Retaining International Students, Part 3: Advancement

International StudentsHow, exactly, can colleges and universities advance to successfully recruit – and graduate – international students?

We’ve focused, over the past two posts, on attracting and – even more importantly – retaining international students at colleges and universities.

We’ve labored under the valid assumption that all colleges and universities see the value and benefits of attracting a student body from all corners of the globe. But we’ve also pointed out how very often our college administrations fall short of ensuring international students advance, graduate and move on to productive careers.

In our July 15 post, we suggested student progression and graduate is the only true measure of any enrollment management program.

In our July 22 post, we looked at the difficulty faced by the new vice-president for international programs at Mythical University when presented with the task of developing a program to increase by 10 percent the enrollment and graduation of international students and to increase by 10 percent the number of Ol’ Myth students who, in turn, study abroad.

So, here we are in Week Three, one year later in the life of Mythical U., and the V.P.. for international programs was able to report to the university president and board of trustees: some major accomplishments, including the creation of an International Affairs Committee, a task force to oversee the recruitment and retention of international students.

International Affairs Committee

  • A monthly meeting of representatives from the admission, student affairs, retention services, career services, alumni and fundraising offices, was created. Between meetings committee members were asked to collaborate on how to integrate their administrative functions to provide better services to international students.


  • The offices of admission and student services determined who in the student services department would communicate directly with international students and parents after letters of acceptance were mailed. In effect, the action moved from admission to student services. The staff in that office is partially responsible for “closing the deal.”
  • The admission and student services departments shared information on the parents of current international students who have agreed to speak or meet with prospective international parents.
  • The alumni staff shared information with the international admission recruiters on international graduates.
  • The career counseling staff shared information with the international recruiters on the job placements of recent international graduates.
  • The director of retention services reported monthly on the progression of all new and returning international students. A specific staff member in the department was made responsible for coordinating outreach to any international student in academic difficulty.
  • The director of alumni affairs shared a list with committee members of all international graduates. International recruiters have this information when they travel abroad and whenever possible, meet with international graduates to seek assistance with recruitment activities and internship possibilities.
  • The admission office shared with the fundraising office information on potential “friends” of Mythical U. (This information is shared only after students are accepted and enrolled.) Plans are in place for next year for the vice presidents of advancement and international programs to meet with potential international donors.
  • The vice president for international programs created a database of all existing articulation and combined degree agreements. A standard protocol was developed for all future international agreements and everyone on the committee was given a set of the new guidelines. Mythical U’s legal department signed off on the protocol and all international admission recruiters were given copies to take on future international trips.
  • All agreements are now “housed” in the vice president’s office and no one, apart from the vice president, is permitted to sign off on future arrangements.
  • The same policy is followed with regard to future study abroad agreements.
  • The vice president created a database of all current international students and graduates and that information is shared with all committee members.
  • The vice-president’s research assistant compiled a list with the following international statistics: number and percent of current international students and countries of origin, number of international graduates and countries of origin, number of international faculty and countries of origin, and the number and names of all international courses.  This information is shared with all international recruiters.
  • The vice president created a Board of International Advisors, composed of local and international alumni. The Board meets once a year on the campus of Mythical U and is charged with helping the school recruit students, create international internships, and identify potential international donors.
  • An annual report of the committee’s activities is shared with the entire campus in January and June.

Not bad for one year’s work!

Fundraising and Career Counseling

Career CounselingFrequent readers of this blog know I am a big supporter of elevating career counseling centers within the ranks of the higher education pecking order.

So when Melissa Korn, a writer at The Wall Street Journal, reported about the marriage of fundraising offices with career counseling offices in several colleges and universities, I knew I would share this information with you.

Many schools folded their career centers into their development offices. Amherst College in Massachusetts, for example, changed the reporting structure a few months ago. Colgate University in Hamilton, New York; Williams College in Massachusetts and Scripps College in Claremont, California, will all make the change July 1st. Two years ago, the University of Chicago merged career services, admissions and enrollment management with the advancement office.

