International student enrollment is bouncing back. After the combination of COVID-19 and various political factors saw a massive drop in recent years, foreign student enrollment in the United States surged by 80% in the fall of 2022.

At the same time, a general rise in this student population does not mean you can simply rely on students to find your institution and select it over thousands of other options in the U.S. and other countries. Instead, you need a comprehensive international student recruitment strategy that focuses directly on their needs and unique circumstances.

It all starts with a basic understanding of how to recruit international students. Unlike their domestic counterparts, these students likely won’t have a chance to step on campus before making an enrollment decision. As a result, your international recruitment strategy has to revolve around virtual means. These three tips can help.

1. Offer Virtual Admissions Events

For admissions offices across the country, the in-person recruitment experience is crucial. College fairs, high school visits, on-campus tours, and open houses all play a core role in making the benefits promoted in publications and ads real and tangible. They ultimately drive enrollment decisions at every level of the funnel.

Any strategy designed around how to recruit international students has to find a way to get that same feeling across—but in a virtual environment. That means offering virtual admissions events, which can occur in a wide range of arenas:

  • Webinars and virtual information with admissions and key functional areas, like financial aid or individual academic departments
  • Larger virtual open houses in which international students can interact with each other and the campus community
  • Interactive virtual tours that showcase campus in similar ways that the on-campus visit experiences and tours would

Be sure to offer these events at times relevant to your core international student audience. Also, keep time differences in mind. On-demand and asynchronous experiences can also help get the same point across at your prospects’ preferred times and dates.

2. Create Virtual Communities

Going to college is a major leap for any student demographic, marking a new chapter of their lives. That is even more true for international students. They are likely uprooting their entire lives to join a community they have never interacted with in the past.

This can be a difficult challenge to overcome, especially as most international students will only be able to start making connections and joining your campus community after their first semester. But it is not impossible, especially when placing an emphasis on virtual communities.

For example, consider creating social media groups specifically for your international students in a given class. You can also create more functional groups, focused on common interests or academic areas, in which international students can interact with their U.S.-based classmates. 

3. Build Interactive Maps to ‘Make It Real’

Finally, colleges can benefit from solving another common challenge associated with how to recruit international students: the difficulty of communicating what your campus is truly like. After all, international students will come from a very different environment, where university life might be entirely different from your daily campus life. 

One way to solve that challenge is to connect directly to your interactive map. Here, you have the opportunity to showcase the physical footprint of your campus. Provide as much information about your school as possible. That includes anything from transportation around campus to the distance between buildings, the way move-in works, and planned construction in the future. You can even integrate live feed information to maximize your communication through the map.

The right interactive map can go a long way toward communicating exactly what your international students can expect when they step foot on campus. That’s where Concept3D comes in. Our comprehensive map and virtual tour solution can go a long way in building your international student recruitment strategy. To learn more, contact us today.