A Holistic Approach to Recruiting and Retaining International Students

A Holistic Approach to Recruiting and Retaining International Students

February 27 - March 1, 2019 | Chicago, IL


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Craft a holistic plan to increase international student recruitment, retention, and success at your institution.

As the landscape of higher education shifts and the number of domestic college students declines, institutions must think outside the box to make up for deficits in enrollment and globalize their campus moving forward.

Institutions building holistic international recruitment and enrollment plans must be intentional in analyzing their international market, deciding on recruitment strategies, and building infrastructure that will allow students to thrive once they arrive.

Join us for this highly interactive learning experience designed to provide guidance and insights into what is needed to construct an effective plan, along with tactical tips for implementation. You will work in small peer teams with similar institutional goals to build out plans for your own institution and identify ways to get campus stakeholders onboard.


Who Should Attend

This conference is designed for senior leaders who want to create a holistic plan to recruit and retain international students. Senior International Officers, VPs of Enrollment, Directors of Enrollment, and other professionals charged with growing international populations on campus will benefit from this highly interactive conference. The course is designed to help participants enhance their plans no matter where they are in its development process.


Day 1: Setting the Stage & Looking at Data
February 27, 2019

12:30 - 6.30 p.m.

Your registration includes access to the sessions below, all conference materials, the networking reception on Wednesday, breakfast and lunch on Thursday, as well as breakfast on Friday. Access to refreshments and snacks is also included throughout the conference.



Welcome and Introductions



Setting the Stage: Key Components of a Holistic International Recruitment Plan

This opening session will provide an overview of what a holistic international recruitment plan is and how it differs from a more traditional approach to international student recruitment. Our expert facilitators will share their thoughts on the future of international education.



The Case for a Plan: Budgeting and Buy-In

While some institutions have made major investments into growing their international programs, others are earlier in this process. We will help you identify where you need to begin depending on the budget and senior leadership buy-in you have.



Starting Your Plan: Where You Are and Where You Want to Go

Reviewing where your institution currently is in terms of recruiting and retaining international students is a critical first step towards growing your international programs. You are asked to bring the following information so that you can identify your plans starting point:

  • What are your current international student numbers?
  • Where have your international students come from in the past?
  • Where are they coming from now?
  • How is success defined with regards to growth?

Once you understand where you are, you will set realistic, concrete goals around what you want your plan to accomplish.



Using Data to Intentionally Analyze Market Position

A critical step to growing your international population is understanding global trends and how they align with your institution’s mission, strengths and strategic plan. We will explore where to obtain relevant data, how to make sense of it, and how to determine what strategic actions to take in light of it.



Networking Reception



Day 2: Focusing on Your Goals
February 28, 2019

8:00 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.



Q&A/Reflection on Day 1 and Issue Group Assignments

Participants will have the opportunity to focus on the first day’s takeaways, and our instructors will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. You will be asked to share out the challenges you are facing and the goals of the plan you are working on. Participants with similar goals will be grouped together to be thought partners throughout the conference.



International Student Recruitment Tactics

Whether you have plenty of resources or you are working on a shoestring budget, there are tactics that can increase your success in recruiting international students to your institution. This presentation will explore tactics that have been successful for other institutions and help you identify which approaches might be a good fit for your school.



Recruitment Tactics Working Time

Participants will begin mapping out tactical recruitment strategies for their plans in their small working groups.



Student Success: Preparing to Support Students Once They Arrive

Successful alumni are one of the greatest recruitment strategies we have for international students. Institutions should not focus solely on recruiting international students but also on retaining those students once they arrive. This session will explore how to build an infrastructure of student support that allows your international students to be successful during their time on your campus and beyond.



Student Success Working Groups

Participants will begin mapping out student success strategies that align to the goals of their plan in their small working groups.



The Pros and Cons of Working with Third Party Agencies

Working with agents or external partners can be a controversial topic on many campuses. We will explore how to determine if working with agents is right for you on your campus and, if so, how to manage these partnerships to minimize risk. Whether or not your institution opts to work with outside partners should be an intentional decision that is a part of your overarching recruitment strategy.



Day 3: Building and Sharing Your Plan
March 1, 2019

8.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.



Leveraging Your International Student Success for Growth

Attendees will have the opportunity to absorb and reflect upon their top takeaways from the second day of the conference. Our instructors will be on hand to answer questions.



Finalizing Your Plan:

This final working hour will allow small groups space to share their plans with one another and with our expert facilitation team, provide recommendations to peers, and finalize their own plans to bring back to campus.



Working Group Share-Out

Each small group will have the opportunity to share out some of the main strategies and considerations they will be bringing back to their campus in order to meet the goals they identified at the beginning of the conference. This will allow for more sharing of strategies for the full group.



Key Takeaways, Evaluations, and Conference Wrap-up


February 27 - March 1, 2019
Chicago, IL

Conference Hotel Information:

Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile
633 N St. Clair Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Room Rate: $129
Room Block Dates: nights of February 26, 27 and 28, 2019.
Rate Available Until: February 5, 2019.
Reserve Your Room: Call 312.787.1234 to make your reservations and indicate that you are with the Academic Impressions group to receive the group rate. Please book early - rooms are limited and subject to availability.



Richard O’Rourke

Associate Director, Office of Admissions, Recruitment and Outreach
The University of Illinois at Chicago

Over the past fifteen years, Richard has worked with a variety of U.S. and foreign institutions to increase international enrollment and yield through enhanced communication processes. Prior to joining UIC, he served as a communications specialist for EducationUSA, a global network of international student advising centers supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Read Richard's full bio here.

john sunnygard

John Sunnygard

Associate Provost for Global Learning and International Affairs
Western Kentucky University

In his current role, John is responsible for WKU’s comprehensive international efforts including international student recruiting and support services, study abroad and exchange programs, international programs and scholar development, strategic partnerships and agreements, and other global engagement activities. John also oversees partnerships and collaborations with sponsored international student agencies and government entities and serves as the liaison between ESLi and WKU.

Read John's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?


Kate Poisson
Program manager, Academic Impressions

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