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International Education Strategies

About the International Student Market

It is estimated that 3.5 million students are presently enrolled in a course of study outside their home country and this number grows by an average of 5% per year. A rising level of wealth across the world has allowed a growing number of families to consider education options outside their home country, a trend that shows constant growth.

>  ChinaTrends - Article reviews on the Chinese Market

ChinaTrend provides some insight into the trends and future opportunities for American universities. Postings will highlight news coverage and provide background and insight to the future of the Chinese higher education, both from the domestic and international perspective.

The United States has been at the center of this desire for generations and today it remains the country with the largest number of foreign students (nearly 700,000 according to Open Doors). National initiatives like EducationUSA, and the Commerce Department’s Commercial Service education delegations and expositions help boost the image of Study in the USA, but it is an increasingly competitive market not only from the English speaking world (UK, Australia and Canada), but from countries like China and Malaysia which have seen rapid growth in their international student enrollments.

Graduate school and its related research enterprise, driven by initiatives like the Fulbright Program have fueled much of the success of the US in the global market. 20% of the international students in the USA are at 25 schools, all are classified as “Research One”. Nine of these top ranked schools are in the Big 10 athletic conference, four in the Ivy League and three in the Pac 12 conference. Nineteen of the 25 play Division 1 football, 24 of 25 play Division I basketball.

Beyond this tier, Open Doors identifies that 50% of the international students in the USA attend 125 schools and 80% are at just over 350 schools. There are over 2,400 regionally accredit colleges and universities granting bachelor’s degrees and above, 4,000 awarding two year degrees and above.

Building a Brand for Your University

If your institution is not in this elite group of 125 schools, you have some work to do. You are not a recognized brand overseas and you are in markets that are much more competitive than those of your local community. You are not only competing with schools across your state and across the US, you are competing with schools from around the world.

If you have attended a NAFSA or other international education conference, you have seen the choices for advertising and marketing seem endless. There are magazines, guidebooks, web sites, tour operators, fair promoters and advertising agencies all that will each provide you access to their slice of the world market. It is quite possible to spend millions of dollars and only scratch the surface of the global opportunity.

A growing number of institutions have sought the help of a partner to forge their international brand, either through English Language programs, Pathway programs or through agent representation. International student recruiting agents can provide a very cost effective way to build a brand from the ground up, or to reinforce a relatively unknown brand. In many cases, institutions that are reluctant to use agents for direct admissions find that using agents for the ESL institutes is a viable alternative.

An international brand is very different from your domestic brand. What drives international students to schools in the top tier is not the same message or the same image that drives to domestic population. Read Mark Shay’s essay on “How to build an overseas brand name for your college or university“ for more on this topic.

Winning Strategies for International Student Recruiting

InternetCarbon can help you assess, and then better focus your university’s international student recruiting efforts. We believe agents should be considered in your recruiting strategies, but agents aren’t for everyone. We’ll review your current practices and provide an assessment as to your level of international brand and of your real opportunities in the international student market. We’ll review your competitors, your regional demographics and help you identify good opportunities. Our consultants report will help set you on a path to better compete in this growing market.

If it is appropriate, InternetCarbon will direct you to some of our trusted partners and open doors for you overseas. We have connections that may benefit you in China, the fastest growing international student market and can offer you marketing plans to help you win a share of this evolving sector.

If you are interested in learning more about building a winning international education strategy, please contact InternetCarbon for more information.




Lead Consultant

Mark Shay

The driving force behind InternetCarbon is Mark Shay, a serial entrepreneur who has created, built and in several cases sold Internet-based and educationally related businesses. Read more for just a sampling of enterprises Shay brought to life...

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Memberships and Organizations

Mark has just completed his term on the Board of Directors of AIRC - the American International Recruitment Council - an organization he is still very active with.  Mark is  a member of AIEA's Fund Raising Task Force.

He is an individual member or participant in the efforts of AIEA, NAGAP, NAFSA, Council of Graduate Schools, NACAC, AACRAO and UPCEA.

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"All six of the projet's milestones were achieved and new student enrollments for Spring 2009 did exceed those of Fall 2008." more...