Seasonal Greetings

December 20th, 2016 by

Happy new year 2017 word made from sparkler light firework

Seasonal Greetings

This will be a short blog. No facts, figures, statistics, predictions. I simply want to thank all of the readers of my monthly postings for your continued support and to wish all of you and your families a very happy and healthy new year.

I will continue, in the new year, to conduct research on the trends in international recruitment and enrollment and share with you information that I trust will be helpful as you go forward with your international strategic plans.

Best wishes,

Marguerite J. Dennis

Year-end Checklist of Predictions for 2016

December 6th, 2016 by

2016 2017 message on hand holding to touch a phone, top view, table computer coffee and book

Year-end checklist of predictions for 2016

As the year 2016 comes to a close, I went back to review five of the international predictions and trends I made in January to check for accuracy.

Here is what I predicted:

Regional, rather that international hubs, will grow in importance. Check

Asian countries including Hong Kong, Malaysia, and China have all reported increases in international student enrollments from the region.

Articulation agreements will replace branch campus development. Check

A recent report published by The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education reveals a waning of interest, especially in the United States, of opening up branch campuses overseas.

MOOCs and other digital-based educational delivery models will continue to grow in importance, enrolling a new and different cohort of international students. Check.

Coursera, FutureLearn and edX have all reported increasing the number of students taking MOOC courses. In September of this year, MIT piloted an online MicroMasters credential and has partnered with Pearson which will allow MicroMasters students to study at local centers in 70 countries worldwide.

Technology will change the ways international students are recruited. Check.

A great deal has been written this year about Big Data and its impact on several aspects of higher education, from predicting which students will enroll, which students are likely to persist and graduate, and which students will become active alumni after graduation. Big Data can help international strategic planners and recruiters to construct analytical databases to provide college administrators with speedy, actionable. information in order to make smart decisions and allocate both staff time and resources to increase enrollments from existing markets and build new ones.

Always have a Plan B. Check

How many international strategic plans had alternative recruitment strategies in place after the Brexit vote or the drop in oil prices which impacted enrollment of students from Saudi Arabia?

No one can predict with absolute accuracy what the future will bring. But there are trends that can reveal what is likely to happen in the future. More to come in 2017.

Retention Strategies for International Students

November 8th, 2016 by


Retention Strategies for International Students

Recruiting and enrolling international students is just the first step in implementing a successful international strategic plan.  First year international students progressing from first to second year is a more revealing indication of a comprehensive and holistic international strategic plan. So is the number of international students who graduate.

Check which of these seven progression and retention suggestions are part of your school’s retention and student success plan for international students.

Is there an orientation program, in addition to the general orientation program, for international students and their parents?

Are surveys conducted of international students who progress from the first to second year and those who do not? Is a profile of both groups shared with appropriate faculty and staff? How is the information used to improve persistence and graduation rates?

Is there a profile, by country, of international students who graduate? Is this information shared with international recruiters? Are profiles of successful international graduates shared with prospective international students and parents?

Are specific counseling interventions in place to deal with issues common to many international students, like homesickness?

Is there a dedicated office and staff for international students who can assist with visa issues, academic and student services problems and cultural events?

Are course withdrawals, which can impact a student’s visa, monitored and reported to appropriate staff?

Who communicates with international parents during the first semester and year?

While much has been written on how colleges and universities can recruit international students, little has been written about how to successfully retain these students. I believe having a dedicated office and staff for international students and using data to support progression, student success and retention strategies, are some of the ways to assist international students to have a successful academic experience.

Around the World: Trends, Opportunities, and Challenges Part 2

September 26th, 2016 by

Around the world: Trends, opportunities, and challenges    Part 2


In my last blog I wrote about changes taking place in countries around the world and the impact some of these changes will have on your current and future international student recruitment plans. This blog post continues to list additional trends.




