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.