Here in the USA, we all know the value of a community college. But, how do you effectively market the value of a community college to international students who are not familiar with the benefits of getting an Associates Degree from a community college before transferring to a four-year school? There are many traditional and non-traditional ways to get your value proposition across and in front of international students.
First, let’s outline a few of the benefits of a two-year community college Associate Degree, then we will address how to effectively market the value of a community college to international students.
- Community colleges are less expensive than a typical 4-year college or university.
- They do not have some of the rigorous admission requirements many institutions have, making the admission, transcript and enrollment process easier.
- A lot of community colleges offer English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, putting aside any language obstacles.
- They have done a great job formulating 2+2 partnerships and articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities.
In other words, an international student can save money, have easier admissions requirements, learn English and then have almost guaranteed admission into a four-year institution. That sounds great!
Now let’s look at how your school can effectively market the value of a community college to international students.
- Agents – The use of Agents is gaining more and more traction as this recruiting tactic becomes accepted in the US. This can be a highly effective strategy to get your schools value proposition as in country agents work directly with the students. If you have the right agents in place, your school could be the top of the Agents list if the student is lacking in any of the areas we mentioned above (cost, admissions requirements, English language, etc.).
- College Fairs – Traveling to an in country fair and getting some face time with potential students can be an effective way to market your school and your school’s value proposition. However, this could be challenging if the student is not familiar with community colleges, the value they bring and if they are not familiar with your brand. There are also online fairs, like CollegeWeekLive offers, that can get you in front of a large audience of students. EducationUSA also hosts fairs and can be a great resource to promote your school.
- Online Marketing – We all know students are searching for and researching schools online. Today, there are numerous ways to reach students online such as listing your school on portal sites, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, targeted banner ads, social media and the use of Google Hangouts, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc. This could quite possibly be the most cost effective way to present your value proposition to a very large audience of potential students.
- Word of mouth – There is no better form of advertising or marketing than word of mouth. A student that comes to your school, is successful and transfers to a four year school to complete their education could be your best spokesperson. As we know, most international students return home soon after they have completed their education.
These are just a few ways your school can effectively market the value of a community college to international students. How are you marketing your school’s value proposition to students outside the US?