Students are assigned career counselors in the first year and admission counselors meet with potential employers as they travel around the country and the world for next year’s class. Alumni and fundraising staff have a wealth of information on graduates who may be able to provide internships or even jobs to graduates.

Combined budgets make for more robust career counseling outreach activities. Giving career centers a seat at the table is long overdue.

Whether you agree or not, parents and prospective college students are asking questions about a school’s career services before they apply. Keeping that function separate from the enrollment management and alumni and fundraising functions, seems obsolete given the economic realities not just in the United States but around the world.

Change comes slow in higher education and disruptive change even slower. Turf wars are inevitable and administrative silos exist on every college campus.

I hope one person reading this week’s blog has both the vision and determination to consider making career services an essential part of marketing, enrollment management and alumni and fundraising. Consider the synergy!

Survey of College and University Presidents

University Presidents

Few university presidents believe the worst of financial times are over, race relations on their campuses are just fine and higher education is on a firm financial footing.

Inside Higher Education, in conjunction with Gallup, Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, produced a survey of college and university presidents. A sampling of the research results was published on March 19.

  • About 50% of college and university presidents agree that it is appropriate to collect data on outcomes but are not confident the data will be accurately collected and reported.
  • The majority of presidents surveyed publish their school’s debt levels of graduates and job placement rates. But less than one-third publish the starting salaries of recent graduates.
  • 50% of the presidents maintain their school’s current financial model can be maintained over the next 10 years.
  • Five percent agree that the economic problems that began in 2008 are over at their institutions.
  • 70% of all presidents in the survey believe they should improve how their institutions respond to allegation of sexual assaults.
  • 90% of college and university presidents believe race relations on their campuses are good or excellent.
  • 94% oppose the boycotting of Israeli universities as proposed by the American Studies Association.

If you recruit in Asia, you won’t want to miss next week’s blog.

College Graduates Earn More, Get Better Jobs

mortar boardHow many articles have you read lately suggesting college graduates are no better off in the workforce than people without college degrees?

Articles questioning the “worth” of a college education seem to be plentiful in recent months.

Let’s take a look at some statistics and maybe this information will help some admission counselors respond when this question is asked: is a college degree worth the cost?

Positive Facts

According to an article written by Catherine Rampell in The New York Times last year:

  • The unemployment rate for college graduates last year was 3.9%, compared with a 7.5% unemployment rate for the work force as a whole. Among all segments of workers sorted by educational attainment, college graduates are the only group that has more people employed today than when the recession started.
  • The number of college-educated workers has increased by 9.1% since the beginning of the recession.
  • Employment for students who have some college credits, but not a degree, decreased since the beginning of the recession.
  • In 2012, the typical full-time worker with an undergraduate degree earned 79% more than a high school graduate. Thirty years earlier the percentage was 48%.
  • As of April 2011, about 32% of Americans had a college degree. Twenty years ago this statistic was 22%.
  • According to an analysis from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institute in Washington, the benefits of a college education was equivalent to an investment that returns 15.2 % a year.
  • The media has focused on the minority of college graduates who are surfing the web looking for work, living in their parents’ basements and working in jobs that a short while ago, did not require a college degree. All that may be true for some graduates. It’s not true for all.

In next week’s blog you will read about the marriage of enrollment managers with career counselors to achieve enrollment success.

Capstone Vietnam Fall 2014 StudyUSA Higher Education Fairs

I am pleased to recommend Capstone Vietnam’s unique, customized StudyUSA Higher Education Fair series in fall 2014 that will cover five (5) cities in all three regions of the country, including Haiphong and Hanoi in the North, Danang in the center and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Vung Tau (high school mini-fairs only) in the South.  Follow this link for detailed information and online registration. Vietnam remains a hot market for U.S. colleges and universities.  It ranked 8th among all sending countries, 6th in undergraduate enrollment and 3rd in international enrollment at community colleges, according to the 2013 Open Doors international academic mobility report. Capstone Vietnam (PDF), a human resource development company with offices in Hanoi and HCMC, is led by Dr. Mark Ashwill, managing director. For more information, contact Mark at or send an email to  ​


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