5 Ways to Demonstrate True Student Experience Pre-Enrollment
A virtual campus tour made by an international student at King’s College London. This creative international student adds music and his own rap to make a unique tour for prospective students.
It’s no secret that parents pull the purse strings and are often concerned with the technicalities of sending their students abroad; however, students are curious about details that might not cross the minds of their parents or educational representatives.
What is the international student experience like on campus, and what services are available on campus? When students search for a school, facts begin to blend together, but what stands out is student experience. Here are our top 5 ways to demonstrate true student experience pre-enrollment.
Table of Contents
Campus Resources for Chinese Students
Videos: Think Like a Student
1. Campus Resources for Chinese Students
When Chinese students are searching for their best-fit university or college, schools all begin to sound the same, with wonderful professors, various student clubs, and a beautiful campus. While each school has something unique to offer, they tend to look the same on brochures, especially for international recruitment. To stand out, here are the top the services and benefits to promote to Chinese students:
Campus support: Chinese university and college campuses do not always provide the services we take for granted in the US as normal. Because such services are standard practice, many admissions officers do not mention them when recruiting international students. For Chinese student recruitment, explicitly mentioning these services will peak Chinese student interests, ease concerns, and make your school stand out.
Tutoring: Throughout their education, students and their families pay a lot of money for additional tutoring outside of school hours. Free tutoring services are an unexpected benefit for Chinese students, who are used to high fees.
Mental health services: While American college students expect free mental health services on their campus, this service is a surprise for Chinese students. Moving to college within your own country is difficult enough, let alone moving halfway across the world. Knowing they will have free, mental health support on campus will make your campus more comforting to Chinese students before their big move.
Resident assistants (RAs): Chinese campuses don’t have an equivalent for RAs, so students do not expect this support. New to the campus and country, Chinese students will be relieved and excited to know they will have a trustworthy peer to talk to and support them from day one.
Social support: When moving abroad, Chinese students want to know what services are available to help them make friends, especially at the beginning of their educational journey. Campuses often offer services such as orientations, ice-breaker meet-and-greets with other new students on campus, student clubs, etc. Sharing these services with Chinese students during recruitment answers one of Chinese students’ top concerns before they even have to ask.
Expected workload and educational atmosphere: Chinese students face rigorous primary and secondary education, with intensive studying and fierce competition for test scores. Therefore, they will want to know what the workload and educational atmosphere is like on campus. Is this overall atmosphere competitive, supportive, or both? How many hours does the typical student spend studying or working on assignments? Chinese students will have presumptions from their previous educational experience, so describing the workload and educational atmosphere on campus helps Chinese students better find their best fit.
Nearby international and Chinese communities: Beyond coursework and making friends, Chinese students also want to know about nearby international and Chinese communities off-campus. For example, can students find authentic Chinese or Asian restaurants and supermarkets nearby? Letting international students know about options off-campus will appeal to students and ease worries about homesickness.
2. Videos: Think Like a Student
On eduFair students can upload testimonials and vlog, like Aurora at McGill University.
Many schools have marketing videos, campus tours, and maybe even student interviews, but these often show the experience of a typical domestic student. Chinese students need to know what the international student experience is like. Whether it’s a school-made or student-made video, videos focusing on international students will give a valuable inside-peek into campus life for Chinese students.
For any school-made content, it’s important to think like a student. If you were to move to China for school, what questions would you have? Some top concerns are typically about food, roommates, campus resources, and day-to-day changes. To incorporate your international students in official school-made videos, ask current Chinese students what their biggest learning curves were when they arrived. Then, ensure your content answers these questions before they’re asked.
Official, school-made videos can be excellent recruitment tools, but also having student-made content helps students feel a stronger connection. On their eduFair e-booths, partner institutions can share school-made and student-made videos about international student experiences in the following locations:
The ‘Official Video’ section: Schools can post videos to the ‘Official Video’ section on their profile. Fun videos answering top student questions will keep prospective students engaged better than listed facts. When international institutions share videos on eduFair, they ensure that all videos are accessible and shareable in China.
The ‘Student Perspective’ section: eduFair makes collecting and sharing student-made content easy for schools by letting students and graduates share content directly to the school’s e-booth in the ‘Student Perspective’ area. International students know what prospective international students want to know because they too were new to campus and the country once.
As introduced in Friend-of-a-Friend, conversations with peers are one of the most important factors for Chinese students and families when choosing an educational institution. Connecting with students or alumni is especially important for Chinese students because of ‘guanxi,’ (关系 | guānxi), which translates to ‘connections’ or ‘relationships.’
Guanxi involves building trustworthy relationships and is crucial in Chinese business and recruitment. When Chinese students are searching for a new school, they need to hear from their peers to build a personal connection and trust in that school. If prospective students have a strong, trustworthy relationship with current students or alumni, they are more likely to apply. By helping partner institutions collect student-made content in the ‘Student Perspectives’ area, eduFair helps their partner institutions develop relationships with prospective students.
An international student at The University of Melbourne shares a video about her life in Melbourne on the ‘Student Prospective’ area of her university’s e-booth.
Many international students will have the same questions. Having a forum for frequently asked questions helps students quickly and efficiently find answers to those questions so that you don’t have to answer the same questions over and over.
On eduFair, our “Forum” feature is a DIY FAQ, allowing Chinese students to see their peer’s questions, ask their own questions, and get answers from real students - saving everyone’s time. Not only is this a time-saver, but student responses will help build students’ trust in the university. Schools will always share the best information about their campus, so hearing from current students or graduates will validate school claims, giving Chinese students authentic insight and helping them develop personal connections.
eduFair gives students numerous areas to pose a question, interact, and share their experiences.
Prospective students are not only curious about student life but also about professors and the typical classroom experience. A reflection of your institution’s teaching methods and philosophies will help students decide if your programs are right for them and prepare accordingly.
With Covid-19, more schools are offering online options for their students and prospective students. Many schools have started offering class recordings so that prospective students can ‘demo’ or sample a class. Letting students attend a demo class demonstrates class quality and teaching methodologies. For example, the University of Sussex posts links to their ‘online taster lectures’ so that prospective students can sample a real class. By posting a link in their eduFair e-booths, partner institutions ensure that prospective Chinese students can access their demo lessons.
A LinkedIn post from Leo Cutting, promoting the University of Sussex Business School’s ‘online taster lectures’ for prospective students.
When Chinese students are searching through schools, schools that share true student experiences stand out. Especially for Chinese students, whose culture highly relies on guanxi, contact with peers is a powerful tool for recruitment. With sections for student-made videos, testimonials, and a forum, eduFair provides an easily accessible and free platform for Chinese students to interact with current students, develop guanxi, and learn about educational institutions around the world.
ABOUT EDUFAIR CHINA eduFair China is a free website and app connecting Chinese students with international institutions and first-hand resources about studying abroad. We aim to give students a more empowered approach to international education so that they can succeed during their journey abroad. Our platform features more than 1,200 organizations and reaches millions of students across China. Click here to learn more about getting your institution online and how eduFair can help you reach students in China.