3 Steps to Start Recruiting Chinese Students
Step 1: Understanding Chinese Students
1. Understanding the Chinese Market
A one-size fits all approach will not work within international recruitment across countries. A one-size fits all approach does not even work for the China market alone. Unless your institution is very highly ranked you need to look more locally at China. The country is simply to large to succeed in every province. Understanding just one province or city is the best place to start. Chinese cities are graded from tier 1 to tier 5, based on population and wealth. Given most schools naturally focus on tier 1 and 2 cities, tier 3 cities certainly hold opportunity for smaller schools.
Ask yourself: Of my current and previous students, which province/city are they coming from? Why here? How are they applying?
2. Localization of your offerings
As with any marketing campaign a degree of localization is needed. This means promoting courses that prove popular to Chinese students. Emphasising things that matter most to Chinese students from a competitive yet collectivist culture: student outcomes (success), relationships with alumni ('guanxi'), practical experience (competitive edge)...
Ask yourself: What do you do best? What has proven popular to Chinese students? Apply the overlap to marketing messages.
Step 2: Finding Chinese Students
Once your market and message are ready you need to find channels to approach students.
1. A Chinese Website
Given that Chinese students may not be able to access your institution’s website in China or, if they can, the load time is likely to be slow, many larger institutions create a Chinese website. However, cost, up-keep and depth of content are all concerning factors. Without the right level of commitment these websites are often unlikely to be found via Baidu, thus not worth setting up.
eduFair allows you to host content in China. Consider it to be your free mini-website hosted in a community of Chinese students looking to study abroad.
2. Chinese Social Media
Wechat, Sina Weibo, Douyin rank as the most popular social media platforms in China, with Wechat being the most popular amongst international institutions. Having an official account can help keep alumni informed. However, in order to register for an official account schools need a Chinese national ID or a company registered in China.
eduFair acts not only as a tool for students to find schools, but also as a social media platform specifically for international education.
3. Recruitment Agents
This is not a new concept. The only thing worth adding here is that there are specialist recruitment agents for particular types of institutions and programs such as high schools, art schools, summer camps; and some that specialise in recruitment for institutions in specific countries. Also worth consideration is that some recruitment agents may represent hundreds of schools leaving smaller schools less catered for.
Not sure how to find/choose the best recruitment agent for you? eduFair has a free, private forum for institutions and domestic partners to interact. International schools can review agents, see what students are saying about them and who else they represent, thus making a more informed decision.
Cooperations and partnerships not only bring recognition and reputation among Chinese students and parents but they also secure a steady flow of international applications. Apart from formal university-university agreements which take years to implement and are under heavy scrutiny right now, there are many other options. Unlimited forms of partnerships can be created with, for example, Chinese high schools and Chinese private language schools. It starts with simply reaching out to them.
You can find these partnerships within our private forum for institutions and domestic organizations. You can further promote these partnerships on eduFair to create synergy.
Step 3: Student Satisfaction and Word of Mouth
Finding and recruiting students should not be the end of your campaign. In a country that prioritizes relationships and long-term thinking, the power of word out mouth can not be overstated based on my experience. The number of times I have spoke to alumni asking why they chose to study in the institution they did, with the response being 'My cousin/sister/friend studied there' is frightening... This does not mean smaller schools should be discouraged however. Smaller schools arguably have more of an opportunity to increase student satisfaction through closer relationships. Student satisfaction in truth should be step one of your strategy.
Want to join us?
Institutions must meet the following requirements to open an e-Booth on eduFair:
Student visas - The institution must be able to sponsor visas for international students.
Recognized qualifications - The institution must grant qualifications that are recognized by local governments, official accrediting bodies, or the Chinese Ministry of Education.
Authorized employee - The individual opening an e-Booth must be a direct employee of the institution.
Sign up and create and account. It takes on average only 16 minutes to upload your information for Chinese students to find.