Is your school’s website optimized to help recruit new international students? Or is it like most college and university sites that are set up to serve a much larger audience that include not only prospective students, but current students, faculty, alumni and donors. Is your site easy to navigate and find the information an international student is looking for? Or is it weighed down by mission statements, president’s messages, campus maps, student and faculty directories, parent resources, information on student government and even employment opportunities? If your site is like most, you can find all of that information or at least links to it, on the first page!
Don’t get me wrong, your school’s website is not only very expensive, but very important. The issue is that it is set up to reach a large audience, not just one that is focused and wants to cross the proverbial pond and study in the US. This is probably why many international students utilize third party websites to research and locate US institutions that meet their needs.
So what can you do to get in front of these international students? You do what the students are doing and turn to third party websites – sites like ours, InternationalStudent.com, that reaches millions of students each year. Third party sites, in some cases, have a much larger reach than your website alone can touch. In order to find your website, students have to be looking specifically for it. With third party sites, you have the ability to expand your web presence and be found much easier (read more on our blog on web presence – Your School’s Web Presence – Go Beyond your Website to be Found).
But don’t believe me and me alone. Let’s look at some research that was conducted by Noel-Levitz, OmniUpdate, CollegeWeekLive, and NRCCUA®:
- Over 50% of high school Juniors and Seniors say that the web played a significant role in the evaluation of an institution
- 55% of students could not find the information they were looking for on a school’s website
- 18% of students turn to independent websites to learn about cost and financial aid
- 49% say independent websites are the best way to learn about an institution’s academic programs
- 31% say blogs
- 38% social media
- 52% search
Since international students are using third party websites to study in the US, it is important to be found when students are looking for you and where they are looking for you. There are many third party websites out there that can help you be found where students are looking. How is your school’s website helping with your international recruiting strategy?