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Bridging the Digital Divide - Segmenting and Recruiting International Millennial Students (2014)

Posted on:
July 8, 2022

The purpose of this research report is to provide a framework for educational institutions to understand the different needs and behaviors of international Millennial student segments as a means of informing international student enrollment strategies.

Overview

"The report analyzes nearly five thousand 17-to-36-year-old international Millennials’ use of technology and the psychographic characteristics that influence their information-seeking behavior.1 It closely examines bachelor’s and master’s students from China and India—the two largest sources of international students in the U.S.... The survey canvassed 4,852 prospective students aged 17 to 36 on their use of technology, psychographic characteristics, and information search processes... We define the four segments of international students—Explorers, Highfliers, Strivers, and Strugglers.”

four segments of international students

Recommendations for educational institutions:

"Adapt to students' technology usage. Fifty-six percent of Millennials used a smartphone to search for and apply to U.S. colleges or universities, suggesting mobile devices play a large role in their prospect-to-application journey. It is recommended that higher education institutions (HEIs) devise a digital strategy, for example, making websites more mobile-friendly. Mobile devices play a big role in Millennials’ prospect-toapplication journey, especially among Highfliers who are the most likely to own a tablet and use mobile devices for email communication with international admissions offices. We recommend that institutions devise a mobile strategy, for example, revamping websites to be more mobile-friendly for international enrollment management.

Embrace the power of network marketing. A collective university network exerts the biggest influence on Millennial students' decision-making processes with regard to college or university choice. Admissions officers, faculty, current students and alumni comprise a cohesive university network. HEIs need to form a strategic relationship with these stakeholders and have them interact with prospective students via digital technologies. The collective university network exerts the biggest influence on Millennials’ decision-making process, followed by family. Institutions need to keep this in mind as they need to not only convey their value proposition to students, but also those relations who could potentially influence a student’s decision on which school to apply. First, admissions officers, faculty, current students and alumni comprise a cohesive university network; institutions need to form strategic relationships with these stakeholders and use them to interact with prospective students. Second, families should be an integral part of outreach efforts. For example, institutions can invite students’ families to networking events and deliver e-newsletter to families, in addition to other measures.

Tailor content to communicate your institution’s value proposition to students. International Millennials are more likely to consume online content than produce it. This highlights the importance of generating relevant, quality content to engage with this audience. Despite being active in the digital world, international Millennials are more likely to consume information than produce content. This highlights the importance of an institution’s role in generating relevant content to attract this audience. For example, blogging about tips on how to look for scholarships and financial aid is very relevant to Strivers, while showcasing campus life and student activities will likely generate interest from bachelor’s students and Explorers.

In a climate of decreasing budgets and increasing pressure to recruit international students, we recommend that institutions adopt evidence-based practices to better understand the constantly changing needs and behaviors of international Millennial students. Reassessing your recruitment strategies and adapting them to the needs of your target audience is the best way to ensure a good return on investment for your recruitment efforts."

RAS-Paper-06-Bridging-the-Digital-Divide-Segmenting-and-Recruiting-International-Millenial-Students

Summary

The purpose of this research report is to provide a framework for educational institutions to understand the different needs and behaviors of international Millennial student segments as a means of informing international student enrollment strategies.
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