looking at emerging complexities through their eyes.
No newcomer to counselling and recruitment, Success Factor is one of the educational consultancies with which INTO partners that has helped study abroad aspirants in Pakistan navigate tough decisions, travel barriers, and difficulties obtaining visas from day one of the pandemic. We sat down with Mohsin Baweja, co-founder and CEO of Success Factor, to discuss the organisation’s 25-year history, signs of rebounding demand among Pakistani students, and what, in his view, is the key to the international education sector’s recovery in 2021 and beyond: Meeting students where they are.
Over the past month, some 2,500 students from around the
world commenced their studies at INTO’s 12 university partners in the United
States. Understanding the anxieties that
accompany this journey, faculty and staff across INTO’s U.S. university
partners and their respective INTO centers deploy a combination of pre-arrival
communications, carefully curated orientation sessions, and online applications
to familiarize students with their new university communities. The result: a high-touch orientation
experience that provides students a launchpad for a successful academic career.
In the days following the second annual P3·EDU Conference, hosted by George Mason University (GMU) in May, former GMU President Angel Cabrera posited that “the private sector holds the key to solving many of the challenges public and non-profit universities face.” The success of such partnerships, Cabrera highlighted, depends on the capacity of private sector parties to support their higher education partners’ strategic goals, protect their academic reputations, and prioritize student experience.
From our first with the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom to our most recent with Hofstra University in New York, every INTO university partnership is predicated on student success and campus enrichment. At GMU, Colorado State University (CSU), and Drew University, INTO-affiliated faculty are leading initiatives to not only better serve international student populations but support their institutions’ overarching missions. In so doing, they exemplify the symbiosis INTO shares with its partner universities.
Student experience matters.
When international students feel welcome and supported across all
dimensions of their life at university, they contribute positively to their new
communities and graduate at higher rates.
INTO’s 22 university partnerships deliver exceptional
student experiences to students from around the world. In fact, 92% of international students across
INTO’s 12 university partners in the United States indicated that they were
satisfied or very satisfied with their experience in and out of the classroom
in the INTO University Partnerships 2019 Annual Student Survey.
In mid-July, alongside INTO’s academic directors’
conference, the student services teams that drive these incredible results convened
at Saint Louis University for their own student services conference. There, they shared best practices for student
care and some of the dynamic co-curricular initiatives they have launched on
their respective campuses to promote student success in tandem with academic
While it is critical to grow international student enrollments in INTO’s university partnerships, it is equally important to retain those international students in degree programs, support their academic success, and ensure their timely graduation. This is the complex task that academic faculty across INTO’s 12 university partnerships in the United States addressed over three days at the annual INTO academic directors’ conference at Saint Louis University (SLU).
Recently, some colleagues asked us whether there was any relationship between the political affiliation/control of states in the US and their success in attracting international students. Armed with Gallup’s state political affiliation analysis, we had a look.
identifies five categories: Strong Republican, Lean Republican, Competitive,
Strong Democratic and Lean Democratic.
Using those definitions we overlaid IPEDS data to identify the number of
international students and the extent to which those enrollments have grown or
declined between Fall 2015 and Fall 2017.
In the maps
below, the size of the bubble indicates the relative size of the international
student population in the State and the color is aligned with Gallup’s
definition of political affiliation.
So what are
International students enroll
everywhere but of the top ten most popular state destinations, six are either
strong or lean Democratic, three are
designated as competitive (Texas, Ohio and Florida) and one, Indiana is
designated as Lean Republican. This does not imply any particular political
affiliation amongst students. States
with strong Democratic leanings are home to large urban centers with big
concentrations of universities, including many of the Nation’s best known and
highly ranked. These large urban centers
are also home to multiple language schools, large community colleges and generally
offer strong employment opportunities.
In the first blog on
our global agent survey, we explored sentiment for various destinations around
the world. In this edition, we take a
closer look at what is important to agents and the students they counsel.
SEVIS, IIE, HESA, the OECD and Open Doors are useful
tools for helping us understand the global distribution of students – and for
establishing long term trends. But they
are not crystal balls. INTO’s latest
recruitment agent survey which polled more than 1800 counsellors across the
world produces revealing insights into their assessment for future student
enrollments in key destination countries. The survey, conducted in April 2019, includes almost 500 responses from China,
traditionally a blackspot for global polls of this nature – and making it the
most authoritative China agent insight survey ever conducted.
The dip in international student numbers in the United States captured in the latest data from the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is unsettling. A 3.1% decline in the number of international students in the US between December 2017 and December 2018 accelerates the 0.5% recorded in the SEVIS data from 2017.