New “mystery shopping” analysis reveals how well specific US colleges and universities entice international students.
A new report finds that the top-rated US and Canadian colleges and universities rank fifth in communication with prospective international students, and one in five of these institutions do not respond to requests for information.
According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual State of College Admission report, many US institutions are taking steps to enroll a greater number of students from other countries due to a plateau of high school graduation rates, which grew for about 20 years before peaking in 2011-12.
“The landscape of higher education is changing, and that is prompting colleges and universities to look for new ways to serve students,” said Jeff Fuller, NACAC president and director of student recruitment at the University of Houston.
The new insights are part of an innovative analysis by comparative study choice platform StudyPortals, in partnership with the British Council IELTS, and, thanks to interest from higher-ed institutions around the world, the partners decided to conduct a “mystery shopping” investigation on how well specific colleges and universities engage with international students.
Edwin van Rest, CEO of StudyPortals, explained that international education is already creating 340,000 jobs and contributing $26.8 Billion to the U.S. economy, as well as to the quality of education and the attraction of talent. “The US has the most reputable system of higher education and yet only a relatively small percentage of international students; therefore, there is large potential to grow this share. The study identifies how universities can improve in reaching, informing and communicating with prospective international students.”
The analysis also provides universities an institution-specific report on the findings, reported in confidence and including a benchmark against peer universities.
(Next page: Methodology and findings)