If you want to know where Chinese student mobility patternsare heading it is necessary to underst and the political and economic climate in the country today. There is a reason why10 percent of the population is moving their money and their families out of China. There is a reason why Chinese parents are increasingly sending their children abroad for study at the middle school and high school level. There is a reason why Chinese families are purchasing homes and properties all over the world. Understanding the China of today will help you prepare for future Chinese recruitment strategies and plans. It should come as no surprise that there have been steep declines in the number of Saudi students studying abroad, especially in English language programs. Many colleges and universities in the United States are reporting up to 60 and 70 percent declines in the number of Saudi enrollments. A change in leadership and the sharp price in oil declines are the chief reasons for the Saudi government decreasing the number of Saudi students selected for scholarships to study abroad. The bigger story is the need for international student recruitment outreach to have diversification baked into all strategic plans.

The suspension of Brazil’s Science Without Borders Program is a reminder that international strategic plans should monitor the geopolitical and economic reality of countries. While most students and academics inside and outside of Britain believe that the Brexit vote will prove to be bad for higher education enrollment and research collaboration, there is one country that was happy with the vote. Can you guess which country that was? (Answer is at the end of this blog)

If you want to know what Asian country, excluding China and India, is emerging as another Asian tiger, take a look at what is happening in Vietnam. There are many reasons for this and the August 6 th issue of “The Economist” outlines many of the factors shaping Vietnam’s economy which, in turn, will impact Vietnamese students studying abroad. I began recruiting in Vietnam almost 15 years ago and more than doubled the enrollment of students from Vietnam shortly after my first recruitment trip. Take a close look at Vietnam for recruiting if your school is not already outreaching to

Vietnamese students.

These are just some of the changes I think are important. In the weeks to come I will continue to monitor trends, opportunities and challenges from around the world that should be of interest to your college or university’s strategic international planning.

Answer to question of which European country was pleased with the Brexit vote: Russia.

Around the World: Trends, Opportunities and Challenges

September 12th, 2016 by



Around the world: Trends, opportunities and challenges  Part 1





If you are recruiting international students to your campus, you will be interested in the following:

Recent changes in the U.S. visa policy regulations stipulate that universities may issue I-20s for academic programs only after students have met all of the admission criteria for degree programs. Students studying English offered by a college or university will require a separate I-20 for all preparatory courses, and an additional I-20 for degree study programs.

After a recently released audit of the University of San Diego and Berkeley revealed that preferential admission criteria were applied to out-of-state- and international students, the California Assembly voted unanimously to phase in a 10 percent cap on nonresident applications.

Expect other states to impose similar bans on nonresident applicants.

German higher education institutions are dominating the rankings of innovative European universities and concurrently, Germany is attracting an increasing number of international students. There are over 300,000 international students studying in Germany, or 12 percent of the country’s student body. Much of the growth has been at the graduate school level.

In a Reuters released ranking of Europe’s 100 most innovative universities, the country with the highest number was Germany, with 24. Something positive is going on in German higher education. I would take a look for potential collaboration.

In a British Council report published in May, Malaysia and Germany were singled out as the best in research that explores the impact of national policies on openness to international higher education. Further information may be obtained from “The Shape of Global Higher Education: National Policies Framework for International Engagement.”

The demand for higher education in South Asia is exploding. With a population of more than 600 million under the age of 18, and with the rapid pace of social and economic changes taking place in the region, this is an area for current and future international recruitment outreach.

More than 300 million students are enrolled in higher education in South Asia, yet the unmet demand is estimated to be three to four times this number.

By 2020, India will have the largest university age group cohort in the world. According to the “Indian Students Mobility Report 2016,” the growth of Indian students studying abroad has been faster than any other country, including China. In the U.S. alone, Indian student numbers increased by almost 30 percent last year. Currently 360,000 Indian students are studying abroad. The most popular destinations: U.S., UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Two surprise destinations: destinations China and Germany.

My next blog will continue scanning the globe for international trends, opportunities and challenges.