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Institutional Recruitment Strategies and International Undergraduate Student University Choice at Two Canadian Universities

Author: Xiaoyan Wang

Abstract: There are two purposes of this study: to examine the institutional strategies that two Canadian universities have developed in attracting international undergraduate students to study on campus, and to gain an understanding of the factors that influence undergraduate students to choose Canada as a destiny for education, and their views on the institutional marketing and recruitment strategies. This study employed a marketing model and institutional theory as key conceptual frameworks. The data collected for the two case study universities include interviews with university leaders and international students, and an on-line survey with international students. Institutional initiatives for international student recruitment have been influenced by various factors, such as provincial government policies, institutional leadership, university traditions and organizational structure, financial status, the capacity of institution, and the provincial higher education system. While one of the case study universities adopted a decentralized and the other adopted a centralized approach to international student recruitment, the different organization structure does not make a great difference since international student enrolment increased at a similar pace in the last decade. The two case study universities shared similarities in marketing and recruitment strategies, which was to influence international students’ university choice by providing information through diversified means and interacting with students at different stages in their university selection process. The major marketing activities, which are designed to present information and convince students to apply, can be categorized into three groups: (1) outreach activities, which include school visits, post-offer events and attending fairs; (2) intermediate activities, which include attending and holding professional conferences to influence high school counsellors; (3) on-campus events, which include a visitors’ center, on-line chat and video conferences, and maintaining a university website to provide up-to-date information to students. The study showed that most international students chose a university based on its reputation and program quality, followed by the recognition of the degree in their home country, tuition and expenses, and the quick response of the university. Therefore, the academic pull factor is core and dominant, followed by the recognition factor, the financial factor, and the administrator factor. Degree being recognized by home country and the advice of family members remain the two dominant push factors. International students sought university information from over six sources on average. The information sources provided by the universities are rated more important than public information sources, and are exactly what most students seek information from. Therefore, the marketing and recruitment strategies of the two Canadian universities are congruent with the process of international students’ university choice.

Source: University of Toronto - TSpace

Size: 1.32 MB
Last Updated: August 4, 2015