How student recruitment tours support students on their path of global citizenship and benefit admissions staff

 

   by Katryna Snow, Assistant Director of Higher Education Services

 

 

At CIS we are focused on inspiring the development of global citizens. We work to make sure students at CIS member schools are in environments where they can thrive as learners, open to ideas and cultures from all corners of the world. Upon leaving secondary school, we want students to have the same opportunities to continue their path of global citizenship, which for many students means considering a wide range of global university options. We work with more than 600 member universities in 34 countries, all of whom are eager to enroll students with a global perspective. Through our work, we help to facilitate an important link between students at our CIS member schools and the universities who are interested in enrolling them.

One of the most important ways we provide this link for students is through hosting student recruitment tours. Each year these tours are planned by CIS Regional Service Committee members in various regions of the world. University representatives travel together visiting schools to meet directly with secondary school students and guidance counsellors and share post-secondary opportunities. This serves as a wonderful opportunity for students to meet directly with representatives of different universities, but it also allows universities a chance to get to know the schools and the students better.

Having served as an international admission officer for two different universities, I frequently participated in CIS student recruitment tours. The chance to travel to so many excellent schools as part of a cohort of universities was an invaluable experience for my own professional development and for the universities I represented. It ultimately helped me attract many wonderful students to my universities over the years. In October 2018, I was once again able to travel on a student recruitment tour—this time as a representative of CIS—and I was able to observe the interactions between our universities and secondary school students during a two-week tour in India.

The 29 universities on the tour hailed from six countries—the US, Canada, UK, Qatar, Switzerland and Germany. The breadth of university options in the group allowed students to learn about many different post-secondary options and get a better sense of what might be the best fit for them. During the tour, university participants frequently present to students (and sometimes their parents, too) about broad topics such as how to apply to university, financial aid or scholarship options, or transitioning to university life. With the diversity of institutions on the tour, we were able to compare and contrast university options and country systems, and leave students equipped with an arsenal of information that will better help them in their university search processes.

 

               

The benefit of a diverse tour spilled over beyond just the school visit experience. Tour participants used time on the buses and flights or while sharing a meal together to informally learn about each other’s jobs, institutions, and admissions policies. Friendships were formed and professional bonds strengthened, creating networks of information-sharing and collegiality that persist long after the tour is over.

I interviewed several travelers during the India tour to learn more about their experiences of traveling with this diverse group of universities and meeting students across India, here is what they said:

 

1. How did this tour supplement your student recruitment in the region?

The CIS tour introduced me to more qualified students than past efforts. And, it required less effort as I didn’t have to expend time and energy on large volumes of students that do not meet the admission criteria. All in all, more return for less effort. 

- Michael Patterson
University of Saskatchewan

The CIS tour provided an excellent platform to supplement our current efforts. In general, a tour offers an opportunity to reach a larger audience than individual or small group visits. The tour also included a variety of high schools in different cities – some which we had not previously visited.

I have traveled with CIS before and have been part of the wonderful international education community for a number of years. Prior to traveling to India, I had imagined that I would be seeing many familiar faces in the group; however, I was pleasantly surprised to have seen a large number of new university representatives and had a great opportunity to expand my own network and knowledge community.

- Fred Silva
Northwestern University in Qatar

As a UK institution with a large portfolio of agents across India much of our recruitment activity is strategically focused around our engagement with British Council Exhibitions and independent agent fairs. These are typically aimed at prospective postgraduate students or timed when it would be difficult for undergraduate students to attend so I regarded the CIS schools tour as a great addition to our existing recruitment activity in India. The tour allowed for the identification of key International schools in the region and gave an indication of when to visit (or when not to) in future to develop the relationships established with career counsellors and the students.

- Kayleigh Buckingham-Pegg 
University of Kent

2. What are the benefits of traveling with other universities from different parts of the world?

We shared information on what markets and what types of efforts in those markets had yielded the best results. Also, it was easier to maintain high spirits and do my best work when surrounded by great people. It can get lonely on the road!

- Michael Patterson
University of Saskatchewan

I believe one of the greatest byproducts of a diverse group is the ability to learn how different institutions implement their own recruitment and admissions strategies. This was particularly true in the CIS India Tour. The group had a very rich diversity of institutions – locations, size, budgets, traditions, and more. The group also brought together a large number of individuals with different experiences, backgrounds, cultures, etc.

- Fred Silva
Northwestern University in Qatar

My fellow travelers were almost always upbeat and there was a mix of novices and old hats with varying levels of expertise in the South Asia region in particular. This allowed for really interesting conversations about how our educational institutions differ. It allowed me to understand the complexity of the US and Canadian application systems and to identify pros and cons of the UK system as a comparison which will certainly help at future events when offering information and guidance to students on study in the UK. It is apparent that US colleges have a more collaborative approach to recruitment in India that the UK universities could really learn from and I think to improve visibility in the market more consortiums and collaborations between institutions will be necessary.

- Kayleigh Buckingham-Pegg 
University of Kent

Participants in the 2018 CIS India Tour