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4 Chinese Student Recruitment Mistakes You Might Not Know You’re Making

Student recruitment is hard. It’s even harder in a different language, time zone, and culture. Barriers to entry are high: international recruitment is expensive, time-consuming, and requires a diverse skillset. Get the best results for your efforts by avoiding these common mistakes when recruiting students in China.

Limiting Yourself Geographically:

Thinking about China, the cities that leap to mind are most likely to be Beijing and Shanghai, possibly Shenzhen and Guangzhou. While these cities are a great place to begin recruitment in China, smaller, less-visited cities are rife with students seeking international education opportunities. Learn more about these cities and the tiered city system here.

Neglecting students in these cities means that schools, especially smaller or mid-ranked institutions, will miss out on a valuable source of students that often have more realistic expectations of acceptances and a willingness to divert from a reliance on schools with household names, or those in major cities. These students are a relatively untapped source of qualified candidates, making them especially responsive to personalized recruitment efforts.

Financially, it might not be practical for your team to land in every city with prospective students. Digital recruitment platforms can fill this gap, allowing you to connect with students in Tier-2 and -3 cities, answering questions and guiding them through your admissions process.

Digital Invisibility:

University admissions websites with blocked content - eduFair China

77% of university websites have admissions content blocked in Mainland China. If your videos are sourced from YouTube and Vimeo and your photos from Instagram, students in China won’t be able to access essential resources that provide an on-the-ground campus perspective.

Understanding your digital presence from within China is critical in giving your students an as-close-to-firsthand-as-possible look at your school’s atmosphere and advantages. Not sure where to start? We’ve broken it down for you here.

Not Communicating With Students Directly:

It’s tempting to rely on agents to generate leads. They speak the language, have existing networks, and understand what prospective students want. However, depending solely on in-country agents means that you’re not directly communicating with students, understanding their needs, and highlighting exactly how your institution can support and engage them.

Face-to-face interaction with students is looking unlikely this year. Get in front of students by ensuring your team is creating and maintaining a digital presence that facilitates conversations between you (not agents), and students. Look for platforms that give institutions complete control of their information and provide a direct link to students and their questions.

Direct engagement with students will be a vital source of first-hand information as you design next year’s recruitment strategy. You know your school’s branding and benefits best; this can make all the difference in converting prospective students to admitted ones.

Neglecting In-Country Networks:

Word-of-mouth is an incredibly strong, often underestimated recruitment tool, especially in China. Prospective students want to know that students with similar backgrounds have succeeded on your campus and in your programs.

Current Chinese students and Chinese alumni are a huge source of knowledge and experience. Host seminars and webinars led by Chinese alumni or student ambassadors to bypass time zones and provide students with the opportunity to engage with a trusted resource that will provide a realistic view of your campus. Creating alumni ambassador programs and inviting current students to speak at recruitment events is critical to ensure prospective students see themselves and their futures on your campus.

Get Started

Ultimately, taking student recruitment international requires adaptability. New markets and their inevitable learning curves can be intimidating. Knowing what not to do and creating strong partnerships is a solid starting point when planning your strategy.

eduFair China provides direct, digital connection to thousands of Chinese students – regardless of where you or your prospects are. Control your content, knowing that it will be visible in China and engage your in-country networks, all on one platform. As travel restrictions persist and we adapt to our new “normal”, know that resources are available to make your next recruitment cycle a successful one.



eduFair China is a free online platform dedicated to international education and recruitment. Its platform connects millions of Chinese students with first-hand information while helping institutions recruit qualified students digitally. eduFair aims to give students a more empowered, holistic approach to international education so that they can succeed during their journey abroad.

Learn more about how eduFair can help you reach students across China.

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