July 6, 2023

The Current International Student Landscape: A Map to International Student Recruitment


Jose Flores

The international student landscape in the United States is dynamic and ever-changing, with China and India being the dominant contributors to the international student population. The number of international students studying in the US saw a 4% increase in the 2021/22 academic year, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. California and New York remain popular destinations for international students, offering a blend of academic excellence and cultural vibrancy.

Unveiling the Dynamic International Student Landscape

The landscape of international students studying in the United States is an ever-evolving and vibrant tapestry. To delve into the multifaceted nature of this diverse group, the Institute of International Education (IIE) conducts an annual census, shedding light on intriguing trends and statistics. The latest report, encompassing the academic year 2021/22, unravels a captivating narrative.

According to the IIE's comprehensive data, the number of international students studying in the United States witnessed a commendable 4% increase in 2021/22 compared to the preceding year. Although this growth trajectory fell short of its historical peak, it serves as an encouraging sign amid the global challenges posed by the pandemic.

The dominant players in the international student landscape of the United States continue to be China and India. These two nations collectively accounted for an impressive 52% of the total international student population in 2021/22, underscoring their unwavering interest in American higher education.

When it comes to preferred destinations, California and New York maintain their allure for international students. Approximately one out of every four students opted to pursue their studies in these two states during the 2021/22 academic year. The irresistible blend of academic excellence, cultural vibrancy, and renowned universities positions California and New York as attractive choices for international students.

Examining the field of study preferences among international students unravels valuable insights. In 2021/22, the most sought-after disciplines were Math and Computer Science, Engineering, and Business Management. This underscores the global significance placed on technological advancements and business expertise, driving the escalating demand for these fields.

A noteworthy shift occurred in the ratio of graduate to undergraduate international students in the past year. For the first time in a decade, the number of graduate international students surpassed their undergraduate counterparts. This shift indicates the growing allure of advanced degrees and specialized programs offered by American universities.

Understanding the financial aspects of international students' education is vital. The IIE's findings reveal that family and personal finances remained the primary sources of funding for undergraduate international students in 2021/22. This aligns with the traditional reliance on personal resources for undergraduate education. However, an intriguing transformation was observed among graduate students, with a larger number receiving funding from international organizations. This signifies the increasing availability of scholarships, grants, and fellowships for postgraduate study.

While the surge in international student enrollment in the United States is undoubtedly positive, it is crucial to acknowledge the continuous efforts required to attract and support this diverse group. Enhancing educational accessibility, providing robust support services, and fostering a welcoming environment are indispensable for sustaining this upward trend.

As the international student landscape continues to evolve, institutions and policymakers must remain attuned to the changing dynamics. By recognizing and addressing the preferences and needs of international students, the United States can reinforce its position as a global hub for higher education, facilitating cross-cultural exchange and collaboration. The insights derived from the IIE's annual census serve as an invaluable resource for shaping strategies and initiatives that empower international students in their pursuit of academic and personal growth.

Empowering Global Engagement through Prequalified Students

In this digital age, students have unprecedented access to information, opening a world of possibilities for their educational journey. As an international recruiter, it is paramount to leverage digital platforms and tools to engage with potential students from the outset. Let's explore effective strategies for digital engagement:

Harness the power of VisitDays to create captivating and informative virtual experiences for prospective students. This cutting-edge platform offers an array of interactive features, including live video sessions, live chats, appointment scheduling, and document management. These dynamic features provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the institution, its programs, facilities, and campus life, all from the comfort of their own homes. VisitDays breaks down geographical barriers, opening doors for international students who may not have had the opportunity to engage with campuses before.

In addition, VisitDays facilitates seamless collaboration between institutions and partners involved in the student recruitment process, such as educational consultants and recruitment agencies. This collaborative approach allows institutions to tap into a wider network of prequalified students, ensuring a streamlined and efficient engagement process. Thanks to VisitDays' versatile platform and collaborative partnerships, institutions can effectively engage with thousands of international students interested in pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies in the United States. By providing a virtual platform that transcends borders, VisitDays has helped bridge the gap between institutions and students from all corners of the world.

VisitDays endeavors to empower international students by providing them with tools to explore their options and make informed decisions about their higher education journey. The platform's intuitive features allow students to participate in virtual events, interact with faculty and current students, and gain valuable insights into academic programs, scholarships, and admission processes offered by different institutions.

With its adaptable and user-friendly technology, coupled with collaborative partnerships, VisitDays has emerged as a versatile and easy-to-use platform that revolutionizes the way institutions engage with prequalified students on a global scale. In a rapidly evolving higher education landscape, VisitDays stands at the forefront, empowering institutions and students alike to embrace the opportunities that digital engagement presents.

While digital engagement is undoubtedly crucial, it is important to recognize that nothing can replace the value of face-to-face interactions. Physical engagement allows you to establish personal connections, build trust, and showcase your institution's offerings. Consider the following strategies for physical engagement:

Participate in partner education fairs and recruitment events: Take part in international education fairs and recruitment events both domestically and abroad. These events provide an excellent opportunity to meet prospective students, address their queries, and present your institution in a compelling and engaging manner.

Leverage your alumni networks: Tap into the power of your alumni network to engage with prospective students. Alumni can share their success stories, provide mentorship, and act as ambassadors for your institution, enhancing its reputation and credibility.

Foster relationships with the Ministry of Education in respective countries: Ensure that your institution is listed among other colleges at a country's Ministry of Education. VisitDays is actively working with governmental organizations in various countries, facilitating partnerships and collaborations.

Establish partnerships with local universities: Seek to establish partnerships with universities abroad that are eager to connect with US institutions. VisitDays is at the forefront of fostering such partnerships and exploring possibilities for collaboration.

By integrating digital and physical engagement strategies, you can efficiently prequalify the interest of prospective students. This approach ensures that your investments in visiting countries are targeted and yield the desired results, while also embracing the limitless potential of digital engagement.